Out with de Old…Photos

To prepare for the New Year, get off on the left foot, it feels right to clear away some of the past which could puncture holes down the new hiking paths of 2010.

With this latest of, “And Now, Another Deep Thought of The K9”, in mind, this dog may appear like a  Pasadena Daily Shutterblogger in these last breaths of the old year.  Just don’t mistake me for some of those daily photobloggers we too often see around these parts. I’m distinguished – my tail is longer than theirs.

In these last daze, the purpose of the staff of Cafe Pasadena will bee simply to reduce some of the backblog of photos we’ve accumulated in our archives for no good reason, other than to share them with the world.  From Pasadena to Brooklyn to South Central Miami to Taiwan to England to Massachusetts to India to Indonesia et al. We hear your requests everyday and are responding!

So, I’m gonna push these pics outta my computer and, hopefully, onto your computers for your viewing ecstasy. Let us begin our annual winter cleaning, mindful that, I may still have leftovers to put out to the alley for trash Tuesday pickup. You never know who you’re gonna meet back there with the trash.



Let’s get off, to this new start, with a few old shots from the now departed BrenArt Restaurant & Wine Bar which many of you loco’s remember from our visit back in January. It operated on Union St between Fair Oaks & Raymond in Old Town.






This restaurant specialized in French-European cuisine with a touch of Asian influence. The Chef was a local graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts here in Pasadena.  More importantly he was a friendly, caring chef. 









As you walked in the door, Diana & her piano were often there to greet you from their perch up on The Wall.



P1000161a P1000168a








BrenArt has been around for more than a few years. It was originally conceived to be a part of BrenArt international an organization headquartered in Belgium to promote the artistic, in particular Belgium arts.  Their Pasadena restaurant doubled as an art galley.  The European owners were lovely people with a love of the arts, drink, and food.

However, it was only in the last couple of years that I got myself inside their door a few times.  I introduced many of you to this place.  Took some of my foodie girlfriends here, including my BFF & foodie soulfoodmate. I still remember what she said the 1st time I took her here -with a smile: “I like this restaurant!” 

To hear her positive response to a restaurant was welcomed.  I am very happy whenever I can do a little something which brings some happiness to my friends.









Still, the economy was a major factor, as with most business closings in this repression, for this restaurant to turn off the oven. It’s now being gutted out to apparently be rebuilt out into the latest episode of how the hospitality world turns. 




P1000157aAt the bar keeping a sandwich company. The Chef asked me what I thought of his egg salad sandwich.  “It’s good. Better than most egg sandwiches for sure. B u t…it’s no EuroPane egg salad sandwich.”  After all, The Food Network came this year to film EuroPane & its egg salad sandwich.  He understood what I meant, and he said, “Yeah, I need to try it sometime.”









This soup was good, just not special or outstanding. That was the theme with this restaurant, and well,  many  restaurants in my personal experience.






Earlier in the year, I listened to entrepreneurs with businesses in Los Angeles.  They were thinking of starting a club in Old Town, with this vacant space to be used as the restaurant. I gave them my optimistic devils advocate view of their “great” idea.  Not that these “businesspeople” normally care, but, hey it’s not my investment dough which may be burnt.






But, I digest. Nevertheless, while not a low-cost restaurant, IMHO you received better value here compared to your average eatery in the Old Town district.











Any wine lovers out there in the world wide web??







Reporting from the Olde Town




Siena restaurant, Brenart’s Italian sister next door, closed her door shortly afterward.  But, that’s for another episode of, This Pasadena Life, because…


I gotta get outta here.  I’ll be back. And, remember: Stay Warm & Thirsty My Friends.




22 responses to “Out with de Old…Photos

  1. Being TOLD how good their food is, by every Server I had, seems pretty damn arrogant to me. You can’t even let me judge for myself? They have to tell me how my food tastes?

    One time I walked in with a friend and there were 4 other people in the place. We said “Two please” and were met with an incredibly snarky “Do you have a reservation?” I laughed a little and said “No, do we need one?” The response was a condescending “Oh yes, you should always make a reservation. Pretty soon we’re going to go to reservations-only.” (The whole time my friend and I dined, no other people came into the restaurant.)

    • I agree restaurants can act a bit strange or funny at times. Leaves me scratching my head. And, it sure sounds like Siena & you couldn’t get along with each other. Anything but love at 1st or last sight. No mutual admiration society.

  2. Well, here I am, late to the conversation. I thought Brenart was fine. I didn’t know it had closed. I don’t get over to Old Town too much these days, but I want to try that upscale movie place just for the experience. I think my hubby and I might go over the holidays. I’ll report back about the food.

    • Marg, if this is a furlough day then you’re late w/o excuse! Yes, report back on your experience with that new Gold Cinema theatre palace fit for the rich. And, The Food!
      FA, what a surprise – you became critical of the restaurant biz?! I guess I’m beginning to see how you became driven to the monastery.
      PDP, yeah, everyone has their personal fav’s. Don’t feel you have to “get” what many others see.

  3. I never had the pleasure of visiting this establishment (you know, the ‘ole “I don’t get out too much anymore thing”). But, that’s probably a good thing, because I’m usually over critical of restaurants (having been in the business before I entered the monastery). Anyway, great post. Your commentary is always fun to read.

  4. Brenart was ok, but Siena’s was the only Italian restaurant I ever liked. The food was delish. Now the only place that is halfway decent imo is….OLIVE GARDEN

    • E, I agree with you on Siena, of course. Butt…did you have to mention the OG?? What are people gonna think if they were to find out you’ve been to the og & worse, think it was decent! Some things are better left unsaid.

    • Hmmm…Well, maybe I need organize another, smaller, foodie/blogger gathering at EP sometime. Say in March. We gotta keep it small however. About 8-10 lovers of French pastries, Jones roasters coffee, etc. I know the owner & she wood most likely do it for me as long as I’m not too much of a pain in her neck.

  5. This place was nice, not fabulous. It’s tough to be a restaurant out there.

    Unless you’re Europane. What is the appeal of that place, Cafe? Have you been there lately? I’ve never been there when it was clean. I was there last week and had a ham sandwich that couldn’t even come close to being mediocre. The macaron was fabulous but that’s not enough to make a restaurant so popular. Tell me what I’m missing.

    • In N Out of bizness s/b the dba for most restaurants! The climate has always been dark & threatening out there for this industry. No more than this year. It’s one of the most difficult to run successfully. Don’t wanna have your 1st bizness to be a restaurant!

      P, I’m not gonna try to create a logical argument to convince you to my way of seeing something as personal as restaurants/food. Or, 4 that matter fashion, politics, bloggers, or etc.

      I agree EP often looks unkempt & are nothing essentially special. It’s the latest post-customer rush bombing leftover.

      Still, over the past few years I’ve seen regulars who are in the entertainment biz, writers, college profs, PSN newspeople, JonGold, well-known chefs, but really a cross-section of the poor to rich, light to dark skinned, French & foreign tourists, babies to seniors, homeless, bright-eyed to the blind, some come from around the corner & others from around the world. E.g., I was there when a soldier visiting from Irag was singing his praises & gratitude for finally being able to be back at EP after several years! He left saying sadly, “I’m gonna miss this place.” Others just make trips from San Diego or Santa Barbara. That’s all I can currently recall with my current rain-soaked brain.

      Julie of EyeLevelPasadena, in reply to my idea to convince the owner to get WiFi, said: “Oh man,, if you can do that, you will be doing such a big favor/service for the Pasadena Community!” Well, I haven’t convinced her yet and, of course, unlike other cafes she doesn’t really need it.

      I will say you get good value for what you get. E.g., French Macarons may not be the very best, but for $1.95/macaron they’ve got me over others which might not taste much better for, oh say, can you see $4 each!

      So the point is it gives good value. And, yes, it’s popular with a cross-section of many people, they even offer dogbones for the K9 customer! But that’s no reason to feel like you are missing outta something that is so personal. I’m like you when it comes my opinion of other things. We wanna be ourselves, the days of wanting to be like our “peers” is years passed. I say with people and life, Viva La Differfrance!

      Ok, unfortunately, my comment is beginning to look like some of the oversized comments left by some unnamed commenters. Totally not my style.

  6. But what about Azuza? Everything you should want from A to Z (plus you won’t catch it snowing inside).

    I believe you’d be happy if you could take your 3 squares daily at EuroPane. I must go there sometime.

    • Go with Shanna Galloway de Artist of Views, PA. She’s been there a couple of times! She probably wants to order their egg salad sandwitch. Nothing fancy, just delightful french pastries, soup/salads/breads.

  7. I also loved Brenart’s atmosphere, but, like you, found the food good but not special. I didn’t know Dish Bistro was moving in. (Is this the same Dish as in La Canada?)

    Desiree, I too miss Cafe Atlantic. I loved their pulled pork sandwiches.

  8. You’re right, good, not great. I was really sad when Cafe Atlantic dropped back into the Pacific. The best fries with the media noches, with a crazy bargain price! Madeline’s Wine Bar has terrific happy hour prices, if you like lamb chops and charcuterie!

    • Chef Dez, I gotta get over to Madeline’s. It’s walking distance. They catered a client office event couple yrs back.
      JustIn: Cafe Atlantic needed more diners like you & the Chef. Gotta ck out DishBistro too, before it closes down as well. It’s funny, your opinion, re Siena. Wow-most arrogant in Old Town. That’s really saying something. I never got close to feeling that! Everyone I know liked it, including me who thought this was a rare find for Italian. Did you maybe you just have a single bad experience?

      • That’s a fair question, Cafe, but the answer is no. I never make judgments like that about a place based on one experience. (That’s what Yelp is for – people having one bad meal at a place and being ready to call it “the worst restaurant ever.”) I ate there four times, for various reasons. While the food was pretty good – although not as good as I’ve had in Italy, despite how the servers constantly assured me it was – it never rose above the level of pretty good. Certainly nowhere near as good as I was constantly being told it was. There was some major overcompensation going on. (I felt like I was on a Bobby Flay show on Food Network where he is constantly tasting his own food and talking about how great it is.)

    • Oh yeah, Cafe Atlantic’s fries and their bacalao fritters! I can’t tell you how many Friday nights my friends and I left our regular watering hole and wandered past the crowds at Cheesecake and Mi Piace to find ourselves among a dozen or so diners at Cafe Atlantic, where we drank cold beer and snacked on food much better than any of the chains in Old Town.

  9. Brenart was kind of cool! I liked the Vibe of the place. I look forward to trying the upcoming Dish Bistro in this location.

    I did not like Sienna one bit; it was probably the most arrogant restaurant we have had in Old Town in a long time.