Saturday, May 18, 2013

Where to eat in Pasadena

Pasadena is a pretty city located close to the Los Angeles. It is famous for its great culinary scene. You will find great chefs (some of them graduates of the Cordon Bleu at Pasadena) and be able to enjoy fresh Californian produce (sometimes with Asian influence). Give them a try!
1) Maison Akira --- What to order: I started with the Petite House Salad. It was dressed with sesame oil and tarragon vinaigrette. It was a simple, refreshing beginning. 

Maison Akira on Urbanspoon

Petite House Salad with sesame oil and tarragon dressing
My husband's first course was the White Corn Soup. It was basically a non-dairy concoction, garnished with fresh herbs, and bread croutons. Simple, but quite tasty.

White corn soup
For my entrée, I got the Lupe du Mere (which is Mediterranean Sea Bass), served with a huge prawn, Brussels with bacon, cherry tomatoes, and wasabi mashed potatoes. There was a creamy sauce under the fish and the taste was something between Mediterranean and Japanese meal.

Lupe du mere, prawn, Brussels sprouts, wasabi mashed potatoes
My husband decided to try the Grilled Scottish Salmon in a Chardonnay Basil Sauce with Wild Rice and Sautéed Vegetables. It was perfectly grilled and deliciously paired with our Toscana bottle of wine.
Grilled Scottish Salmon in a Chardonnay Basil Sauce with wild rice
The dessert was the traditional French Chocolate flourless cake with espresso gelato. This is a fantastic chocolate dessert found on many restaurant menus. Just imagine eating the soft crust and suddenly finding the oozing warm chocolate filling in the center. Real treat!
Chocolate flourless cake with espresso gelato
 2) Shiro Restaurant --- What to order: We celebrated Valentine's Day at the famous Shiro Restaurant. The ambiance was very romantic! We shared a Shaved Roasted Beets with Etorki Cheese, Fresh Dill, and Balsamic Vinegar. The cheese was so thinly sliced, that it was literally melting in our mouths.

Shiro Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Shaved Roasted Beets with Etorki cheese, Fresh Dill, and Balsamic Vinegar
My husband ordered the Charbroiled Petaluma Chicken Breast with Provence Herb Mustard Sauce. It was accompanied with steamed vegetables. Although it was not very extraordinary plate, he liked it and enjoyed it very much.

Charboiled Petaluma Chicken Breast with Provence Herb Mustard Sauce
My entrée was amazing! Seared Rare Tuna Steak with Shiitake and Shimeji Mushrooms. The sauce was soy-based, but it didn't bother me. It only gave some salty notes to the dish. The steak was a pretty good size, so I was satisfied and pleased with my choice.

Seared Rare Tuna Steak with Shiitake and Shimeji Mushrooms
Our Valentine's Dessert was the Chocolate Tart Soufflé with Coffee Ice Cream. I liked the light texture of the soufflé, but I liked even better the flavor of the ice cream. So original and interesting. After a bottle of wine, a great meal, followed by a scrumptious dessert, we went to bed happy and celebrated!!!
Chocolate Tart Soufflé with Coffee Ice Cream
 3) The Terrace at the Langham Huntington Hotel --- What to order: The Terrace at the luxurious Langham Hotel is a nice restaurant by the pool. You can either dine inside or al fresco. We decided to have a lunch on the tables outside and to enjoy the warm Californian weather. We started with the Caprese Salad: Thick Slices of Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata Cheese, Basil, Olive Oil, and Aged Balsamic. It was so delicious! Amazingly sweet tomatoes and very well seasoned cheese!

Terrace on Urbanspoon
Caprese: Heirloom Tomato, Burrata, Basil, Aged Balsamic, Olive Oil
My husband opted for the Short Rib Sloppy Joe Sandwich, served on a Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tater Tots. He loved the barbecue flavors, but the size was too huge for him, so he took home half of it.
Short Rib Sloppy Joe on Grilled Ciabatta with Tater Tots
My Mediterranean Sea Bass with Sweet Corn Tamale, Romesco Sauce, and Sea Beans was very light and modern-style dish. The corn cake was sweet and it was nicely compensated by the strong flavors of the romesco sauce.
Mediterranean Sea Bass with Sweet Corn Tamale, Romesco Sauce, Sea Beans
The Chocolate, Coconut, and Mango Napoleon was out of this world delicious! There was a layer of chocolate cake, topped with mango and coconut mousse, and served with coconut sorbet. Very refreshing dessert. Just perfect for dining al fresco!

Chocolate, Coconut, and Mango Napoleon
 4) Vertical Wine Bistro --- What to order: Vertical Wine Bistro is a very popular dining destination in Pasadena. We had a romantic dinner next to the fireplace and we enjoyed vibrant ambiance of this place. To start our dinner, we ordered the Pizza Margherita. It was a very thin flatbread with plenty of cheese, basil, and tomato slices. The crust was crispy, almost like a cracker. Great with our bottle of wine: Barbera D'Asti, Italy.

Vertical Wine Bistro on Urbanspoon

Pizza Margherita with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil
We shared the Salmon baked in Parchment Paper. It came unopened, served with roasted beets pico de gallo, which was a very unusual salsa.
Salmon baked in parchment paper, with beets pico de gallo
Once we opened the package, we found a bed of sautéed spinach and onions and nicely cooked salmon pieces. Great flavor, without a lot of garnishes.

The salmon over sautéed spinach and onions 
The Molten Chocolate Cake came warm with cold Vanilla Gelato and Strawberry. The executive chef is French, so you can imagine the result: a well done lava cake with liquid center and many happy faces :)
Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Gelato and Fresh Strawberry

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