Parking space as commentary at Art Center’s Hillside Campus

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39794-RBLOG-SEEN-SECTIONHEADER.jpgLiteral street art alert! Leave it to the pavement at Pasadena’s Art Center to get all sassy on us.

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Some faculty and staff parking spots at the Hillside Campus have new, playfully irreverent descriptors attached today. “Cat lady,” “jaunty,” “balding,” “sensible shoes” and “name dropper,” are among the tags.
A post on the school’s Dotted Line blog suggests the display might be part of a mystery student’s project. (Banksy 2.0?)
The open attitude toward creation is refreshing and indicative of an art school with this for a mission statement: “Learn to create. Influence change.” Rather than chastising any “vandal,” the cheeky, maybe-guerilla artwork gets a thumbs up and some public praise.
“It’s pretty fun working at an art and design school,” Lara Warren, Art Center’s editor of online communications, notes in the blog post. Color us jealous.
See the slideshow on Art Center’s Flickr feed.

(Photos courtesy Lara Warren / Art Center College of Design)

Your guide to Bring Your Own Wine Wednesdays in Pasadena

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Through August 31, participating restaurants in Pasadena are offering corkage-free Wednesdays. The Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW) Wednesdays program is sponsored by the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, and it aims to drum up dine-in business for local eateries on what is a traditionally slow night.
On the way to a mid-week dinner, pick up a bottle or two, and start with these general pairing suggestions from Monopole Wine boutique owner Peter Nelson. (Prices are approximate and subject to change and availability.) Plus, read more about Monopole after the jump.
  • English cuisine
2004 Chateau Larruau Margaux, $32.99
2008 Domaine Fouassier Quincy, $17.99
Bring to: Beckham Grill, 77 W. Walnut St., Pasadena, 626-796-3399, beckhamgrill.com
  • Mexican/Spanish/tapas
2008 Tres Ojos Calatayud Old Vines Garnacha, $7.95
2006 Colina Verde Rioja, $14.99
2009 Trajarinho Vinho Verde, $9.99
2009 Vionta Albario Ras Baixas, $13.99
Bring to: Bar Celona, 46 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-405-1000, barcelonapasadena.com

El Cholo, 958 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, 626-441-4353, elcholopasadena.com

IX Tapa Cantina, 119 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-304-1000, cantinaixtapa.com
  • French/California bistro
2008 Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne Rouge, $29.99
2009 Domaine les Gryphees (Pierre Durdilly) Moulin–Vent, $19.99
2009 Francis Blanchet Pouilly-Fume, $21.99
Bring to: Cafe Bizou, 91 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626-792-9923, cafebizou.com

Green Street Tavern, 69 W. Green St., Pasadena, 626-229-9961, greenstreettavern.net

The Terrace at The Langham Huntington, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, 626-585-6218, pasadena.langhamhotels.com
  • Italian cuisine
2004 Prunotto Barolo, $53.99
2007 Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico, $12.99
2008 Cascina Degli Ulivi Gavi, $16.99
Bring to: Celestino Ristorante, 141 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626-795-4006, calogerodrago.com

Villa Sorriso, 168 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-793-8008, sorrisopasadena.com
  • Eclectic
2007 Au Bon Climat Knox Alexander Pinot Noir, $41.99
2007 Dierberg Syrah Santa Ynez Valley, $31.99
2006 Ici/La-Bas Chardonnay Victoria Elke Vineyard, $27.99
Bring to: Elements Kitchen, 37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 626-440-0044, elementskitchen.com

Technique at Le Cordon Bleu, 525 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-229-1377, techniquerestaurant.com
  • Japanese
Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake, $13.99
Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo 55, $36.99
Bring to: Japon Bistro, 927 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-744-1751, japonbistro-pasadena.com
  • French/Japanese fusion
2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg, $32.99
2005 Domaine de Vieux Lazaret Chteauneuf-du-Pape, $42.99
Bring to: Maison Akira, 713 E. Green St., Pasadena, 626-796-9501, maisonakira.com
  • Steak
2007 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Revilo, $84.99
Bring to: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 369 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626-583-8122, ruthschris.com

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Pictured: Skies were gray, but they’re not gray anymore

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Staff photographer Walt Mancini captured a panoramic view, above, of Pasadena yesterday with overhanging clouds, emerging blue skies and the statuesque San Gabriels in the background.

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An even-more-surreal scene-setter comes in this second image of the sky reflected in the windows of the Jacobs Engineering building on Arroyo Parkway, while a Metro Gold Line train passes.
Click the images to enlarge.
(Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

Drink it up: San Gabriel Valley watering holes on Jonathan Gold’s ‘Best Cocktails’ list

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The latest L.A. Weekly roundup of “L.A.’s Best” by Pulitizer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold targets the 55 best cocktails in the region. The Pasadena-based writer places a couple San Gabriel Valley institutions on the list. Here’s what he had to say.

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    Flaming Honey Bowl (for two)

“What’s in a Flaming Honey Bowl? Who knows: Rum, apricot and a splash of Coke, says the menu, and who are we to argue? But it’s served in a wooden salad bowl, the straws are as long as your arm, and it comes with flaming croutons.”

Find it at: Bahooka (seen above and at right), 4501 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, (626) 285-1241, bahooka.com
  • Daily Double
“The bar these days may not be as classic as one might prefer — they have discovered pomegranate martinis, Key lime martinis with whipped cream, and elderflower liqueur — but it is still thrilling when the waitress asks if you’ll be having a regular-sized drink, or want to upgrade to the Daily Double.”

Find it at: The Derby, 233 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, (626) 447-2430, thederbyarcadia.com
  • Medicina Latina
“Medicina Latina, the invention of the peripatetic bartender Marcos Tello, follows him around like a faithful pup. … But the cocktail seems to be at its most potent where Tello’s tracks are the freshest, which means for the moment, you should be seeking your Medicina Latina at 1886, the sleek new cocktail bar tucked into the rear of the Raymond Restaurant.”

Find it at: 1886 at the Raymond Restaurant, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 441-3136, theraymond.com
The whole story, for your responsible consumption, is here.

(Staff file photos)

Old Pasadena Happy Hour Week starts tomorrow

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Old Pasadena Happy Hour Week starts tomorrow. A number of Pasadena restaurants, bars and lounges will be hosting extended drink and grub specials from March 1-March 8. Getting in on the act are Vertical Wine Bistro, Point08 Bar and The Otis Bar at La Grande Orange Cafe.
Most drink specials are priced in the $2-$8 range.
Equator Cafe is offering the first martini for $1 on Tuesdays, from 4 p.m.-close, during Happy Hour Week. On weekend days from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the cafe also has $10 bottomless champagne or mimosas with brunch.
The Scarlet Tea Room & Fine Dining, pictured at top, will serve red and white wine, mimosas, sangria and hibiscus cocktails for $5 a pop.
See the schedule and full menus for each bar and eatery here.

(Staff file photo)

DISH Bistro & Bar on Union Street in Old Pasadena reportedly shuttered

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There are reports popping up on Chowhound and Yelp that DISH Bistro & Bar on East Union Street has shuttered.
The restaurant’s website has been taken down, and the phone line is disconnected.
The eatery opened in February 2010 and pulled in some regular customers right off the bat, owner David Johnson told us in June of last year. We wrote then of a mini-resurgence on that area of East Union, with newcomers like DISH, Quadrupel Brasserie and POP Champagne & Dessert Bar all opening within a relatively close time span.
On Chowhound, commenter Bradbury calls Old Pasadena the “Bermuda Triangle of good restaurants.” What do you think? Is this yet another case of a good restaurant claimed by a bad economy? Something else?
(Staff file photos)

Pictured: The bird is the word at Debs Park

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Over the weekend, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society got together for a promotion of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which is crowdsourcing data about bird migrations and habitats. The Pasadena chapter of the Audubon Society checked in at Debs Park in Highland Park to count birds and glean information about the avian residents of the Arroyo Seco.
It was a birder’s binoculared love-fest and an opportunity for backyard researchers who are interested in finding out more about several species, including the California quail, Allen’s hummingbird, Nuttall’s woodpecker, the oak titmouse, the wrentit, the California thrasher, the yellow warbler and the spotted towhee.
Staff photographer Mike Mullen was at Debs Park, too, and caught the cool shot at the top. I call it “Out on a Limb.”
(Photos by Mike Mullen / Staff)

Fields of gold: Rodarte spins an exquisite yarn at New York Fashion Week

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Color us biased, but New York Fashion Week has ended, and that means it’s time to check in with our favorite sartorial contender: Rodarte, the high-fashion label founded by Pasadena sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy.
Once again, Rodarte racked up solid praise from fashion’s top critics for their fall 2011 ready-to-wear collection. Dominated by bucolic, creamy neutrals, the showing was a nice departure from some of the more somber palettes they’ve favored — albeit, to dramatic success — in the past.
After the jump, more photos, and some choice quotes from the critics:

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Pasadena chef Laurent Quenioux garners James Beard Awards nod for Bistro LQ

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Pasadena resident and Vertical Wine Bistro executive chef Laurent Quenioux is a semifinalist for the 2011 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards. He received the esteemed nod under the Best Chef: Pacific category for his restaurant Bistro LQ in Los Angeles.
Quenioux said he is honored by the recognition and glad to be in such good company among many great chefs. The Beard Awards are the most prestigious given to culinary professionals in the United States.
In our March/April issue, Quenioux talked with staff writer Claudia S. Palma about his culinary career and living in the Crown City.

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