I’d like to nominate the manager of the Vons on West California Boulevard for president of the United States. I don’t know who she or he is, but that person should be running the country. That Vons is the cleanest, most efficient, best-run operation in Pasadena. The votes are in, meaning I’ve talked to a dozen citizens who voiced the same glowing endorsement. The carts are sanitized! The staff is professional and positive! The paper goods aisle occasionally has paper goods! Vons on West California has done a top-notch job, in the parlance of our telegenic Governor, to “meet the moment.” Or in this case, meat the moment. I’d hate to lose this valuable member of the Pasadena community, but if the country was run like that grocery store, there would be toilet paper for all.
In truth, there are many Pasadenans who’ve met the moment (okay, I’ll stop saying that now. I’m sure the Governor has trademarked it and I don’t want to draw any legal attention.) But if President Vons is looking to assemble a cabinet, I’d like to see Claudio from Everson Royce Wine as secretary of state. Every few weeks, I’d make a call to Everson Royce for a curbside case of vino and it was the 10 best minutes of the isolation. Claudio listened to my needs, my budget, and my palette preferences like a good statesman and then wandered around the shop describing his recommendations over the phone. He’d throw around policy positions like “Montepulciano,” “Tempranillo,” and “Gewürztraminer,” and recommended wines from Chile, Austria, and Spain. His comfort level with foreign words, his knowledge of geography, and his upbeat demeanor would be a refreshing addition to the state department.
In a time when ordering take-out became our patriotic duty, it seems fitting that our commerce secretary be the turkey burger from True Food Kitchen. I know it’s unusual to have a burger in a cabinet position, but have you tasted that turkey burger? Smashed avocados, jalapeño remoulade, smoked gouda on a flax seed bun. Stop it. A delightful curbside discovery that sustained my husband and I again and again and deserves a national profile. Secretary Turkey Burger, I pledge fealty.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the revolution of curbside pick-up. Long may it reign! I liked turning over a certain amount of control to enterprising store owners who shared their wares on Instagram, encouraging me to call or DM them to order. Sure, Southern Roots, you decide what my mother-in-law’s birthday arrangement looks like! Yes, Armstrong Garden Centers, fix me up with that caprese salad planting package! I didn’t even know you could grow mozzarella! And what about curbside cocktails? We’re never going back now that we’ve seen the promise land that is La Grande Orange Café’s sangria for home enjoyment. It’s about time the whole country understood what New Orleans has known forever: booze-to-go is brilliant.
Over the past few months, a crush of humanity walked, strolled, ran, biked, scootered, and socially distanced past my house. (Thanks for nothing, Rose Bowl Loop.) With all the waving, nodding, and truly charming family scenes, I came to the conclusion that Pasadena is for pandemics. After exchanging yells and shouts with my masked neighbors, I’d say I’m not the only one. We all agreed that if we had to be isolated, this was a pretty good place to do it. Primarily because of the world-class human beings we have working those essential jobs, from health care workers to grocery cart sanitizers. Second, of course, is the weather and the aforementioned turkey burger. But all in all, when we really needed to pull together, Pasadena met the moment. Fight me, Governor.