I have never been particularly stoked about Pasadena’s dining scene in the seven years that I’ve called it home. Don’t get me wrong, Pie ‘n Burger and Lucky Boy will always have a very special place in my heart-slash-stomach, but one cannot live on cheeseburgers and breakfast burritos alone.
Recently, however, the city has experienced a surge of exciting openings that have my sentiments shifting. New additions to the culinary landscape like Union (pasta!), Lincoln (pastries!), 85 Degrees (taro buns!), Little Sheep (hot pot!), Blockheads (shaved snow!), 800 Degrees (pizza!), and Copenhagen Pastry have made Pasadena tastier than ever before. Score!
Following the success of the original Copenhagen Pastry in Culver City, owner Karen Hansen opened a second outlet in East Pasadena this past December. The specialty here are Danish pastries like the ones she grew up eating in Denmark.
Nearly all of the pastries here are made from laminated dough—yeast-leavened dough that’s folded 27 times over with layers of butter. The pastries are filled with various ratios of almond paste and custard, along with cinnamon, almond flakes, and fruit.
On my first visit to the bakery, I selected half a dozen pastries to share with The Astronomer. The most visually arresting was the Morning Poppy ($1.60)—the “carpet of poppy seeds” added textural interest and a touch of nuttiness to the almond paste and flaky pastry.
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It’s the season for peppermint-, pumpkin- and gingerbread-centric sweets, but not for Good Girl Dinette‘s Diep Tran, who marches to the beat of a different drummer boy. At her Highland Park restaurant, it’s all about figgy pudding, the oft-overlooked and under-appreciated Dickensian delight.
Get your belly in the holiday spirit with my latest piece for the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish: “Good Girl Dinette’s Diep Tran brings us all some figgy pudding.” Happy holidays and bon appetit!
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The Astronomer and I traveled to San Francisco back in October for the super-sweet nuptials of two friends (with a side of super-sweet treats).
We don’t always have time for serious gastronomic endeavors when we head north, especially with so many friends and family to see, but we somehow manage to fit in desserts. Lots of desserts. Priorities, priorities.
After years of pining for Tartine‘s famed morning bun, I finally got my paws on one. Dusted with cinnamon and sugar, imbued with candied orange, and most importantly, perfectly flaky and buttery, the bun was as lovely as hoped.
We also indulged in a slice of cake (before noon!) along with our morning bun because that’s what vacations are for. Our choice pick featured lime-moistened genoise cake with passion fruit Bavarian cream, topped with sweetened cream and coconut. Mmm…cake for breakfast—that’s how we do.
Continue reading ‘San Francisco Sweets: Morning Buns, Russian Honey Cakes, Egg Tarts, Doughnuts and more!’
I scream. You scream. We all scream for liquid nitrogen ice cream!
Ice Cream Lab, which first introduced its made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream in Beverly Hills in 2013, recently opened a second outlet in my neck of the woods—Old Town Pasadena. The Astronomer and I swung by to check out the new kid on the block during its debut weekend. We cannot resist an intriguing food and science mashup!
The opening menu, which was more concise than expected, featured four “Classic” flavors (vanilla bean, chocolate, strawberry, and cookies and cream) and three “Signature” specialties. All are made with either a custard or yogurt base.
Once we settled on our flavors, the shop’s “techs” used machines that looked like suped-up Kitchen Aids and -320 degree liquid nitrogen to instantly freeze the raw ingredients into ice cream. Very cool. Literally.
Note: The Astronomer, a scientist and proponent of safety, was surprised that the techs were not required to wear safety goggles and protective gloves. He feared for their eyeballs and exposed extremities.
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