Sunday, June 29, 2014

Around Town: A proper place to reflect and dine

Around Town: A proper place to reflect and dine

The best breakfast view in La Cañada is in the Flintridge Proper bar. Sit against the south wall. Look out the window to the north.

The majestic San Gabriel Mountains rise directly behind Trader Joe’s and Starbucks. Natalie, the pretty server, tells me the mountains are beautiful when there’s snow.

The room is cozy, club-like at 10 a.m. on a weekday, with small-craft bottles of London Dry and other obscure brands lining the room.

My order was prepared with care by the Chef Kevin NaPier and his staff. There was a side order of two poached eggs and some toast. The eggs come from a special egg farm. They looked and tasted totally unlike anything you can buy in the stores. The menu describes them as “Local Free-Range Eggs.”

Who knew that local chickens could be carefree given our town’s archaic poultry ordinances?

LCF Ordinance 11.32.030 (“Hogs and roosters prohibited”) provides, in pertinent part: “A person shall not keep or maintain any live pig or hog of any age, or any rooster over two months old, in any residential zone, whether such pig or hog or rooster is kept or maintained for the personal use of the occupant or otherwise.”

How can celibate chickens produce such magnificent yolks? Clearly, the free range is not in La Cañada Flintridge.

As for the hogs, I personally consider them to be cute, highly intelligent and not subject to consumption. The menu, however, includes “artisanal” bacon, “housemade” sausage patty and ham. These obviously are not made from La Cañada pigs, at least not pigs over the age of 2 months. Luckily, we have no ordinances regulating sausage production in La Cañada. Not yet.

Back to the meal. The toast was perfect, served on a wooden plank with a pile of shredded butter and a bit of delicious housemade jam.

Patrick, another waiter, came by. “How is it?” he asked.

“May I move in here? Live at Flintridge Proper?”

“Sure,” he pointed to the sofas. “You can sleep over there.”

As for the coffee — move over, Starbucks. The outstanding Flintridge Proper coffee comes with a little bent spoon that hangs over the side of the mug.

Better yet, the owners, Brady and Mary Elizabeth Caverly, who will bring a mixologist to an upcoming Thursday Club meeting, decorated the restaurant with nostalgic memorabilia from our town’s past. Signs. Postcards. Old photos.

All this is part of the Proper’s mission, which is “to identify what is truly great about a specific community, distill it into something tangible and then give it back to the community in a truly ‘authentic’ way as a new kind of neighborhood restaurant. The goal is to create a place that serves as a hub for the community to gather and enjoy really good food, a properly made cocktail and the company of their friends and neighbors in an atmosphere that embodies the history and singular charms of the town.”

Early La Cañadans, such as Will Gould (founding lawyer/rancher), Lemuel Veilex (acquitted of burning down the school in 1893) and Elizabeth Banbury (civil litigant), would be proud.

Some mornings, when the winds blow, you can sense their spirits and remember days gone by. Right here in La Cañada. In the Flintridge Proper neighborhood restaurant.

Feb 12, 2014

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