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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

la grande brunch for three generations

day two of teen birthday princess weekend began with a super fabulous brunch with my mom. since she's lucky enough to live down by the beach and we're...slightly inland [heh], we usually try to find something that's about halfway in between. this time, it was pasadena.

i'd heard good things about la grande orange cafe from a few different people, and since we haven't been doing a whole lot of eating out these days, i figured this was the perfect time to give it a shot. moms is always game to try something new, and so i sent her a link to the restaurant's site. once i got the green light, i hopped onto open table to make a reservation for 11:30.

for the second day in a row, the shitty navigation on my iPhone failed me. i ended up making one wrong turn, but luckily i knew the restaurant was located at the train station. it didn't take too long before i swung a u-turn and found myself right in front of the valet. and for the second day in a row, we'd arrived right on time and i found myself with no time to hunt for cheap/free parking. we hopped out, i took the stupid ticket, and we headed inside.

mom was already sitting at a table, and after exchanging hello hugs and kisses, i got to snappin'. it was a cute little place, homey and cozy.

after we placed our order, i sent the teen out to scope out the train station and take some pics.

i was super excited to finally bust out the tory burch sandals i'd picked up months ago. they've been kickin' it in a box, waiting for just the right day to come out and play. i figured that lovely birthday brunch-slash-day-after-pedicure was the perfect occasion.

her iced tea and my lemonade. refreshing!

we could see the trains coming and going out the door, just off to the side.

service here is very good - attentive and speedy. the eats arrived quickly, which was good considering it was almost noon and i hadn't eaten a thing yet. horrors!

mom's lemon ricotta pancakes, topped with blueberries and served with maple syrup. she shared with the teen and was nice enough not to poke me as i stuck my greedy little fork into a bite. they were really yummy and it was hard not to keep eating, despite the fact that my own entree was sitting right in front of me.

the teen went with the vegetarian nut burger, which she split with her lola. she offered me a bite of this, too, and it was pretty yummy. she decided that from now on, she'd always eat her gardenburger with some thousand island dressing and pickles.

i ordered the "del mar" salad - chilled shrimp and lump crabmeat (and they were no slouch with the goods - there were some really good-sized chunks of crab in there) with olives, pico de gallo and sliced avocado (which i gave to mom), atop shredded iceberg lettuce, garnished with tortilla strips, and dressed with an herb aioli. so. freaking. good.

i asked for some bread to go with my salad, and got a full loaf of this soft, hearty bread that came with a really tasty sweet orange spread.

as we plowed through brunch, i noticed a new-looking sparkly suh'in-suh'in on my mom's finger. i asked her about it and she held it up proudly and said "yeah, i got my stone reset. i bought the new setting on ebay!"

the story gets better. turns out she'd taken the stone and new setting to a jeweler at the mall and was quoted $100. not wanting to leave the goods behind, she opted not to have it done and stuck it back in her purse.

some time later, she was perusing the meat counter at mike's food in duarte during a visit to my grandma (this was pre-vegetarianism, obvs). and over the ground round, she locked eyes with some dude in the back of the store - a jeweler.

folks, my mother managed to find a jeweler at the grocery store, complete with equipment and while-you-wait service. and when she told him what she wanted, his quote for the work was one measly andrew jackson. holy shit. i thought i was gonna pee my pants as she told the story. and apparently, she's decided that geovany (yup, pronounced just like "giovanni") is her jeweler por vida. oh, man. only my mom!

we took these and then we bounced outta there.

when the valet brought the hoopdie, mom hopped in the back to take a quick spin in the new ride. she'd parked up the street a couple blocks away, so we gave her a ride to her car. she took in that fabulous new car smell, i showed off the backup camera, and then we dropped her off.

it was quite a lovely way to start our day. and the fun wasn't over yet! we still had the rest of the day to look forward to.

and the lakers won game seven! could the day get any better? oh, yes. yes, it could. and it did. stay tuned.


  1. Loooooove La Grande Orange. We go every other week. FYI:
    1. There's a parking structure right next door, just north on Raymond.
    2. They have no corkage. For boozers like me, this is gold.
    3. Until May 31st, every Monday and Tuesday night, buy one entree, get the 2nd for $5.
    4. You MUST eat the deviled eggs with bacon.
    5. The ahi tacos are my fave entree.
    6. The brussel sprout salad will make any brussel sprout hater a lover.
    7. They give free cookies at the door on your way out. Let me repeat that: FREE COOKIES.

    Can you tell I like this place?

  2. Your mom dresses SO cute! Must be where you get it from.

    With the recent loss of your iphone/parking mojo maybe you should have taken the train to the restaurant...although does the train run to the middle of nowhere where you live? ;-)

  3. How do you get so lucky with servers taking photos? Mine always come out like crap. Hmph.

  4. Your mom is so cute! I love that she shops on eBay and finds a jeweler at the grocery store. So funny.

  5. Loving how the teen is rockin' the hair twist. Girl has got some style. :)

  6. love that you three all had brunch together.

    my iphone nav's been acting up lately, too, and it's one reason we didn't get the nav on the new ride. it gives me fine directions but has been freezing up. jealousE of the backup cam.

  7. I've gotta try that place - it looks and sounds delish!


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