Monday, June 10, 2013

Read.East.Listen: Pasadena Pastimes

I spent a few days in Pasadena last week on the excuse that my husband was on a longish work trip to the city 10 miles north east of downtown Los Angeles. Over the past few years, I've found Pasadena to be a lovely perch for Southern California visits. Provided you don't want to get to the beach, it provides fairly convenient access to much of LA as well as its own cultural highlights (I didn't get to the Norton Simon Museum this trip, but it's definitely on my radar for my next visit). Pasadena also provides a good perch for birds. As I learned observing the local Alameda peregrines, there's a nesting pair of falcons on the AT&T building smack in the middle of Pasadena. On our way home from dinner, we stopped by to watch the birds on the highest reaches of the building setting up to roost for the night.  Pasadena is very close to Angeles National Forest the San Gabriel Mountains so perhaps it shouldn't come as such a surprise to see such wildness amid the urbanity. Either way, I've been finding it immensely pleasing to see these once-endangered species thriving while surrounded by humanity.
Yes, there are peregrine falcons in this photo
Read: I've been studying up on all my raptors in prep to volunteer at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory this fall. Glenn Stewart's Eye to Eye with Eagles, Hawks and Falcons isn't on the recommended reading list but I'd recommend it to anyone interested in raptor conservation. Likewise, it will be of interest to anyone who had any association with the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group and its work in the recovery of peregrine (and eagle, and hawk) populations. Stewart, the current director of PBRG, was in on the group's work from the beginning, and offers fascinating accounts of the group's origins, conservation efforts in Idaho, Arizona, California, Alaska and Canada, as well as falconry in general.
Eat: When in Pasadena, it's usually a toss up between Real Food Daily — gourmet vegan with a good wine list to boot — and Green St. Tavern, a cozy restaurant with a menu dictated by the seasons. We were won over by the Green St.'s chef offering of a daily 'pie inspiration' on the dessert menu. Who wouldn't be? (The apple pie was a winner.)
Listen: Most of the music happening on this trip was either rehearsal related (Kwame and I are polishing up some of the tunes we wrote for the most recent RPM Challenge) or on the car stereo (a lot of classic rock and top-40 pop happening on LA radios). Nonetheless, somewhere along the routes of the past few weeks, I've been turned onto Escondido, an Americana band out of Nashville. Check 'em out. 

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