Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Pasadena, March 19, 2017—
A FAVORITE PLACE of ours, especially when sharing it with a favorite couple of ours. We got there first and slaked our thirst with a Victory Prima pilsener; then we shared plates from the extensive menu:
Bread and giardiniera
Braised octopus
Mussels with guanciale and preserved lemon
Cauliflower leaf salad
Bucatini cacio e pepe
Roast duck

and probably a number of other things that I don't recall (or didn't get my fork into). Union's menu is basically a California interpretation of (mostly Northern) Italian cuisine, buono pulito e giusto, the material locally sourced, expertly prepared, honestly and simply served. We like the place a lot in spite of its noise level, which can rise high, then dip to sudden silences when, you can tell, everyone is suddenly transported by the marvelous food.

The Bucatini was served with s barely cooked sunny-side-up egg on top: not authentic, we all agreed. So what? It was delicious. The Porchetta was served with salsa verde made rather piquant with, I assume, red pepper flakes, and arrived on a nest of braised potatoes. I've not had the dish so treated in Italy. So what? It was delicious.

     Nascetta, Diego Conterno (Piemonte), 2015: A white I've never met until now, somewhere between Erbaluce and Pinot grigio, and very nice indeed;
     Nebbiolo d'Alba, De Forville "San Rocco", 2014; first-rate.

Union, 37 E Union Street, Pasadena, California; +1 (626) 795-5841 Porchetta

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

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