How is Technique Cafe (Cordon Bleu School) in Pasadena?
I'm looking for somewhere decent, under-$20, and relaxing to go tonight because I don't feel like cooking. The Technique restaurant in Pasadena seems to be booked solid for the next two weeks -- not surprising, as the menu looks remarkably cheap. Has anybody eaten at the attached cafe? Does it tend to be crowded/noisy or a long wait? The website mentions "daily specials"; does that mean that they serve entrees, or is it just soup/salad/sandwiches? Is it table service, or trays and a buffet line?
My other options are Larkin's, Blue Hen, and Casa Bianca; but I've been to those a bunch and wouldn't mind trying somewhere new.
Sorry for the totally clueless post -- I searched the board, but the word "technique" seems to bring up all sorts of unrelated posts. :)
I've never been at dinner time so it could be different but at lunch time, the Technique Cafe is cafeteria style ordering with pre-made sandwiches, salads and pastries, supplemented by a small handful of specials that are cooked to order (3 if I'm remembering correctly) with one being a soup and another being a pizza, and the other being an entree. If you luck into the entree being something really good it can be a nice surprise but otherwise it's nothing special.
Before they moved to their current location, the cafe had a larger menu with more interesting choices and was a steal. I've only been a few times since the changes.
I haven't eaten at the cafe, but you could try to see if they'll take you as a walk-in (to the restaurant). All I noticed in the cafe were pastry type items! It's no noisier than the restaurant (it's pretty much the same space, with the tables for the restaurant on the other side of the same room with a divider between the two spaces (maybe a make-shift wall??). Sorry I'm not any help with the cafe menu.
Dining at Technique has been hit or miss for me. First visit: incredible! Second visit: inedible. Third visit (lunch, not dinner): so-so. At the price point offered, it's worth the gamble - but I don't have any desire to return.
For a new dining experience at that price point - Tender Greens is really good (salads), as is Settebello (pizza) next door. Both are one block east on Colorado from Technique (if you can't get in or don't like the cafe options).