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MAY MA A Y 20 2010 0

10 TIPS FOR HOME BUYERS JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE CITY HISTORIC HOMES’ FIRM FOUNDATION

GIM GIMME SHELTER THE LOW-DOWN ON AREA REAL ESTATE


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626.796.9924 6 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

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ARROYO VOLUME 6 ~ NUMBER 5

M O N T H LY

11 REAL ESTATE ISSUE 11 WHAT YOU GET FOR… From $500,000 to $15 million, a sampling of residential offerings in the Pasadena area –By B.J. Lorenzo

16 THE VALUE OF VINTAGE The Pasadena area’s architecturally significant properties have fended off the worst of the housing slump. –By Noela Hueso

20 10 TIPS FOR LANDING THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS You think you’re the only one looking for bargains these days? Think again. –By Brigham Yen

23 CITY CENTER Pasadena’s urban core is hotter than ever for home buyers. –By Brigham Yen

BOOKS 40 HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS Novelist Michelle Huneven finds her muse in and around her native Altadena. –By Scarlet Cheng

DEPARTMENTS 9 FESTIVITIES Elizabeth House, LA Opera, Native Voices at the Autry 45 THE LIST South Pasadena Music and Art Walk, the Griffith Observatory turns 75, Ferraris come to town and more

47 KITCHEN CONFESSIONS Do food service workers a favor and cook your own Mother’s Day Brunch. ABOUT THE COVER: Casa de los Robles photo by Susanne Hayek

ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 7


EDITOR’S NOTE

Charming English Home in Estate Estate area area of of in

San Marino

Offered at $2,350,000

IT’S HARD TO REMEMBER ANOTHER TIME WHEN REAL estate was as compelling a topic of news and conversation as it is right now. Of course, that’s only one of many ripples left behind by the tsunami in the housing market caused by Wall Street’s subprime mortgage fiasco. But fear not—there’s some good news for Arroyoland beyond the fact that what goes down must come up. The Pasadena area, rich with historic, architecturally significant homes, has been less buffeted by the ill winds of the housing industry than other regions, as Noela Hueso discovered in her story about vintage homes. After all, they’re not making any more new old houses. Hueso offers advice to such fortunate property owners on how to maximize the market value of their distinctive residences. Pasadena Realtor and real estate blogger Brigham Yen looks toward the future in his piece on the revival of the urban core. With the rise of 20 mixed-use development projects here and the prospect of still more, Yen sees a burgeoning community of Pasadenans who walk (yes, walk!) to shops, restaurants, public transportation and into the city’s heart. Yen also offers up some of his Pasadena real estate expertise in 10 tips for home buyers competing in this busy market. So what’s out there, you ask? A little voyeurism never hurt anybody. B.J. Lorenzo opens the doors to some metro Pasadena homes on the market, ranging in price from $500,000 to $15 million. You might want to get your checkbooks ready. On a different note, Scarlet Cheng talks to one of the area’s most honored contemporary novelists, Michelle Huneven, whose latest book, Blame, has garnered a bouquet of acclaim. — Irene Lacher

710 CHAUCER RD. Charming English style home with warmth and character offering 3 bedrooms, an office/den and 3 baths in a bright, cheerful setting. The floor plan of this home is perfect for hosting an intimate gathering or entertaining a large festive event beginning with the gracious entry way and seamlessly flowing into the formal living room, dining room and family room. The elegant kitchen features vaulted ceilings, breakfast bar, granite counter tops, and a spacious eating area. The home is set on a large half acre lot and showcases a covered patio, pool, spa, large grass area, and beautiful vistas of the mountains.

The

Group

Moving You Forward Step By Step

ARROYO MONTHLY Altadena, Arcadia, Eagle Rock, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, Sierra Madre, Pasadena, San Marino and South Pasadena

EDITOR IN CHIEF Irene Lacher PRODUCTION MANAGER Yvonne Guerrero ART DIRECTOR Joel Vendette JUNIOR DESIGNER Eisen Nepomuceno WEB DESIGNER Carla Marroquin COPY EDITOR John Seeley CONTRIBUTORS Leslie Bilderback, Michael Burr, Michael Cervin, Scarlet Cheng, André Coleman, Mandalit del Barco, Patt Diroll, Gary Dretzka, Jenn Garbee, Lynne Heffley, Katie Klapper, Ilsa Setziol, Kirk Silsbee, John Sollenberger, Nancy Spiller, Bradley Tuck PHOTOGRAPHERS Johnny Buzzerio, Teri Lyn Fisher, Gabriel Goldberg, C.M. Hardt, Melissa Valladares ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Dina Stegon ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Fred Bankston, Dana Bonner, Carolyn Johansen, Leslie Lamm, Alison Standish ADVERTISING DESIGNER Carla Marroquin VP OF FINANCE Michael Nagami

John & Tammy Fredrickson

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Andrea Baker

CONTACT US ADVERTISING dinas@pasadenaweekly.com EDITORIAL arroyoeditor@pasadenaweekly.com PHONE (626) 584-1500 FAX (626) 795-0149 MAILING ADDRESS 50 S. De Lacey Ave., Ste. 200, Pasadena, CA 91105

BUSINESS MANAGER Angela Wang

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ACCOUNTING Alysia Chavez, Monica MacCree PUBLISHER Jon Guynn

8 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

ArroyoMonthly.com

OFFICE ASSISTANT Emma Rodriguez Luna ©2010 Southland Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.


FESTIVITIES

L.A. Opera unveiled Götterdämmerung, the final chapter of its audacious production of Richard Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle, on April 3. Conducted by James Conlon and starring John Treleaven as Siegfried and Linda Watson as Brünnhilde, the opera showcased the avant-garde creations of Director Achim Freyer and his costumedesigner daughter, Amanda Freyer. The Freyers’ bold and colorful vision elicited a rare reaction at the genteel Dorothy Chandler Pavilion—loud boos along with rousing applause. Clearly relishing the controversy, Achim Freyer smiled broadly, bowed deeply and celebrated at the after-party with General Director Plácido Domingo, board President Carol Henry and Vice Chairman Warner Henry (both

PHOTOS: © Steve Cohn/ Steve Cohn Photography (LA OPERA Gala); Monika Rittershaus (LA Opera’s Götterdämmerung); Steve Cohn (Autry); Alisha Mawhinney (Elizabeth House gala)

of Pasadena), Stephen Fry and Michael and Pat York.

1

2

3

4

5

1. Michael and Pat York 2. John Treleaven 3. Achim Freyer and Carol Henry 4. Linda Watson, Stephen Fry and Treleaven 5. Plácido Domingo, Amanda Freyer and Achim Freyer BACKGROUND: Watson as Brünnhilde

Jean Scott, Herbie Barnes, Darrell Dennis and Randy Reinholtz

1

Elizabeth House supporters raised more than $100,000 for Pasadena’s shelter for homeless pregnant women and their children at its Native American actors and leaders from around the country helped

annual benefit dinner March 20 at

Native Voices at the Autry celebrate its 10th anniversary March 13 at

Pasadena’s University Club. Evening

a party after the West Coast premiere of Darrell Dennis’ one-man

co-chairs were Rosalie Halverson,

show, Tales of an Urban Indian. Native Voices Managing Director David

Maritza Smith and Mary Sue Scheidler. Radio talk-show host

Burton thanked the couple steering the company—Founder/Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholtz and Founder/Producing Executive Director Jean Scott—for “bringing dignity to Native voices.” Native Voices is the Autry National Center of the American West’s resident

2 1. The Sparagna Family 2. Anita and Don Haggstrom

Hugh Hewitt gave the evening’s address and L.A. Dodgers announcer Eric Smith served as emcee.

theater company and the country’s only Equity theater exclusively devoted to mounting new works by Native American playwrights with Native actors. ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 9


10 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO


REAL ESTATE

what you get for…

BY B.J. LORENZO

ARROYOLAND OFFERS A BANQUET OF DIVERSE HOME STYLES. ONE CAN LIVE IN CRAFTSMAN SPLENDOR, EITHER IN A COZY BUNGALOW OR A RAMBLING MANSION. ONE CAN ELECT A NEIGHBORHOOD OF FLAT ROLLING LAWNS OR AN EDGY VIEW OF THE RUGGED, ROCKY ARROYO. SPANISH COLONIAL REVIVALS MIX WITH FRENCH, ENGLISH AND ITALIANATE VILLAS; SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S MIDCENTURY MODERN STYLE CO-EXISTS WITH ITS EUROPEAN-INFLUENCED PREDECESSORS. SO HERE, IF YOU’RE LUCKY, YOU CAN FIND A GRAND PLACE TO HANG YOUR BASEBALL CAP. WE BRING YOU A LOOK AT JUST A FEW OF THE HOMES AVAILABLE. AS A WISE MAN ONCE SAID, “BUY REAL ESTATE. NO ONE WILL EVER MAKE MORE LAND.”

You can get more space for the money, but it would be hard to get as much charm as you’ll find in this rejuvenated 1923 hacienda in Glendale, listed at $487,000. The two-bedroom, one-bath home, just south of the 134 freeway, looked pretty glum when Realtor-developer Frank Verdugo bought it in 2009. He says he liked the location and the bones of the old place—its high ceilings, arches, airy open spaces and abundance of light. So he gutted the interior, put in new electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, insulation, hardwood floors, roof, fencing and landscaping. He tore out a storage room to create a breakfast nook and opened the kitchen so it flows into the dining room. In other words, he did everything most owners of old homes would like to do but don’t have the energy or funds to take on. The result is a 1,200-square-foot space with Spanish architectural vibes and up-to-date stainless steel appliances and custom oak cabinets in the kitchen. There’s a bonus room that can double as a third bedroom, playroom or office and a backyard big enough for swings and barbecues. It may be pricier than some other houses of equal size in the area, but that’s because this is a 1920s residence that’s tricked out for 2010. It’s a trade-off that will appeal to some buyers who look both ways before they cross the street—to the past and the future.

WHAT YOU

$ 500 T GET F OR

HOUSA ND

ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 11


REAL ESTATE

YOU WHAT

OR GET F

$L1 LION

It’s edgy, artsy, comfy, historic. And totally updated. The Alson Clark Studio and Residence, listed at $1.25 million, is a rare combination: two architecturally significant and totally independent structures that can function as one—both in a compound slung out over the Arroyo with panoramic views of the Rose Bowl and beyond. The smaller Colonial Revival structure was designed by architect Reginald Johnson in the 1920s for plein air painter Alson Clark. Clark traveled and painted around the world until he settled in Pasadena, where he did most of his important work. Thirty years after the senior Clark moved into the studio, his architect son, Alson Jr., designed what became the main building on his father’s lot. It’s a midcentury modernist home with striking spider legs, an open floorplan, glass walls and extensive use of redwood, poured concrete and copper. Film director Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) bought the property in 2007. He restored and renovated both buildings, while preserving their architectural integrity. The clubby studio, with all sorts of added built-ins, has a living area, screening room and master bed and bath. The airy main house, with two bedrooms and bath suites, has all the amenities you’d expect and one you wouldn’t: a saltwater pool that flows from the master bath to the great outdoors. John J. Matthes of Crosby Doe Associates has the listing.

12 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

PHOTOS: John Jacob Matthes

MI


WHAT YOU

G

ET FO R Not just a house, but an entire compound—two homes with two separate addresses, plus a carriage house, all designed by the eminent architect Roland Coate, who created some of Southern California’s great residences. This particular estate, listed at $8.9 million and built in 1936 on four acres in Pasadena’s San Rafael section, is landscaped with rolling lawns, stately oaks and gardens (plus a fruit orchard) that surround the homes, pool, pool house and tennis court. The 14,000-square-foot main house has three levels: A dramatic entry hall leads to spacious living, dining and garden rooms. A wing off of the dining room contains the kitchen, butler’s pantry, a large family room with massive fireplace and a two-story high, wood-paneled library that can house more than 4,000 books . Upstairs, the master bedroom suite and four additional bedrooms with baths comprise the sleeping quarters. For exercise and entertainment, hit the lower level where you’ll find a home theater, exercise rooms, a second family room, a billiard arcade and more. The carriage house, above the four-car garage, features a living room, bedroom, full bath and kitchen, which make it ideal for guests or a personal assistant. The smaller Colonial Revival house, with two bedrooms and baths and its own garage, is located at the northern end of the grounds. Although Roland Coate (1890-1958) is not a household name, he is considered one of the region’s finest architects. He and his wife settled in the Linda Vista area of Pasadena, where he designed homes for L.A.’s elite, such as producer David O. Selznick (Gone With the Wind). Coate was named one of the state’s 12 top architects (along with Frank Gehry, Craig Ellwood and John Lautner) in the exhibition that celebrated the opening of the Pacific Design Center in 1976. The listing agents are John and Tammy Fredrickson of Sotheby’s International Realty in Pasadena.

$ M 9

ILLION

ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 13


REAL ESTATE

WHAT YOU

GET F OR

$15

What you get is Casa de los Robles—the San Marino equivalent of your own private resort. In the heart of the estate district, near Lacy Park and the Huntington Library, this architectural standout listed at $15.8 million was named House of the Oaks for the more than 70 oak trees that dot the two-acre property. The price is ample, but so are the perks of owning this bucolic estate. It’s secluded and totally private, yet central. It has Old World charm, yet it also has every update and amenity any techno-tycoon might wish for. The home was built in 1927 by architect Henry Palmer Sabin (1892-1956) for his own family, and he spared no expense in making it comfortable, elegant and intimate—outfitting it with multiple fireplaces, window seats, burnished-wood beams and barrel ceilings and artfully handcrafted ironwork, woodwork and tiles. The current occupant—only the fourth owner—bought the house in 1999 and traced its architectural history at the U.C. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where Sabin’s papers are preserved. (Sabin also designed the Earhart Laboratory at Caltech and the Pasadena Hall of Justice.) There he found the architect’s plans to enlarge the house by adding a third level. The owner embarked on a six-year plan to restore, update and enhance the house while retaining its architectural integrity. Sabin’s original homestead, about 5,000 square feet, now has 11,000 square feet. There are eight bedrooms and 12 baths as well as a wine room, theater, tennis court, bocce ball court, subterranean parking for a dozen cars, elevator and grounds with multi-tiered gardens that might rival those of the nearby Huntington and Arboretum. “The addition is seamless. You cannot tell where the old house ends and the new house begins,” says Realtor Sarah Rogers of Coldwell Banker, who adds she usually needs two hours to show the place. “People seem to want to linger and absorb the beauty of the house and the extraordinary grounds.” AM

14 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

PHOTOS: Susanne Hayek

MILLIO N


ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 15


REAL ESTATE

(This page and opposite) Shabby Chic: Views of an elegant fixer on North Los Robles Avenue

16 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO


THE PASADENA AREA’S RICH HERITAGE OF ARCHITECTURALLY SIGNIFICANT PROPERTIES HAS KEPT THE WORST OF THE CURRENT HOUSING SLUMP AT BAY. BY NOELA HUESO

AFTER A SIX-WEEK SEARCH, REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY STEPHEN SELICE AND HIS FIANCÉE DONNA MASSETTI RECENTLY PURCHASED THEIR CENTURY-OLD, FIVE-BEDROOM SOUTH PASADENA CRAFTSMAN HOME FOR $1.3 MILLION. WHILE THEY WERE OPEN TO A VARIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES, SELICE, A 36-YEAR RESIDENT OF SOUTH PASADENA AND CHAIR OF THE SOUTH PASADENA PLANNING COMMISSION, SAYS THEY WERE VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT WANTING A HOUSE WITH CHARACTER—AND SPACE. “We needed space to accommodate three of my four sons and room for an office and a decent-sized kitchen because we both like to cook,” he says. “We knew we were going to have to spend $850,000 to $1.3 million to get something that size that was in decent condition.” The couple loved the quality of the home’s construction materials and its classic floorplan, which includes upstairs bedrooms, an entry flanked by a parlor and dining room, a butler’s pantry and a bonus first-floor room that will serve as an office. They also appreciated that very little had to be done to the home before moving in. Eventually, they’ll update the kitchen, in a way that maintains the home’s vintage style. “It’s important to keep the integrity of its heritage,” Selice says. Business litigation attorney Melissa Jackson agrees. The first-time homebuyer, who recently moved into her three-bedroom 1923 Colonial home in South Pasadena—paying $40,000 above the $765,000 asking price—intends to “keep everything that’s original and bring what’s not back to the style of the period in which it was built.” Tales of woe in the current real estate market have made headlines for months. but there’s good news for Pasadena and its surrounding communities: With their rich heritage of historic and architecturally significant properties, they’ve been less affected by the mortgage meltdown, experts say. While it’s true that sales may be a bit slower and prices have dipped for homes across the board, they have dipped less for properties that boast a famous architect— names such as Wallace Neff, Myron Hunt and the brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene come to mind—or that are true to the architectural styles, such as Craftsman and Spanish Revival, that have become syn—CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 17


REAL ESTATE

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17

onymous with Pasadena and its environs. “Older houses have gone down [in price] with the rest of the market,” says Coldwell Banker’s Steve Haussler, a 26year veteran of the Pasadenaarea real estate scene. “What have gone down less are houses with historic quality and authenticity. A beautiful or unusual (This page) Craftsman bungalow will get a ail: The Holy Gr ined A well-mainta premium when it’s marketed corna Craftsman South Pasade illion. m rectly that its neighbor of identical .3 sold for $1 size and age won’t.” As a rule, houses with vintage or even historic cachet “don’t slip as much as ‘plain Jane’ houses and they recover faster,” Haussler continues. “They’re the leading indicators. In the last recession in the ’90s, the really great houses set the prices that followed for the rest of the market the following year.” Not surprisingly, Pasadena’s well-heeled communities— Arroyo/Grande, Linda Vista, San Rafael, the Langham, Huntington Hotel area, Caltech, Madison Heights—and neighbors South Pasadena, San Marino and La Cañada Flintridge have been least affected by the crisis. However, very high-end homes-–those over $3 million—have taken a hit. “A lot of houses in this price range aren’t selling—and they would have sold easily five years ago,” says Sotheby International Realty’s Georges Rouveyrol. “If you bought your house in 2005 or 2006 and are trying to get the same amount of money now that you bought it for then, it’s going to be a little difficult. “People need more cash to buy homes these days,” he continues. “Not long ago, you could put 10 percent down toward a home purchase. Now, especially in the higher-end market, you have to put down 25 percent and prove that you have assets to qualify for a jumbo loan. The qualification process is much harder than it used to be.” According to Haussler, though prices have gone down, they’re still higher than they were 10 years ago, and signs indicate that the market is slowly beginning to stabilize. “Right now, we’re back to 2004 pricing—in some neighborhoods 2003 pricing,” he says. Price stabilization is, of course, happy news for owners of vintage homes who are thinking of selling their properties. But to get top dollar, experts say, there are certain things to keep in mind: “Protecting the architectural integrity of a house maintains and even improves its value,” says Pasadena Heritage Executive Director Sue Mossman. “Hardwood floors and fireplaces and lots of original windows are precious commodities that really define a house.” Mossman says that replacing old windows with “energy-efficient” dual-pane windows is a popular trend, but their installation, which typically means incorporating windows that are out of character with the rest of the house, can negatively impact the selling price. “People think they’re providing a lot of energy efficiency, but in truth, old windows are integral to the historic value of the house,” she says. 18 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

“One of the biggest problems I come across with a buyer who wants a historic house is that it doesn’t have its original windows,” agrees Haussler. “How the window is made is one of the telltale signs of a home’s age. If you’ve got a historic house and you put in windows that are outside the style range of that house, it’s quite jarring to see.” That alone could be reason enough for a prospective buyer to bypass a property in favor of another with architectural integrity more or less intact, although many buyers are drawn to vintage houses precisely because they want to restore or update them. Still, historic treasures that are well maintained remain the Holy Grail for a lot of buyers. Private investigator Mark Stocks should know. The regal 1907 Arts and Crafts house on North Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena that has been in his family for more than 100 years and was his childhood home has been on the market for 15 months, along with two adjacent homes. The three buildings (a main house, adjoining bungalow and the most unusual addition: a stand-alone ballroom built by Stocks’ socialite uncle who owned the property in the ’20s) are in need of a lot of work—everything from new roofs to electrical wiring to plumbing. Beyond maintaining the ballroom, “No one in my family was really into big changes, remodeling kitchens or anything,” Stocks says of the home, which passed from his uncle to his dad to his mom. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it was kind of their attitude.” First listed at $999,000, the price has since dropped to $859,000. There has been interest, says Coldwell Banker listing Realtor Jan Thornton, from “artsy types” who see the potential in the properties, with their built-in cabinetry, hardwood floors and original light fixtures. “I had an artist looking at that back studio,” she says. “I had a dress designer who thought it would be perfect.” Recognizing the possibilities, local nonprofits and schools have also made inquiries. But, Thornton says, “Then they get the contractors over there for estimates and they say it will cost between $200,000 and $500,000 to restore all three buildings. “The good news is that they’re old and haven’t been touched. But the bad news is they’re old and haven’t been touched.” AM


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REAL ESTATE

TIPS FOR LANDING THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS YOU THINK YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE LOOKING FOR BARGAINS IN THE CURRENT HOUSING SLUMP? THINK AGAIN. BY BRIGHAM YEN

CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, EVEN DURING THIS DOWN TIME IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET, THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF HOME BUYERS OUT THERE. FROM THE FIRST-TIME BUYER TO THE SEASONED REAL ESTATE INVESTOR, THE GLUT OF FORECLOSURES AND SHORT SALES HAVE ATTRACTED EAGER SHOPPERS SEARCHING FOR THE BEST BARGAINS WHILE ALSO TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE FEDERAL TAX INCENTIVES THAT EXPIRED AT THE END OF APRIL. BUT AS I OFTEN TELL MY CLIENTS WHO EXPECT TO FIND THAT PERFECT PROPERTY IN A GREAT LOCATION PRICED BELOW MARKET, THERE ARE 5,000 OTHER PEOPLE LOOKING FOR THE SAME THING. SO HERE ARE 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU SEAL A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR NEXT HOME:

Brigham Yen is a Realtor with Century 21 Golden Realty and blogger (http://brighamyen.wordpress.com) specializing in Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles real estate. 20 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO


10

1 Get pre-approved by a reputable lender. You can’t submit an offer without one, and you’ll get a good idea of how much you can spend. Gone are the days of verbal offers and no docs.

2 9

Find an agent familiar with the area you’re targeting. Working with an agent familiar with the housing stock is a great way to save time.

3 Get to know your distressed properties. Learn the difference between an REO (Real Estate Owned) and a short sale. There are plenty of resources online to help you understand common real estate jargon.

5 Be patient. Waiting for a short sale to be approved can take weeks, if not months. Also, strict lenders combing over every financial detail are taking longer to approve loans, and escrows are taking longer to close as a result. Expect escrows to take up to 45 days instead of yesterday’s 30.

Remember, cash is king. Sellers will usually accept cash offers over any others because it cuts the escrow process in half. Escrow can close in less than 30 days, and it reduces the risk for the seller that the buyer may not be able to secure a loan.

4 Write down a list of your most important criteria and stick to them. There are indecisive buyers, and there are really indecisive buyers. Write down what you really need to have in a home—and what you would like to have in a home. The things you really need (e.g., close to mass transit, three bedrooms, etc.) should stay relatively consistent. And things you want (e.g., a galley kitchen, vaulted ceilings, etc.) should be icing on the cake.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes a home may be just what you’re looking for, but you just don’t know it. It may be covered in filth, have a questionable paint scheme or room layouts that just don’t make sense. If other important qualities of the home are met, many buyers with a vision turn to remodeling with great results. Some buyers may qualify for an FHA 203(k) loan, which allows them to finance up to $35,000 in upgrades before they move in as part of their mortgage.

8

Expect the unexpected. From unpaid HOA dues to mold infestations, expect the road to have a few bumps along the way. Don’t be discouraged.

6 Be vigilant. Because many of us are not clairvoyant, we have little idea which homes will be coming on the market. New homes are listed every week. Have your agent check for the newest listings. You never know if the next one might be the one you’ve been looking for.

7

Have realistic expectations. In a desirable neighborhood, you will not be the only one interested in a new listing if the price is below market value. Be prepared for bidding wars.

ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 21


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REAL ESTATE

Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue circa 1890

CITYCENTER PASADENA’S URBAN CORE IS HOTTER THAN EVER FOR HOME BUYERS WHO WANT TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE. BY BRIGHAM YEN

PHOTO: Fair Oaks and Colorado today by Brigham Yen

Pedestrians thrive in compact built environments serviced by mass transit.

MOST OLD PASADENA VISITORS STROLLING BY THE HISTORIC DISTRICT’S MYRIAD BOUTIQUES AND RESTAURANTS PROBABLY HAVE LITTLE IDEA THAT THE AREA WAS ONCE AN UNDESIRABLE DESTINATION, BATTERED BY THE POST-WAR FLIGHT TO THE SUBURBS. WHERE TIFFANY & CO. AND THE GAP NOW REIGN, PAWN SHOPS AND DIVE BARS WERE THE NORM. THEN IN THE 1990s, PASADENA BECAME ONE OF THE FIRST SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES TO REVITALIZE ITS URBAN CORE BY REINTRODUCING “MIXEDUSE LIVING”–HOUSING ABOVE COMMERCIAL RETAIL SPACES. —CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 23


The

RAYMOND RENAISSANCE

REAL ESTATE

Walking suits the downtown lifestyle.

LOFTS - CONDOS - COMMERCIAL UNITS Call Judy & Kay for an Appointment

626.568.7290 www.theraymondcondos.com 2009 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, TM and SM are licensed trademarks to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company, Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned and Operated by NRT LLC. All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

8-WEEK PILATES 101 WORKSHOP • Learn the ABCs of the Pilates Reformer, Springboard and Matwork • Saturdays 10AM (May 1-June 19) • Workshop Fee: $200.00 • Advanced Registration and Fee Due by April 25 • All Levels Welcome We also offer Pilates privates, duets and small group sessions as well as fitness-oriented cardio dance classes.

24 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

These days, mixed-use development is hotter than ever, setting a chic new urban standard in real estate marketing. Fueling the trend has been the 2003 opening of the Gold Line, which has made Pasadena one of the county’s few major commercial hubs to be connected by light rail service to downtown Los Angeles. As downtown Pasadena evolves into a residential hot spot––competing for attention with the single-family homes that used to consume real estate listings––it’s transforming the way many Pasadenans live. The area now contains more than 20 mixed-use projects, notably including the Raymond Renaissance, Paseo Colorado, Trio and Prado on Lake. Their appeal? Walking distance to shops, restaurants and mass transit. Those perks of urban life are particularly appealing to people already used to them, like recent transplants from New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland. Residents of the latter two cities have been able to leave their cars home and hop streetcars, an option the City of Pasadena is considering as well. It’s currently too much of a hike for most Pasadenans to walk from district to district, and a streetcar, possibly along Green Street, is envisioned as an easy way to move people around so they can get the most out of the vibrant urban center. A proposal, currently in the feasibility study phase, is afoot that would tie together the four districts that make up downtown Pasadena (Old Pasadena, Civic Center/Mid-Town, the Playhouse District and South Lake Avenue). The study, led by the Berkeley-based consulting group Strategic Economics, is scheduled for completion this month. Connected neighborhoods––the glue that binds districts together––is another encouraging trend. The Westgate project, under construction on the south end of Old Pasadena, is transforming two large city blocks with crumbling warehouses and other commercial buildings into a planned residential neighborhood. It’s part of a large multi-phase development that will introduce more than 800 units of housing along with paseos, a park and commercial retail space. The new neighborhood will join seamlessly with Old Pasadena and further expand the “sphere of walkability.” All the talk about walking isn't just quixotic rhetoric. As gas prices continue to rise and commutes lengthen, people are more receptive than ever to living in urban centers close to work and mass transit. And that makes city living a good investment. In fact, according to Joe Cortright, the president of Impresa, Inc., a Portland, Oregon–based consulting firm, “More than just a pleasant amenity, the walkability of cities translates directly into increases in home values. Homes located in more walkable neighborhoods—those with a mix of common daily shopping and social destinations within a short distance—command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas. Houses with above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability in the typical metropolitan areas studied.” And then there are the intangible pleasures of urban living. As Pasadenaborn real estate agent Steve Reagan put it: “There are so many hidden treasures in Pasadena. I discovered all these incredible restaurants and love the rich history that is still intact in this city. By walking the neighborhoods, you feel like you can really live here.” AM

PHOTO: Old Pasadena by Brigham Yen

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23


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ARROYO

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—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 Therefore your home should be built with skill and care. You don’t have to pick up hammer and saw in your own hands to ensure that the house will last forever and reflect the radiance of you and your family — but you’ll have to make some effort and secure the right resources to find the professionals, in particular the building contractor, who can manifest your vision of beauty and security under one roof.

THE ROLE OF THE BUILDER: Typically, a builder or general contractor oversees a team of subcontractors who specialize in

some aspect of the construction progress. The builder worthy of your homebuilding or remodeling project should provide and coordinate the services of the best craftspeople, designers, and specialists. “It’s collaborative by nature,” explains Mark Houston, of his eponymous Design/Build company, which includes a global team of professionals. “I work with trades people, craftsmen, draftsmen and -women. We trust and respect each other’s ideas about how to make a building successful. It took years to find the right people to work with, who can share a vision. We —CONTINUED ON PAGE 31

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—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29 all have opinions but we share a mutual desire to produce a quality product. We take great pride in our successful relationships.” Your builder should supply skilled craftspeople and laborers who can address all aspects of your project. Mark Snashall, owner and general contractor with Chelsea Construction established his business in 1996 after 25 years in the field, which included training and apprenticeship with the city and guilds of the London Institute. He understands the diverse nature of the construction process, and his firm takes a full-service and multi-faceted approach to building projects. Chelsea Construction offers, for example, design, planning, architectural drawings and engineering to clients. They routinely partner with recommended vendors who specialize in everything from windows and doors to granite and tilework, flooring, cabinetry, hardware, plumbing fixtures, electricity, framing and foundations and appliance installation. As the manager of your building project, a full-service staff like Mark Snashall’s Chelsea Construction would provide: • estimation of cost and schedule • licensed and insured subcontractors • inspections • weekly project meetings • daily client communication via email or phone.

“I WORK WITH TRADES PEOPLE, CRAFTSMEN, DRAFTSMEN AND WOMEN. WE TRUST AND RESPECT EACH OTHER’S IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO MAKE A BUILDING SUCCESSFUL. IT TOOK YEARS TO FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO WORK WITH, WHO CAN SHARE A VISION.” –MARK HOUSTON, MARK HOUSTON ASSOCIATES, INC. Beyond orchestrating the execution of tasks, a good builder should be able to advise clients about materials, costs, and techniques, offering creative and time-sensitive solutions to your construction challenges. —CONTINUED ON PAGE 33

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BEST BUILDERS BRING FRESH EXPERTISE TO THE TRADITIONAL TABLE: In addition to wielding tack hammers and tape measures and coordinating the efforts of a stellar team of tradesmen and women, your builder should provide you with invaluable information about building codes, ordinances and regulations. “Often homeowners may not know all the terminology,” says Jeff Nott of Nott & Associates, a father-and-son-led design/build company. “Someone who’s less experienced in the field may not recognize lot coverage ratios, hillside ordinances and fire codes, the requirements for historic districts and landmark homes.” While an ambitious and confident homeowner may file for a permit as “Owner/Builder” on a renovation project, he or she may want to consider the age-old and adaptable adage: he who acts as his own attorney (or editor, counselor, homebuilder, etc.) has a fool for a client. Jeff Nott has witnessed the challenges of owner/builder attempts to renovate a home. “A lot of times a contractor is called in when the wife has had enough,” Nott says. An experienced builder should demonstrate a sturdy grasp of all regulations that pertain to your specific property in your particular city, county, state and neighborhood.

“OFTEN HOMEOWNERS MAY NOT KNOW ALL THE TERMINOLOGY. SOMEONE WHO’S LESS EXPERIENCED IN THE FIELD MAY NOT RECOGNIZE LOT COVERAGE RATIOS, HILLSIDE ORDINANCES AND FIRE CODES, THE REQUIREMENTS FOR HISTORIC DISTRICTS AND LANDMARK HOMES.” –JEFF NOTT, NOTT & ASSOCIATES “Every city has certain building hours, for example,” Jeff Nott explains. “And there’s always a concern for dust and other environmental contagions, like asbestos. Painting has

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—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 become a big issue recently. This year the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has established new regulations” regarding paint use and stripping, particularly on interior or exterior paint used before 1978. If an individual homeowner attempts to make revisions to an existing home, create an extension or build a new home on an open lot of land, he or she must research regulations meticulously and submit suitable plans to the city. If a home is built or renovated in disregard of safety, historic or aesthetic regulations, then the homeowner will find him/herself out of compliance with

specifications. And, if that homeowner is you, you might also discover that you’re living in an unsafe, malfunctioning environment. And your neighbors might not like you very much if you screw up the historical integrity of the neighborhood. “Research, patience, and meticulous attention to detail: these are the elements necessary for authentic restoration of historic homes,” according to the design/build firm HartmanBaldwin, which has renovated many historic homes in the San Gabriel Valley. “Our passion for preserving architectural heritage has won us awards and a reputation for being the —CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

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Many homeowners want to create a more ecofriendly and technologically advanced environment in their homes. Residents who live in older, character homes, may experience some stress or conflicts over this process. But home builders can offer options that address both the practical and aesthetic aspirations of residents who want to incorporate progressive elements into their homes. “In modern homes the technology and green aspects of a home can be expressed quite openly because that feature is part of the vernacular of the genre,” says Mark Houston. “In period-style or character homes, new technologies can be introduced subtly and concealed in those homes in order to maintain the integrity of the style.” According to Houston, the magic lies in the proper balance of materials, technology and style. “Glaze, insulation, thermal mass materials, concrete floors and passive solar heating and cooling units are all reasonable means to achieve an environmentally friendly, historically significant home.” HartmanBaldwin also pursues a commitment to sustainable building and emerging technologies. “At its best, ‘green’ building is a whole system that results in durable, comfortable and beautiful homes that are energy efficient and environmentally responsible. And being green is

MOST IMPORTANTLY — KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. easier than you think — with the added benefits of reducing long-term maintenance costs and utility ills, as well as increasing property values.”

FINDING THE BEST BUILDER FOR YOUR PROJECT OR HOME Design/Build companies have proliferated over the last decade. They offer a smart package of (what else?) design and construction services that effectively move a project from concept to completion through a tight, well-coordinated and sympathetic team of professionals. However, independent builders and general contractors have traditionally developed their own teams of skilled professionals who can also work symbiotically to achieve the outcome of your dreams. The best way to secure the right builder/contractor for your project is to ask questions. Talk to former clients. Evaluate prior work completed by the builder. Assure yourself of his/her credentials, particularly licensing and good standing in the community. Inquire about the builder’s routine (how many projects does he/she take on at a given time? How does he/she oversee subcontractors, etc.). Most importantly — know what you want. Then find the person or team or company with whom you can communicate your desires, and who will make them manifest in your home. ■

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ARROYO

HOME DESIGN DIRECTORY OF SERVICES

ARCHITECTS

commitment to quality, fine European craftsmanship and attention to detail. (818) 949-4595.

HARTMANBALDWIN A 0% error margin on a guaranteed budget? We do it. HartmanBaldwin is a fully integrated architecture and construction company specializing in custom homes, restoration and remodeling for every budget. We are an award winning, full-service firm that merges artistic innovation with superior technical expertise. Invite us in; we can change how you live. Call (626) 486-0510 to schedule your complimentary design consultation with one of our architects and let’s create something beautiful together. To view samples of our work and learn more about our wide range of services visit HartmanBaldwin.com.

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PHAT ENERGY We are more than a solar company, we are a new energy company. If you are like most of our customers, you are facing increasing challenges with the current energy infrastructure. That’s why we are interested in 4 principal issues: power generation at the place of use (“distributed power”), energy efficiency, transportation fueling (electric vehicles), and energy storage. Our team is motivated to make a difference in your life! 866-797-PHAT (7428)

Since 1994, James V. Coane, has specialized in: custom residences, estates, historic renovations and expansions, residential and apartment interiors, multi-family residential, corporate interiors, retail and small commercial building design. American Institute of Architects award winners, and named Best Architect by Pasadena Weekly, their projects have been in Architectural Digest and other magazines and used as locations for filming and fashion shoots. Well-versed in historical and modern architecture and design and known for attention to detail on all projects. Visit jvca.com or call (626) 584-6922.

ASID The ASID Pasadena Chapter (American Society of Interior Designers) is hard at work planning upcoming events. Our Annual Designer Parking Lot Sale scheduled for Saturday, May 22nd in the parking lot of Cisco Furniture on Arroyo Parkway will be a fun day for the public to buy bargains. Look for more detailed information on these events and others on the chapter website: ASIDPasadena.org

CYNTHIA BENNETT MARK HOUSTON ASSOCIATES, INC.

Cynthia Bennett & Associates has been a celebrated design and build firm for almost 30 years. They specialize in innovative kitchen and bath design, general construction, historical renovation, project management and interior design. With all areas of residential design and construction being taken care of by Cynthia Bennett and Associates, Inc., each detail will be thought of and coordinated. Call for a consultation at (626) 799-9701.

Mark Houston Associates Inc. provides residential planning and design services in San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and surrounding areas. With Mark Houston Associates Inc. you are an integral part of the design process. We work with you to create a residential environment that expresses your personality, values and vision. This collaboration begins with discerning your needs and flows through to the completion of construction. Call (626) 357-7858

DAY OF DESIGN WITH TERRI JULIO Day of Design with Terri Julio — Imagine the opportunity to consult with a professional designer for an entire day. Now you can for a fixed flat fee. Let Terri’s expertise be the first thing you call upon when considering any project. It is a worthwhile investment and a good dose of prevention considering valuable dollars and time can be lost when improvements go awry. Call (626) 4475370 or visit terrijulio.com.

MACMAR, INC. From architecture to engineering, they’ve got you covered. Residential and commercial services range from tenant improvement work to remodeling and everything in between. Call (818) 566-8302 today for an appointment or visit macmarinc.com

ELLEN BAUM DESIGN MARBLE ARCHITECTURE

Interior Designer, Ellen Baum, helps clients create spaces that are truly theirs. She brings 36 years experience into each project. Her ability to transform unworkable spaces into functional, practical and beautiful living and working environments is amazing. She really listens to her clients’ ideas and requirements and incorporates those along with their favorite pieces into a new, fresh design plan. She has been published in numerous publications and appeared in two HGTV “Designer’s Challenge” episodes.

Since 2001, Tom Marble has worked with clients to complete a variety of projects, including the renovation of a Queen Anne Victorian, the revitalization of a neighborhood retail center and the recasting of a bland ‘60s office building as Hollywood Regency. His goal is to negotiate the territory between people and place, creating an environment that reflects the uniqueness of both. His own home was featured in a recent issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Visit tommarble.com

HDA INTERIORS STEPHEN NUETZEL ARCHITECTS “I believe that architecture should be of its time and place; simple, tactile materials used in a manner that honestly expresses their inherent structural qualities, allowing the work to reveal its full potential. Architectural design should respond to all that a site has to offer, in a way that is at once beautiful and pragmatic, tailored to its user’s sensibilities and needs. Precise craftsmanship and honest structural expression are the soul of good architecture.” Call (323) 254-3262 or visit nuetzelarchitect.com

Your home should be more than just a place to hang your hat. It should be a perfect place where vivid dreams and cherished hopes surround you. It should exude panache, glamour and inspire you to live your most extraordinary life. HDA’s portfolio includes stellar Spanish bungalows, ultra-modern estates and everything in between. Contact HDA Interiors today and let us help you create a space that truly is a reflection of you. Call (626) 584-0742 or visit hdesignassociates.com.

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CHELSEA CONSTRUCTION Many homeowners now choose to upgrade current living space, rather than rebuilding the entire structure. Whether it’s a kitchen/bath or complete remodel, we pride ourselves on classic design, maintaining the individual style of the house. Customers work closely with owner Mark Snashall, assuring their desired features and look are achieved, while he helps direct choices toward quality results, reflective of his finish carpentry training, | ADVERTISEMENT |

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ARROYO

HOME DESIGN DIRECTORY OF SERVICES

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37

through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat.; or by appointment. 676 E. Green St., Pasadena. Call (626) 795-8085.

MORTGAGE LENDERS WELLS FARGO

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The Patsy Grant Team at Wells Fargo Home Financing meets your needs. Because your home is one of your biggest investments, it’s important to ensure that your mortgage fits you. This is our specialty — helping you find mortgage solutions that meet your current situation while complementing your long-term financial goals. We will help you determine what mortgage options work for you, guide you through the loan process and answer your questions. Patsy: (626) 577-3721; Jim: (626) 577-3703

Floorgate offers premium hardwood flooring designed to keep up with your family’s lifestyle. We offer the largest selection of colors and styles in wood flooring, hardwoods, laminate, carpet and tile, with virtually care-free finishes and our assurance of quality. Hardwood floors are incredibly beautiful, highly durable and extremely affordable. And they’re always natural and safe for the environment. We install over 50,000 square feet of flooring every week! 3350 N. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles; call (323) 478-2000.

OUTDOOR LIVING KITCHEN TUNE-UP GARDEN VIEW LANDSCAPE

Kitchen Tune-Up is one-stop shopping if you’re looking to change your kitchen. A Tune-Up is a process in which existing wood cabinets are made to look as close to new as possible. We offer refacing, custom cabinets, bathroom vanities as well as home entertainment centers and closets. We can add pullout drawers, spice cabinets, even that island you’ve been dreaming about. We are Steve and Megan Morelock. Please call for a complimentary consultation at (626) 533-4402.

Specializing in landscaping, nurseries and pools, Garden View Inc. can take you from a design idea to a finished, detail-oriented garden. Garden View & their clientele are recipients of 60 awards from the California Landscape Contractors Association. The intent of the company is to provide high-quality interrelated outdoor services. The synergy between having their own designer/project managers, in-house crews, their own large nursery, and being a licensed pool builder provides for efficiency, competitive pricing, quality and schedule control. Call (626) 303-4043.

MARBLE AND STONELIFE Our skilled staff is ready to evaluate and address all of your stone and concrete related needs — floor leveling, scratch and stain removal, crack repair, grout restoration, polishing, sealing, and color enhancing. We offer concrete polishing, acid stain and polishing, acid stain and sealing, and have extensive experience with all types of natural and man-made stone: marble, granite, terrazzo, travertine, limestone, onyx, sandstone, concrete, Mexican tiles, agglomerate, slate, terra cotta, flagstone, brownstone, brick, ceramic and more. Call (877) 773-5820.

GAROCCO POOLS Plan for your new pool or pool remodel. The time is now to start the process of building your new pool. Your family and friends will thank you at the beginning of the summer as you start to enjoy the beautiful new addition to your home and yard. Garocco, Inc. is well known for their outstanding pool design and construction. 656 E. Green St., Pasadena. Call now to set up an appointment for a design consultation: (626) 359-5050 or visit garocco.com

MAUDE WOODS

MOTHER MAGNOLIA

Stepping into Maude Woods: Artful Living, shoppers may feel they’ve entered someone’s beautiful home. Owner Carrie Davich mixes new upscale furnishings with vintage and renovated second-hand treasures. Within this “home” shoppers can find a unique hostess gift for $25, a $5,000 table and a variety of beautiful items in between. 55 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Call (626) 5773400 or visit maudewoods.com

A private residential landscape design and construction firm operating here since 1999, Mother Magnolia’s passion is creating an outdoor space for you to enjoy. Your outdoor space should be your refuge, a place with power to rejuvenate. Our reliable and dedicated in-house designers, experienced masons, irrigation specialists, and landscape technicians will make your landscape vision a reality. Or, if you have a design prepared, we will provide construction bids. Fully bonded and insured, 3-time winner of HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge,” and a member of the California Landscape Contractors’ Association, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau. Call (626) 296-2617, or visit mothermagnolia.com.

MODERN LIGHTING Modern Lighting has been serving Southern California’s lighting needs since 1946. With all types of fixtures in every price range, you’ll find what you want. If not, we do custom design. We have stocks of light bulbs to compliment your fixture and we continually watch the marketplace for the best buys. Our staff has decades of lighting experience.. Feel free to contact us if our service is what you are looking for: call (626) 286-3262.

TEAK WAREHOUSE Today’s hottest outdoor trend is the outdoor living room ... a favorite for hotels & resorts for years and now available for residential settings. Why go to an expensive resort for the weekend when you can turn your back yard into one? Invest in something that will bring comfort and style for the long run! Teak Warehouse boasts over 16 varied collections of deep seating, offering teak and wicker at the best prices in California. 133 E. Maple Ave., Monrovia. Call (626) 305-8325 or visit teakwarehouse.com

PADUA DESIGN Dolores Kroop has worked as a designer for over 20 years. She brings to her work a background in art and design, with experiences and exposures garnered through years of growing up abroad in South America, Europe and the Middle East. Ms. Kroop’s work has appeared on HGTV, in Elle, Pasadena showcases, the Assistance League Design House and Schiffer Books’ “Designer Showcase: Interior Design at its Best.” 2650 Mission St., San Marino. Call (626) 441-5061.

REAL ESTATE

THE SOFA COMPANY Since 1998, The Sofa Company has been making the process of purchasing a sofa fun, fast, and simple. Along with the motto “you design it, we build it” comes the promise to make the process of buying a sofa enjoyable. With a new showroom at 100 W. Green St., The Sofa Company now delivers the largest selection of custom styles, sizes, fabrics, legs, sofa beds and more to Old Town Pasadena. Call (888) 778-7632 x412.

38 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

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Office Hours M-Th 9:00 to 7:30 Fri-Sat 9:00 to 5:00 ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 39


BOOKS

home is where the art is AWARD-WINNING NOVELIST MICHELLE HUNEVEN FINDS HER MUSE IN AND AROUND HER NATIVE ALTADENA. BY SCARLET CHENG

“WHEN MY FATHER WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD,” SAYS

HOME, AND HE SPENT THE NIGHT ON THIS PROPERTY. IT WAS THE EAST INDIAN GARDENS THEN. LATER HE RECOGNIZED THESE VERY OLD EUCALYPTUS TREES, HE JUST RECOGNIZED THE PLACE.” We’re sitting in the backyard of Huneven’s house in Altadena, looking up at two gigantic eucalyptus trees that stand along the back edge of the lot. 40 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

PHOTO: Michelle Huneven by Karen Tapia

NOVELIST MICHELLE HUNEVEN, “HE RAN AWAY FROM


PHOTO: Michelle Huneven by Karen Tapia

Huneven, 56, was born and raised in this town, then spent 30 years away––first at college, then living in Pasadena, the Sierras and Los Angeles. In 2001 she bought the single-story house with the sprawling lot we are strolling around now, the site of her father’s childhood misadventure. She returned with some trepidation. “I thought I was going to be swept by melancholy moving back,” she recalls. “Both sets of grandparents lived in Altadena, my mother lived here. But instead I just really feel whole. I love being here.” And why not? It’s a beautiful spring afternoon, slightly cool, flowers are in bloom and there are oranges and lemons in her trees. Huneven is an easy conversationalist and a natural storyteller. Every question uncovers a story. Her third novel, Blame, has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Set in Altadena, Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge, it’s the compelling tale of Patsy MacLemoore, a beautiful young history professor with a bad drinking problem. For years she has laughed off her irresponsibility and recklessness. Then one day she wakes up in jail, accused of running over a mother and daughter in her driveway. Racked with guilt, she goes to prison, learns to do what she’s told and eventually joins Alcoholics Anonymous. And that’s just the first third of the book. How Patsy slowly reenters regular life––aided by her pal Brice and his new boyfriend, Gilles; her therapist, Silver; and her eventual husband, Cal––and learns to be

“BUT ISN’T THERE A HIGHER, TRUER SELF, A SELF THAT’S FREE OF ADDICTION AND OBSESSION, THAT KNOWS WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU?” good takes up the rest of the book. “But isn’t there a higher, truer self, a self that’s free of addiction and obsession, that knows what’s best for you?” Silver asks her in a session one day. “And isn’t that why you come here? To find and nourish that authentic, unenslaved self?” Patsy says no, that hadn’t occurred to her. What she wants to know, she says, is “how to live to with guilt.” Ultimately, Patsy does come around to exploring what’s best for her, but in the meantime it’s fascinating and satisfying to see a person wrestle with––and try to right––the consequences of her wrongdoing. Blame has garnered widespread praise. Maria Russo wrote in the New York Times Book Review that the novel “is firmly rooted in the moral ambiguities of addiction and recovery, probing responsibility, guilt and exoneration with a philosophical elegance. Huneven’s prose moves like a hummingbird, in small bursts that are improbably fast and graceful.” The New Yorker praised Huneven’s prose as “flawless, with especially arresting descriptions of the Southern California landscape, and her strong but fragile heroine is mercilessly honest.” Huneven has had literary ambitions since childhood. “I remember very clearly being in my bedroom and thinking I want to be a writer,” she says. “I was 8 or 9 and thinking I can’t be a writer because I’m not a man.” Nobody told her she couldn’t; she just thought it was impossible from what she saw around her.

When did she get over that obstacle? “How thoroughly does one get over it?” she replies. “Male dominance in literature is still alive and well.” Still, she began reading more women authors––not least of whom was Jane Austen––and saw that she could be one too. After attending a series of colleges, she ended up at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1976 and got her MFA there. For a while, she made her living as a restaurant critic and food writer for the LA Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. She was good at it, winning a James Beard Award, and restaurant reviews left her enough energy to do what she considered her serious writing. In 1997, Huneven’s first novel, Round Rock, was published; in it, a lawyer ruins his life through drink, then tries to redeem himself by establishing a recovery center for alcoholics. Six years later she came out with Jamesland, about three people whose lives intertwine in Los Feliz. Her efforts earned her a General Electric Foundation Award for Younger Writers and a Whiting Writers’ Award for Fiction. Huneven’s latest novel was prompted by two ideas. “I wanted to write about someone who had lived a good life, then had reason to question the very principles of that good life,” she says of Blame. Then there was a real-life story she had heard from an acquaintance. “He was a terrible blackout drinker, and at one point he was arrested for murdering his ex-wife. He’d assumed he’d done it; he couldn’t remember. But despite himself he had an ironclad alibi, and the charges were dropped. What a close call that was. He did eventually stop drinking.” Alcoholism is a subject the author returns to again and again; she is, she acknowledges, a recovered alcoholic. Many of the main characters in Blame bond through regular attendance at AA meetings, and Cal prides himself on helping other recovering alcoholics, even letting them use his home as a halfway house. Huneven believes that AA “is designed to make a person aware that there are these deep forces that can take them over, like addiction.” She’s already at work on her next novel, which she writes in her office, a one-room building in the corner of the lot. Nearby are elevated garden boxes in which she grows lettuces and gigantic spring onions. Her terrier trots around while we talk, and every so often her gray parrot lets out a squawk from her cage. “I’m a really chauvinist Altadenan; I’m a West Altadenan,” she says with some pride. “It’s one of the truly integrated communities here. It’s been that way ever since I grew up. Interracial marriages, gay-friendly...My parents were very progressive. It’s a place to live out one’s principles.” AM ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 41


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A HIGHLY SELECTIVE PREVIEW OF UPCOMING EVENTS

THE

LIST COMPILED BY JOHN SOLLENBERGER

MUSIC AND ART REIGN IN SOUTH PASADENA May 1 — The South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and the South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory present the second annual South Pasadena Eclectic Music and Art Walk from 2 to 10 p.m. along Mission Street between Fair Oaks and Grand avenues. Dozens of performers will fill six stages (five for free) in the historic downtown district. Two food, wine and beer gardens will offer refreshments. Six art studios will be open to the public, and special exhibitions will be presented by businesses including Zinnia, Sew Jow Stitch Lounge, Mission Yoga, Biologica and others. Local merchants will also host open houses along the route. Anchoring the event will be the Eclectic Stage at the South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory, 1509 Mission St., featuring David Lindley, The Nervis Brothers, Double Naught Spy Car, Wahid and Moira Smiley & Voco. All-day admission to the Eclectic Stage costs $20 (acts are subject to change without notice); tickets are available online. The other stages feature music, from rock to jazz. A free Artmobile shuttle loops to the various galleries, departing from the Gold Line Mission Station, 913 Meridian Ave. Call the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce at (626) 441-2339 or visit southpasadena.net.

PHOTO: Griffith Observatory © Friends Of The Observatory by Justin Donais, ‘A Woman of Independent Means’ courtesy of California Performing Arts Center

OFF TO THE RACES FOR HABITAT May 1 — San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity is off to the races on Kentucky Derby Day at Santa Anita Park with a fundraiser from noon to 4 p.m. at the track’s Club Court. The event includes a no-host bar, buffet lunch, silent and live auctions, a pianist, a jazz band, handicapper, jockey ambassadors and a viewing of the Kentucky Derby. Tickets cost $90 per person. Santa Anita Park is located at 285 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia. For reservations, call (626) 387-6899 or email kentuckyderby@sgvhabitat.org.

HORSE FIESTA RAISES FUNDS TO FIGHT CANCER May 6 through 9 — The annual Fiesta of the Spanish Horse at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, benefiting cancer research, features a multi-breed horse show all four days and a Fiesta Spectacular Saturday, May 8. Saturday’s festivities feature a multicultural, Broadway-style equestrian and musical experience with Latin and Mariachi music, Flamenco and folkloric dancing, food, raffles and more. The horse show starts at 8 a.m. Thursday through Sunday and admission is free. Gates open Saturday at 3 p.m. and the Spectacular begins at 6 p.m. Tickets for the Saturday event cost $35 for a reserved box seat, $20 for adult general admission and $15 for seniors 65 and older and children ages 4 to 12. The Los Angeles Equestrian Center is located at 480 Riverside Dr., Burbank. Call (818) 842-8444 or visit fiestaspanishhorse.com.

CHAP-A-RET HONORS SEN. KENNEDY May 7 — The Community Health Alliance of Pasadena (CHAP) presents its annual gala fundraiser, “Chap-A-Ret,” from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Shakespeare Club in Pasadena. U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy has been invited to accept an award on behalf of his father, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, for his efforts to expand access to health care nationwide. The evening includes live entertainment, food, a silent auction and more. Tickets cost $150; VIP tickets, $200; patron tickets, $1,000. The Shakespeare Club is located at 171 S. Grand Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 993-1221 or visit acteva.com/go/chap.

ARCHITECTURAL TREASURES IN LA CAÑADA May 7 — The La Cañada High School 7/8 PTA Home Tour hosts open houses at four residences from 9 a.m. to 2 pm. From 4 to 8 p.m., docents lead home tours while LCHS student groups perform music and complementary wine and appetizers are served at one resi-

THE GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY CELEBRATES 75 May 15 — The Friends of the Observatory present “Cosmic Conjunction 2010: Diamond Nights * Northern Lights,” celebrating the Griffith Observatory’s 75th anniversary, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Observatory in Griffith Park. The event includes the premieres of Light of the Valkyries, a planetarium show featuring music by Richard Wagner and live narration by surprise celebrity guests. “Diamond Nights” also ushers in the Observatory’s participation in LA Opera’s Ring Festival L.A., joining more than 100 Los Angeles–area cultural and educational institutions celebrating Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Tickets cost $250 or $500 per person; sponsorships range from $5,000 to $50,000. The Griffith Observatory is located at 2800 E. Observatory Rd., in Griffith Park. For tickets and sponsorship information, call (213) 473-0807 or email fotofriend@friendsofthe observatory.org. For other event information, visit friendsoftheobservatory.org.

dence. Tickets benefiting the La Cañada 7th and 8th grade PTA cost $40 in advance, $45 the day of the tour at Descanso Gardens. Call (818) 790-0419 or visit albrookstickets.com or lchs78.org/hometour.html for information.

CELEBRATING MOM AT DESCANSO May 8 and 9 — Descanso Gardens and Patina Catering offer a Mother’s Day Brunch buffet with seatings at 9 and 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. both days. The cost is $50, $42 for members and $17 for children ages 4 to 10. Children 3 and under are admitted free. Reservations are required, and cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance to avoid a 50 percent charge. Call Patina at (818) 790-3663 for reservations. Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge. Call (818) 9494200 or visit descansogardens.org.

A WOMAN OF INDEPENDENT MEANS May 8 and 9 — The California Performing Arts Centre, the nonprofit company based at South Pasadena’s Fremont Centre Theatre, brings back its production of A Woman of Independent Means for two Mother’s Day weekend performances. Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey adapted the play from her best-selling novel exploring what it was like to be an adventurous woman in the first 70 years of the 20th century. Lissa Layng stars. Performances start at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, preceded by a 2 p.m. Mother’s Day tea. Tickets cost $35. The Fremont Centre Theatre is located at 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit fremontcentretheatre.com.

PACIFIC ASIA MUSEUM LAUNCHES FUSION FRIDAYS May 14 — The museum kicks off “Fusion Fridays,” a mélange of art, music, dance performances, bites from gourmet food vendors and conversation with the museum’s curators and educators. At the inaugural event, starting at 7:30 p.m., celebrate the cultures of Pakistan and India with two exhibitions, Beyond the Page: The Miniature as Attitude in Contemporary Art from Pakistan and Indian Miniature Paintings and Drawings. The event includes a Bhangra DJ music and dance performance, a miniature art project and mehndi, the South Asian art of applying henna as a temporary skin decoration. Galleries will be open until 10 p.m. Admission costs $10 (free for members). The Pacific Asia Museum is located at 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 4492742 or visit pacificasiamuseum.org. —CONTINUED ON PAGE 46 ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 45


A HIGHLY SELECTIVE PREVIEW OF UPCOMING EVENTS

THE

LIST

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45

GOLFING FOR A GOOD CAUSE May 14 — Pasadena’s Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services presents its “Shot-at-a-Million” golf event to raise funds for helping abused and neglected youngsters. The event, at Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, offers five ways to participate: Play golf in the all-day Golf-a-Thon or play the 9-Hole Team Challenge in the afternoon ($500 per two-person team); attend the 19th Hole After-Party from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. for $50 per person, emceed by KISS-FM traffic reporter Commander Chuck Street; buy a $50 raffle ticket for a chance to win a new 2010 BMW Mini Cooper; become a sponsor; or support a golfer, with a per-hole-played donation or flat donation amount. Competitors have a chance to win $1 million with a hole-in-one. The Golf-aThon starts at 7 a.m. and golfers play at their own pace. The 9-Hole Team Challenge runs from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Call (626) 395-7100, ext. 2516, or visit hathaway-sycamores.org.

SPRING ARTS AND CRAFTS BLING IN GLENDALE May 15 — The Red Rabbit Arts and Craft Market comes to the Glendale Civic Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 75 craftspeople will be on hand to sell handmade jewelry, ceramics, glass, textiles and more. The familyfriendly event also offers hands-on craft projects for all ages. Free goody bags are available to the first 50 visitors. Admission is free. The Glendale Civic Auditorium is located at 1401 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale. Call (818) 2437326 or visit redrabbitworkshop.com.

THREE PRODUCTIONS CLOSE AT ANW May 21, 22 and 23 — A Noise Within wraps three productions this month: Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Michael Murray; Irish playwright John Millington Synge’s romantic comedy The Playboy of the Western World, directed by A Noise Within Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Geoff Elliott; and the American classic Awake and Sing by Clifford Odets, directed by Andrew Traister. Much Ado closes at 8 p.m. May 21; Playboy wraps at 8 p.m. May 22 and Awake and Sing finishes its run at 7 p.m. May 23. Tickets cost $40 to $44. A Noise Within is located at 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Call (818) 240-0910 or visit anoisewithin.org.

AN ARTS AND CRAFTS MAVERICK AT THE HUNTINGTON May 22 — The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs is the first major exhibition of work by the Arts and Crafts maverick, opening May 22 and continuing through Sept. 6 at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Rohlfs was a leader in the country’s early exploration of modernist furniture design, along with Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley. Rohlfs’ eclectic work combined influences of Scottish and English Arts and Crafts, French Art Nouveau and East Asian and Near Eastern furniture. The exhibition includes 44 examples of his furniture and decorative objects, including items made for his own home and major commissioned and production pieces. Masterpieces in the collection were culled from 10 museums and several private collections. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino. Call (626) 405-2100 or visit huntington.org.

May 16 — From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., more than 150 vintage and contemporary Ferraris line Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena for “Concorso Ferrari.” Cars made in 1999 and earlier are eligible for awards presented in 10 classes. Newer Ferraris will also be on display. To enter, call (714) 630-9202. To become a sponsor, call (818) 706-3814. For information, call (818) 971-3300, ext. 2311, or visit fca-sw.org.

Through May 23 — More than 40 Victorian-era dolls from around the world will be showcased in A Child’s Friend: A Look at Vintage Dolls 1840-1920 at Heritage Square Museum in northeastern Los Angeles. Highlights include an American-made 1840s-vintage China doll; an 1880s-era, 26-inch doll from the N.B. Japan Company; and Acme dolls of the 1920s. Interesting details include metal heads, fur eyebrows, glass eyes and celluloid bodies. The display is in the museum’s Mt. Pleasant Home. Exhibit entrance is included in the museum admission fee of $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. The Heritage Square Museum is located at 3800 Homer St., Los Angeles. Call (323) 2252700 or visit heritagesquare.org. AM

LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE PERFORMS AMERICANA May 23 — The Los Angeles Master Chorale ends its season with an Americana program at 7 p.m. at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The performance includes spirituals by composer Moses Hogan and classics such as Shenandoah and Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair. Music Director Grant Gershon conducts. Tickets cost $19 to $124. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Call (213) 972-7282 or visit lamc.org.

46 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

PHOTOS: Los Angeles Master Chorale by Steve Cohn, Vintage Ferrari by Writegeist, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ by Craig Schwartz

VINTAGE DOLLS AT HERITAGE SQUARE FERRARIS RULE OLD PASADENA


KITCHEN CONFESSIONS

The Mother Sauce OH, BROTHER. DO FOOD SERVICE WORKERS A FAVOR AND COOK YOUR OWN MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH. BY LESLIE BILDERBACK | PHOTOS BY TERI LYN FISHER

Thank goodness it’s Mother’s Day, because I was almost out of macaroni picture frames, bean mosaics, handprint plaques and ballpoint-penplastic-flowers-growing-out-of-soup-can pots. I cherish all that stuff, although it is currently being cherished in four 35-gallon Rubbermaid tubs stacked in the garage behind the camping gear. Most holidays are associated with great home-cooked meals, like turkey on

amazing how easily she fell into Liz mode. The Turtle staff could instantly sense her

Thanksgiving, corned beef and cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day or cake on your

pseudo-supercilious vibe and were on their toes, making sure her water glass was

birthday. But on Mother’s Day, Americans gather at restaurants en masse to partake

full, her coffee piping hot and her steaks a perfect shade of overcooked gray. She

in the country’s favorite hybrid meal—brunch. (Why we haven’t similarly embraced

was always a persnickety woman (to say the least), but on this one day every year,

linner or lupper is another mystery for the ages.) The American Mother’s Day Brunch

we all pretended not to mind.

has become a rite of passage for both families and food service professionals. When I was a kid, Mother’s Day meant a trip to the now defunct Velvet Turtle in

On these occasions, my attention would be totally focused on the buffet. It was a thing of wonder and beauty to a 10-year-old—mountains of strawberries, piles of

celebration of my grandmother. She was the oldest mother in the family, and therefore

shrimp, as many muffins, bagels and French croissants as I could eat and a huge

the universally beloved matriarch (on this one day at least). The Velvet Turtle was not a

roast beef, carved by a real chef under a heat lamp. (Of course, now I realize that that

rock super-group made up of has-been musicians, but a bastion of pepper steak and

guy wasn’t a real chef at all. Real chefs don’t carve under a heat lamp for eight hours

lobster tails, where the middle class swarmed in the ’70s for “gourmet” food. (A term

in the middle of the day. We hire lackeys to do that.)

as dated as a Gunne Sax and Famolares.) When I was 10 years old, reservations were

It was at a Mother’s Day Brunch that I discovered an amazing dish called Eggs

required at The Turtle, but in the mid-’80s the company was acquired in a hostile

Benedict. An English muffin (from England, Europe!) was topped with ham (which the

takeover by Marriott, America decided it preferred surf and turf with a bloomin’ onion

Canadians call bacon…weird) and a pristine poached egg. Then everything was

and an Aussie accent and The Turtle went belly-up.

enveloped in a magical, mystical, tongue-coating sauce called Hollandaise. This

It’s a sad story, but sadder still is the abandoned Velvet Turtle on the edge of

sauce was so over-the-top decadent that grandma would give me a hard time for

Chinatown in Los Angeles, wrapped in chain-link fencing, its parking lot cracked and

ordering it, as if I was somehow not worthy of its lusciousness (“You ordered what?”).

sprouting mustard weeds. As if going out of business wasn’t bad enough, the sign is

The pièce de résistance was a thin slice of black olive perched on top. Served in

still hanging there as a constant reminder of failure.

pairs, the final presentation was a little mammo-rific, but my 10-year-old brain didn’t

But when I see that Turtle sign I think of Mother’s Day and my grandpa’s olive green ’72 Mercury Marquis sedan. He would float it up to The Turtle’s entrance and unload grandma in style. With gloves in hand and a corsage pinned to her shoulder,

work that way yet. According to several turn-of-the-century cookbooks, the original garnish was shaved truffle and not strange olive nipples. I would, at this point, like to take a minute and reprimand the first cook who tried

she entered the doors of The Velvet Turtle like Elizabeth Taylor entering Chasen’s.

to pass off canned black olives for truffles. You, sir, are an embarrassment to the pro-

Keeping in mind that grandma and grandpa typically dined on grilled cheese and

fession. Next, I say “shame” to all the customers who ate the olive and didn’t notice

Campbell’s tomato soup on TV trays in front of The Lawrence Welk Show, it’s

—CONTINUED ON PAGE 48 ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 47


KITCHEN CONFESSIONS

PERFECT HOLLANDAISE SAUCE Hollandaise is considered, in classic cuisine, one of the five mother sauces (the list also includes sauces béchamel, espagnole, velouté and tomato), not because it is served on Mother’s Day but because, like all mother sauces, it is the base from which dozens of other sauces are created. Like all great dishes, the origin of Eggs Benedict is hotly contested. Sometime in the 1880s or ’90s, Mrs. Le Grande Benedict, or Mr. Lemuel Benedict, or Commodore E.C. Benedict, dined at the Waldorf Astoria, or Delmonico’s, or on a yacht. He or she requested the dish either as a hangover cure or because they were bored with the usual fare, and the creation ended up on the menu. To make your own, layer a toasted English muffin with Canadian bacon, a poached egg and Hollandaise. Or turn it into Eggs Sardou by layering an artichoke heart with anchovies, creamed spinach, a poached egg and Hollandaise.

INGREDIENTS 1¼ pounds (5 sticks) unsalted butter 6 egg yolks 2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons cold water A pinch each of kosher salt and white pepper

METHOD 1. Melt butter slowly, then set aside to cool. Do not stir butter. Let the solids sink to the bottom, and skim the foam off the top. The pure butter fat in the center (called clarified butter) is what you will use for this recipe. 2. Fill the lower portion of a double boiler* with water and bring to a simmer. In the upper portion, before setting it over heat, combine egg yolks, lemon juice and water. Whip vigorously until the color begins to lighten, 1 to 2 minutes. Set over the simmering water and continue whisking until the eggs become thick and creamy. Never stop whisking while heating, or the mixture will congeal into scrambled eggs (for which there is no quick fix). 3. Remove the thickened yolks from the heat, and while whisking, start drizzling the clarified butter into the yolks very slowly. It should take about 3 minutes to incorporate all the butter. (Place the bowl on a wet towel to keep it from spinning as you whisk with one hand and drizzle with the other.) Finish with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

* Create your own double boiler by placing a stainless or ceramic bowl on top of a saucepan. When the bowl is resting on the pan, there should be enough room for a couple of inches of water and an inch of air between the water and the bottom of the bowl.

—CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47

we give moms enough adulation as it is? I don’t know a single mom who is not firmly

or care that it wasn’t a truffle. If you had been on the ball, we’d all be hip deep in truf-

in charge of her minions, with total control of their schedule, the menu, the car keys,

fles today. Boo on you, dead, apathetic Eggs-Benedict-eaters of yore.

the checkbook and the power to affect the mood of a houseful of people with a single

For restaurant people, Mother’s Day is a mixed blessing. If you are a skilled waiter, there is mega-tip potential. But for the rest of the staff, Mother’s Day Brunch is just a big pain in the butter. Most parties are big, which means bigger orders and split

look. The world bends to a mother’s will on a daily basis. You need a celebration on top of all that? And besides, the whole thing has the faint aroma of obligation. Don’t waste your

checks. There are often rugrats, and the adults are getting drunk on free champagne,

allowance on designer hand lotion for me, kids. Just get your homework done on

which unfortunately doesn’t increase the final bill. And more often than not there are

time, dress out for PE, empty your pockets before you toss your jeans in the hamper

persnickety grandmothers with persnickety tastes. It’s enough to send any well-

and give me a kiss when I ask. (I mean every time I ask…even in front of your friends.

meaning food service worker over the edge. (To this day, my recurring anxiety dream

What? You don’t think their moms kiss them? You want to pretend I’m not your moth-

involves waiting tables at a Mother’s Day Brunch. In this dream, there is a table that I

er? Who am I then? Some middle-aged stranger who gave you a lift?)

have forgotten about, and the customer turns out to be my high school algebra

Also, don’t roll your eyes when I make a joke. That would be the best Mother’s Day gift ever. AM

teacher, who reminds me that I am having a test after my shift, which I didn’t study for. Also, I am naked.) These days, I can do without the entire scene. Mother’s Day ranks up there with

Leslie Bilderback is a certified master chef and baker, a cookbook author and a

Valentine’s Day on my list of superfluous Hallmark holidays. I am sure I will receive

former executive chef of Pasadena’s School of Culinary Arts. A South Pasadena

backlash from readers (what else is new?), but I think Mother’s Day is a crock. Don’t

resident, Bilderback teaches her techniques online at culinarymasterclass.com.

48 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO


TASTE

T H E

F L A V O R S

O F

A R R O Y O

Fusion Food’s Gold Standard – Italian/American NIKKI C’S BRINGS BOTH WORLDS TO TABLE IN STYLE BY DAN O’HERON

PHOTO: Hilary Chen (Nikki C’s)

This restaurant burnishes a glowing reputation for fine Italian food like delectably creamy risotto Siena or keenly stratified lasagne al forno while guaranteeing great American steaks, whether medium, rare or perfectly well-done. To satisfy your beefy dinner preferences, the filet mignon is prepared either crusted with aromatic bleu cheese, puddled in classic bearnaise or lobster creme, or just sizzling in its own gorgeous juices without any help? It’s a legend. But it may be another story if you’re sitting at the chic cocktail bar. So close to Santa Anita Race Track, you might be in the company of several thoroughbred owners and trainers, or players who make the bar stool a listening post for hot tips. Some are sipping a moderately priced house wine — though big spenders may be finishing off a $72 bottle of Conn Creek Meritage — others are chugging a Bud Lite or a Pyramid Hefenweizen, and still others are marveling over the taste of “watermelontini.” The bar is buzzing with conversation: Horse racing is a serious business. Suddenly, with a whiff of delicious aroma wafting from the kitchen, the NIKKI C’S talk stops: It’s time to eat. The professionals turn back 470 S. Rosemead Blvd., Pasadena the clock to those times when most children want (626) 792-7437 things — NOW! Nikkics.com The show stopper might be a steak or uncommon tacos – either the filet mignon ($17) or the short rib taco packed with fontina, one of Italy’s great cheeses, and avocado, caramelized onion and cilantro, plus chips and salsa ($16). Or famous fin and feather dishes like broiled, wild Atlantic salmon ($21), more pink and succulent than other varieties — or a chicken Marsala ($18), sauteed in Italy’s most famous fortified wine. Lunch features sandwiches from $8 to $13, and weekend-only breakfasts range from $6 to $15, all Italian/American. The best of both worlds. ■

CHOZA MAMA

THE SCARLET TEA ROOM

3 DRUNKEN GOATS

96 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena (626) 432-4692 chozamama.com

18 W. Green St., Pasadena (626) 577-0051 scarlettearoom.com

2256 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose (818) 249-9950 3drunkengoats.com

CUISINE

CUISINE

CUISINE

Choza Mama offers the very best of Peruvian Cuisine with a menu full of passion and flavor, made of the freshest seafood and produce combined with the highest quality meats available.

The signature “Scarlet Tea Ceremony” reinvents the traditional afternoon tea with a five-course tea service perfectly designed for one person, providing a multitude of exotic tea choices, almond champagne and fine wines.

3 Drunken Goats (3DG) is a Spanish themed restaurant with a strong specialization towards Spanish tapas! 3DG offers a wide array of rich, flavorful & eclectic plates and dishes that are guaranteed to satisfy every realm of ones palate!

DINERS’ FAVORITES

DINERS’ FAVORITES

DINERS’ FAVORITES

1. Lomo Saltado ($14) 2. Shrimp and Scallop Linguine with Riccoto sauce ($16) 3. Ceviche de Pescado ($13)

1. Tuscan chicken ($19.95) 2. Four Seasons ($15.95) 3. Glazed crab-stuffed salmon ($28)

1. Bacon wrapped dates with chorizo ($9) 2. Piquillo peppers stuffed with idiazabal cheese ($9) 3. Grilled flatbread with mushrooms & three cheeses ($11)

VIBE

VIBE

VIBE

A fine dining location with soft lighting that accents modern Indian art work and stones that represent an advanced ancient coulture. The mood is set by dark wood tables, candlelight and soft live Latin music.

A full service restaurant offering an elegant setting to enjoy a spectacular High Tea and fine dining experience. Exquisite dinners and evening teas are now served Tuesday through Saturday, featuring live music Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays)

Rich dark burgundy interior, antique iron lamps hang from the high ceiling and 1920’s bank styled lights illuminate the bar. A boutique wine & gourmet food store inside 3DG has the most unique products! Voted Best Wine Selection in Foothills ’05 – ’07!

PRICE

PRICE

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PRICE $$$$$

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ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 49


TASTE Timeless Twohey’s celebrates 66th year LANDMARK KEEPS DOOR OPEN FOR GREAT AMERICAN COMFORT FOOD BY DAN O’HERON In 1943, when Route 66 was the Mother Road to California for midwest migrants, Twohey’s opened off an old two-lane highway and grew to become a landmark feast in comfort food for weary travelers in their worn-out cars. Today, though the highway has long been bypassed by the interstate, Twohey’s remains retro and very active, and, quite coincidentally, is celebrating its 66th anniversary. Birthday specials for May and June include an “early bird” (Mon.-Fri., 3 to 5 p.m.) offer of $9.95 three-course dinners including New York steak, grilled salmon, chicken teriyaki and spaghetti. At this price — with no stint in Twohey quality and portion generosity — the “early bird” dinner should become the most popular meal in town, except among those who make 3 to 5 their siesta hour. In addition, each May and June all guests will receive a “bounce-back” coupon book, entitling them to either a 10, 25 or 100 percent discount on a subsequent visit. Today’s regular menu includes almost every comfort food you can name – including famous onion rings, steaks, ribs and chops — and many delicious items you may have forgotten, like meat loaf or liver and onions. At Twohey’s ’43 opening, the classic “Stinko-burger” cost 40 cents; today it’s $6.50 with trimmings. Yet now TWOHEY’S 1224 N. Atlantic Blvd., Alhambra the quarter-pound Angus beef burger is still the same — (626) 284-7387 burger, onion, pickle, bun — and still a bargain. Before hamburger flavor was overcome with sloppings of twoheys.com Thousand Island, mayo and tasteless tomato, this simpler fare was (and is) the way a burger was meant to taste. Ice cream still tastes as fresh and delicious as it did when kids fetched rock salt, turned the crank on a bucket and licked their fingers. Where else can friends share a wide, deepbodied “banana split royal” tureen of sliced bananas plumped with three huge scoops of their favorite ice creams — then puffed with whipped cream and pebbled with almonds for only $6.95. It’s a “pretty please” with three cherries on top. ■

COLOMBO’S STEAKHOUSE AND JAZZ CLUB

THE MELTING POT RESTAURANT

DEREK’S BISTRO

1833 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock (323) 254-9138

88 W. Colorado Blvd., 2nd Floor, Old Pasadena (626) 792-1941 meltingpot.com/Pasadena

181 East Glenarm Street, Pasadena (626) 799-5252 dereks.com

CUISINE

CUISINE

CUISINE

Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse has been serving authentic Italian family recipes since 1954 using only the highest quality fresh ingredients in all their dishes. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Fondue becomes a memorable four-course dining experience. Dip into something different and discover all the ingredients for a unique dining experience — private tables, attentive service, fine wines and signature fondue dinners.

Derek’s is a casually elegant restaurant, intimate and attentive, renowned for superb California Contemporary cuisine. The restaurant’s a-la carte menu offers a wide variety of dishes prepared in the tradition of classic French cooking. Chef Paul's tasting menu available upon request.

DINERS’ FAVORITES

DINERS’ FAVORITES

1. Ribeye steak ($21) 2. Chicken Parmesan w/spaghetti marinara ($17.95) 3. Sam’s charbroiled meatball steak ($14.95)

1. Big Night Out ($44-49 per person) 2. Cheese Fondues ($16) 3. Chocolate Fondues ($16)

VIBE

VIBE

Soft lighting, intimate plush booth seating and Free live music every night featuring local jazz performers. Full bar with big screen televisions.

Get ready for fondue paradise. You’ll think you’ve died and had gone to heaven! Beautiful, romantic location overlooking historic Colorado Blvd. in Old Pasadena.

PRICE

PRICE

$$$$$

$$$$$

DINERS’ FAVORITES 1. Rack of New Zealand Lamb, Peppered Gnocchi & Port Reduction ($38) 2. Atlantic Salmon en Croute ($33) 3. Beef Wellington ($38)

VIBE Intimate setting perfect for those special occasions. The main dining room is lined by their impressive wine cellar and if you enjoy dining outdoors, the covered patio is surrounded by bougainvillea, hanging lanterns & candle light.

PRICE $$$$$ 50 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

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T H E

F L A V O R S

O F

A R R O Y O

Tied to Past, Tea is the Order of the Day FOUR SEASONS TEA ROOM BRINGS VICTORIAN ERA BACK TO LIFE BY DAN O’HERON It may be an informal afternoon tea but if you come in wearing gown, gloves and a floppy hat, no will bother to ask you for an autograph. Unless it’s a special event, like a bridal shower, most people come as they are to enjoy a tea room rich with allusion to an auspicious occasion: An epochal return to 19th-century Victorian life and customs. Whether you’re sipping tea with an invited friend, mate, child, parent, co-worker or boss, the tea service here is so elegant that it becomes a subtle salute to those you wish to honor. To enhance the experience, servers reflect the social deportment of a nobler time, and they always pour your tea. The bungalow cottage is up to the mark with status symbols that every home in Queen Victoria ’s time required to be “properly finished”: hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows treated with linens, wall sconces, Crown British molding and spotless tablecloths with strictly measured overhang. In the “afternoon tea”– four basic servings ranging FOUR SEASONS from $17.50 to $22 – there are 50 types of leaves, freshTEA ROOM filled in handmade tea bags. Sandwiches, chosen to 75 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre enhance the flavor and aroma of tea and not ruin the (626) 355-0045 appetite for dinner, aren’t sticky and don’t crumble. 4seasonstearoom.com Among other treats, classic egg-washed English scones come with fabulous Devonshire cream and jam. Here special events of wit and whimsy often take the stage – just as they once did when Queen Victoria got off her throne. They include fantasy, music and murder mystery. In a opening act of Mystery Theater, if you spot a rolling pin on the wall, you’ll just know that before the scene ends — in unspeakably amusing Victorian villainy — it will have been used to bonk a hapless husband on the head. ■

NEW MOON RESTAURANT & BAR

MALAGUETA BAR & GRILL

CLEARMAN’S NORTH WOODS INN

2138 Verdugo Blvd., Montrose (818) 249.4393 newmoonrestaurants.com

43 E. Colorado Blvd., Old Pasadena (626) 564-8696 malaguetarestaurant.com

7247 Rosemead Blvd., San Gabriel (626) 286-8284. clearmansrestaurants.com

CUISINE

CUISINE

CUISINE

New Moon's contemporary take on classic Chinese cuisine is a happy balance of traditional Asian flavors and fresh ingredients that have been re-imagined for contemporary tastes. Impressive wine list and a full bar.

Exceptionally flavorful South American fare featuring dishes from Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Cuba. Our original wood-fired pizzas are fantastic.

From juicy hamburgers to tender filet mignon to fresh seafood, fans get all the fixin’s: enormous baked potatoes, signature cheese bread, tangy red cabbage slaw and creamy blue-cheese green salad.

DINERS’ FAVORITES DINERS’ FAVORITES

1. Bife Buenos Aires ($17) 2. Rib Eye Acebolado ($20) 3. Braised Lamb Shank ($18)

1. Chloe Shrimp ($14.95) 2. Filet of Sole in a Black Bean Sauce ($13.50) 3. New Moon's Dragon Beef ($12.95)

VIBE VIBE Casual, yet sophisticated atmosphere and attentive service has gained Zagat-rated New Moon a dedicated following. The newly opened bar has already proved a popular spot with special happy hour drink prices and menu.

Intimate feel with color paintings on wall. Visible wood-fire grill at back of restaurant. Beautiful chandeliers in front windows…

PRICE $$$$$

DINERS’ FAVORITES 1. Cheesebread Sliders ($7.95) 2. Fried Chicken Dinner ($19.95) 3. Australian Rock Lobster Tail & Filet Mignon Supreme ($49.95)

VIBE Generations of Southern Californians have headed to this snowcapped dining destination for its hunting lodge ambiance, sawdust on the floor and lumberjack-sized portions of fun and food.

PRICE $$$$$

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ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 51


DINING

The Elements of Taste NEXT DOOR TO THE SHUTTERED PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, ELEMENTS KITCHEN IS SERVING UP A MENU OF IMAGINATIVE DISHES ORGANIZED ALONG SURPRISING LINES BY BRADLEY TUCK

“AS ONE DOOR CLOSES, SO OPENS ANOTHER” IS ONE OF MY ENGLISH MOTHER’S FAVORITE HOMESPUN SAYINGS. AND AS THE PASADENA PLAYHOUSE SITS DIMMED AND SILENT, ACROSS ITS COURTYARD CHEF ONIL CHIBÁS IS ENTERTAINING PEOPLE IN A DIFFERENT WAY. SINCE HE STARTED ELEMENTS CATERING, AND THEN ELEMENTS CAFÉ ON FAIR OAKS IN 2005, CHIBÁS HAS BEEN A CONSISTENT PERFORMER ON PASADENA’S CULINARY STAGE. HIS CATERING COMPANY AND CAFÉ HAVE EARNED A REPUTATION FOR TURNING OUT MODERN HEALTHY FARE ROOTED IN THE CLASSICS, WITH SOME WELL THOUGHT OUT, BUT NOT OVERLY FUSSY, TWEAKS. A BLT AT THE CAFÉ, FOR INSTANCE, COMES WITH TOMATO AND FENNEL JAM. IT’S IMAGINATIVE TWISTS LIKE THIS THAT SEPARATE THE STARS FROM THE PLAYERS IN THE WORLD OF COOKING.

Breakfast at Tiffanys

In picking a location next to one of the country’s loveliest theaters, Chibás was probably hoping to put butts on seats from the pre- and post-theater crowds. With the sad demise of the Playhouse, that’s no longer happening. Still, I think he won’t have to worry. Elements Kitchen, which opened in January, deserves an audience of its own. Pasadena is fortunate to have a vibrant and eclectic culinary

Elements Kitchen

scene, with some genuine destination restaurants. Now it has a new one.

37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena (626) 440-0044

While Elements Café’s seating is almost all outdoors under sunny yellow umbrellas––perfect for a lunch and brunch joint, the Kitchen has a lofty, spacious dining room, with vaulted ceilings and flattering lighting. The gleaming open kitchen lets you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the crew, without being subjected to clatter. And Chibás can usually be seen flitting from table to table, making sure everything is fine, sharing a cooking tip and talking about the art on the walls.

Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m. Bar service: Tuesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to midnight Closed Monday

The art on the plates merits a few words too. As a concept, it’s simple enough. A concise menu is arranged around “elemental” ingredients: tomatoes, cod, mussels and oysters, for example. The dish revolves around that element. Some elements carry only a couple of dishes, and others, three or four. These are further divided into small plates and large plates, a printed olive branch on the page serving as the marker of that division. It sounds complicated but isn’t when you have it in front of you, and what it allows for is a great deal of fun and flexibility. Small plates can be easily shared or may also function perfectly well as sides, like the Farmers Market Salad. What they all have in common is Chibás’ knack of marrying great ingredients that work well together, with a star ingredient to carry the dish. Steak and Eggs turns out to be grilled rare tuna steak with Masago caviar and a little spinach blini. The bubbles of mild caviar are a perfect counterpoint to the delicate tuna, while the blini holds it all together. Marinated Flank Steak and PHOTOS: Vanessa Stump

Kimchi Tacos come with a Sambal aioli and pickled ginger. They’re savory, tangy and pungent in a good way. If a taco truck were turning this out, I’d be stalking it like an undercover health inspector. A larger plate, the Seared Black Cod Filet & Chorizo Pipérade, was a favorite of mine—juicy fish that flakes under the fork, a spiced relish, a clam nage and fava beans. That’s a large plate I won’t be willing to share in future. What I will share is this––encore! AM

Seared Tenderloin ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 53


THE GREAT ESCAPE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PLAN YOUR PERFECT SUMER

SUMMER FUN AND TRAVEL COMING NEXT MONTH IN

54 ~ MAY 2010 ~ ARROYO

ART, ANTIQUES &JEWELRY Arnold’s Fine Jewelry Arnold’s Fine Jewelry is celebrating 120 years of serving Pasadena area families. From stunning engagement rings, engraved sterling baby gifts, watches for grads to spectacular evening baubles, Arnold’s is a destination for those seeking the very finest. Bruce Arnold’s personal joy is to suggest designs that respectfully restyle your cherished heirlooms. Thirdgeneration jeweler Arnold invites you to bring jewelry for repair or cleaning. Professionalism, trust and friendliness are why Arnold’s will be the choice for generations to come. 350 S. Lake Ave., suite 110, Pasadena. Call (626) 795-8647 or visit arnoldsfinejewelry.com Canada Jewelry Family-owned and –operated, with over 28 years of experience in design and manufacture of fine jewelry. Our knowledgeable staff will offer you the best service to create your special occasion jewelry. Come in and see our exquisite array of diamonds, gold, and silver jewelry. We also carry a large selection of writing instruments, watches, and gifts. We are an authorized dealer of Citizen and Lladro. Visit us at 965 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada-Flintridge. Call (818) 952-2021 or visit canadajlry.com. Fancy That! Fancy That! is the place to find that “perfect gift.” Spring marks the beginning of wedding season, school graduations and the culmination of religious education and training. Add birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and you’ll soon discover firsthand why Fancy That! is the place “For Gifts You Love To Give.” And our signature gift wrap is always complimentary! 2575 Mission St., San Marino. Call (626) 403-2577 or visit fancythat.us.com. John Moran Auctioneers A full-service auction house for over 40 years, John Moran Auctioneers is internationally recognized as a leader in sales of exceptional antiques, fine art, jewelry and eclectic estate items. In addition to monthly Estate Auctions, Moran’s conducts tri-annual California and American Art auctions featuring top 19th and 20th century Impressionist and Western artists. Clients value Moran’s for expertise and dedication to top-quality personalized service. For information about consigning, purchasing at auction, estate services, appraisals, and free walk-in Valuation Days, please call (626) 793-1833 or visit johnmoran.com. ■ | ADVERTISEMENT |


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ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 55


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—CONTINUED ON PAGE 58

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ARROYO ~ MAY 2010 ~ 57


HEALTH & BEAUTY —CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57

Scott White Acupuncture & Herbal Formulas People ask me — Why acupuncture and herbs? The answer is it works! Oriental medicine is the oldest, professional, continually practiced, literate medicine in the world. This medical system’s written literature stretches back almost 2,500 years. The World Health Organization, The American Medical Association, as well as many others, have acknowledged its benefits. If you have any questions about what oriental medicine can do for you, please call me for a free phone consultation at (626) 372-3505 or visit scottwhiteacupuncture.com. Christine Won, M.D. What is Concierge Medicine? It’s a type of practice that allows you to spend 30 minutes for office visits (rather than 8 minutes in a traditional practice). You’ll be treated like a person instead of a number. We’ll focus on preventive care to maintain your good health through a comprehensive annual physical that includes extensive blood tests, EKG, metabolic test and much more. Call us for info and how to join at (626) 793-8455. ■

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Arroyo Monthly May 2010  

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