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The Kitchen for Exploring Food (with photos)

Thanks to all for suggested The Kitchen for catering. I haven't decided to go with them to cater my 100 person wedding, but I did drop by for lunch and LOVE it.

Just a mile or so west of Oldtown Pasadena on Colorado, The Kitchen is everything Oldtown is not: there's plenty of parking, there are no long lines, and the food is FANTASTIC.

It's not fancy looking, and by visuals alone you might think "What's the difference between this and any salad bar?" But the difference is in the taste. Good, seasonal food, properly prepared, and seasoned just enough to highlight natural flavors without overpowering anything. Each and every salad I sampled tasted different from each other, which is so rare these days.

I encourage everyone to stop by for lunch if you're wondering where to eat in Oldtown. The only drawbacks are that there are only two or three tables because it's not a sit down restaurant, and I'm not sure what variety of drinks they might or might not have. I think The Kitchen's cold salad and vegetables are as good or--dare I say--better than Clementine's.

The staff was very nice and encouraged me to go in for a consultation, which I plan to if I ever find a great location that will let me use their catering for my wedding!

Photos and more commentary: http://www.chezpei.com/2007/03/kitche...

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  1. I love this place too. It's great to be able to pick up delicious and healthy (if you want) food to take home and eat. Favorites include their flank steak with a chimichurri sauce, tomato and onion salad, and wonderful grilled vegetables. Everything is fresh and tasty...

    Clare K.

    1. Try their crab bisque and potato salad.

      1. excellent- glad to hear your "exploring" was so rewarding. and thanks for the detailed feedback- I was, and will continue to be, insanely curious as to what you're discovering(warts and all) in your search ;-)

        1. Slightly OT, but for a location have you looked at the L.A. River Center? Allows outside catering.

          I don't have experience with tasting caterers' food, since I was planning from out of state, but I kind of understand why there's an issue with tasting the food at someone else's wedding. That being said, if I were a caterer, I would provide some sort of freebie basics - like a canape or two -- at an initial consultation meeting. Basically it comes down to word of mouth.

          1. Yeh - it is a bit unorthodox and I agree w/T.K. Truely not ethical business practices and, becomes a risk management issue too sorry. HOWEVER, if you were to suggest they prepare you a "doggie bag" of tasties they are making for the wedding you're observing, and that you'll pay separatein advance they, may be more inclined to provide for you. :)KQ (just an idea).
            Have you tried Auntie Em's?

            1. The caterer who did my wedding almost 8 years ago would set up a discreet table in there kitchen or "back" of the venue and invite 3-4 potential couples for tastings. we didnt get meal size portions but we tasted eerything that was served that evening and they obviously planned this and cooked extra for this, we did 3 of these before we commited and planned our menu. So what the heck is the problem with one little bite. BTW The kitchen was in contention too and they lost out!

              1 Reply
              1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

                Who did they lose out to?

                So you're telling me The Kitchen used to set up a "tasting station" of sorts at weddings? I guess they stopped.

              2. Second Amuse Bouche, River Center is a great location and they have no food service so it's catering only. Having used the Kitchen many times for take-out (it's close to my gym) & catering (and recommending it on the boards many times) and having been to 2 receptions catered by them...I.E. I have LOTS of experience w/ this place-I have to say you can't go wrong. DO NOT let their failure to give you an hors d'oeuvres put you off! If you like what you have tasted from their cold case, you'll get an idea of their food for parties (albeit presentation much more refined).

                1. Please note, the digression about caterers offering or not offereing free tastings has been split and moved here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378675

                  1. One of my friends worked as a personal assistant for two families and they both used The Kitchen for catering their parties. I have had some of their leftovers and it is really good. There is a beautiful location on a hill in Diamond Bar that lets you bring in your own caterer.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: WildSwede

                      Diamond Bar would be so ideal for me, if you could remember the name I would be so grateful. E-mail chezpeiatgmaildotcom, since this skirting "not appropriate for Chowhound" at this point. Thanks!

                      Edit: Is it the DB Recreational Center? If so, it is gorgeous and ideal in that there's a catering kitchen and they provide tables and chairs, but it's HUGE! Too huge for me. But thank you so much for mentioning it.

                      1. re: Pei

                        Hi Pei,

                        The LA River Center is by the I-5 and 110 intersection.


                        I believe you can scale the event size up and down to suit your needs. (At least you could when I looked into it for my own wedding.)

                      2. We had our wedding for 100 at the Asia Pacific Museum in Pasadena and we couldn't have been more happy with the venue(the coordinator there is another story...). They have an absolutely gorgeous Chinese garden there as a backdrop and they have good facilities for outside catering without additional costs. Unfortunately we were not very happy with The Kitchen and went with another upstart caterer in Pasadena called "Elements" and were extremely pleased with them.

                        1. pei...

                          THE KITCHEN had been the caterer of choice for me and my family for years. they've done our weddings, parties, etc. peggy is a legend.

                          one word of caution...it's the catering manager you get for your event who will make all the difference. we've had good and bad ones there. i highly recommend john. actually i would settle for no less than john for a wedding.

                          for an engagement party (200 people) peggy moved john to another job and gave us leslie. it was a nightmare. not enough food. servers empty handed. we were refunded almost $1k, but alas the event was over and a disaster. you can't get that back. sufficed to say, they didn't get the contract for the wedding.