Although I never lived in NYC or the Tri-State area, I travel there about 4 times a year for business. While I love every second that I was there, but nothin' beats living in LA.
If you are looking for a suburbia type of housing, none of this; Westwood, West Hollywood, Los Feliz etc etc.. will fit your bill. That is more metro living per se.
Pasadena is great, its trendy enough that you still feel like your connected with the city but its also chill enough to remind you why you moved outta NYC in the first place. I recommend looking at areas around Lake Ave/Colorado blvd as well as old town Pasadena. You'll love it there.
The commute is not half bad. Take the 110 and you'll be at work in about 30-45 mins (with traffic)
As far as shops, I recommend The Wheel Supply in Walnut.