On Location: San Marino, California

by Tamara Mendoza – Owner and Creator of Suitable Travel Today

     updated 12:43 AM PST, Mon November 11, 2014


Being a college student, it’s always busy at about this time of the year with midterm exams and it was no different for me. With that I wanted to apologize for the lack of posts recently, it’s been a very busy month. If you watched my introduction video on the home page you know that I mentioned a very exciting new development…my first column in an internationally published magazine is being released within the following months! I’m ecstatic about this opportunity which will be a stepping stone in my career as a travel writer. As I discussed in the video the exposure will direct others to the Suitable Travel Today website as well as the social media I have available. It’s a incredible time in my career and I’m anxious for all the remarkable things to come and even more so to share it with everyone.

Aside from the current events I mentioned, I have also put myself on what my mom calls a “spending freeze”. This is a term we use for saving our money instead of spending it on extra activities, fast food, or unnecessary things we want in the spur of the moment. I usually do this right before a trip and its been a system that has helped me tremendously. This weekend, however, was an exception since I only spent about $50…

About a week ago, I ventured to San Marino in Los Angeles County for breakfast and boutique shopping with my mom and sister and concluded our half day adventure with an exploration of the tree lined neighborhood streets. Although we’ve spent more time in the Pasadena area we wanted to explore a more quaint San Marino, away from the hustle and bustle of L.A.

Patrons sitting on the patio of French bistro, Julienne, in beautiful San Marino.

Patrons sitting on the patio of French bistro, Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations, in beautiful San Marino.

I made my first stop at the popular French bistro, Julienne Fine Food and Celebrations, well known for their delicious breakfast menu. Julienne has an impressive 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor and is also rated the #1 restaurant in San Marino on the website. A Yelp reviewer noted that due to the popularity and smaller size of the restaurant visitors dining at Julienne experience anywhere from a 20-60 minute wait on average for breakfast. Their breakfast menu is served from 7 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., so unless you don’t mind waiting outside the patio area taking in the wafting smells of the food being brought out to the seated customers I strongly urge you to arrive as early as possible.

When I arrived with my mom and sister around 8:30 a.m. we ended up having to find street parking which was (luckily) just a few minute walk away. We were immediately seated on their outdoor patio with functioning heaters and leisurely enjoyed several mouthwatering dishes which we all shared, served by Julienne’s friendly and attending staff. Paired along with lattes and mimosas here are two of the dishes we enjoyed:

Baked Crème Brulee French Toast with Fresh Strawberry Sauce and Crème Anglaise •  15

Baked Crème Brulee French Toast with Fresh Strawberry Sauce and Crème Anglaise •

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Waffles, Honey Vanilla Crème Fraîche, Shaved Chocolate, Strawberries •  12.5

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Waffles, Honey Vanilla Crème Fraîche, Shaved Chocolate, Strawberries •

During the entirety of the meal I had to remind myself to savor each and every bite. I’m constantly impressed by the restaurants I’ve been to in the Los Angeles area and Julienne is now another of my favorites. Next time you are in the area please take the time to stop in at Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations and take your taste buds on a trip to France.

Stuffed and happy, we also took some time to explore their adjoining gourmet market and bakery where you can purchase wines, delectable desserts, lunch specials, and even gifts for your friends and family.

My mom browsing through the gourmet market/bakery and gift shop.

My mom browsing through the gourmet market and gift shop.

The gourmet market also serves bakery items like these delicious lemon custards.

The gourmet market also serves bakery items like these delicious lemon custards.

Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations is located at 2651 Mission Street, San Marino, California, 91108. The restaurant only takes reservations for parties of  8-10 and be contacted at 626.441.2290. www.juliennetogo.com

Waddling to our car it was time to head on to our next stop…boutique shopping! There are a few shops along Mission Street next door to Julienne but if you are looking for a variety of shops head to Lake Avenue where the well kept streets are lined with not only old fashioned boutiques but large retail stores too. We only stopped in a few of the boutiques since our time was limited but I’m in love with San Marino and its neighboring city, Pasadena!

During the remainder of our adventure my mom and I decided to explore the neighborhoods and then it occurred to me…San Marino is the setting of one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, Father of the Bride (1991) starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Martin Short.



I have always been a traveler at heart but one thing that has influenced me a great deal has been films created by the magic of Hollywood. I’ve recently made it a hobby of mine to research filming locations used in some of my favorite movies. Father of Bride was filmed in San Marino and also in parts of Pasadena, Hollywood, Burbank, and Los Angeles.

The residence of fictional character, George Banks (Steve Martin) was very easy to find and was only a short drive from where we were on Lake Avenue. Immersing us even further into the world of the Banks family I began playing the soundtrack to the movie as we drove down the timeless streets. A few minutes later we turned onto South El Molino Avenue and suddenly…there it was…

Filming Location: Father of the Bride (1998)

Filming Location: Father of the Bride (1991)

If you have not seen this movie already then I highly recommend it! If you’re a big fan of this movie like I am then adding a stop at this home on your Hollywood Home Tour is well worth the drive. Even with the Halloween decorations up the stunning $1.35 million home brings its visitors right into the heart of the film. Any minute I expected to see the characters walking on and off the drive.

The Father of the Bride House is located at 843 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106.

As I mentioned earlier I was only out and about for half a day so following our stop at the Father of the Bride house it was about 2:30 p.m. when we started to head back home. After having been at home a lot recently, plowing through my midterm study material, the day out was much needed. In fact, I’m convinced I enjoyed the day out more because I’ve spent so much time at home. With that being said, even if you’re busy and only have time to stay close to home you can still plan out an eventful itinerary. Since my mom is a teacher and doesn’t have as much flexibility as I do to travel most of our adventures are close to home! It amazes me when locals here in Southern California look at me in such wonder when I retell some of my most recent adventures. It’s incredible how many things you can find near by! It has nothing to do with being hipster–it’s about being well acquainted with where you live.

Happy and safe travels!

Make sure you’re following me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for instant updates on upcoming adventures.

Creating a Basic Itinerary

Itinerary According to Bing Dictionary an itinerary is a:

  1.  list of places to be visited: a plan for a journey listing different places in the order in which they  are to be visited
  2.  record of journey: a written record of a journey to visit different places
  3.  guidebook: a guidebook for travelers

An itinerary is a great way to not only outline where you’re planning to go each day but it will    force you to look at maps of where you’re staying and will familiarize you with the area and the  prices for each attraction. It also helps me to budget my money so I know about how much I’ll  be spending which is a plus for a college student.

Creating an itinerary may seem daunting which is why most people have no idea how to create one. I wanted to share the outline of my itinerary that I created for my upcoming trip to San Francisco. Of course, all activities listed are tentative because of time judgement–it may take longer at one attraction than at another. You can of course use a different template through Word or create one in any outline that is easiest for you. From experience I can say an itinerary is much easier than handwritten notes and loose papers/brochures.

Throughout the itinerary are some notes and suggestions that I have made.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter/Instagram @SuitableTravel or like my Facebook page to get more tips along the way!

Happy Travels!


San Francisco Itinerary (TENTATIVE)

      Things to prepare before trip:

  • Purchase Alcatraz tickets (tickets sell out weeks in advance!) www.alcatrazcruises.com *This is the only boat company that books tours to Alcatraz and is the cheapeast way to purchase tickets as other 3rd party company will charge delivery and service fees.*
  • Purchase 72 Hour Hop on Hop off tickets for online deal (http://www.city-sightseeing.us/index.html)

Day 1 – List flight information here…

–  Planned transportation method to property

  • Hotel Address
  • Hotel Phone #
  • Hotel Confirmation #
  • Pre-check in and store luggage with bellman if room is not ready
  • Talk to Concierge
    • Do you sell: Hop on Hop off Bus Tix? Cable Car Passes (do they start the day of purchase or when cashed in)?
    • Can you make reservations: for Mama’s? Tea Ceremony?
    • WHERE San Francisco Magazine
    • Cable Car Route Map?
    • Is Hayes Street worth the stop?

–  Breakfast at Sears Fine Food Restaurant

–  Go to Walgreens and buy Cable Car pass (3 Day-$23…use when necessary) and any souvenirs *Tip: souvenirs are much cheaper at a local convenience store such as Walgreens or CVS.*

–  Walk and shop in Chinatown + Fortune Cookie Factory

–  Shopping in Union Square!

–  Lunch: Hunan Homes Restaurant (Chinatown)

–  Dinner: Cheesecake Factory – view overlooks the city (Union Square)

–  Go back to hotel, unpack and get ready for the next day

Day 2 –

–  Good Morning Sunshine! 7AM wake up call, 7:30AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 8:30AM

–  Breakfast/Coffee Shop

–  C-Golden Gate Park Tour Loop (departs @ 10a, 12p, 2p, 4p)

  • Hayes Street (Is it worth it to visit?)
  • Golden Gate Park (Japanese Tea Garden – $7/person entry, $25/tea ceremony)
  • Haight District
  • Near Alamo Street (Painted Ladies) [do not get off – take photos]
  • Japantown

–  Lunch: (tentative – based on location)

–  Dinner: (tentative – based on location)

  Day 3 –

–  Wake up it’s a Saturday…Morning! 7AM wake up call, 7:30AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 8:30AM

–  Breakfast/Coffee Shop

–  Take cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf

–  B-Golden Gate + Sausalito + Muir Woods Tour Loop (departs every 30-60 minutes, 10a-5p)

  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Lombard Street
  • Palace of Fine Arts (Presidio, Marina, Shopping)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (Hop on Hop off to walk on/across Bridge, Fort Point)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (Incredible view of San Francisco/Bridges)
  • Sausalito (Art Galleries, Views, Restaurants, Shopping, Connect to Muir Woods Tour) [Muir Woods – $7/person]
  • Presidio – Central (Walt Disney Museum)
  • Presidio – East (Opposite Lucas Art Studios)
  • Lombard Street (corner of Fillmore St.)
  • Ghirardelli Square [Sundae!] + The Cannery, Boudin Factory, Pier 39

–  Lunch: (tentative – based on location)

–  Dinner: (tentative – based on location)

    Day 4 –

–  Wake up Wake up Wake up its Day 4!! 5:30AM wake up call, 6AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 7AM

–  Breakfast @ Mama’s

–  Take Taxi to Ferry Building

–  A-Downtown Tour Loop (departs every 15-30 minutes, 9a-5p)

  • Ferry Building (Farmers Market & Shopping)
  • North Beach (Italian District Restaurants, Coit Tower, Washington Square)
  • Lombard Street (Crookedest Street, Russian Hill, Hyde Street Cable Car)
  • Pier 39 (Alcatraz Tour – $30-$37; Aquarium of the Bay – $19.95 online price)

–  Night Tour Loop – Take from Fisherman’s Wharf (departs at 6pm and 7pm)

  • North Beach
  • Chinatown
  • Union Square
  • Alamo Square
  • Civic Center
  • Nob Hill
  • California St
  • Embarcadero

–  Lunch: (tentative – based on location)

–  Dinner: (tentative – based on location)

–  DON’T FORGET TO CHECK-IN FOR FLIGHTS! 24 hours prior to flight

Day 5 –

–  Good morning! Buenas Dias! Muchas frias! 6AM wake up call, 6:30AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 7:30AM

–  Breakfast/Coffee Shop

–  Walk around Union Square or somewhere nearby until checkout or store luggage with guest services

–  Board flights!

–  Home Sweet Home!