1st Timer?  WELCOME!  1st, click on the “About” tab in the upper right corner for a very brief “who & what” this is all about.   Start reading every writing, in chronological order forward.  ;)  Or, you can simply read from a tiny sample of previous writings which can only give a taste of the Cafe Pasadena.  Unfortunately, it’s far from a representative sample:

Pasadena Community Organizer. Me?    Rose Bowl Update! 

Pasadena: Then & Now    Still The One   A Pasadena Thanksgiving  

Greetings from The Athenaeum   MO-CHICA Peruvian Restaurant 

Rose Parade: Final Appeals!   State of The City 2012    Ansel Adams: L.A. Photographer

The Rainbow City    Customer Disservice   All About The Watchmaker (History) 

Lady of Leisure Drive    Tournament of Roses Royal Court

2nd: If you’ve been here before but it’s been a while:  Welcome Back, Stranger!  Never left feedback, or just “LIKED” some articles?? Then it’s about time you left a comment or tell us what it is you “LIKE”, or DISLiked!   All others:  where you been?, que paso?'; what happened:  did you give up blogging?,  or throw out your computer?, etc, et al.  Frankly, I have less time nowadays to blog, and read/comment on other blogs. Therefore, those who read & comment on my blog at least semi-regularly will receive my mutual respect via my reading & commenting on your blog. There are just too many blogs out there for me to read/comment on the others.

Thanks for coming, reading, and giving us a piece of your mind. Welcome to the Cafe Pasadena.

Who’s your Rose Queen for 2015?

By the time y’all read this article we should all know who was selected to be the Queen of the 2015 Pasadena Tournament of Roses (PTOR).  I will give you my guess, which I usually get an “F”, for the Queen. Who is yours?

But we 1st need a Royal Court to pick from. Here are a few, just a few believe me, of my shots from the media announcement earlier this month of the new Royal Court.  The best shots, relatively speaking!, I save for the Royal Court and their parents.


The set-up or calm before the storm




These announcement are really media events as much as for the girls. In this picture I see Kim Chinen the wife of the current President of the PTOR, Megan Henderson waiting to go live on KTLA5 (another journalist I’ve met in Pasadena), and Walt Mancini the famous photographer of the Pasadena Star-News.





PTOR 1st Ladies!  Mrs. Chinen (2015) with Mrs. Jenkins (2014). I’ve met & photographed the wonderful 2014 1st Lady before, but never the 2015. I asked Mrs. Jenkins to introduce me & pose together.





The 1st Girl!  Winking smile   2014 Princess Sarah is the 1st beauty (inside & out!) to come down the red carpet. Princess Sarah is now I’m happy to say – Trojan Sarah! – at USC.  Sarah along with Princess Kayla & Princess Elyssia  following her will officially welcome & transfer power to the girls named to the new Royal Court. I was viewing all from my perch with a “white suiter” friend & the mother of Princess Elyssia.




The 1st Finalist. Each of the 31 finalists will be introduced by the Chairperson of the Queen & Royal Court committee.. From this group, the 7 members of the new Royal Court will be named.  My “white-suiter” friend, Bak, escorts the 1st of the finalists. Members of the Queen & Royal Court committee do the escorting.





Cutting to the chase. PTOR President Richard Chinen, after calling out the names that made the 2015 Royal Court, takes an admiring 1st look at his Tournament of Roses 2015 Royal Court.  L-R, they’re Princesses Alicia, Veronica, Mackenzie, Gabrielle, Simona, Madison, & Bergen.  WoW, this year will be even more difficult for me to guess who will be Queen!

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With the news Royal Court selected, the 2014 Princesses may now be thinking, “so now we don’t need to always be ready to strike a pose for photographers? Yes!, Yes!!”

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Hold on. Not so fast!!  I never forget my past Queens & Princesses…2014 Rose Princess Elyssia & Mom. Elyssia was at San Marino High when on court and, if I recall correctly, her Mom told me she is now a communications major at Pepperdine University. I always feel a bit guilty to ask these girls to “sit” for a photo knowing the countless times they’ve had to be ready to strike a pose for photographers these past months – including myself!  Yet, every time I wanted a photo they’ve  immediately & patiently agreed, and smiled, as I took yet another shot. This may be my favorite Royal Court!




One of my “white-suit” friends, a great guy, and member of the Queen & Royal Court committee – almost always with his camera. Hey, Bak!  Where you aiming?? The girls are behind you!  Open-mouthed smile 



2015 Princess Gabrielle Ann Current.  If there was a Miss Photogenic, she’d probably get it.  (Yes, she does have a pair of good looking parents)  When she saw me with camera, she came toward me, we chatted a second, and then she struck some camera ready poses. I can see easily why she made the Royal Court.  My photo skills-non don’t capture her natural beauty.

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One thing I said to Princess Gabrielle, “You should take a photo with your “groupies” (Flintridge Sacred Heart school mates!).  Before long, that’s where she was headed.




With the “Mother Superior” of Flintridge Sacred Heart and her Senior class.  FSH usually comes in force to support their girls vying for the Royal Court.




The media was also out in force, of course. Here is Jose Hernandez, videographer for NBC-LA.  He has a twin and I hope I didn’t mix their names up here!  Sad smile  When I first meet journalists it’s almost always in Pasadena.




This is where I came in. Think I’ll cut it off here since I need to cut out to the 2015 coronation – before all the food is gone!  Maybe I’ll come back to do any needed editing. 




Oh, my prediction for Rose Queen?  Unlike last year, and since I’m very bad at picking the Queen, I’m simply going with my male intuition.  While at this years Royal Court announcement, the 1st girl I thought of for Queen was Princess Madison.  But then as I learned more about each of the Princesses it became clear this decision was going to be more challenging than last year!  Therefore, lemme say the Queen will either be Princess Gabrielle or Princess Veronica.  What do ya think? Who’s your choice for Queen??



Gotta Get Out of Here! Stay Thirsty My Friends

Red rose


Beginning this Friday is the start of one of the big weekends in Pasadena.


Craftsman Weekend!


Presented annually by Pasadena Heritage (PH), one of the oldest, largest, and very best preservation groups in the world.   Without PH, many of the historic homes, architecture, landmarks, and neighborhoods would no longer exist in Pasadena!  Just two examples: without PH there probably wouldn’t be any OLD left in Old Town Pasadena nor would the Colorado Street Bridge still be standing!




Craftsman Weekend is the biggest event PH puts on, with bus, drive to, & walking tours of Craftsman era homes. Plus, special receptions at historic sites, lectures, workshops, and related exhibitors show their stuff at the Pasadena Convention Center.

If you live in Pasadena, or care about architectural or history, I recommend you attend – especially if you’ve never done so! 

Limited time this weekend?  Then of all the events in Craftsman Weekend I would suggest the Craftsman House Tour on Sunday.  Or, the Myron Hunt home tour & reception.  The only downside with the Hunt is it’s the most expensive event of the CW.  But you can participate in a CW event for as little as $10 if you’re a member/$15 if not.

Today I was breaking Pizza with a couple of Pizza lovebirds from Altadena. They love Craftsman architecture, yet were unaware of this Craftsman Weekend event!  I gave them a brochure, which sparked their interest and now they’re planning to go.  But I told them, “it starts in a couple of days – Don’t Wait!”   I’m telling my loyal readers also: “Don’t wait!”  For instance, tickets for the South Grand Avenue neighborhood tour are already sold out.


Here are links for more details, ticket info:

Craftsman Weekend 2014

You can purchase tickets at the Pasadena Heritage office or Online:

Purchase Tickets



Gotta Go! Gotta Work. Stay Thirsty My Friends

Red rose

Breakfast at Whole Foods

When more than one person asks me about my blog or “when are you going to write about me?!”, then I know I it’s time to send something up into the blogosphere again. So,……..


Breakfast at Tiffanys has been done, so I’ll do Breakfast at Whole Foods.

Pasadena has a Whole Foods Market (WFM).  As of a few years ago they now have TWO!  How is that??  Dunno. Most cities don’t even have one.  Luck & probably the WFM honchos see Pasadena as possessing a rare economic or social clout to support two.   Maybe in the future everyone will have at least one WFM, like Starbucks. Or maybe not.  Remember when every city desired a Starbucks?  (It wasn’t too long ago, believe it or not!)   Well, I didn’t get it but maybe some readers wouldn’t understand wanting a WFM either.

WFM has been my go-to supermarket for years. Alright, since the last century. To be exact, since it was known as Mrs. Gooch’s prior to the WFM takeover.

Back then the Glendale Gooch on Glendale Avenue was my regular spot with occasional visits to their West LA Gooch. It was cozy, natural, and felt independently owned. That’s gone, replaced by a WFM  built further south on Glendale Avenue.

Pasadena has two WFM’s: the 1st on Foothill in the Hastings Ranch area & the newer on Arroyo Parkway (AP) just south of Old Town.  Despite the AP being the newer and one of the very largest in the WFM chain, I’ve continued to make the Foothill location my regular joint since the week it opened.  Why? Not sure, but it’s not because one location is significantly closer than the other.

“You must’ve seen it all”, at Whole Foods!  NO.  But I do know I have not done all at WFM!

For instance, until the past year I don’t recall ever purchasing and eating my breakfast at WFM.  Now I usually go from the checkout to the dining tables inside WFM and promptly eat!  Here’s a typical view at Whole Foods Pasadena Foothill:




If it looks like I’m starting the day off slow….good. I hope so!  People watching, newspaper reading, mixed in with some healthy eating is a job I could do without demanding high pay.

Breakfast offerings range from Belgian waffles, fruit, salads,breakfast burritos, eggs (real & tofu),  to Mexican chilaquiles, and whatever else you want to include in your “breakfast”!

Notwithstanding the fact you’re in a supermarket, the eating atmosphere is comfortable, quiet, peaceful, and nobody seems to be in a rush. Usually at least half the dining space is taken.  We’re all just letting the day unfold at its own time.

“But, it must be Xpensive?”  Well, the breakfast buffet items are $8.49 per pound. Wednesdays you get a $2 discount.  And there’s made to order breakfast combos for about $4.99.  Admittedly, you can find places that are cheaper in price, and quality. We all make our choices.  Martini glass If you’ve never been to WFM or had their breakfast check them out, then come back with your own report!

Unfortunately my days usually don’t start this way.  Somedays I miss breakfast entirely.  But enough of my habits, what about you:

  • Do you have a favorite place or way to start your day of eating?

  • What’s your favorite breakfast item?


Gotta Eat! Stay Thirsty My Friends

Red rose

Nick Ut: Photographers Photographer

I last wrote on this website at the end of last year. It’s now 2014.  So, before this new year gets too old lemme be one of the 1st to wish y’all a  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

New years should bring new articles/topics to write about, you’d think. The catalyst for my new article comes from 1)the cover story of the current LA Weekly (LAW), and, 2)I’ve actually met with the subject of the LAW article.


per LA Weekly


Y’all likely remember this famous/infamous photo taken in 1972 during the Vietnam War, (with “Napalm Girl”  Kim Phuc posing now as an adult in the foreground):


The now famous photographer was Nick Ut of the Associated Press.  Nick, a Vietnamese, was looking for that one shot which would “end the war”, or as the LAW article called it, “the shot of a lifetime”!   The following year the war would be officially over, and, that shot has followed the life of photographer Ut since.

His shot of the young girl running in pain, naked, out of a napalm bombing won him the Pulitzer Prize for photojournalism. He was only 22.

Ut was in his 60s when I finally learned who took the photograph, thanks to a mutual friend & news reporter.  Later, I would notice him a couple of times when I was out & about. Yet I was aware of the sometimes burden of fame & people always wanting some of his time so I’d avoided introducing myself besides just saying, “Hi.”

That changed when I was at a Tournament of Roses (PTOR) event to announce the 2015 Grand Marshall (GM). Until last year I never attended this particular PTOR event despite my “white-suiter” friends making mention of it to me.  I’ll write about that 2014 GM event, sooner or later, since I may have had a small part to play in the naming of Vin Scully as GM, haha!

So, here I am at the 2015 GM introduction, and I notice a few people who I usually don’t notice at PTOR events: Pasadena’s Mayor, Police Chief & Fire Chief.  And, Nick Ut, who I’ve never seen before at a PTOR event:




I try to avoid getting in the way of professional photographers trying to do their job among amateurs & paparazzi fighting them for position, unlike some “Iphone shutterbugs.”  My photo above captures four pros, including Ut, doing their job capturing the 2015 GM the late, great Louis Zamperini.  I’ve been lucky to meet & speak “shop” with these pros.  Nick Ut is one. Next time I’ll talk about another – sooner or later…


Afterwards, I was getting refreshed by getting my monies worth of PTOR hospitality via downing as much catered food & drink as fast I could, short of a Dog Haus or Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.  I noticed Nick Ut at my shoulder next to me with the same idea.  So I said something like, “You probably don’t remember me but we exchanged “Hello’s” at some other event.”  Before another word could be said, some official chimed in to say something like, “You know that’s Nick Ut. He’s a famous photographer.  He took that famous shot of that little girl napalmed in the Vietnam War and won a Pulitzer Prize for it!”

I replied, “Yes, I know.  Congrats again, Mr. Ut!”   Then I asked Nick when was the last time he saw our mutual friend – the news reporter who made me aware of who he is – and he said, “Oh, I haven’t seen her in over a year…”  I was afraid that would be the reply. Anyway, our small talk ended, I think, with me asking him for a photo tip.

This is an all too brief and incomplete a way of introducing you to the thrilling LAW article on Nick Ut. A sort of condensed biography of the man who lives here in the San Gabriel Valley. Please grab the current issue of LAW out on newsstands now or read all about it at this link:  Nick Ut’s Shot of a Lifetime!  A must read!

Lemme know what you thought of the LAW article! And, if you ever see Nick Ut out shooting some event say, “Hello” & “Thanks!”



Gotta Go. Have a Happy 2014!

per LA Weeklya