Old Town Pasadena put on a clever spin on food events, melding together the city’s restaurants together with its boutique retail shops for an intriguing walking food tour. WinePas was designed to showcase some of the town’s quaint and tasteful (in more ways than one) highlights while raising money for the Pasadena Educational Foundation, which supports grants for the city’s teachers.
Some of those local teachers doubled as guides for this special evening, donning pastel-orange shirts and leading small groups through narrow corridors just off the Old Town’s iconic Colorado Boulevard. It was a new discovery of the area, even for the most seasoned Pasadena locals.
While most food tours lead groups through restaurants, WinePas took a different approach by bringing restaurants and guests alike into local retail shops. The first stop took people into Gold Bug, a specialty trinket store with exotic merchandise sourced from across the world, where amidst gemstones and faux cow skulls stood a booth for Bone Kettle, who served their papaya salad and steak tartare.
The process repeated five times, where patrons got a new tandem dining and shopping experience each step of the way. Maestro’s ceviche and take on Mexican street corn, The Pan’s everything pizza, and Fish Wives’ crab cakes were some of the additional culinary highlights, hosted in retail shops Finn + Willow, Fresh and Sugarfina respectively.
The tour ended at The Celler, an alluring ‘hidden’ wine room in the heart of Old Town. Michael Calderon, regionally acclaimed as “Mr. Pasadena,” served as the event’s Title Host and Sponsor and was present to spread jubilance throughout the experience. Calderon played a large role in planning the event as well as funding it, and spoke to combining retail and food as a means to expose patrons to the community in a new way.
All proceeds from WinePas go directly to the Pasadena Educational Foundation. Whether this becomes an annual festivity is to be determined, but it was undoubtedly met with great enjoyment for all who participated. For more information, visit WinePas.com.
The 45th annual Festival of Fall, Pasadena’s outdoor gourmet food and drink festival, will take place in the gardens at the Historic Laurabelle A. Robinson House on Sunday, September 29, from 5 – 8pm.
The long-celebrated event is expected to bring in more than 500 guests to enjoy the creations of 25 top chefs, restaurants, cocktail bars, wineries and breweries, along with special cooking demonstrations and live entertainment.
Participating restaurants and dessert purveyors include include Bone Kettle, Bacchus’ Kitchen, Celestino Ristorante & Bar, El Cholo Café, Gale’s Restaurant, Green Street Restaurant, Hope Café & Catering, Julienne Fine Foods & Celebrations, Mi Piace, NOOR, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Roy’s Restaurant, SuperCool Creamery, Sushi Roku, and Tam O’Shanter.
Proceeds from the Festival of Fall will directly benefit AbilityFirst, which provides a variety of programs designed to help people with disabilities achieve their full potential throughout their lives.
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Old Town Pasadena’s restaurants and retail shops will collectively open their doors for a city-sponsored food tour on Thursday, September 19. Titled WinePas, the event aims to bring showcase some of Old Town Pasadena's best restaurants, wine bars and local businesses to directly benefit the Pasadena Educational Foundation.
The event will be structured in the same way as a standard food tour. Patrons will be able to choose a start time (6:00 or 7:30pm), where they will meet a designated guide. Each guide will lead small groups (no more than 10) through a set itinerary of dining destinations, with tasting-size portions available at each stop and discounted retail stops along the way. Each tour should last ~2.5 hours. Patrons should expect ~ 2 bites at each stop and not necessarily a full meal.
Restaurants and chefs participating in WinePas include Chef Erwin Tjahyadi and Bone Kettle, Ervin Galvan and We Olive, Chef Elena Vega and Maestro, Chef Tim Shu and Fishwives, Leo Temory and The Cellar, and Mercedes Raffulls, Jasmine Lymon and The Pan. Top local retailers that will be featured are Whimsy Pasadena; Pasadena's newest event and party venue, Sugarfina; a luxury candy boutique, Finn + Willow; charming boutique offering iconic fashion brands, Gold Bug; a gallery with contemporary art of over 100 artists, and Twigzz; a creative imaging and floral design studio.
The Title Host and Sponsor of this year’s WinePas will be Michael Calderon “Mr. Pasadena,” who will also be present to share his love and continuous support of Pasadena.
Tickets are available at WinePas.com for $49/person. WinePas is a 21 and over event.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.