Have you ever eaten cornbread? Yes? Okay, well did it explode with flavor and melt in your mouth? No? Well then you need to visit Gus's BBQ in South Pasadena, CA, ASAP. Gus’s serves slow-cooked barbecue in such a hospitable atmosphere, it makes you feel as if you were actually in the South. The restaurant is only a 5 minute walk from my old home, and after listening to a bus driver praise the cornbread to me, I decided I had to try it. Dude, it moved me. Like in the way that God moves mountains. Alright, that's a little bit dramatic, but I'm tellin' you, shit's good. Guys, it comes in a skillet. Have you ever had a bad meal that was served in a cast iron skillet? No, right?!
Still not convinced? What if I told you there was honey butter involved? And it has real corn kernels. How often have you had cornbread that contained real kernels? At least for me, my answer is never. Until this guy. This one is legit. For real. It's seriously good. It's served with jalapeño jelly that has just enough of a kick to balance the sweetness of the honey butter so it doesn't detract from the savoriness of the cheddar cornbread. Still not sold? GO LOOK AT THE PICS BELOW. If that doesn't do it for you...then you should take a second look cause it's making my mouth water again just looking at it.
Maybe cornbread just isn't your thing; that's totally fine. (If that's the case, why are you still reading this??) But you're in luck because I have another recommendation that's just a ten minute walk away from Gus's BBQ. A little bakery, called La Monarca, is located on the corner near the South Pasadena train station. I knew they had to be serving something delicious since it always has people inside from 6am to 8pm. If you've got a sweet tooth, I recommend their Guaymas latte: a smooth blend of chocolate and coconut, served iced or hot (both are equally good). They also sell authentic tortilla wraps. I suggest you bring some home and make a bomb quesadilla or enjoy them on taco night. (Trust me...do it. You won't regret it.)
Also, for any of you La La Land fans out there, South Pasadena is home to the Rialto Theatre. Now I've never seen the movie, but apparently there are some key scenes filmed here. If you decide you want to check it out, it's about a 7 minute walk from Gus's BBQ.
I realize South Pasadena is 30 minutes north of DTLA, and therefore might be inconvenient for travelers, but if you are a die hard foodie, I highly believe it's worth the commute. Plus, the town is filled with life: lots of color, shops, restaurants, etc. Locals often asked where I was living, and after I'd say "South Pasadena," they always responded with, "that's a great area." Because it is! Go see for yourself.
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