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.
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.
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In the midst of last week’s intense heat wave, I escaped to cooler points north thanks to a timely work-related trip. As soon as I landed in San Francisco, sunny and 70 degrees, I hopped BART to my hotel, dropped off my baggage, and made a beeline for Craftsman and Wolves to indulge in avant-garde pastries (served with a side of gentrification).
The bakery’s unusual name is a nod to artisans and the “numerous challenges that one faces when pursuing their craft,” according to the website. Craftsman and Wolves’ proprietor, William Werner, was previously the pastry chef at Quince.
The bakery offers an ever-changing selection of breakfast pastries, cakes, confections, confitures, desserts, and savory lunchtime fare.
The best-seller, The Rebel Within (front center), is a savory Asiago and Parmesan cheese muffin flecked with breakfast sausage, black pepper, and chives and filled with an oozy-yolked poached egg.
Not in the mood for a runny yolk this afternoon, I started with a “Savory Tart” topped with tangy fromage blanc, snappy brined beets and turnips, and toasted pistachios ($5.50). My only complaint was that the flaky base was a bit difficult to cut through using the provided butter knife. Otherwise, this pastry was as good as expected.
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Not last weekend but the weekend before, I attended the most spectacular brunch hosted by Zoe Nathan, Josh Loeb, and Laurel Almerinda to celebrate the release of their brand-new cookbook, Huckleberry.
Inspired by their Santa Monica cafe and bakery, Huckleberry celebrates the bounty of breakfast. From pancakes to teacakes to muffins and egg-topped plates, this beautiful book has mornings covered (and then some).
Rather than host a traditional book talk and signing, Zoe, Josh, and Laurel dazzled a slew of Los Angeles’ food writers with a seemingly endless parade of made-from-scratch delights from their cookbook. The spread was nothing short of brilliant, and I probably ate enough for triplets!
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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.
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.
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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