Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 7, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 7, 2017 


It was a cold and rainy night, but I set my mind to 
patio dining. This past week I visited an old friend, 
Celestino’s on South Lake. It’s right there for the entire world to see, but for some reason I continue to 
pass by on a daily basis. Thankfully, my assignment for the week was to find the best of the best of the 
Italian family restaurant in the Pasadena area. I found it in Celestino’s, truly a gem in Pasadena.

Let’s start with the service. I arrived a bit earlier than my dinner companion, and the attention was so 
superb I thought I was the only one in the restaurant - “Would you like some ice tea? A glass of wine?” 
The restaurant has a covered front patio, a main dining room, and two areas that can be used for private 
parties or overflow, plus a covered patio area in the back. For dinner, this place was busy; I think my 
trend of fancy dinners instead of lunch is catching on. The restaurant itself is pure Italian with a service 
bar big enough to have a drink at while you are waiting for the table, and the walls are covered in 
paintings all representing the Italian Coast. And yes, of course, every table had white linen tablecloths 
and flowers.

Chef and partner Calogero Drago has 
set up the menu for a distinct “Italian 
Countryside” feel. Keep in mind 
we came for lunch, but Chef Drago 
did sneak in a few dinner specials 
(and some very warm and crusty 
sourdough bread with olive oil!). For 
starters we had the Insalata Frutti Di 
Mare, a mixed seafood salad with 
plenty of mussels, clams, calamari 
rings and shrimp. Next, a dish that (if 
you have been following my column) 
I have to order every time: Calamari 
Fritti (Celestino’s includes the rings 
and the tentacles, yummy)!! When 
I see gnocchi on the menu I order it, and if the first twenty minutes were any indication on how the 
meal was going to be, I knew the gnocchi was going to be great. It was. Layered with lobster sauce and 
peppers this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. This was not the end, however. I had asked 
the Chef for half portions, and I was beginning to think he didn’t believe me. Next was the Pappardelle 
con Mezzenzane e Scamorza Affumicate (translation: fettuccini w/eggplant and smoked mozzarella). 
For those of you who are calling Celestino’s right now for a reservation, I don’t blame you, because next 
our server brought us a Mushroom Soufflé with Fontana cheese and black truffles. After that, I returned 
from heaven in time to try the Rack of Lamb on fresh mint. My head spun as my server forced us to try 
the dessert, canola {cannoli?}, which was terrific. Don’t let the menu translation scare you; Celestino’s 
service and the food are arguably the best that I have had in some time.

I feel the dinner prices are reasonable, but if you have a little extra dough to spend, there are over 
200 wines by the bottle, many of them familiar names. For business or catching up with a friend I 
recommend lunch, for a night on the town or a romantic dinner I recommend dinner.

CELESTINO'S 141 S Lake Ave Pasadena, CA 91101

Julie’s Favorite Family Recipes

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills



2 C all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 C butter or coconut oil

1 1/4 C sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp imitation or real almond extract (imitation safe for nut allergy)

1 egg

3/4 C crushed pineapple, well drained

1/2 C shredded coconut, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, use 
an electric hand or stand mixer to cream shortening, sugar and extracts together. Beat in the egg until 
mixture is fluffy.

Blend in the pineapple and flour mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls 3 inches apart onto an ungreased 
cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coconut.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 2 
minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.




Happy New Year! Welcome to a 
fresh year, ripe 
with opportunities 
to move on and 
create the life that 
you want. Instead 
of making a list of resolutions, first find out what you 
want and prioritize. Then, it’s time to get out the pen 
and paper! In yoga, there are two words that are used 
to fuel our own empowerment: intention and resolve 

 Begin with your list of priorities and desires and set 
your intentions for the new year. These could be small 
things or big things. Ask questions such as, when do I feel 
the most ALIVE? What am I doing and who am I with? 
Along with the positive ideas, include the thing/behavior/
thought pattern that you do NOT want to do anymore. If 
these old habits are still hanging on, accomplishing our 
positive intentions is nearly impossible. Don’t tackle them 
all at once, just pick one that you feel is holding you back 
and work on it. Make sure the list is complete and even 
includes seemingly impossible wants and desires. Be bold 
and courageous!

Second, create a positive statement of something you 
see coming true in your life. Make the statement as if 
the event has already happened. For example, “I have 
excellent communication and loving interaction in all my 
relationships.” Write the statement and say the statement 
as if every relationship were healthy in this way.

 Last, bring your intentions and resolve into your 
yoga and meditation practice. Call upon the Divine 
energetic force of the universe to come into your life 
and remove any obstacles. In everyday life, practice 
self-compassion through your yoga practice. Practice 
in a loving, consistent way to bring nourishment to 
your body, mind, energy and spirit. In times of distress, 
come back to your statement of resolve. Realize that 
there’s no black and white rule with our positive 
intentions, there may be times when we are completely 
off the beam. Come back to self-compassion and 
quietly fall back in line with your practice and what’s 
important to you in the new year.

 Most of all, come and do YOGA and gather 
awareness, connection and positivity through your 


Keely Totten




Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

A client asked me if I thought it made sense to get 
health insurance for a pet, and just as I was about 
to answer her question without skipping a beat, I 
realized I had no opinion whatsoever on the subject. 
After all, I’d never looked into buying pet insurance 
myself and I couldn‘t think of anyone I knew who 
had. Soon after that conversation, I got curious and 
decided to do a little research on the subject.

 This came as a challenge to me, as I am hard 
pressed to invest my precious time shopping out 
health insurance even for myself, let alone for my 
dog. But, I was interested in learning more, so I did 
what I always tend to do when I get curious about 
any given subject - I Googled it!

 First, let me just say I wish insurance companies 
would be so kind as to present their policy 
information in a similar or standardized fashion on 
their respective websites. I don’t know if it is done 
intentionally, but for whatever reason each company 
has their own unique way of providing (or not 
providing) details on costs and coverage, making it 
very difficult for a simple-minded person like myself 
to shop comparatively.

 Fortunately, I got lucky during my search when I 
hit on a website called, which 
just so happened to be featuring pet health insurance 
on their home page. I’ve heard ABC news refer to 
Consumer Advocate now and then, while discussing 
certain products or services as part of their program, 
so the name rang a bell for me. The website was 
actually quite helpful. They listed the top 10 pet 
health insurance companies based on the number 
of stars they’ve earned through positive feedback 
received from current or previous customers.

 Still, when I visited the websites of each insurance 
company listed, it was like trying to compare apples 
to oranges, due to the way they show (or don’t show) 
the details of their plans. The tricky terminology 
used in the insurance industry doesn’t help, either. 
But ultimately I was able to determine that they all 
seem to share one common denominator; across-the-
board exclusion of pre-existing condition coverage.

 Apparently the pet insurance industry has not 
followed the lead of our federal government’s current 
health care reform plan which promises coverage of 
pre-existing health problems. This didn‘t necessarily 
come as a surprise to me, but there were several 
other exclusions listed for pets that did take me by 
surprise, and definitely made me wonder if paying 
for pet insurance makes any sense at all.

 For example, nearly all of them exclude coverage 
for veterinary exams (really?), spaying and neutering 
(what a shame!), and last, but 
certainly not least, preventative care 
such as vaccinations, heart-worm 
medication, de-worming, grooming, 
flea control, dental care and anal 
gland expression. I don’t know about 
you, but this list of exclusions just 
about sums up the list of potential 
health needs my dog might have at 
the vet. This leaves one wondering 
what the heck they do pay for.

 I admit, it would be nice to 
have coverage in the case of an 
accident or some other type of 
emergency, but to spend upwards of $40 a month (I 
calculated an average of about $1.50 a day) “just in 
case“, simply doesn’t make sense to me when I am 
already spending thousands a year for the care they 
exclude. Regardless of my opinion, I decided to share 
Consumer Advocate’s list of top ten pet insurers, so 
you can do the research and decide for yourself.

 As always, I like to remind folks that any 
information we might find on the internet is subject 
to the truth test. Make it a habit to confirm and 
validate what you read on the web by checking and 
cross-checking, tuning in to on-line chats about the 
topic, product or provider and making phone calls 
to talk to a real human before making a written 
commitment or completing any form of money 

 So here’s a list of the 10 Best Pet Insurers, as 
featured on

#1 - Healthy Paws:; 

#2 - Pet Plan -; 866-467-3875

#3 - Trupanion -; 855-591-3100

#4 - Embrace -; 800-511-

#5 - Pet First -; 855-270-7387

#6 - Pets Best -; 877-738-7237

#7 - VPI -; 888-899-4874

#8 - Pet Partners -; 866-774-1113

#9 - ASPCA -; 888-716-1203

#10 - Pet Premium -; 800-935-

I hope this list comes as helpful to you pet owners 
who may be looking to buy health insurance for 
your four-footed furry friends. I’m sure purchasing 
pet health insurance makes sense to some, but to 
others such as myself, maybe not so much. I guess it 
depends on the specific needs of your pet, and what 
you might be expecting for the future.

 If you do happen to be in the market, I wish you 
good luck hunting. Oh and by the way, I’d love to 
hear from any of you who would like to share an 
experience you have had with pet health insurance 
- good bad or ugly. I think we can all learn from 
another pet owner’s previous experience and 
resulting perspective. Now, go and give your pups 
and kitties a big hug for me and until next week, 
don’t forget to love and let live!

Happy Mew Year! The Rose Parade has come and 
gone, but LOLLY is in bloom and waiting for a 
forever home where she will be purr-fectly pam-
purr-ed like a beautiful princess of the Royal Court. 
She is tabby & white, age about 9 months. Lolly is 
a total love-bug! She loves to cuddle, and is playful 
and smart. She 
would be great 
with another 
cat, and we can 
advise. Call 909-

 Lifeline for Pets 
is a small no-
kill rescue. We 
show some cats 
most Sunday 
afternoons at Petsmart, 3347 E. Foothill Blvd. in 
Pasadena, 12:30-3:30. 

 Adoption fee is $100, which includes spay, 
microchip, exam & vaccines. Our cats are negative 
FELV/FIV unless otherwise indicated. 

 See more pictures, adoption info & application 
on our website, Sorry, we 
are not accepting cats at this time.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285