Sunday, November 6, 2016

Saturday on the road


Pasadena, California, November 5, 2016— 

A TYPICAL DAY on the road:

Breakfast at our favorite local café: a quite good butter croissant; two cappuccinos, taken serially of course.

Intelligentsia Coffee, 55 E Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, California; +1 (626) 578-1270

Lunch: why not have a crèpe? Well, in the event, because it's really not at all good. In spite of the cute "French" decor — trompe-l'oeil awnings and windows painted on the wall, and extended passages of French poetry in a graceful cursive hand — and in spite of a menu distingushing sweet from savory crèpes, the food was barely edible.

We ordered ham-cheese. Spinach was on the menu, but not eggs, so my favorite was out of the question. We asked for gruyère cheese, but got only a raised eyebrow from the order clerk, who seemed to be facing his first day on the job. 

The thing came (I will not call it a crèpe), a miserable soggy vanilla-flavored rectangle stuffed with bland boiled ham and rubbery "mozzarella" cheese. There is no wine here, neither white nor rosé; we settled for water.

Crepes de Paris, 84 S Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena; +1 (626) 666-3908

Dessert was magnitudes better, purchased around the corner at a little storefront that had opened this very morning. Nice soft 1950s pop on the speaker, beautiful intelligent good-humored people in handsome uniforms, and very very tasty items with an Italian bent. I had a frangipane tartlet with a sour cherry on top, and a dark rum-ball sort of thing that lacked rum but involved chocolate, coffee, and pine nuts: both were delicious. We will certainly return.

Katie's Bakery, 11 Dayton Street, Pasadena; 626-714-7400;

Dinner at a local Italian place that had been recommended, where I had a decent Martini, an uninteresting green salad, and a fine plate of Sicilian-style spaghetti with sardines. We could have done worse.

Celestino, 141 S Lake Avenue, Pasadena, California; +1 (626) 795-4006

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016   2015

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