Right next to perhaps my favorite restaurant in Pasadena (The Luggage Room) and owned by the same people is a spot called La Grande Orange. The menu is very American, French and Mexican, being filled with sandwiches, tacos and, most importantly, a Prime Rib French dip (you know, the most French food of all).
The French Dip is one of food items that is not actually French. You know, like French Fries. In fact, it is originally from LA, with a couple spots claiming to have the original. While French Dips are nothing new to Pasadena, it is definitely new to have a place totally dedicated to those moist sandwiches. That place goes by the name of Harlowe’s.
When I first saw that a new spot called Brü Grill was opening up just down the street from my office in Pasadena I got super excited. Such is the life of a nine to fiver. It seemed a little upscale for my taste, but I thought it deserved the old college try and I went to find out what they could offer a man like me at lunch.
Houston’s is a restaurant that has been on my radar for a while. It had always looked like some generic and boring American restaurant until a buddy of mine told me it had one of the best burgers he had ever eaten. Nonetheless, it took receiving a gift card to the place to finally get me out to the Houston’s in Pasadena.
After a fruitless attempt to grab happy hour down in Scottsdale town, we consulted a nifty little thing called NoWaitApp and found out we could get seated immediately at The Vig in McCormick Ranch and made our way there. The Vig seemed to be a combination of trendy and sports bar-esque food that was right up my alley. So far up, in fact, that I had to consult the waitress before choosing what to order.
Somewhere along the way, someone figured out that sex sells. I don’t know when this time came, but I’m pretty sure everyone in the room looked at each other and nodded in agreement without a word. In the ’80s, Hooters took that genius concept to the restaurant industry and became a household name. And while Hooters is still going strong, the look has become a bit dated. Enter Tilted Kilt, which has taken the Hooters concept, splashed it with Scotch and trimmed the uniforms significantly so that even flat girls have cleavage and they all show some midriff. In other words, the girls at Hooters almost look like nuns in comparison. Yet, while Hooters is gimmicky, they still have pretty tasty wings. Would Tilted Kilt have good fare to offer with their good looks?
Every once in a while, it’s good that the Taco Bell nearest to me isn’t 24-hours. If it weren’t for that, I never would have gone to Johnnie’s Pastrami and found one of the greatest sandwiches in the world. Located in Culver City, Johnnie’s is open 24 hours and ready to serve a hungry clientele.
I entered with a group of five and we squeezed into a four-person booth. The not-exactly friendly waitress handed us our menus, but I already knew I would be getting the French Dip Pastrami that is featured in Johnnie’s neon sign. I really only looked at the menu to see the price, which was a surprising $10.50 for the sandwich. I guess breaking out of the Taco Bell comfort zone also risks spending more money. I asked the waitress if the sandwich was just the meat and bread, and she said yes. Not even onions. Perhaps I had died and gone to heaven.