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May 25, 2010 08:46 PM

Pasadena long time passing -- frankly, what's new & exciting?

Can't believe a year + since in Paz last, but with a concert this weekend looking for new, different and houndish to chow down beyond Pkwy Grill, Houstons, Saladang, Tre Venezie and the like, any type but Med preferred.

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  1. Might want to start with the restaurants on Pasadena's restaurant week. Lots of newcomers on the list.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Any specific recommendations? I was hoping Elements would be on this list.

      1. re: andytseng

        Elements Kitchen is probably a good selection and is reviewed in the current edition of the Auto Club magazine if you happen to receive it.
        It is at 37 S. Molino in the playhouse district.

        Elements Kitchen
        37 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

        1. re: andytseng

          Love Elements Kitchen. Inventive menu w/fresh ingredients artfully prepared. This is a great addition to Pasadena and we've been often and have never been disappointed. It works for both a special occasion meal as well as when you want to throw a jacket over a pair of jeans and get a bite. Good review in the LA Times too.

          Elements Kitchen
          37 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

      2. The Dining Room w/ Michael Voltaggio is probably the truly exciting place in Pas.
        But some other places I like: La Grande Orange for more casual, Vertical Bistro. I do go to POP champagne bar for late night desserts.

        I've been curious about Elements Kitchen but haven't tried it ..

        La Grande Orange Cafe
        260 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

        Elements Kitchen
        37 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

        1 Reply
        1. re: burumun

          Definitely try it.

          The lemon polenta cake is delicious. I was sort of weary at first because polenta tends to be dry and texturally it does not sound pleasant for a cake, but I was shocked at how darn good it was.

        2. Vertical, Red White + Bluezz, Celestino's, Smitty's, Slaw Dogs, Tonny's, El Pollo Unico, Roy's, Madeleine's, Malbec, The Counter, Taco Station, Daisy Mint, Noir.

          Tonny's Restaurant
          843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

          Daisy Mint
          1218 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA

          Celestino Restaurant
          141 S Lake Ave Ste 102, Pasadena, CA 91101

          The Slaw Dogs
          720 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104

          5 Replies
          1. re: mc michael

            Noir is damn good; the chef used to be at Madeleine's. It's small plates rather than real dining, but you can cobble together a very decent meal for not too much $$$. The little lamb rib chops - two with some other good stuff on the plate - are kickass good. The fries are funny but okay once you get past that. The only iffy stuff so far has been the rather blah crab cake and the soupy grits. French guys shouldn't try to make grits.

            1. re: Will Owen

              As a matter of fact, Madeleine's used to be at Madeleine's - I drove by the other day and there's a "For Lease" sign in the window . . . .

              1. re: Selter Head

                I guess when Beltran left so did the customers, or something. Too bad - that was a sweet place, and we got to go there just once.

                1. re: Selter Head

                  It was a big space to fill at that price point. Still, I thought it was a survivor.

                2. re: Will Owen

                  I did like Noir, but I actually thought it was pretty pricey? Those little lamb chops are $15 for 2 little pieces. Though they were darn good pieces.

              2. This may be too late for your initial query but finding I had a free night last night I made my way to Pasadena to see what was new thinking I'd head back through Hollywood and end up at Red O, sort of single diner with no reservations grazing night. Dream on. I called ahead to Elements Kitchen was warmly greeted and encountered an almost full restaurant enhanced by the theater crowd from the neighboring courtyard. Who knew a new Roy's and Ruth Chris's had opened up the street? Beautfiul night and you still can find parking a couple blocks away in the residential section. I sat at the bar and was greeted by JP who looked all of twelve and proceeded to expertly hawk his wares including home made simple syrup and grenadine. Not drinking anything hard core I said make me something fresh and non-alcoholic which he did with the dedication of an American Ido finalist. Fresh blackberrys, raspberries, mint and who knows what else blended into the kind of drink the Ivy would charge $12 for. $5 here and I was happy. I ordered two appetizers: a duck confit springroll cut in half for $11 with diced brussel sprouts and a plum/pomengranite sauce that at first I thought dry but with each successive bite found more and more satisfying. It wasn't greasy and very flavorful. I also tried the frisee salad with a Scottish duck egg and lardons for $15 but for its prescious presentation was also quite good. The frisee sat at one corner of a large white square plate with crispy smoky lardons with five asparagus spears, alternating green and white shooting out to the diagonal corner of the plate where a perfectly poached egg sat rolled in Panko crumbs perhaps. Small roasted tomatoes dotted the plate and JP cut the egg in half once the runner set the plate in front of me which had me scurrying to get that golden yolk mixed with the frisee which is my favorite part of this dish. All and all in worthwile adventure and good time. I'd definitely go back.

                It was good to see Parkway packed and though I didn't make it to Red O I did manage to stop at Barbrix in Silverlake for a truly wonderful experience. But for another post. Suffice it to say that good service is alive and well.

                Elements Kitchen
                37 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101