Pasadena Food Crawl Round Up by Steven

Last Wednesday night, our tastebuds received a sensual overload from the variety of food the Pasadena Food Crawl provided. Set up by the Pasadena Magazine and Yelp, this event allowed Yelpers the chance to experience food from various local Pasadena establishments that included Le Grande Orange, the Luggage Room, Dog Haus Biergarten, the Pita Jungle, AKA, and Sushi Roku.

We checked in at Le Grande Orange at 6:30PM, where we were given a tote bag with the recent food and wine issue of the Pasadena Magazine, some flyers, and a pair of Yelp fingerless gloves. As I was carrying a conversation with one of the Yelpers at the event, I was astonished to find out that she has heard of our blog before. It may be a new blog, but this proves that word of mouth can still be a very effective tool. After that, it was onwards to the food tastings.

Since the Food Crawl was a free event, I originally thought that they will hand out tiny samples with toothpicks. However, they served a really generous portion, and after the first two restaurants, my stomach was already feeling satisfied. Le Grande Orange offered a cool, refreshing white sangria with freshly cut fruits. The Luggage Room made margherita pizza (roasted tomatoes, cheese, and basil), the gladiator pizza (housemade sausages and salumeria biellese pepperoni), and the mushroom party (duxelle of crimini and oyster mushrooms, sweet onion, and fennel). Since the Luggage Room was the first restaurant we visited and I assumed most of us arrived with empty stomachs, the pizzas were devoured as soon as they’ve arrived. As a result, Golda and Olga were only able to taste the margherita. I was also able to try the mushroom party, which was sweet, filling, and a perfect alternative for vegetarians along with the margherita.

Afterwards we moved on to Dog Haus Biergarten, where we sampled various draft beers, fries, a slider, and one of their specialty hot dogs called “The Cowboy.” I am a big fan of hot dogs wrapped with cheese or bacon so it’s pure bliss to find a pub that wraps their dogs with cheese AND sprinkle them with bits of smoked bacon. They even had a $1 special on most food and drinks the following Friday to commemorate 11/11/11, which I sadly was unable to attend due to lack of time. I still prefer the more exotic dogs and larger selection of beer offered in Wurstküche, but for those residing in Pasadena, Dog Haus Biergarten is affordable with dogs at $5.95, fries at $1.95, and sliders at $1.50. It’s the perfect place to eat and drink beer with friends on a Friday evening.

We then walked to the Pita Jungle, where we tried their wood-fired lavish pizza. I love how thin and crispy the crusts were due to the use of flatbread. You can hear it crackle in your mouth as you bite into it. Both AKA and Sushi Roku brought out glasses of cocktails to the group. If the Pasadena Magazine and Yelp were attempting to get us drunk with all those alcoholic drinks, then I approve. The Blood Orange Cosmos from AKA and the Roku Fusion from Sushi Roku were sweet with heavy hints of fruits, but the Roku Fusion definitely carried a stronger alcoholic taste. On a side note, I found it strange how despite us already checking in to this 21+ event earlier, a waitress from Roku Fusion still asked me and only me to show her my ID. At AKA, I only ate one and a half portobello fries with truffle aioli dipping because I did not want to fill up my stomach with hot fried batter. Instead, I was saving room for the spicy tuna hanabi at Sushi Roku, which was a thin slice of spicy tuna placed on top of a chunk of fried sticky rice. The hanabi is definitely a catering dish that would be popular in parties and other functions.

The Pasadena Magazine and Yelp have both done a terrific job teaming up to set up the Food Crawl, allowing food lovers in and outside of Pasadena to try out what locals businesses have to offer. These establishments are good alternatives to the mundane franchises we’ve been used to, and after this evening, you can rest assure that you will see me frequent Pasadena more often.

Until next time,

Steven

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