As a team of foodies, we are always talking about and tasting new foods. We know where the best food trucks are parked, when the latest restaurant openings are happening, and hardly a day goes by that we aren’t sampling some new product from our brands or recipe from Chris. So, when we found out our team off-site would be a walking culinary tour of Old Town Pasadena, we were stoked!
We started at Heritage Wine Company, a wine shop/bar where they serve wine by the glass, tasting flights and small snacks. After a quick history lesson on Pasadena, we hit Tortas Mexico for a traditional torta, Father Nature’s Lavash Wraps for organic wraps and falafel, and Equator, where I wanted to relax on the comfy sofa among indoor palm trees with a steaming cup of coffee and try their beautiful cakes.
When we arrived at Aux Delices Bakery & Café, I was mesmerized. This was just like being back in a real Parisian patisserie! Rows of French pastries, the smell of baking bread, the buzz of neighbors in and out…and when I tried the opera cake it was every bit as good as those I had in Paris, but better; it had a brulée top. Ooh la la.
Next stop was Beyond the Olive, the best place in LA to get local olive oil. This couple turned to olives when the economy forced them into looking at starting a small business. They decided to focus on California olive oil, since it’s plentiful and affordable. We tried different oils – just like wine tasting: swirl, smell, slurp – and they were spicy, smooth and pungent. You can buy oil from the stainless steel vats at a discount, choose Californian or Italian and try anything before you buy. I tried a delicious truffle olive oil and a smoked olive oil that had the essence of bacon (idea: this would be great for making meatless pasta carbonara).
At Bird Pick Tea & Herb we tried various infused teas and a blossoming pot of jasmine green tea. Watching the flower grow to a large exotic green tea flower and sipping teas with rosehips, hibiscus, citrus, cloves, lychee and coconut inspired Ani to come up with an Infused Cider recipe idea. “This would be so good with Juicy Juice!” she exclaimed. “An apple cider infused with things like rose petals, tea, fruit, spices like clove, ginger…” she babbled to herself as we made our way to Tutti Gelati for chocolate gelato with orange sorbet (our reco: don’t miss the Hazelnut gelato).
Finally at Mignon Chocolate Boutique, the group favorites were ginger lime sea salt chocolate and the signature chocolate-dipped orange peel. The plethora of chocolate choices was overwhelming, and I could see the wheels turning in Chris’ brain as she looked them all over carefully. “Hmmm…” she mused as she tasted the orange peel, “this could be very interesting to play with in our kitchens.” I definitely liked that sparkle in her eye.
Stay tuned for more adventures and recipes coming soon!