Archive for the 'Pasadena' Category

Ice Cream Lab – Pasadena

Ice Cream Lab - Pasadena

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!

Ice Cream Lab - Pasadena

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.

Ice Cream Lab - Pasadena

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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800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria – Pasadena

800 Degrees - Pasadena

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!

800 Degrees was created by Chef Anthony Carron, in partnership with Umami Restaurant Group (Umami Burger, Red Medicine, and Umamicatessen) and Allen Ravert.

800 Degrees - Pasadena

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.

800 Degrees - Pasadena

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.

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Union – Pasadena

Union - Pasadena

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.

Union - Pasadena
Along with partner Marie Petulla, Chef Bruce Kalman has created a boisterous, 50-seat restaurant celebrating Northern Italian cooking using locally-sourced ingredients.

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.

Union - Pasadena

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.

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Jake’s Burgers – Pasadena

Jake’s of Pasadena – Pasadena

When A Hamburger Today discovered burger “greatness” in my neighborhood a few months back (“Classic Burger Joint Greatness at Jake’s of Pasadena“), I immediately bookmarked the spot with a future lunch date in mind.

I’ve walked past this ruby red, burger-slangin’ hut in Old Pasadena dozens of times over the years, but it wasn’t until reading this piece of positive reportage that I was motivated to sit down for a meal. It was just the nudge I needed.

Jake's of Pasadena - Pasadena

I am not sure what Jake’s menu was like when it first opened its doors in 1947, but these days it’s a build-your-own-burger situation supplemented by a half dozen composed “Signature Burgers.”

When my lunch date and I entered the restaurant, we were greeted with order forms on clipboards and pencils to make our mark. A friendly waiter slash cashier picked up the forms from our table as soon as we finished filling them out.

Jake's of Pasadena - Pasadena

In addition to burgers for each of us, Nastassia and I shared a basket of truly fantastic onion rings ($3.49). The batter, crazy-crisp with nary a trace of grease, made these irresistible.

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