Nov 2010

The Luggage Room Pizzeria – Pasadena

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

When I heard that Pasadena’s La Grande Orange Cafe was opening up a pizzeria next door, I hoped and prayed that it would rival Pizzeria Mozza, or at least Pitfire Pizza. I’ve become something of a pizza gal since my epiphany at Serious Pie in Seattle and thought it would be grand to have one the city’s best pizzerias a stone’s throw away from home.

After giving The Luggage Room a month or so to find its bearings, I came in for dinner along with my friend Ben and his cousin Hyo. Even though reservations weren’t accepted, our party of three managed to score a table straightaway during peak hours on a Friday night. By the way, the restaurant relies on diners to seat themselves, so all empty tables are up for grabs.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

Housed in the former luggage room of the historic Santa Fe Train Depot, the pizzeria had a great vibe that fit in nicely with the neighborhood. The space is dominated by a central bar and an open kitchen that showcases the wood-burning oven.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

To start, Ben and Hyo insisted on an order of bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese ($9). The hot little morsels arrived on a wooden slate accented with arugula and shards of Parmesan. My dining companions are bacon-wrapped date connoisseurs and declared these specimens inferior to the ones served at Cobras and Matadors. Their chief complaint was that the bacon wasn’t crisp enough.

I found the bacon-wrapped dates pleasant enough, but then again, I’d probably eat just about anything wrapped in bacon.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

I requested the marinated jidori chicken livers ($8), which were served with a lightly dressed salad of capers, bell peppers, red endive, and frisee. I expected the livers to be served cold based on the menu’s description, but didn’t expect them to be lightly battered and fried. Biting into a frigid liver with a compromised crust was straight-up unpalatable—fried foods served soggy are one of the saddest things ever.

I voiced my complaint about the livers to our waiter and the chef when they stopped by our table, so hopefully freshly fried livers will be served piping hot in the near future.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

Halfway through our appetizers, the pizzas arrived. The first on the table was Hyo’s Aristocrat ($14) with white anchovies, Fresno chilies, lemon zest, and arugula. She topped the pie with an egg at no extra charge. While Hyo was overall quite pleased with her selection, I was disappointed that the anchovies didn’t pack more punch and that the egg was overcooked. We both agreed that the tangy, blistered sourdough crust swathed in olive oil was a solid effort.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

Ben’s Gladiator ($14) pie, which came topped with spicy Italian sausage, Salumeria Biellese pepperoni, tomato sauce, and gratis chilies and egg, was my favorite of the night.  The toppings were as flavorful as I had hoped for and the crust spoke for itself.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria - Pasadena

I chose the Mushroom Party ($13) pizza, which came strewn with crimini and oyster mushrooms, onions, and fennel. It was a disappointingly bland little number that failed to deliver the party I was promised.

Looks like I’m gonna have to keep traveling west to satisfy my pizza cravings. Shucks.

The Luggage Room Pizzeria
260 South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: 626-356-4440

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8 thoughts on “The Luggage Room Pizzeria – Pasadena

  1. So sad. I think bland pizza is practically criminal! Come out to WeHo and we’ll do it up right at Mozza. Still need to try their mushroom pie! And I could go for another couple rounds of their chicken livers…

  2. Hi, I’ve been a faithful reader for some time now and I really enjoy your blog. I completely agree with your review of the pizza. I have read other reviews of this place and so many times the pizza was called thin crust which it wasn’t. We got the mushroom too and it was so flavorless. The mushroom pizza at Pizzeria Mozza is one of our favorites. We thought we went on an off night. Guess not.

  3. for me reading this early am with a cuppa coffee, I’m definitely not into the liver app… I’d be happy to gnaw on the tangy, blisteredcrust tho

  4. I love the smell of this place when you walk in. The pizzas are damn good and the happy hour is fab. You can’t go wrong with Grey Goose wells for half off. I came to luggage a week ago and we went to 1886 at the Raymond for more drinks!

  5. I am shocked at these less than favorable reviews. I have eaten at the Luggage room four times and have loved my pizza every time. I have also had the chopped salad and it was delicious, The red velvet cake is the best I have ever tasted!!! The mushroom pizza is my favorite.
    I have also eaten at mozza and I think the luggage room is just as good and who needs that drive!!!

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