Musubi Cafe Iyasume – Honolulu (Waikiki)

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - Waikiki - Honolulu

I never got around to writing about the trip to Oahu that The Astronomer and I took last April because “morning” sickness hit hard soon after we came home, putting me out of blogging commission for quite a while. But now that Baby June’s out and about (yay!), and all is right with my appetite (double yay!), it’s finally time to revisit the ono grindz that made our stay a fabulous one.

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - Waikiki - Honolulu

The eatery with the honor of being visited the most was Musubi Cafe Iyasume, a shoe-box sized spot serving musubi and onigiri that is adored by locals and visitors alike. The J Gold peeped this place in Food & Wine, and as luck would have it, it was located a stone’s throw from our Waikiki abode. Win!

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - Waikiki - Honolulu

The Astronomer and I visited Iyasume on our first morning in town for a relatively light breakfast of two musubi and two onigiri.

The bacon, egg, and Spam musubi ($2.48) was as tasty as hoped, with the bacon and Spam providing a double savory punch while the egg and rice balanced out the whoosh of saltiness.
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Chain Reaction: Battle of Los Angeles’ Fast-Casual Margherita Pizzas

pizza collage

If there’s an empty storefront in your neighborhood strip mall, chances are that a fast-casual pizza joint will be occupying it shortly — that is, if one hasn’t already set up shop. In recent months, a parade of customizable pizza establishments has marched across the Southland, offering an assembly line of meats, cheeses, vegetables and herbs for pizza-goers to mix and match according to their individual palates.

PizzaRev - Pasadena

Southern California-based concepts — including Blaze, Pieology, 800 Degrees and PizzaRev — are going head-to-head with out-of-state contenders like Live Basil and MOD Pizza for market share and diners’ dollars. With so many brands entering the market, seemingly overnight, it can be nearly impossible to distinguish one build-your-own pizza place from the next.

Blaze - Pasadena

Examining the major players by assessing their basic margherita pizzas reveals the essential differences between them. Comprised of just tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil, set on a thin and blistered crust, this Neapolitan classic requires pristine ingredients, sound techniques, and a blazing hot oven. When it comes to pizza, it’s often the simplest ones that reveal the most about an establishment.

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Lincoln – Pasadena

Lincoln - Pasadena

I have the biggest crush on Lincoln. Situated at the border between Altadena and Pasadena in a former machine shop, this delicious and stylish new restaurant from Little Flower Candy’ Co.‘s Christine Moore is my go-to spot for laid back lunches and pastry fixes. Three visits in and I still can’t get enough.

Lincoln - Pasadena

The menu, which is comprised of breakfast dishes (served all day!), sandwiches, and salads, strikes a balance between familiar and innovative. Whether you’re in the mood for classic or creative fare, there’s something for everyone here.

Cecilia Leung | Lincoln - Pasadena

One of the highlights of dining at Lincoln is scoping out the pastry counter. Chef Cecilia Leung always has an enticing spread of cookies, cakes, scones, breads, and muffins available at all hours of the day. Try as I might, I can never limit myself to just one treat (as you’ll see below).

Pro Tip: Follow Cecilia on Instagram to see what irresistible delights she’s currently baking and serving.

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Pitfire Artisan Pizza – Pasadena

Pitfire Pizza - Pasadena

I’ve been a fan of Pitfire Artisan Pizza ever since sampling their slices a few years back, so I was pumped when Paul Hibler and team announced that their eighth location would be right in my own backyard. There certainly isn’t a shortage of pizza purveyors in Pasadena, but you know, a girl’s got to have choices.

Pitfire Pizza - Pasadena

Housed in the abandoned Sizzler on Arroyo Parkway, the new Pitfire is airy and spacious with communal tables, high ceilings, and wide aisles (perfect for parents with strollers—like us!). An eye-poppingly red Mugnaini oven provided a fitting centerpiece to the room.

The Astronomer and I came in for lunch with Baby June last week—our first solo food outing with the little one. Fortunately, she slept through the whole meal.

Pitfire Pizza - Pasadena

Service here is of the fast-casual variety, with orders placed at the front counter and food delivered when it’s ready.

The first dish to arrive was the Fall Farmers Market Plate ($10.85), which included roasted mushrooms with herbed citrus bread crumbs, ginger tomato jam and ricotta on grilled rustic bread, roasted brussels sprouts with salsa verde, and chile roasted pumpkin with garlic oil. The Astronomer and I both agreed that the ginger-spiked tomato jam on toast was most definitely our jam.

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