January is the first month of the calendar, the first full month of wintertime, and the time of the year when we vow to make a fresh start, clean out the storage room, or finally start getting to bed at a decent hour.
But the out-of-the-gate month is also known by a different handle in the Golden State, one that's very much built around the pleasures of grabbing a bite out (and, quite often, not paying a bundle).
It's California Restaurant Month, in short, and while many counties and cities and neighborhoods across our foodie-mazing state will be going the grub-centered, money-saving route in January, you only need to look to the Crown City for one of the quirkiest Restaurant Weeks on the calendar.
What to do, where to go and what to see
It's Cheeseburger Week, a tasty Pasadena tradition, one that has its ketchup-slathered beginnings in 1924 (the year the cheeseburger was said to have been invented at the local Rite Spot). Rather than staging a more general, all-sorts-of-eats Restaurant Week, the city puts the focus on meat, melty cheese, and buns.
The dates for the 2017 celebration are Jan. 8 through 13, which should give Pasadena a moment to catch its collective breath, post-Tournament of Roses. But after breaths are caught, prepare to get to know the patties and cheddar-yummy ways of the restaurant-laden locale.
Deals might be found at the classic Pie 'N Burger, as well as Meat District Company, and "specially created cheeseburgers" will be on the menus at a handful of area eateries.
As for the Cheeseburger Crawls? You're on your own to arrange one with your burger-lovin' buds, but the people at Pasadena Restaurant Week have kindly compiled a trio of suggested neighborhood outings (and what to try).
And if you want to have your say in the annual Cheeseburger Challenge, make your protein-powered opinion known.
After roses, and footballs, and floats, did you already know that the cheeseburger is another January staple of Pasadena? If you know your food history, and how cheeseburgerdom got its piquant start in pretty Pas, then you surely named the meet-and-cheeser as an essential part of city's first month.