Not much has changed at Jake's of Pasadena since 1947, the year the diner first opened its doors along historic Route 66 in Old Town Pasadena. The eatery recalls Southern California's golden era of surf music, hot rods, and drive-ins through its nostalgic decor and classic diner grub. Feel free to build your own burger ($5.99+) or outsource the decision-making to the cooks by ordering one of Jake's signature menu items, such as the BBQ cheeseburger ($7.99). You can complement any sandwich with chili fries or onion rings or sip a shake while you gossip about which mailman is stealing the football team's letterman jackets. There's also a billiards room downstairs that is open nightly.
“When [you] walk through the door, the first thing you’re gonna smell is bacon.” That’s a promise from Slater’s 50/50 founder Scott Slater, whose restaurant serves an infamous burger patty built from half ground beef and half ground bacon. Executive Chef Brad Lyons helped with the recipe, though the original inspiration came from the all-bacon patties Scott and his friends used to grill up during Chargers tailgate parties. For the restaurant, he decided to cut the bacon with high-quality beef that, like a baby's fake ID, is aged 21 days. As if the bacon-infused patties weren’t distinctive enough (as far as they know, Slater’s 50/50 the only restaurant in the world that serves them), Scott and Brad designed a DIY menu that lets patrons customize their burgers by size and with 11 cheeses, 40 toppings, 19 sauces, and four kinds of bread. Patrons overwhelmed by these options can instead order one of the specialty burgers, such as a Peanut Butter and Jellousy with creamy peanut butter, strawberry jam, and of course, thick-cut bacon. Bacon reappears throughout the menu, including as candied crumbles on brownies and in the syrup used in bacon milkshakes.
With a name that salutes the community centers that filled Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century, Boteco beckons all walks of life to eat and drink at its contemporary wooden bartop and sleek, square tables. Historically, these centers incorporated the region's diverse array of northern European, Mediterranean, and Arabian cuisines, and Boteco continues this tradition.
In addition to crisping pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients, the chefs simmer pots of Portuguese stew with cod and potatoes, and arrange sizzling sirloin next to rice, black beans, Brazilian pico de gallo, and caramelized plantains. The chefs also use tiny kitchen tools to construct small bites of tapas and appetizers, all while bartenders whet whistles and other woodwind instruments with 50 domestic and imported craft beers alongside wines and mixed drinks.
Since wrapping up the contents of their first grande burrito in 1974, The Original Peppers’ crew of chefs have continued to sate customers’ cravings for spicy, south-of-the-border fare thanks to their vast menu of Mexican food. Within the bustling kitchen, chefs can be found wrangling ingredients into traditional Mexican dishes ranging from burritos and enchiladas to fajitas and tostadas, crafting homemade tortillas on Wednesday and Thursday. While many dishes feature meats such as certified Angus beef and deep-fried pork, the culinary team also architects a host of seafood specialties starring jumbo scallops, seasoned halibut, and crab to appeal to the seafaring palates of humans and bears dressed like humans.
Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
Since 1952, Melody Bar and Grill has gathered diners and bargoers in an unvarying array of midcentury comfort and luxury. Amber chandeliers dangle from ornate copper ceilings in the dining area where guests enjoy menu selections such as chicken parmesan and top sirloin culotte steak designed by chef and owner Christian Warren. In the bar area, light fixtures reminiscent of a Japanese dojo illuminate a bar upholstered with tufted brown leather. Matching intricate cocktails with special events throughout the week, Melody hosts Monday evening karaoke.