Now that I’ve reached 30-something, my birthdays no longer consist of pub crawls, Hollywood clubs or theme park celebrations. Apparently I was born 30-something. But, don’t think that means I let a day of honoring me go unnoticed. This year, as a present to myself, I booked a room at the The Langham Huntington Hotel, an elegant, luxurious hotel located amidst the manicured neighborhood of San Marino in Pasadena.
As I’ve come to learn, nothing cures the realization of “one year older” more than bundling up in crisp Frette linens on a bed that you don’t have to make up, finding a use for a mélange of toiletries stacked in a beautiful leather box in your Italian marble bathroom and a morning dip in the Jacuzzi pre-breakfast. And who said birthdays are bad?
It is only fitting that this hotel be located just around the corner from a place that shaped my very existence, that gave me a point of reference for all things extravagant and helped me to know that yes, in fact, I am a “daddy’s girl.” As we drove along those manicured streets on the way to dinner that evening, past dream home after dream home, I knew it in an instant. I would have recognized that house anywhere. As scenes from “Father of the Bride” came rushing through my head, I thought of Steve Martin sitting alone in his post-wedding stupor. “I love this house. And I never want to move.” Well, no wonder. I wouldn’t want to move either…
Still high from my great sighting, we arrived at Elements Kitchen, a restaurant I’ve been dying to try since falling in love with their cafe in Old Town. A beautiful space, we found that what’s good is very, very good, but the food, much to our dismay, was hit or miss. The artisanal cocktails like the Blueberry Southside Fizz and the Raspberry Thyme Smash were amazing. As were the Kimchi Tacos. I’ll return, but perhaps only to their gorgeous bar for drinks and apps before moving on.
And moving on we did, straight to Noir Food & Wine. A hidden gem, this is a charming little place perfect for gathering with friends on the outdoor patio. Their wine flights are plentiful, consisting of three glasses per type (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, etc.), and though I’ve been told their dinner menu is excellent, skip the dessert…that is not their speciality.
The next morning before heading home, we couldn’t resists popping into the newly opened Intelligencia Coffee for a latte and espresso. It was everything we have come to expect from a coffee bar of this caliber: baristas with handlebar mustaches circa 1900, beautifully crafted seating and lots of creative ways to drop $50 on coffee.
But after all, it is my birthday. What’s another $50?
The Langham Huntington Hotel. 1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue. Pasadena, CA. 626-568-3900