Every other Thursday evening, The Astronomer and I leave our respective offices at a reasonable hour, request overtime from June’s nanny, and escape for #datenight. Quiet dinners together are a really, really lovely treat.
On a recent outing, we finally made our way to critically-aclaimed Ración. Opened by Teresa Montaño and Loretta Peng, Ración has been wowing diners with its inspired and inventive Basque-style small plates since opening in 2012.
Without our little lady in tow, we went wild and ordered a drink each. I sipped some sangria made with red wine, sherry, and apple cider, while The Astronomer had some Spanish cider on draft.
We snacked on awesomely crusty bread dipped in olive oil while perusing the menu.
The first bite to arrive was the buñuelos ($11), pint-sized sandwiches stacked tall with thinly-shaved beef tongue, horseradish cream, and pickles. Mmm…
The next dish up was the bruléed caña de cabra cheese ($12) with citrus segments, lemon sugar, and a fetching pistachio sauce. This was one of the most interesting and delightful cheese presentations we’d encountered in a while.
The house-marinated French sardines ($13) with pork lardo and strawberry gazpacho packed a punch with its briny fishes and forward fruity flavors.
Another favorite was the duck sausage-stuffed squid ($17) with salsa tinta and duck jamon. Surf and turf never tasted so good.
The lamb meatballs ($12) with Basque cider and licorice greens were perfectly nice but less exciting than the other dishes on the table. The Astronomer did not mind their straightforward simplicity.
The final dish of the evening, and the highlight of our feast, was the house-made squid ink pasta ($16) with mussels, piquillo peppers, and saffron. The texture of the noodles was on point, while the combination of flavors took me back to our time spent in Valencia. Simply solid.
The food at Ración was fantastic from start to finish, especially the stuffed squid and pasta. This just might be our new favorite restaurant in Pasadena…and a #datenight tradition.
119 West Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91105
One year ago: Blueberry Sour Cream Cardamom Muffins
Two years ago: Let’s Talk Shop: #KitchenParty’s “Blog to Book” & Chinese American Museum’s “Let’s Dish It Out”
Three years ago: Essex – Seattle
Four years ago: Vietnamese Coffee Crack Pie
Five years ago: Pistachio Chai Muffins
Six years ago: Taverna El Glop – Barcelona
Seven years ago: Auntie Em’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Eight years ago: Lunch Lady
Nine years ago: Wok & Roll – Minneapolis