A Day-long Birthday Celebration in Pasadena

I love organizing, and I love surprising friends. Naturally, I volunteered to organize the surprise birthday of one of my best-est friends, Lena.

August 25th was her birthday, and lucky for us, it fell on a Saturday. I took into account all the things my bestie Lena enjoys and sculpted a day-long celebration event for her, with the help of our other friends.

Pasadena, is one  of cities in the Los Angeles County. It’s best known for as the home of the Tournament of Roses New Year’s Day Parade. While planning for Lena’s birthday, however, I discovered that Pasadena has a lot more to offer than I first thought.

Here’s an account of all the things we did there all in one day. You might find it useful if you ever find yourself lost in Pasadena.

Activity 1: Foody Field Trip 

Thanks to Goldstar, we managed to snag some awesome discounted tickets for a Foody Field Trip Tour of Pasadena.

Our tour guide, Janae, led us on a walk-eat-walk tour of Old Town Pasadena.

Foody Field Trip Tour Guide Janae

 Our meeting place, and our first stop, was at Pappa Rich, a korean bakery with hundreds of outlets all over Asia.

Birthday Girl Lena with Papparotti – Pappa Rich’s mascot

Their one outlet in the U.S. happens to be located in Pasadena. We had a taste of their most famous maple mocha bun with creamy butter inside.

Maple Mocha Bun

 Our second stop was at Chado Tea Room. Here the manager taught us about the different types of teas, and how they’re made. We got to see a Chinese Black Tea Brick up close and even learned the different benefits of each type of tea.

Chinese Tea Brick 

We also got to sample a variety of teas, and even had a bite of their scones.

Chado Tea Room’s Tea Samples 

The third stop on our Foody tour was Choza Mama, a Peruvian restaurant where we got to sample some wonderful Peruvian food.

Lechon Adobado at Choza Mama

 The fourth stop was at an Argentinian Restaurant called 1810. We sampled the best steak ever, and even had a glass of red and white wine to boot!

1810 Argentinian Restaurant

The fifth stop was at Haven Gastropub. We sampled the in-house beer and the home-made ketchup which they served with their fries.

Beer, flatbread,fries and homemade ketchup at Haven Gastropub

The sixth and final stop was at Violet’s Cakes, a cupcake shop that offers a variety of yummy gluten-free cupcakes. They also happen to be finalists of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Mini cupcakes at Violet’s Cakes

 The Foody Field Trip ended at around 1:30PM, but after three hours of eating and walking, we still weren’t done for the day.

Our next stop was at 300, a nice bowling alley in Pasadena. Here Lena got to use the personalized bowling ball we’d given her for her birthday three years ago.  Bowling was a fun way to shed some pounds after the crazy food trip.

Bowling with friends at 300

After two hours of non-stop bowling, we headed back to Old Town Pasadena for the next event. We took Lena to her favorite tea shop, Bird Pick, where we ordered her favorite Lychee Oolong Tea and surprised her with some birthday cupcakes.


Tea and birthday cupcakes at Bird Pick

 A couple of hours after we’d devoured the last of the birthday cupcakes, we walked half a mile to Lena’s final surprise venue for the day.

Lena loves movies and she’d been wanting to try out the iPic Theater in Pasadena for some time. So we bought some tickets and reserved seats to watch The Bourne Legacy there.

iPic Theaters is the ultimate movie-going experience. For $29, we each get our reclining lounge chairs, pillows, blankets and popcorn. We also get to order and eat dinner at the theater itself. All we had to do was push a button on our seat, and a server arrived to take our order and deliver it a few minutes later.

Awesome movie-going experience at iPic Theater

Birthdays are special for me. It’s the one day a year where I get to show a very good friend how much she’s appreciated and loved. Sufficed to say, Lena was super happy, and incredibly overwhelmed after the  day’s adventure. I know we all had fun celebrating it with her!

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9 Responses to “A Day-long Birthday Celebration in Pasadena”

  1. mooderino says:

    That cinema looks awesome. How will you ever go back to cramped seating and sticky floors?

    Moody Writing

  2. I want to watch a movie in a lounge chair! You can plan my birthday anytime.

  3. Sia McKye says:

    Omg, what a wonderful idea! It celebrates the day and give life long memories.

    I want to be one of your best friends, lol! I’d love to see what you’d come up for in October.


  4. lenabearr says:

    Honestly, I’m still overwhelmed! In a good way of course :) Thank you and Maiko for always making my birthday sooo special. Love you both so much! ***hugs***

    Of course, thank you to all my wonderful friends for celebrating it with me :) Love you all!

    I am so grateful <3

  5. What a fun day…. I love tea rooms… When I was in Beijing last, I went to a few…

  6. Bish Denham says:

    What a very special friend you are! Simply wonderful that you girls got to spend the day eating and playing.

  7. I’m so jealous of these food pics – I want to eat what you had!!

  8. This seems like the best birthday ever!! You could make a living as a party planner, I’ve no doubt. The restaurants all sound yummy and all of the food pics make me hungry. I totally want one of those cupcakes! :)

  9. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell – first Happy Birthday Lena … what an amazing day you all had – I’m exhausted reading the post – how you coped with all that food, exercise et al and a glass of wine along the way …. I’d love to try Pasadena – but you’d have to allow me three days I think …

    Some of the restaurants sound so good – I prefer savoury .. so I’d be at those .. now I wish I lived in Los Angeles!!

    Great read .. loved it!! The film theatre sounds amazing .. cheers Hilary

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