A trip to the Santa Anita mall isn’t complete without a slice of Lady M’s super-fine green tea crepe cake. Forking through 20 delicate crepes interspersed with matcha-infused pastry cream has a magical quality to it, quieting the din of shoppers, if only for a moment. It’s quickly become my tradition to share a slice with June, who might be even more enchanted by the cake than me.
My heart sank when I heard that Teresa Montaño was closing Racion, her six-year-old Basque restaurant in Pasadena. The Astronomer and I adored her cooking and were sad to see the place go. Fortunately, the chef has found a new home in Highland Park with Otoño, which opened last August.
The narrow restaurant was filled to capacity when my girlfriend Liz and I came in for a weeknight dinner. With every stool taken at the bar and every seat occupied in the dining room, it’s plain to see that the neighborhood is stoked for the chef’s Spanish-inspired fare.
To start, a glass of sangria for each of us ($12 each). Liz honed in on the “Los Angeles” with rosé, cucumber, passion fruit, and amaro, while I picked the “Madrid” with red wine, brandy, orange, coffee, and cacao. My sangria, wonderfully savory and balanced, was so seriously good that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, Diana and I met up for a late lunch at Joy in Highland Park. This newish spot on York Boulevard is the second restaurant from Vivian Ku of Silverlake’s Pine & Crane. Judging from the line snaking out the door and the happy faces gathering about, the restaurant is resonating well with the neighborhood.
The long line of eager eaters moved impressively fast, and we were at the front before we knew it. After narrowing the field to four dishes, two teas, and a dessert, we settled into a table to await our order.
Dishes hit the table not long after. The Spicy Shrimp Wontons ($6), delicate parcels swimming in chili oil, were straightforward and good.