Ah, the fabled Rose Bowl. Host of UCLA football games, THE Rose Bowl, a monthly flea market and now the annual Masters of Taste. As a blogger extraordinaire, I was invited to cover the event, which took place on May 7th and I found it a much easier way to set foot on the Rose Bowl field than winning the Big Ten Championship (and some might say it was much harder than winning the Pac-12 Championship, huzzah!). Food and drink vendors appeared from all over LA to help bring in money for Union Station Homeless Services. It’s a good cause, and surely the now two-year old event is doing a much better job of drawing in money than the annual gala did before it. But enough, let’s talk food.
Torta is Mexican for sandwich and there is a sweet semi-new spot in Pasadena that deals pretty much exclusively in that hand food from south of the border. It’s called Tortugas, and is either a reference to turtles, an island in Haiti or a national park (the dry one). Regardless, the place has a great variety of Mexican sandwiches and one in particular screamed out to my unvegan belly.
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.
There’s something about fusion done well that really gets me excited. Throw some Korean BBQ into tacos and I’m sold. Try to make Mexican food Kosher, not so much (don’t underestimate the need for cheese!). But I had never thought of Indian food as something to fuse until I found California Chutney in Old Town Pasadena. This place is all about fusing Indian food with American (and by American I also mean Mexican because, hey, North America).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when it comes to Italian food (namely pasta), you’ve gotta be pretty damn special to convince me I can’t do better on my own at home with the dry stuff and some Classico sauce. Union Restaurant in Old Town Pasadena is the latest attempt to convince me to leave home for Italian food.
Pasadena isn’t exactly known for being at the forefront of the food world. Often a restaurant finds success elsewhere in LA and decides Pasadena is a good outpost for a sequel. You could say that is the case with Ramen Tatsunoya, which first found success in Japan, then as a popup in Torrance, but Pasadena was officially chosen as it’s first location for a long-term foray into the United States. The incessant hour-long line out the door proves that this wasn’t a bad idea.
One of the newer and incredibly popular places in Pasadena goes by the name of Lincoln. Why? Well it’s on Lincoln Avenue, duh. It has a pretty trendy menu that seems to be pretty flexible and very much caters to people who have special needs. Except, of course, if your special need is the fact that you are an unvegan.
There are few places that invite unvegans in with open arms simply based on their names. Meat District Co. in Pasadena is clearly one of those places. With a menu consisting of meat products like bone marrow (which, shit, they were out of), burgers, ribs and steaks (plus something called the Meat Hook), I knew the hardest part of the meal would be deciding what delicious-looking thing to eat.
In a back alley of Pasadena known as One Colorado sits a place called a/k/a.What it stands for the world may never know, but it does bill itself as “An American Bistro.” Now I should mention that this back alley does not correlate to hole in the wall types of food. After all, this is Pasadena, so a/k/a definitely has one foot in the upscale level.
Slater’s 50/50 first jumped on my radar when they released the ‘Merica Burger back in July. This burger was composed of an entire bacon patty, loaded up with even more bacon. But Slater’s, only existed in Orange County and San Diego, thus only serving these burgers down there. The opportunity for a ‘Merica passed me by, but just a couple weeks ago Slater’s opened their first outpost in LA County. Sure, it’s probably just as far away from me as Orange County, seeing as it’s in Pasadena, but I didn’t want to miss out on the place and met up with some fellow burger lovers for lunch.