A few years ago I was watching the Food Network and they had a special episode on food that reminds you of your childhood. Food is about nostalgia. It’s why we think of chicken noodle soup when we are sick and orange soda mustaches when it’s summer time. I think it’s also why food is one of the primary methods God uses to help His people remember their story of redemption is deeply rooted in meals and celebrations including communion.This week we were in Pasadena, California with a few of my co-workers for a conference, which means they were going to be eating with me for three whole days. My pain, their weight gain… Sorry, not sorry spouses and girlfriends, but they did eat well. With a hungry team, I decided to take them to Tito’s Tacos right from the airport. There’s not much to the taco in terms of ingredients, but voted unanimously delicious. I went with the beef taco with cheese and a tostada.
I had a great plan for taking our team to the Getty Museum and Huntington Gardens while we were down in LA, but failed to look up their hours online and discovered the hard way that the Getty happens to be closed on Monday’s and Huntington Gardens closed on Tuesday’s. I’m not sure why I don’t have good juju when it comes to planning things. On the flip side, it’s a good thing we were on the food tour so we could at least say half my plans worked out. The way I see it, as long as you’ve got good food, you really can’t go wrong with traveling. If there is anything I’ve learned from my years of leading missions trips, be flexible, prepared to improvise and get made fun of when things don’t go right. If you dish it out, be prepared to take it. So instead of visiting the Getty and Huntington Gardens, we spent the day at the Santa Monica Pier and enjoying the Southern California sun. Note to self: reverse plans for October 2014, Getty on Tuesday; Huntington Gardens on Monday.
I went to college at Azusa Pacific University (about 20 minutes east of Pasadena) where a group of our former students now attend. A few of us decided on Monday night to head out and visit a few of our college students and take them to one of my favorite late night college food runs, Donut Man. I had to get one final Tiger Tail for the road. If you have never had a Tiger Tail, it is literally the best donut known to man. It’s a glazed donut, weaved together with a chocolate donut and it’s amazing. One bite and you sort of wonder where it’s been your whole life. Let’s put it this way, one of my co-workers, Laura, went to our rival school and bleeds screaming eagle, but after her first tiger tail donut, perhaps she’d be O.K. with sending her kids to APU. Being there at 11 PM with a bunch of college students swapping stories, sharing laughs and an incredible late night snack, how do you not get sentimental about a donut?
Pasadena Sandwich Company – Sandwiches bigger than your fist.
Islands Burgers – Not as good as Red Robin, but equally bad for you.
Our final stop before getting on an airplane home was at Gus’s BBQ in Pasadena. While you might judge it for being a little too swanky for a BBQ place, the food was fantastic. We decided that we were going in family style so we can try the assorted selection of BBQ meats including: tri tip, briscut, pulled pork, bbq chicken, fried chicken, ribs, corn bread, mac-and-cheese, red beans, jalapeño jelly, sweet potato fries and vegetables covered in butter. Sweet diabetes, this place was awesome.
The good stuff is improvised.
p.s. I did get a chance to knock out a couple more miles running around in the smog.