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Nite on the Town Restaurant Discount Card, image and link

The Nite On The Town Card is an exclusive membership card that enables the holder to dine at a dizzying variety of the San Gabriel Valley's most popular restaurants at a discounted price.

Simply include your card when paying your check. If you are a party of two, one of your entrees (equal or lower priced) will be free or substantially reduced in price. If there are four or more in your party, two of your entrees will be free or reduced in price and you can visit each restaurant up to three times during 2011 and get a great discount each time

Periodically, SanGabrielValleyMenus.com readers save $5 off the $30 price of the card.  Check back for savings.

Partial list of NOTT Card participants

Beckham Grill, La Fiesta Grande, El Portal, Stoney Point, Radhika, Firefly Bistro, Cafe Mundial, Central Park, Matt Denny's, 1810, Cha Da Thai, Dish, Italian Kitchen, Bella Sera and dozens more. 

Click here to view the complete list, and to see the discount each restaurant offers to Nite On The Town Card holders.

Nite on the Town Restaurant Discount Card, image and link

Restaurant Reviews  Click on photos (except logo) to see them full-size

You can also find our Dot Com Dining columns weekly in the San Gabriel Valley Weekly (print media) and SierraMadreNews.Net (online)

View Restaurant Lozano's menu here

Restaurant: Restaurant Lozano

Where: N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre

Phone: (626) 355-5805

Reservations: Accepted

Cocktails: Yes

Service: Full wait service

Atmosphere: Casual Elegant

Outdoor Dining: Yes

Credit Cards: MC, Visa, American Express, Debit w/logo

Kid’s Menu: No

Senior Discount: No

Food to Go: No

Catering Menu: Yes

Salad at Lozano

Brisket Dinner

Lew at dedication of Weeping Wall Memorial, April 1999

Photo of a photo of Lew's work - Not even close to representative quality

Photo of a photo of Lew's work - Not even close to representative quality

Photo of a photo of Lew's work - Not even close to representative quality

Tabletop granite water sculpture, flash changes effect quite a bit stop by and see the real thing

Tabletop granite water sculpture, flash changes effect quite a bit stop by and see the real thing

Photo of a photo of Lew's work - Not even close to representative quality

 

Dot Com Dining logo image

A Look At San Gabriel Valley Restaurants by SanGabrielValleyMenus.com

Restaurant Lozano Showcases an Old Friend, Lew Watanabe

by Bill Coburn

One of the first restaurant spotlights I ever did, back in December, 2003, featured Restaurant Lozano in Sierra Madre.  At the time, I told you about the addition of cocktail service, and discussed a coconut shrimp appetizer, the bruschetta appetizer, and one of the best New York steaks I’ve ever eaten.  You can still find that spotlight at DotComDining.com.

 

I stopped by last night and had a glass of a very nice “House Select” Merlot along with a green salad and the Brisket dinner with their delicious house steak sauce, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables, and again, it was one of the best briskets I’ve ever had, if not the best.  It was a wonderful dinner, and the service was impeccable.  One thing that struck me was that my waiter, Joel, who has been there for at least a couple years now, came over during the meal and said “Pardon me, how’s everything tasting?” or something to that effect.  The part that got me was the “Pardon me” part.  I can be having dinner with the family and in the middle of a conversation,  the server will come over and interrupt the conversation to say “everything okay?”  Joel, on the other hand, recognized that even though I was eating alone, and not speaking to anyone, he was interrupting my dinner, and excused himself for doing so.  Don’t know why that struck me, but it did.

 

But the purpose of this column is not really to discuss my meal last night, but to let you know about an ongoing very special event, which will be made even more special on November 19th.

 

Restaurant Lozano is known for showcasing the work of artists, usually local artists, on the walls.  The art is available for sale, and changes on a regular basis.  Last night, when I went in, I noticed that the walls were adorned with photos of work done by Lew Watanabe, a local landscaper who frequently incorporates granite sculptures and water sculptures into his work.  In this age of stress, he has created settings for meditation and reflection, serenity and peace.  His work literally lives at Descanso Gardens, Sierra Madre School, and Sierra Madre Memorial Park, and in the garden of the Frederick Weisman Museum on the Pepperdine campus in Malibu, to name a few. 

 

Lew Watanabe is an integral part of what I fell in love with about Sierra Madre.  Lew was always there as a volunteer, to help any organization, whenever they needed him, and he didn’t seek the limelight.  He did the landscaping at Kersting Court, the main square in town, without a big deal.  He helped make sure there was a Christmas tree there each year, as well.  He contributed in one way, shape, or form, to most of the non-profits in Sierra Madre.  He was named Citizen of the Year in 1995.  And rest assured, the few things I’m mentioning here, are a pittance in comparison to all that Lew has done for the City of Sierra Madre and its residents.  I also feel fairly sure that there are many things he has done outside the city that we’ve heard nothing about.  That’s just his nature.

 

In 1931, Japanese families in Sierra Madre built a Japanese garden on the grounds of the new elementary school. With two Japanese lanterns, a bonsai tree, a cement bridge and a koi pond, the garden was a gesture of goodwill to the community that had been their home for decades. The garden was vandalized in 1945, the year World War II ended and many Japanese families returned home from incarceration in government internment camps. In 1995, Lew was instrumental in making the dream of a group of sixth-graders come true as he and his employees helped them to restore it.

 

In April, 1999, the quite, moving, Weeping Wall Memorial was dedicated in Memorial Park in Sierra Madre, as a remembrance of those who served our country and gave their lives.  The plaque reads: “Dedicated to all the armed forces veterans of Sierra Madre…who served our country in peace and war…who helped preserve peace and freedom for our city, country and the world.  The wall weeps not with sorrow…but with pride.  God bless them all”

 

On March 4 2003, Lew fell from a ladder while working on a project.  He suffered a concussion, and cervical compression of the spine, which caused him to lose the use of his limbs.  On March 20th, after swelling had subsided sufficiently to allow surgery, he underwent a procedure to help restore the use of his limbs.  In the time since, he has been through a tremendous amount of physical therapy, and Lew has surpassed every medical expectation and recovered to a remarkable extent. With the help of friends, and with the love of his wife Joyce, plus daily physical therapy, acupuncture with electrical stimulation and deep tissue massage, Watanabe has regained range of-motion and some fine muscle skills and is back to work on landscape projects. 

 

March 4, 2003, could have been the blackest day in Lew’s life.  But Lew and his wife Joyce will tell you that it was the beginning of a series of miracles. That day, it didn't look as though Lew would make it. Today, he continues to recover. Each day, he gains more strength, greater mobility and flexibility.  The Lew Watanabe Benevolent Trust was established, and has purchased a van to increase Lew's mobility and paid utility bills and other cost-of-living expenses.  But these expenses will continue for the rest of his life.

 

Which brings us back to Lozano’s.  Kathy Childs of Sierra Madre heard that Lew had mentioned that many of the landscaping works he had created were not being manicured as Lew would like.  She, with some talented photographers, visited many of these works, and while they are not manicured as Lew would like, she felt that nature adores his work, and the plants that frame his stone pieces are magnificent.  She has published a book featuring the works of those photographers, a biography of the artist, and a step by step look at the creation process of one of his works. 

 

On Saturday, November 19th, as part of the Dickens Village festivities that ring in the Holiday Season in Sierra Madre (sledding on “snow”, mule and carriage rides, holiday open houses at local merchants, Christmas tree lighting, and Santa’s arrival), there will be a book signing to benefit Lew Watanabe and help pay for continuing costs of his care.  The community has rallied around him, as he so often helped it and you are invited to help out, too.  Beautifully framed photos of his works will be available for sale, and, remarkably, so will the granite works for which Lew is so well known.  He now makes table-top granite water sculptures, and you can own one, or give one as a Christmas present (this is ongoing, you can stop by now and purchase a photo or a water sculpture).

 

The small black and white pictures with this article will probably not give you an idea of what will be available, so visit Dot Com Dining to see larger full color pictures of some of the prints available. 

 

Dickens Village day in Sierra Madre is always a kick.  This year, it’s a little more special, with the opportunity to view the remarkable work of a remarkable artist, and an inspirational human being.

 

Bill Coburn is owner of SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a restaurant website featuring more than 140 restaurant’s menus, as well as downloadable coupons.  He has nearly 20 years experience in the restaurant business, and has been eating for much longer than that.

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