Yes, we already did a pub crawl along the Gold Line, the east side light rail line in Los Angeles. That was just a small trial run for the real thing, an all-day, complete end-to-end, deep exploration of the line. With an added visitor, my bother in law, and no driving to be had, we're not holding back.
The Gold Line runs 31 miles from the edge of Monterey Park in the south to Azusa in the northeast end of the San Gabriel Valley and makes a loop through downtown L.A. and Pasadena along the way.
We start off at Atlantic Station, the south end of the line in East Los Angeles and make our way a couple of stops to the Indiana Station. This is a nutrition and fortification stop to prepare for the rest of the day-long journey.
Breakfast is red pork tamales and chicharonnes at Lilliana Tamales before getting back on the train.
Little Tokyo/Arts District Station is next where we take the short walk over to Traction Avenue. Two breweries are here and two breweries are closed today. We thought they might be open on their earlier weekend hours since it was a holiday (Memorial Day) but, no.
Lucky for us, Fritzi...which shares the building with the Arts District Brewery...is open and pours brews from the back of the building.
To go with our backyard dog and pastries, it's a Nitro Red Ale, their Belgian style wit, and a pilsner. They were good, not the greatest beers we've tasted but decent, and the hot dog messy.
Back on the train it's a two-station jaunt to Chinatown. The newly built Blossom Plaza apartments have finally opened up the sidewalk adjacent to the station so it's much easier walk over to Gin Ling Way, the heart of the area.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find any bars open so we hit up Phoenix Bakery for some treats and jumped back on the train.
It doesn't take long until we're at the Del Mar station in Pasadena. This is the historic train station for the city and the old Santa Fe station now houses a fancy restaurant. Next to the southbound platform itself is a branch of Escondido's Stone Brewery, famous for its Arrogant Bastard ale.
We set up a row of tasters and dig in. We find a couple that aren't bad but most are a little too hoppy for our taste.
Tim suggests we check out of Stone and atone for our sins at the church across the street. At least you'd be forgiven for thinking it was one. It's Congregation Ale House, the Catholic mass themed drinking hall in the former Crown City Brewery space at Del Mar and Raymond Avenue.
Letty has a nifty blackberry sour ale while I have a St. Bernardus 12...a very tasty and strong Belgian quadruple ale. Tim's done with beer and switches to soda while we all soak it up with a pretzel and beer cheese (pic at top).
So far, we've made four stops on this voyage across eastern L.A. county...breakfast in East L.A.; the Arts District and Little Tokyo; Chinatown; and Pasadena...it's time for the last leg of our journey.
The Gold Line ends across the street from the campuses of Citrus College (a public community college) and it's next door neighbor, Azusa Pacific University (a private Christian university).
Just to say we've been from end-to-end on the 31 mile line, we go to that eastern terminus before heading back one station to the downtown Azusa station. It's here in this unlikely area that has one of the most lively station-adjacent areas for fun on the entire route.
It's just a little over a block south of the station to our next stop, Max's Mexican Cuisine, where we'll fill up our bellies on that great Mexican food and have some margaritas (you might remember Max's from our 'Southern California's Best Margaritas' video).
Since we've been drinking all day, I opt for the drinking man's Mexican friend, a nice steaming bowl of menudo.
This goes perfectly with a Cadillac margarita.
After our time with Max and his minions...with a hearty "See you tomorrow, WHY NOT?" as we leave...it's golden hour out on Azusa Avenue.
Halfway to the station, we spot a Mexican Dive bar...Maria's...and it's happy hour. I glance at my brother-in-law, we shrug our shoulders, and head inside while Letty and Tim roll their eyes and try to figure out how they got in this mess.
It's one more Pacifico for the road (or rails, in our case) before we stumble back up to the station and head back to our home station and walk or wobble back to our house.
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