There are fewer things more iconic in Southern California than a Sunday spent in Pasadena. Whether you’re on your way to The Rose Bowl Flea Market the second Sunday of the month or are in the mood to lazily stroll Old Town Pasadena afterwards, the Red White + Bluezz Sunday Brunch is a southern treat that shouldn’t be missed.
The food interwebs has been all aflutter lately about gastropubs – myself not excluded.Â The craze over savory, rich and salty dishes only helps the shared, small plates-style of serving guests become more commonplace in a city (that’s us, Los Angeles) that prides itself on accessibly delicious food. And if not, then everyone at the table gets a taste without the commitment.
All this harkens me back to a dish I had earlier this fall at The Gorbals. (Better late than never.)Â Indeed, it was the standout dish not only because it was well-executed, but also evokes a sort of blasphemous, tongue-in-cheek humor. Though I’m not Jewish in practice nor ethnicity,Â my name is stillÂ Esther on the phone and I spend my 9-5 outnumbered by non-kosher Jewish colleagues. It goes without saying, then, that most of them now know of this dish that they can only get in Downtown LA, and preferablyÂ not on a Thursday night,Â should they favor avoiding the Art WalkÂ crowds (go early, should you favor being a part of that crowd yourself).
It’s not inÂ a soup, but the balls thrive onÂ their own as piping-hot, juicy spheres of ground matzo and chicken stock. Of course, theyÂ are all taken to that level with the tenderÂ strips of bacon that make the orbit. The globes of matzoÂ sit atop mustard aioli and are briefly showered with fresh-grated horseradish, which helps keep things from resting upon the bacon’s laurels by packing a couple punches inÂ those couple of ways. The aioli really is perfect.
I will return for these andÂ one of their many solidÂ cocktailsÂ that rotate their chalkboard. Besides, there are many otherÂ small platesÂ on Ilan Hall’s menu I have to try. It doesn’t mean that they can’t make for a big meal.
Food trucks come and go. I mean, literally. Everyday, they do this. But now we can add to the fleet a truck that is inspired primarily by bacon. Because we all have that vegetarian friend whose sole weakness is strips of pork – so you know that centering a truck around one ingredient is, well, putting all your pigs in a very big, fail-safe basket.
Yesterday afternoon, I caught their soft launch in Silver Lake. Heather and Jeremiah Crowley, the masterminds themselves who discovered the magic of bacon at home with their kids, were on board and super excited to be putting their home-cooked recipes out on the road.Â Heather says, â€œThereâ€™s nothing like the scent and sizzle of bacon in the early morning, but we felt it could and SHOULD be eaten anytime, anywhere!â€
TouchÃ©. “Fo sizzle.”
Check below for some mouth-watering bacon applications:
- Smoked bacon, over easy eggs & cheddar sandwich ($6)
- Breakfast burrito with potatoes, cheddar & smoked bacon ($6)
- Brioche french toast sandwich filled with crumbled bacon & bacon bourbon maple syrup ($6)
- Bacon pancakes served with bacon-infused bourbon maple syrup ($5.50).
- “The Bacone” – 3 strips of bacon, rotating inclusions ($4)
- “The Baco” – Potatoes and cheddar in a bacon shell served with horseradish bacon sour cream ($4)
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
- Chicken wings covered in bacon hot sauce, topped with hot sauce-covered bacon and served with bacon blue cheese dipping sauce ($5)
- Frisee au Lardon sandwich with fried egg & vinaigrette on toasted brioche ($6)
- â€œThe Lardonâ€ – BLT Nueskeâ€™s peppered bacon, butter lettuce & tomatoes and St. Agur Blue Cheese served on toasted baguette ($6)
- Lark brownies with bacon Nutella spread ($3.50)
- Lark sugar cookies ($3.50)
Desserts come from the popular Silver Lake bakery, Lark.Â As for refreshments, theÂ truck serves canned soda, water and even fresh-squeezed OJ if you’d like Vitamin C with your bacon breakfast.
I very much enjoyed my Frisee sandwich as well as The Baco. And I can’t wait to try other things on their menu. So whether you catch a soft launch (soft stop?) of theirs while they iron out theÂ menu and operating kinks the rest of this weekÂ – or wait til their hard launch on Monday -Â be on the look-out for the Lardon truck via their Twitter account (@getyourlardon) and Facebook page. Your bacon cravings demand it!
I had been meaning to try outÂ Cube, on La Brea,Â for awhile now. I’ve consistently heard good things about the cafe doubling as a market and though it’s located next to The Tar Pit – which has been open only a few months yet I’ve managed to visit three times, already – I knew I was missing out on a good thing. A place that places itself under the organic,Â farmer’s market-to-table (Santa Monica, to be exact)Â and humane column, Cube – combined with Dine LA – gave me an opportunity to to prove myself right. Now I likely won’t make that mistake again by letting much time lapse before I go back.
Sam graciously met up on a last-minute proposal (“I just threw out my gross lunch,” his text read) for late lunching. We were lucky because by the time we had gotten there, we the grid had just regained electricity. Someone came out to take down their temporary signage indicating being closed for business until electricity was restored.
Dine LA was on. Cube’s lunch is $22 ($$), which – no matter how you feel about prix fixe menus – is a good deal because the truffle burger is usually $15 and the maple-braised bacon, $10, all before dessert. Let me tell you – I can get behind almost any restaurant that serves bacon as an appetizer. My slice – which was on a bed of pureed celery root and adorned with cipollini onions – was so tender and delicious, I had barely realized it was a filet of bacon until I had devoured the dish and finally felt its weight in my stomach.
I got the Cube Garden Greens and House Ricotta Ravioli with Braised Oxtail Ragu instead of the San Marzano Tomato Sauce, which proved to be very tasty in no small part by how fresh the pasta was. The braised oxtail gave good additional texture to the entree that had everything (psst – the greens are inside the ravioli and the ricotta is outside).
Sam ordered the Cube Truffle Burger, which came in a shiny House Brioche bun with Caramelized Shallots. Perfectly-fried Crispy Potatoes accompanied the burger as well as a side of Chipotle Ketchup, which was good but probably could have used more spice since ketchup is inherently sweet. The burger itself, “trufflized” by way of oil and not truffles themselves (for a $15 price point? let’s be realistic), was very good and though seemed smaller at first glance by comparison, is actually a more-than-generous size. The patty was fresh and juicy with a perfect pink center.
Of course, next was dessert. Sadly, they were out of the Valrhona Chocolate & Butterscotch Pot de Creme Duo but we were content on the Meyer Lemon Meringue Cake and Blueberry Crepe with Rosemary Syrup and Rosemary Gelato. Heavenly!! I loved how fresh the lemon tasted in the cake (with candied peel as an added bonus) and well, I am partial to blueberries as well as rosemary – so this was a win-win situation all around. The blueberries tasted fresh in the rosemary syrup.
You can do Cube during Dine LA, but it’s highly advised to do Cube, period… Not only is the food delicious and made with quality ingredients, it’s incredibly fun.
Cube Dine LA Menu (Lunch – $22, Dinner – $34)
Dine LA runs through Friday, February 5
615 N. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036