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Happy Trails Catering: Where an Ancient Tree Meets Café and Catering Services

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Happy Trails Catering is not just your run-of-the mill catering company. It is also a delicious lunch café from Monday-Friday, and a favorite event location for private parties, corporate events and weddings. Located in Old Pasadena, the enchanting garden holds up to 200 guests, has mossy walkways around the main seating area, tall, ivy-covered walls for privacy, a lovely lawn, and manicured flower gardens.

Aside from owner Kathy Black's noted experience as a caterer and event manager, the natural star of any event held in the garden is the 150-year-old camphor tree, which provides a natural canopy, and around which a wooden deck sits. An obvious choice for a garden wedding, it's no wonder Happy Trails Catering was named a Top 3 wedding spot in Pasadena by Bride Bop, with numerous 5-star reviews by more-than-satisfied brides. "Weddings became our niche," explains Black, "because couples were attracted to the tree, and inherited us as the caterers."

"We encourage our clients to personalize the garden to make it look like them," Black notes. "Themes for events have included renaissance garden with animal topiary centerpieces, pumpkin patch garden with hay bales and pumpkins as a photo booth and Zen garden with white sprays of orchids on each table." Paper pompoms and lanterns are often hung in the tree, which is strung with small lights, while Craftsman-style wooden doors and brick walls present an old-world feel. Black continues: "The most extravagant decor was when five crystal chandeliers were wired into and hung from the tree branches, making an outdoor ballroom. It was beautiful!"

Black and her partner were interior designers who did catering on the side until the opportunity to open a commercial kitchen arose. "Happy Trails Catering began as an extension of our love for cooking, entertaining and eating good food," Black says.

In the kitchen for the weekday lunch-only café, anyone can try their signature dishes, made from scratch using fresh ingredients, and enjoy the gardens. Happy Trails Catering's café menu is seasonal, and changes weekly, with entrees showcasing the catering menu, including vegetarian entrees and all kinds of interesting salads. Black notes that favorite menu items are "quiches, the sage roasted turkey breast sandwich with lingonberry cream cheese, and our lemon squares and pecan bars." With fully content stomachs, many lunch diners hear the tree's call, and plan their next event in this unique garden spot.

In addition to customizable event menus and a unique location, Happy Trails Catering provides party planning expertise and professional service staff while also coordinating flowers, music and rental equipment, and catering services are provided anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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