A Pasadena Thanksgiving


Today we celebrate our annual national holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s no longer a day simply celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. It’s really become a weekend affair: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Football Saturday & Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

The main point of this holiday was to set aside one day for the nation to have an attitude of gratitude for their harvest of blessings. I would like to see more of this kind of attitude the remaining days of the year.  Unfortunately in my brief lifetime more people today have an attitude of oneself: I, Me, Myself.  In effect they are the god they worship!  And if you look at them the wrong way, well they’ll blow your head off if a gun is handy.

And it’s no longer known only as Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day is a label given by this current generation. Similar to Christmas where some X-out Christ (Xmas) and replace Him with St Nick/Santa Claus, we’re seeing the Thanks taken out of the holiday and replaced with a Turkey. The shift from gratitude for others to one’s own appetites. Well, this canine will still take Christ & Thanks giving over an X or a turkey any day of the year.  Imagine what Abe Lincoln wood think of 2011? Honestly!

In practice the main idea of the modern Thanksgiving after stuffing the Turkey has been to stuff yourself with stuffing and more – as much as you can fit into your stomach until you pass out, i.e., sleep.

It doesn’t help if Thanksgiving is usually an excuse for family members to gather together at least once a year.  Typically over a turkey or pig despite the amount of stress or expense it causes many who don’t have their heart into gathering around in the spirti of, “We are family, just myself, me, & I. We are one.”  How getting in long lines, getting in jets, going through baggage checks and lost baggage, suffering through bad weather, driving long hours, flying across the country or continents, taking on more expense, using up more credit line, etc. Somehow I don’t see this as our best use of time & paycheck.

For my part I’m satisfied if I could just enjoy my freedoms by staying in bed, sleeping in late, watch football, make a phone call or two, eat good food, have real coffee, read/comment on a few blogs, and listen to some nice Christmas carol wishes of “joy and good cheer.” In other words…treat it like a real day off from anything resembling work or stress!


Until recent decades Pasadena, like the rest of the nation, would enjoy its Thanksgiving feast with family members.  One unlucky member, typically a female with seniority, playing host and/or chef. So, you’d here things like, “We’re going to my mom’s house, or, over to grandma’s home, for Thanksgiving.”  This often happens, still.

Yet, more & more we see people going to a friends house for Thanksgiving, or to a shelter with a brunch of strangers served by a rich 1% celebrity.  Or, to a restaurant. To beat some of the stress of cooking, & cleaning up afterward, families have increasingly celebrated their giving of Thanks at restaurants. I’ve experienced this and understand this option completely!

Forty, fifty years past, a restaurant open for Thanksgiving in Pasadena or anywhere was a rarity. Nowadays, for a restaurant – any business – to be closed on a holiday is the exception!  I noticed even some Fast-Food  joints have the nerve to openly proclaim, “We Are OPEN Thanksgiving!!”  Are Jack In the Box’s tacos or Mickey D’s McNuggets so good you just gotta get them on Thanksgiving?? (Now, ok, Pizza joints, I can understand if they are open!)

Are some of you having your Thanksgiving feast from/at a restaurant?  May I ask, which one? I’ll tell you what a couple of your options are (or were) in Old Pasadena…


I miss Tony Roma’s – in Pasadena, or anywhere! I remember hearing South Lake was closing. I think that was around 6-8 yrs ago. And before that, visiting the West Covina location only to find an out of business sign. Then the other month passing the Alhambra TR and it appears to have closed too! For some reason TR’s is shrinking. I always thought they were a good value.  Anyone ever had a Tony Roma’s Thanksgiving?





I never went into the Pepper Mill but I always could see it on Walnut.  And I heard the old voices of surprise when they found out its time was up. I’ll never forget it as long as I put pepper on my Caesar. However, Thanksgiving wood have been my time to try it: $4.95 per person and even less for juniors and seniors!

The Pasadena Hilton I have attended several events, and eaten at – although not at Thanksgiving. “Thanksgiving Dinner…with a View…at the Pasadena Hilton”, they say!  Hmmm, I must’ve missed that view once, or one hundred times.  Unlike the Pepper Mill, the hotel didn’t give their Thanksgiving dinner prices. Must’ve been at least twice as much: $10 bucks!!

Any old timers have your own experiences to share of Thanksgiving at these places?


8 Thanksgiving 1971


Some Pasadener’s undoubtedly created their Thanksgiving masterpiece with Good Foods forty years ago. I know Whole Foods, but I don’t remember Good Foods at Washington & Allen. Of course back in 1971 I wasn’t doing grocery shopping if only because I hadn’t even earned my first penny.  Seems like Good Food had good prices too. Even for 1971.  Especially if you remembered your Blue Chips stamps as well as the coupons.


But to get back to the reason for this season: giving Thanks. I can be thankful each & every day for too many things to mention. So it’s best I not start! However I should at least say two things.  1st, as a city, a community, Pasadena should be very thankful in 2011 that we can still say our Public Information Officer is Ann Erdman.  She suffered through a health crisis just a few months ago but the angels & our prayers were looking out for her. You can’t keep Ann dePIO down. She’s back at Citihall and with us.  And, secondly, I’m thankful that Pasadena is still a livable city. Thank You, Lord, for these!


What happened in 2011 which you are most thankful for? How do you remember your Pasadena Thanksgivings??  Or maybe you can only recall todays Thanksgiving! How was it?



Excuse me, I gotta, ahem, Eat! Stay Thirsty My Friends


6 responses to “A Pasadena Thanksgiving

  1. I remember her liking their steak dishes and salads the best. I liked the salads,l too, and at the time wasn’t much of a meat eater. I loved the ambiance, which reminded me a bit of The Buggy Whip, over on my side of town. Happy to report that The Buggy Whip is still operational, complete with piano player!

  2. Jim and I went to McCormick and Schmick, where we often go when we don’t go to Austin or to be with friends. It was crowded, so I am reluctant to say how much the dinner DID suit my taste. it was really good !
    Today I drove around and enjoyed the autumn scenery around Pasadena. There was a nice chill in the air, making me glad (thankful) to get back to home and hearth.

  3. Hope you spent Thanksgiving in the way that pleased you most. (Wow, all the restaurants are open now? In 2005, I remember a friend and I got back into town on Thanksgiving Day, and we were out of luck. I think we ended up in a bar.)

    • I would expect you wood bee outta luck in a town for Thanksgiving dinner, but that the saloon would be available.

      Thanks, KB, but wasting most of Thanksgiving week sick was not the way which pleased me most. But I hope you had a painting perfect Thanksgiving and ate well.

  4. I remember the Peppermill – it was Scott’s mom’s favorite place to go eat in town. Although I never ate there on Thanksgiving, I can attest to the quality of their food. It was a shame when they closed.

    Have a very happy Thanksgiving, Mike – as for me, I’m grateful to friends like you!