Category Archives: Pasadena Magazine

Heavy Metal and Hamburgers

burgerEven before entering Alhambra’s newly opened Grill ‘Em All, a food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant, I heard the crowd buzzing and the heavy metal. When I passed through the doors, I saw flashbacks to the edgy and energetic era of 80’s hard rock, complete with bright orange walls, paintings of rock bands, Metallica-inspired gear, and the bad-ass owners.

Grill ‘Em All was a successful food truck that won the “Great Food Truck Race” and the truck’s famed handmade tater tots were on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Thus, the owners, Matt Chernus and Ryan Harkins, thought it was time for a permanent installment. “For so many years, we have been taking our burgers to the people,” Harkins said. “Now it’s time for the people to come to us.” And the people will come for the signature burgers like the Behemoth, a beef patty nestled between two grilled cheese sandwiches and topped with cheddar, bacon, beer soaked onions, and Grandma’s Mosh Pit BBQ Sauce; the Jump in the Fryer, an intense burger with waffles as buns that hold a beef patty, fried chicken, and a maple-hot sauce drizzle; and the Powerslave with a Brie cheese, a Bourbon apple compote, and field greens. The inspiration for ingredients comes from the owners’ favorite flavors and according to Chernus, “All the burgers have unique toppings. The burger is the canvas. We are willing to push the barrier.”

Chernus and Harkins are lifelong friends who share a love for punk rock and burgers. Before starting their food truck, Chernus said that they “tried every burger and became nerdy about it.” Not only have they perfected their juicy and flavorful burgers (yes, even when well-done), they have developed side dishes that play anything but second fiddle. High on Fries, a bed of hand-cut fried potatoes topped with shredded buffalo chicken, buffalo sauce, and bleu cheese dressing, is a star on the menu. These potato wizards are also the geniuses behind their tater tots, each one made with potatoes that are shredded and formed individually by hand. The future looks bright for this rockin’ restaurant; don’t miss out on Tot Tuesdays during the Heavy Metal Happy Hour, which is a time to jam to classic tunes while you head bang your way through a memorable meal.

Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Grill ‘Em All, 19 E. Main St., Alhambra. 626.284.2874 or

Camellia Festival

If your recipe calls for “flower,” don’t think it’s a typo: This annual flower fest highlights edible flowers, specifically the East Asian Camellia, whose petals are used to make delicious tea. Enjoy a lecture from local beverage masters at Chado Tea, a walk-and-talk through North America’s largest camellia garden with a horticulturalist and a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The Camellia Collection at Descanso Gardens boasts rare and familiar camellias and has been designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society.

Feb. 9th and 10th, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission prices vary. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. 818.949.4290

-Christina Kharbertyan

Photo courtesy of jimd2007 via Flickr