Sunday, January 10, 2010

Santa Anita Park (Horse Racing)

Santa Anita Park is two hours south of Edwards in a town called Arcadia (just east of Pasadena). Drop in for a day at the track. If you've never been, it's a lot of fun - and kid friendly. Even if you're not a gambler, an afternoon watching the races is a great time. But do note that unlike other events, horse races have a race then 30-45 minutes of down time, then another race, etc. This will leave you plenty of time to walk around the park and get a bite to eat.

Literally next door to the track is a Westfield shopping mall. So it might even be a good idea to send dad & junior to the track and mom to the mall. While there are plenty of good eats in and around the mall, I recommend a 6 mile drive to Pasadena for dinner. Pasadena is one of my favorite cities in all of America and its culinary treats are sure to delight.

Houston's (320 South Arroyo Parkway) is a small, upscale chain we enjoyed while stationed at Robins AFB, GA. Don't miss the Spinach & Artichoke Dip. Worth the $13 pricetag.

If you've got the kids along, try Pie'n Burger (913 East California Blvd). This place is a Pasadena institution. And as you guessed, you should probably have a burger and fries there - with a slice of homemade pie for dessert. Beware the ala carte menu, as it may get expensive quickly! Service is slow but the ambiance is worthwhile.

Special Night Out: 561 Restaurant is a white linen place run by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. It's their teaching restaurant. So its very likely that your sommelier will be nervous and your server will hand you an evaluation form at the end of dinner. But the menu was excellent and the experience was unforgettable. An amuse-bouche even showed up after our first course.

Note that Pasadena restaurants have no corkage fee on Wednesdays. You're probably not visiting Santa Anita track on a Wednesday - but just in case. Here's the list of participating restaurants!

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