Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A decade back Fox's opened its Backside, serving terrific coffees and cappuccinos that were redolent with the scent of Italy.

Now, even a restless chef gets tired of doing the breakfast dishes. I stopped here recently. I don't mind (too much) the need for re upholstery, the faint sound of tv coming from the kitchen. And it's clear that the Backside is no longer the must stop coffee place it was when the daughter-in-law was running it. But this time when I ordered my double cap, it was mostly milk. Hmmm. (Consistency, people, is the reason people return to Starbucks!) After ten minutes of trying to sip it I asked the waittress for a shot of espresso. "Yeah," she said, "I kinda thought I didn't put enough coffee in the machine." I guess she kinda thought I wouldn't notice? That maybe I deep down really wanted a latte? Minus one dollar off the tip, lady. (I tip large, like most former recovering waitresses. But there were other infractions, trust me!)

To the point, to the point, to the point.

Local people, where in the heck do you go out to breakfast? And get a decent coffee? I mean, when you want something besides a sweet roll or croissant? Help! I mean it, really!


  1. If U R saying you want a good breakfast with good coffee in Altadena or nearby border towns, then lemme know! It can be had but it can be xxpensive.

    For me the first thought is EuroPane has great coffees but it's breakfast menu is small & limited to weekends. Funny, since Sumi used to be the breakfast chef for La Brea Bakery!

    Then, I was at Marstons with marathon friends for Sun breakfast & though popular for breakfast, their coffee & omelets aren't anything special. A bit expensive.

    Btw, I can see from you pic that Fox's is still bringing them in.

  2. Yes, CO, that's exactly what I'm asking. Did I ask too much? Or not enough? Send me your best recs!

  3. The only place that I know with both excellent coffee drinks and breakfast food is Zinc's in Costa Mesa or Laguna Beach. Not exactly a "border city."

    I frequent Russel's for breakfast (because a friend really likes it), but I've stopped wasting money on their coffee. I think it costs almost $3.00. I guess that's worth it if you drink multiple cups, but I can barely get down one cup.

    Mike and Anne's in So. Pas serves an excellent breakfast and a decent cup.

  4. don't let me commence! I'd settle for a Conrads if it took the place of one of our gas stations or the shuttered cluck in a bucket.

    Last time I went to the coffee bar at Fox's, they poured it from the coffee pot of swill and charged me the gourmet rate.

    Why doesn't some enterprising soul turn that Altadena/Lake location (obviously a money-laundering facility in a past life) into a decent place to eat? The view alone is great.

  5. Gosh, Susan, I was ready to drive to Sierra Madre (every place I've tried there was frankly awful) or Montrose (La Cabanita opens for "breakfast" at 10 am!) but Zinc's? Oh well--re:Mike and Anne's, sometimes I can't wait for a weekend--but need a mid week breakfast. Wow. All these qualifiers of mine. I'd better just swing by AH's and drive to Conran's! CO: Have you got something better? C'mon, we're counting on you--(wait, was that flirtatious? I was trying for straightfoward and direct)

  6. Everest serves a great breakfast burrito. Paula drives up all the way from west Pasadena for one of them. Be sure to ask for extra verde sauce.

    Coffee Gallery has a very idiosyncratic breakfast menu with things like turnips and collard greens on a bowl of brown rice, topped with a soft-fried egg. I actually love that concoction, but I hate dealing with the cook, who I call the "dish Nazi." He gets very edgy if you don't return your dishes within a half hour.

  7. Lori & Scott W want to open a gourmet coffee shop but they need investors. Anybody?

    I was in Fox's once. It smelled so greasy I turned and walked right back out.

    Coffee Gallery is okay but but casual, not good enough for foodies like you. Amy's is okay but expensive, and Susan C says it's not good enough and I trust her. But seriously, folks, this is Pasadena! Do we really have to go out of town for a meal?

    Everybody says Europane, Europane, Europane, but I don't like the place. It's always dirty and I feel icky just stepping inside.

  8. P, I already told you it's ok to have your own tastes. As I previously said, it's not really a breakfast place anyway although it's packed on weekend mornings!! Btw, I saw well-known chef Joachim Splichal picking something up there 2day.

    The sticky pt is a joint with good coffee AND a good breakfast menu.

    What about Ocean Star and Elite for Dim Sum in Monterey Park! Oh, No coffee. Oh, well.

  9. And, Restless Dez, the best flirts are the ones who won't even comment on the subject.

  10. I had lunch in Eagle Rock today (Taco Spot) and passed Fatty's and The Coffee Table. Have you been to either of these places? I hear they're good for breakfast but haven't been.

    Petrea, what? You don't love Europane?

  11. SC, lettuce leave PDP alone. As she grows older, her tastes should change & she may sea the Light!

    Besides, I can bee de same as her with places & things others love, yet I can say, "what's the big deal?" It's the same with blogs too.

  12. The verdict's in: dim sum with tea or Costa Mesa. Decisions, decisions...

  13. I've been there three times. I liked the egg salad very much. The macarons are dreamy. But I've never been there when it wasn't really, really dirty and the last time I was there I was served a ham sandwich that might as well have come from Ralph's. Awful.

  14. Now you're offending all the local friends of Ralph's, P!

  15. Sorry, Cafe. You're right. This was nothing but one slice of pressed ham and one slice of cheese. I apologize to Ralph's, they do a better job.