A co-worker’s birthday brought me and my fellow worker bees to The Hat for a festive lunch. I’ve visited this 63-year-old palace of pastrami twice prior, but didn’t swoon until this time around. Hello, Grilled Cheese with Pastrami!
Archive for the 'Los Angeles' Category
Now that The Astronomer and I are ten weeks away from welcoming our baby girl into the world, we’ve been thinking a lot about how our dining rituals of showing up without reservations and waiting in long lines will need to be revised quite soon. Not one to miss out on the latest hot spots, I’m hoping that lunchtime outings and dining early will keep me properly in touch with the L.A. restaurant scene with a child in tow.
Which brings me to POT, Roy Choi’s stupendous Koreatown spot that now offers lunch. While snagging a seat at dinnertime can be tough, lunch is a decidedly child-friendly affair with an al fresco dining option. God, I’m starting to sound like a mommy blogger…
The lunchtime menu is slightly abbreviated from the one offered at dinner, with scaled down portions and a few fun additions including Spam banh mi and classic bi bim bap.
The Astronomer and I started our lunchtime feast with an order of the “Stash” ($5), a sweet, salty, and umami-fied party mix of dried squid, peanuts, cashews, beef jerky, potato chips, dried pineapple, seaweed, wasabi peas, dried anchovies, and sesame seeds. I’d be the first in line to buy this stuff if it were bagged and sold by the pound. A killer beginning, for sure.
It may have taken a few years for 800 Degrees to make its way to The Eastside after debuting back in 2012 in Westwood Village, but as of last Friday night, the “Chipotle of pizza” is officially slangin’ damn good Neapolitan-style pies in Old Pasadena! Hooray!
The restaurant is housed in an impressive two-story space designed in 1929 by John C. Austin, who was also responsible for Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles City Hall, and the Shrine Auditorium. 800 Degrees fires its pizzas (at 800 degrees, of course!) in a custom Mario Acunto wood-burning brick oven, promising guests “a 125 year-old classic in 60 seconds or less.”
All pizzas are made with Italian “00” flour, fresh mozzarella, imported Italian tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil.
In addition to pizza pies of all stripes, 800 degrees offers an array of small bites, including an entire section of the menu dedicated to locally made burrata. We thoroughly adored the Prosciutto, melon, and arugula preparation this evening.
I finally made it to Union for dinner this week, nearly five months after it opened in Old Pasadena. I’ve been following the restaurant’s positive press since the start, but couldn’t quite swing a meal here (walking in at 5:30 PM on Saturday evening was impossible) until now. It was most definitely worth the wait.
Prior to settling down, Chef Kalman was a James Beard nominated Rising Star Chef, pickle master, and alumnus of Park Avenue Café in New York, Spiaggia in Chicago, The Misfit in Santa Monica, and The Churchill in West Hollywood.
To start, a warm and crusty loaf from Etxea Basque Bakery served with house-made cultured butter sprinkled with coarse salt and damn fine giardiniera ($6). This was deceptively simple and so, so good.