Japanese Cuisine in Pasadena

A couple of weeks ago, I took a road trip with one of my closest friends to Southern California to check out the Super Bloom in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. It’s a long drive so we stopped in Los Angeles County to split up the drive both ways. Along with the beautiful wildflowers, there were plenty of cactus and Ocotillo. I even got an opportunity to do some four wheeling from one end of the desert to the other.  If you want to see more desert or dessert photos, follow my Instagram account.


On the return home, we stayed in Pasadena for the night. After a few days of mediocre food in the desert, we were interested in some fresh sushi. With some research, I discovered the recently opened Sushi Enya.  

The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so we made our way to Colorado Blvd and were lucky to get seats at the sushi bar. We decided on the omakase dinner which would be a three hour affair and included welcome tea, about twelve pieces of sushi, soup, two appetizers, a hand roll, and homemade dessert.

The meal was very well paced and service was both friendly and impeccable. The waitstaff had eyes like hawks because as soon as you were done with a plate, someone would remove it as quick as lightning. A new cloth napkin would appear if you stepped away. I was getting quite full and made a comment to the sushi chef and he said he would use less rice for my remaining nigiri. I was also impressed to see a female sushi chef, even though she wasn’t ours. I heard women don’t make good sushi chefs because their hands are warmer than mens, which is not good for fresh fish. This was my first encounter with a female sushi chef.  I thought the dinner was excellent. After “slumming it” the past few days, it felt like a worthy occasion.  

Our hotel check out was noon the next day. We both planned to work out in the gym in the morning before check out. We would also have a final meal in Pasadena before the long drive back to the Bay Area. I didn’t really want to work out, but luckily I did. Otherwise, I would never have met San Francisco Giants Catcher Buster Posey! He was pretty cool about taking a photo with me.


After our work out, my friend wanted ramen so I sent a text to another friend, a Pasadena resident for a recommendation. He mentioned a ramen place called Ramen Tatsunoya. It’s special because this is the only Ramen Tatsunoya outside Japan. I was sold. I ordered the favorite Koku Tonkotsu which has rich broth with pork back fat, spicy miso, garlic, and burned onion oil. I added a flavored egg. This bowl was pure comfort. The ramen noodles are a bit thinner than I’m used to, but I thought the consistency lightened it up. This must be how they make ramen in Japan. It tasted different, but felt legit.


We made great choices in Pasadena, Japanese cuisine and hitting the gym!

La Grande Orange: Pasadena

Last Sunday I was in Pasadena with a colleague. Ever since I discovered The Luggage Room Pizzeria, I have been dining there every time I am in the area. Housed in the same building at Pasadena’s Del Mar train station is La Grande Orange (LGO) Cafe. This visit I would try LGO.

We were told to try their white wine sangria. What we thought was a carafe of sangria was a pitcher. What a deal as it was the price of three glasses. It was quite tasty and refreshing for this warm evening.
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We started off with some house made guacamole and chips. It also came with a
charred tomato salsa which was really good.
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LGO has a custom Italian hardwood rotisserie so I couldn’t resist ordering the prime rib of beef that was cooked in it. The entree came with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The beef was tender and delicious.
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My colleague ordered the grilled ahi tuna tacos. It was made with sushi grade ahi that was grilled rare and came with a kale salad. It was very L.A.
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The table next to us had ordered a few different desserts and I asked them which one they enjoyed the best as we were debating over the key lime pie or the red velvet cake. They were pretty clear that the key lime pie was not to be missed. I was excited because it was the one I was leaning towards. This slice of pie had the perfect topping of whipped cream. The tart of the lime and the sweetness of the cream was heaven. A plus was that it came with the vegan strawberry gelato from Grateful Spoon in Phoenix. This dessert was the perfect ending to a nice meal.
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Weekend in LA: Yum Yum

I was in Los Angeles last weekend and explored a few new places to eat. I was also excited to go back to one place that a friend introduced me to during a previous visit. I’ll start with the latter.

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Joan’s on Third is a foodie’s dream located smack in the middle of LA. It’s part bakery, cafe, and market.

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My friend and I went there for a simple breakfast. We ordered at the counter and sat at the communal table.

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I had a delicious latte as I waited for my soft boiled egg with toasted pan de mie. Unfortunately after waiting more than fifteen minutes, it was discovered that our ticket had gotten lost. The staff apologized and made it up by offering us cupcakes.

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I started to feel like I was in France again as I was eating my soft boiled egg in its egg cup. It was comforting. Before we headed out we decided to pick up lunch to go.
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A cover poster of Bon Appetit Magazine was hanging at the deli with a photo of their famous short rib sandwich. It looked delicious and irresistible so my friend and I decided to share it along with a side of brussels sprouts salad.

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We had the sandwich sometime later at the airport. It was still good, but probably not as good as if we ate it right away.

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Before I headed out to LA, I asked a foodie friend of mine for some recommendations. She mentioned a pizza place in Pasadena called the Luggage Room. She called it “special” and that was enough for me.

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My usual visit to Mozza would have to be forfeited so I could try this new place.

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My friend and I ordered a vegetarian chopped salad. It was full of freshness, not to mention huge. We would’ve shared one pizza, but in celebration of their one year anniversary, the second pizza was $1.

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Great timing for us. The first pizza was the Margherita with buffalo mozzarella and the second was their special of the day which was broccolini and duck sausage.

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The crust was crisp yet chewy. The toppings melting in my mouth was bursting with flavor. It was definitely special.

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Finally, I wanted to write about Langer’s Delicatessen. It’s been in existence for many decades, but I accidentally found it while I was “yelping”. I discovered that their pastrami sandwich made it on a list of Jonathan Gold’s 99 Things to Eat Before You Die”. I didn’t know who Jonathan Gold was, but if he created this list, we would try this sandwich. OMG! This pastrami on rye was awesome. So tender, so flavorful, so delicious. My friend who’s Jewish couldn’t agree with me more. Who is this Jonathan Gold? The name began to sound familiar as I write. Many years ago I met a food critic who was writing for Rolling Stone magazine. In 1995, we were both covering the Snoop Doggy Dogg murder trial. He for Rolling Stone and me for MTV. My colleague and I even had a meal with this guy. I think this is the same guy. Awesome!

Although I moved away from LA more than 10 years ago, I still enjoy seeing friends and having great meals.