A day in Glendale

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I really like Brand Boulevard, Glendale’s main drag, and spent half a day there Saturday.

I saw “The King and I” at the Alex Theater, the restored 1925 theater, which occasionally shows old movies (live theater, musicals, etc., fill the rest of the schedule). I’m unsure if I’d ever seen the whole thing before, but knew I’d seen bits and pieces of it on TV as a child. Not that you need me to tell you, but it’s a great movie with a surprising finale.

The same block is home to two excellent used bookstores, Bookfellows and Brand Books. At the latter, a browser in his 30s in the stacks seemed unfamiliar with the concept of used bookstores. He asked an employee, “Are these for sale or do you, like, rent them?”

My lunch was nothing special. Porto’s Bakery is excellent but it’s so crowded it’s hard to relax, and the sushi bar I’d intended on patronizing had closed down. In retrospect I should have gone to Thai in L.A., the movie’s Siam and modern-day Thailand being the same, but that thematic tie-in didn’t occur to me. Instead, I went to the new Panera outlet for its amazing strawberry-poppyseed salad.

After all this, I walked a few blocks south to the Americana at Brand, the cutesy shopping area created by the developer of the Grove by the Farmers Market in L.A. I enjoyed a slice of cheese pizza at Richie Palmer’s Pizzeria and a burger at Jewel City Diner, a small, circular diner with a bar looking out through plate-glass windows. Great for people-watching.

Americana is, like the Grove, too artificial for my tastes, but it’s okay. Have any of you checked it out?

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  • Kristin McConnell

    My father lived in Glendale for many years before he moved into the IE. He always said that Brand was the best place in the city. We haven’t seen this new place, but it’s probably as crowded and frantic as the rest of the city. But, that theatre sounds neat!

  • Gavin

    Glendale is a city of so many good bakeries: Portos is one of many and just happens to be well-known. As you use yelp.com, try and query “Armenian bakery.” Youll find many delightful ones not on Brand. Some also operate a caf or deli that serves salads and meat dishes. Armenian-style pastry is more than baklava; tiramis, fruit tart and cheesecake are just as delectable as those made elsewhere.

  • DebB

    I grew up in Glendale in the ’50s and ’60s, and went with friends and family to the Alex many times during its first incarnation as a regular movie theater. Those were the days of intermissions and double features! There were one or two other theaters also on Brand whose names escape me now.

    Brand Blvd. was the main shopping area (no mini malls, no Galleria) and featured Penney’s and Webbs (very upscale) among others. Sears was on Central, the next street over. Farther south on Brand was the Chevy dealer where my dad always bought his cars.

    I haven’t gotten over to the Alex since they restored it, but I remember it as quite beautiful and elaborate, rivaling many theaters in Hollywood.

    [It's pretty great, especially the long forecourt, but not as opulent as Pomona's Fox, I'd say. -- DA]