Archive for the 'Pasadena' Category

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Sushi Kimagure – Pasadena

Sushi Kimagure - Pasadena | Omakase

I lost my notes after dining at Sushi Kimagure; it was a digital file on my phone and now it’s gone.

Considering the extensive backlog of material that I’m currently blogging my way through, I could’ve forgone a write-up, but after some thought, I decided to proceed since my meal here was less about the fishes that were present and more about the fishes that weren’t present.

Sushi Kimagure - Pasadena | Omakase

As an enthusiastic and frequent sushi eater, I’ve been thinking a lot about Bluefin Tuna. It’s delicious, yes, but also an endangered species. My dinner at Sushi Kimagure marked my very first omakase where I explicitly requested that no Bluefin be served. In all honesty, it was really hard to get the words out, especially with the language barrier, but I’m glad that I insisted because it would be a travesty if future generations of food lovers couldn’t indulge in toro. The temporary sacrifice was worth it.

Dining with me this evening was my mother, who didn’t have any special requests when it came to her omakase.  I’m not quite ready to impose my values on her yet, even though she’s been imposing hers on me for the past 31 years.

Sushi Kimagure - Pasadena | Omakase

While Sushi Kimagure serves swoon-worth chirashi at lunchtime, dinner is a strictly omakase affair. Mom and I both selected the “Matsu” ($85), the most extensive and expensive option that includes seven different courses: Seafood Salad, Broiled, Sashimi, Fried, Sushi, Soup, and Dessert. We opted to sit at a cozy table rather than at the bar tonight.

Dinner began with a beautifully arranged and impeccably fresh seafood salad with scallops, shrimp, salmon, and seaweed.

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{swoon} Lunch Special Chirashi at Sushi Kimagure

Lunch Special Chirashi at Sushi Kimagure - Pasadena

If I plan it just right, I can walk from my office to Sushi Kimagure, indulge in a swoon-worthy chirashi, catch up with a girlfriend, and walk back to work  in just about an hour. It’s not something I can swing every week, but believe me, I would if I could.

While the brisk walk and good conversation offer an unbeatable break from the grind, it’s Sushi Kimagure’s fresh-like-you-wouldn’t-believe chirashi that keeps me coming back for more.

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Sushi Ichi – Pasadena

Sushi Ichi - Pasadena

A recommendation from my friend Anne brought me to Pasadena’s Sushi Ichi. Located on the Arroyo Parkway directly across the street from the first-ever Trader Joe’s, this unassuming sushi spot makes it possible to enjoy really fine fishes without having to travel to Little Tokyo or the Westside. Pasadenians, rejoice!

Sushi Ichi - Pasadena

For my first meal at Sushi Ichi, my friend Lien and I opted to experience the omakase. We reserved two seats at the bar for the occasion.

Chef Ichi is a one-man show, which can either lead to a wonderfully intimate experience or be a big ‘ol burden depending on when you visit. On weeknights when the restaurant isn’t too busy, fishes are quick to arrive at the table and conversation with the chef is encouraged. However, on busy nights like Fridays and Saturdays, service can be markedly slower. Plan your visit wisely, and reservations are encouraged.

Sushi Ichi - Pasadena

My dinner at Sushi Ichi marked a turning point in my sushi eating career. It was solidified during the meal that I am a fan of neither shiso nor wasabi on my fishes, and that I really should steer clear of endangered fruits of the sea like bluefin tuna and eel, too. These sentiments have been building over the years, but something about tonight made it all crystal clear. Future omakases will be better for this moment of clarity.

Now, onto the goods…

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Umami Burger – Pasadena

Umami Burger - Pasadena

In the span of less than five years, restaurateur Adam Fleischman has expanded his “fine-dining fast food” concept Umami Burger across Los Angeles and into San Francisco and New York City. Just last week, an outlet popped up in my Pasadena stomping grounds, taking over the space formerly occupied by Naga Naga Ramen. My cousin Phil and I swung by last Thursday evening to scope out the latest addition to our neighborhood.

Umami Burger - Pasadena

The Pasadena location has a full alcohol license, which means plenty of beer, wine, sake, and liquor to keep burger-goers hydrated. Even though the cocktails sounded mighty enticing, especially the “Perfect Pear” with vodka, honey, lemon, and mint, I opted for a bottle of fancy pants cream soda instead. Phil went for a gin and tonic, his most favorite drink in all of the land.

Umami Burger - Pasadena

Like my dear Astronomer, Phil isn’t much of a pickle guy, so I cleaned house on the “House Pickles” ($5) solo. From the selection of beets, shitake mushrooms, bread and butters, cauliflower, okra, tomatoes, kimchi, and spicy cucumbers, I was most impressed with the curried florets and properly funky kimchi.

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