Posts Tagged ‘Pasadena’

Bruce Kalman elevates dining with Union Pasadena

Spaghetti alla chitarra at Union Pasadena. Photo courtesy of Union.

Spaghetti alla chitarra at Union Pasadena. Photo courtesy of Union.

Chef Bruce Kalman’s Union Pasadena in Old Town is good — not just good for Pasadena, but good for anywhere. That’s good news for Pasadena, but not so good for those of us who live nowhere near there.

No matter. You’ll want to try Union Pasadena’s food in any case. The menu by Kalman (The Misfit, Urbano Pizza Bar, The Churchill) is described as a “seasonally Californian interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine,” but all you need to know is you want all the pasta. Yes, the other dishes are tasty, too — pork meatballs with San Marzano tomatoes, lardo and caper berries, and wild mushrooms over Grist & Toll polenta topped with Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar — but Kalman’s house-made pasta is where it’s at.

The spaghetti alla chitarra (pictured above), with San Marzano tomato, garlic and fresno chili pepper, is a classic kicked up a notch with a Californian ingredient. It’s simple and satisfying.

But when Kalman starts getting creative, that’s when he really shines. The squid ink garganelli served with lobster, fennel, meyer lemon and truffle butter is holy-moly good. The toothsome pasta sucks up all the flavors, including the richness of the lobster.

Squid ink garganelli

Squid ink garganelli. Photo courtesy of Union.

In keeping with the seasonal theme, some dishes in the pasta section change periodically. One of these seasonal dishes is a duck agnolotti with pickled fiddlehead ferns, another rich dish featuring expertly crafted pasta and two of my favorite ingredients.

Duck agnolotti

Duck agnolotti. Photo courtesy of Union.

When it comes to mains, don’t overlook the pork chops. It’s not a sexy cut of meat, but boy are Kalman’s juicy (that sounded really dirty, didn’t it?). The version I had with mushrooms, root vegetables, Marsala sauce and sage was the best I’ve had in recent memory.

I really wish Union Pasadena were closer to where I live, but that would just be selfish. I guess now I have a reason to make the “trek” to Pasadena.

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further reading:

Bruce Kalman Ups the Ante at Union Pasadena by estarLA

Pasadena’s Union is not your same ol’ Old Town by Los Angeles Times

07

12 2014

L.A. Street Food Fest returns to Pasadena

Fire-roasted tomatoes with burrata and black mint pesto. Fire-roasted sweet potato, honey and serrano chili sauce. Both from the Picca menu by Ricardo Zarate.

Los Angeles’ biggest and most epic food festival, the L.A. Street Food Fest’s Summer Tasting Event, pops back up at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on July 16. This year’s event will feature a curated selection of street-inspired food from all kinds of vendors, including gourmet food trucks, old-school carts and stands, celebrity chefs, and restaurants, serving up everything from tacos to ice cream sandwiches. You’ll taste favorites from the Naan Stop, Grilled Cheese and Flying Pig trucks, Starry Kitchen and Guelaguetza restaurants, Food & Wine‘s Best New Chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and Picca fame (who is creating something special just for this festival), and many, many more. There will also be a group of Baja chefs, including Javier Plascencia and Diego Hernandez, who will be cooking together for the first time. This feat was accomplished by none other than L.A.’s most-knowledgeable Mexican food aficionado, Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet L.A. There will also be ice cream, cocktails, beer and a special tequila tasting tent. It’s too much to list; here’s a list of L.A. Street Food Fest’s participants.

Naan Stop truck's samosa, which will be served at the L.A. Street Food Fest

Festival vendor Beachy Cream's Ginger Wipe Out with candied ginger ice cream and molasses spice cookie (left), Key Lime Cowabunga with key lime ice cream and coconut oatmeal cookie.

A portion of every ticket sold will benefit a local cause. This year it’s the Downtown Womens Center, which works to end homelessness among women.

To avoid long lines and overall craziness that has plagued the festival in the past, this year’s event is only offering a set amount of tickets. All tickets will be sold on a pre-sale basis only; tickets will not be available to purchase at the door. A $60 ticket gets you everything — food, drinks, cocktails, beer, music and parking.

For those of your concerned about Carmageddon, AKA the complete shutdown of the 405 freeway from late July 15 to early July 18, the Street Food Fest folks have come up with a whole staycation plan, with a free shuttle to the Gold Line, bicycle parking and hotel deals.

11

07 2011

The Raymond, reinvented: creative cocktails and cuisine

Wall Paper cocktail

Staten Island cocktail

It’s easy to pass up while driving along Fair Oaks Avenue, but The Raymond is one Pasadena restaurant that you wouldn’t want to miss. Sure, it’s been around for nearly 35 years, but with a recent makeover and the new 1886 Bar, The Raymond is new again while maintaining its old-school feel.

We were recently invited to dinner at The Raymond, which was originally established as a hotel in 1886. The hotel is long gone — a victim of the Great Depression — and the current incarnation of the restaurant is located in the property’s former caretaker cottage. The interior is kind of like eating in your mother’s house: it’s intimate and homey. But it’s also sophisticated enough to make you remember you went there to dine, not do your laundry.

Keep Reading

31

01 2011

Where modern meets traditional: CHAM Korean Bistro

I was skeptical of CHAM at first. Whenever there’s a contemporary take on Asian food, I wince a little. Not because I’m against the idea, per se, but because such a feat is usually poorly executed. Not so at CHAM, which offers a mix of traditional Korean dishes, such as bulgogi and japchae, and Korean-inspired dishes, including a persimmon salad and fried calamari tacos. OK, so the execution is decidedly for American palates, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Actually, CHAM’s food would be a great introduction to Korean food for those not familiar with it.

My favorite dish of the night was actually a non-traditional one. The watermelon salad with arugula, watermelon, feta cheese, figs, mint and a mint vinaigrette was refreshing and all kinds of delicious. My only complaint was the large watermelon cubes, which made it a bit hard to eat, but the combination of the juicy fruit with the other juicy fruit of figs, along with the saltiness of the feta and spiciness of the arugula, made me overlook that. This is a must-order salad.

Watermelon salad

Keep Reading

08

11 2010

A great way to start off the week

La Grande Orange is celebrating two years in Pasadena with a buy one, get one deal. On Monday, March 22, (that’s today) and Tuesday, March 23, buy one entree and get a second entree for just $2.00 during lunch and dinner.

And keep an eye out for the Cart For A Cause food truck, which launches Tuesday in Beverly Hills at United Talent Agency from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. with chef Nobu Matsuhisa dishing up $10 meals. The truck will run once a week with a different celebrity chef, starting with Matsuhisa and continuing with the likes of Walter Manzke, Susan Feniger, Sal Marino, Eric Greenspan, Josef Centeno, Jean Francois Meteigner, and Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook. All proceeds go to support St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels, so not only do you get a gourmet meal at a bargain price, you’re helping out others in need. Follow the cart on Twitter at @CartForACause for times and locations.

Correction: Chef Alex Becker from Nobu will actually be the one serving up the food truck meals, not Matsuhisa himself. Apologies for the confusion.

22

03 2010

New Year’s Eve dinners

Pork belly slider at Petrossian

Pork belly slider at Petrossian

Petrossian: This West Hollywood restaurant and market is offering a special six-course prix fixe menu and a champagne and caviar toast in two seatings, one at 6:00 p.m. and another at 9:00 p.m. The first seating, at $95 per person, will feature blinis, hand-sliced smoked salmon, foie gras terrine, seared scallops, prime beef filet mignon and vanilla panna cotta. The second seating, at $125 per person, will feature the same menu except a traditional caviar presentation with 12 grams of domestic, sustainable Transmontanus caviar will be served in place of the blinis.

Vertical Wine Bistro: This Pasadena eatery and wine bar is offering two dinner seatings for New Year’s Eve. The first seating at 6:00 p.m. will feature the regular dining menu, and the 8:00 p.m. seating will be a five-course prix fixe meal, including a cheese course and dessert, for $65 per person. There’s also the option of basic wine pairings for another $65 per person or deluxe wine pairings for $125 per person by wine expert David Haskell. After dinner there will be a party in the restaurant’s bar and lounge area from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. for $20 at the door and $35 to reserve a seat in the bar and lounge.

Dakota Chop House: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Dakota Chop House is hosting dinner, as well as a live band, dancing, midnight countdown and champagne toast. There will be two seatings, one from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. that will feature a three-course meal for $75 per person including braised young artichoke salad, osso bucco and spumoni millefoglie, and a second one from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. for $125 per person including veal cheek ravioli, rabbit and taglitelle with lamb ragu.

Further reading: e*starLA has a great list of New Year’s Eve dinners, too.

28

12 2009

Death by chocolate: L.A. Luxury Chocolate Salon

XT Patisserie displaying its wares

XT Patisserie displaying its wares

Last weekend, I attended the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon, a totally insane event filled with all kinds of chocolate products that basically turned the Pasadena Conference Center into a crack house for chocoholics. You think I’m exaggerating? I was hip checked at one point by an overzealous chocolate grabber, pushing me out of contention for a piece of something or other, which at this point, is mostly a blur. But some chocolate stood out more to me than others, so here were my favorites.

Keep Reading

19

10 2009

Giveaway: L.A. Luxury Chocolate Salon

Obsessed with chocolate? Can’t get enough? Well you’re in luck because the folks with the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon, a chocolate show featuring tastings, demonstrations and even wine tastings, have given me a pair of tickets to the salon to give away to one of you! The event will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday, Oct. 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Once you get in, you’ll have access to unlimited tastings and demos, and if you like something, you can purchase it, of course. Here’s a list of some of the companies you can expect to see:

…and many more!

Here’s what you need to do:

Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite kind of chocolate candy before midnight on Oct. 1 (that makes the deadline 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30).  Make sure to leave some kind of contact information, too. I’ll choose a winner at random the morning of Oct. 1.

Hope to see you there!

[Video from TasteTV]

28

09 2009

Melting Pot Food Tours

Farmers Market. From Rosebud_03 (flickr).

Farmers Market. From Rosebud_03 (flickr).

Ever wondered about the inner workings of some of your favorite restaurants in the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax or along West Third Street? If you take a walking food tour with Melting Pot Food Tours, owners and guides Lisa and Diane Scalia will give you the low down. And now the ladies have expanded their walking tour business into Old Pasadena.

Keep Reading

14

07 2009

Pasadena’s La Grande Orange now serving weekday breakfast

Daybreaker egg-white omlette

Daybreaker egg-white omlette

Well, an abbreviated version of its weekend brunch menu, at least. Starting Monday, June 15, at 7:00 a.m. LGO debuts its “Commuter Breakfast” featuring the Daybreaker egg-white omlette, Commuter sandwich, house-made English muffins, and organic oatmeal, among other brekkie items. Unfortunately, as this is a commuter, i.e., quick, breakfast, LGO’s eggs Benedict and lemon ricotta pancakes aren’t on the menu during the week. But those English muffins are pretty darn good, and you can even buy a pack to take to work with you. What may be the best part is nothing on the menu (save for the six-pack of English muffins) costs more than $6.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

13

06 2009