The best things to eat, drink and do in Altadena
Altadena may not be at the top of the list of places to visit in Los Angeles, but it’s getting there. The unincorporated community is a relaxing and charming foothill neighborhood that has its share of restaurants, casual hangouts and outdoorsy activities. You’ll find Altadena just above its neighbor Pasadena (hence the name), north and east of the 210 freeway at the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains. It stretches roughly from Eaton Canyon to the Arroyo Seco, with most notable destinations somewhere in the middle along Lake Avenue. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Los Angeles or would like to explore a city with less foot traffic than Hollywood, then Altadena is the place for you. Should you want to go on an independent adventure or visit the area with a couple friends, there’s something delicious and fun to do within Altadena.
10 Black-owned businesses in L.A. to celebrate for Black History Month or any month of the year
As Los Angeles and its residents continue to experience its share of challenges in the current climate, there’s one thing that’s clear: Black businesses are pushing against the odds. Amid all of the continuously rising obstacles, there are a handful of Black bakers, creatives and stores in Los Angeles that are either just opening or still standing firm while also positioning their products and services to the greater community at large. From an apparel company to a sandwich shop and from Pasadena to Long Beach, here’s a list of 10 Black-owned businesses that are braving the uncertainty of 2021—and who you can support just in time for Black History Month.
Listings and reviews (13)
Barbacoa La Herradura
You’ll easily spot this new food truck in the parking lot of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, adjacent to Christmas Tree Lane. Since August, the family-run operation has been serving tacos, quesadillas, mulitas, consommé and crepes four days a week. While the menu is open to exploration, their specialty is their lamb barbacoa: A tightly-sealed generational recipe, it’s the menu item that they’re most proud of and eager for visitors to experience.
Situated on Allen Avenue and New York Drive, this welcoming coffee shop and bakery has been serving a solid food and drink menu since 1984. Items range from sandwiches and wraps to French toast while drinks include lattes, teas and fresh squeezed juice. The real specialties are the breakfast items; the shop designs extravagant toasts and beautiful pastries, from their labna za’atar toasts to the golden apple tart—finding a favorite is one of the most exciting parts.
Pizza of Venice
Sean St. John and Jamie Woolner started Pizza of Venice in 2012 within a Santa Monica wine bar. It wasn't until the summer of 2013 that the duo made their way to Altadena and opened this pizza shop on Fair Oaks avenue. Since then, Pizza of Venice has been making and dishing out thin crust personal pizzas (including some particularly unique pies, like chicken curry or one topped with local farmers’ market veggies). With a menu offering wings, Brussels sprouts, salad and more than 15 pizza combinations, Pizza of Venice has found their footing and their community within the neighborhood.
Altadena Food Truck Friday
A Friday night in Altadena may not carry the same nightlife excitement you’d find in Downtown L.A. or West Hollywood, but it’s developed its own scene thanks to Food Truck Fridays. Run by the Food Truck Squad, the weekly event brings together a rotation of popular food trucks to the Grocery Outlet parking lot (2270 Lake Ave). With an effort to showcase restaurants both inside and outside of the community, Food Truck Fridays is a perfect opportunity to close out the week with some popular names in a relatively quiet area (think: Baby's Burgers, the Tropic Truck, Dulce Europa Shaved Ice).
Grabbing great Mexican food in Altadena is easy when you have El Patron. The restaurant has operated in Altadena for over a decade and serves homestyle and traditional plates seven days a week. Sitting within the Altadena Triangle Park, El Patron makes hearty favorites that’ll have you feeling both full and satisfied. From their fajitas to their enchiladas to their wet burritos, El Patron has a handful of delicious options to justify the full house.
As the city turns dark, the lights at Rancho Bar turn brightest. It’s one of few bars in Altadena, and it’s been around for decades, too. Catering to a lively crowd, Rancho Bar is for the person looking for an evening where the alcohol is cold, the crowd is energetic and the doors stay open late. It’s the kind of neighborhood bar where you can start your evening solo and end up on the sidewalk with new friends grabbing late-night eats from one of the street vendors.
The Coffee Gallery
The Coffee Gallery is the type of local coffee shop that’s perfect to visit any day of the week. After undergoing a few design renovations, the location has become a charming destination for people-watching, studying or catching up with a friend or two. Look over the menu and you’ll find an ideal array of options for breakfast and lunch, including waffles and sandwiches, that will perfectly pair with their lattes and juices.
The Westlake neighborhood received a great addition thanks to the arrival of LaRayia’s Bodega. The modest grocery store founded by LaRayia Gatson is a wellness oasis on West 6th Street. One of L.A.’s few bona fide bodegas, the store encourages healthy eating with a supply of vegan and vegetarian food, and natural items like vitamins and sea moss are always in stock, too. To help the surrounding community, Larayia’s maintains a grocery section that sells familiar brands and baked goods at highly affordable prices.
If exercise is a goal this year, then a gym that’s dedicated to your success is paramount. Black-owned fitness center The Method makes working out—dare we say—enjoyable. Motivational art decorates the space, club lights illuminate your session and a steam room helps with recovery. Additionally, there are classes for any interest. Whether it’s boxing with Gift Davis, full-body training with Nadège Ndjebayi or Muay Thai with Jojo Kim, a commitment to The Method will lead to results.
With few Black-owned beauty stores in Los Angeles, seeing the doors of BEAUTYBEEZ open is refreshing. Run by Brittney Ogike, the store sells hair and beauty care items while celebrating Black individuality in their brick-and-mortar location and online. Visitors to the shop can find tried-and-true products, explore new brands and grab items that are hard to find anywhere else (I’m talking about you, Black Girl Sunscreen).
Little Amsterdam Coffee
Nestled just off of West Pico Boulevard on South Redondo Boulevard is Little Amsterdam Coffee. The shop, owned by Josh Mock, expertly blends drinks made of addicting flavors. The Amsterdam Latte, a secret mix of ingredients to which only friends are privy, carries a taste unmatched by any of the major coffee franchises. While their drinks can turn strangers into fans, their community efforts turn fans into loyalists. Little Amsterdam Coffee actively promotes local artists, coordinates school supply donations and hosts a community fridge of free healthy goods.
The Jerk Spot
Finding authentic Jamaican food in Los Angeles can feel like you’re Goldilocks. Step into a few restaurants, try the food and time after time it’s just not right. That’s not the case with The Jerk Spot. The unassuming strip mall eatery doesn’t focus on aesthetics and design but places sole significance on quality and delicious food. Looking for jerk chicken, festival (reggae bread), plantains and D&G that tastes like what you would get in Kingston? They have it.