Drink it up: San Gabriel Valley watering holes on Jonathan Gold’s ‘Best Cocktails’ list

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The latest L.A. Weekly roundup of “L.A.’s Best” by Pulitizer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold targets the 55 best cocktails in the region. The Pasadena-based writer places a couple San Gabriel Valley institutions on the list. Here’s what he had to say.

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    Flaming Honey Bowl (for two)

“What’s in a Flaming Honey Bowl? Who knows: Rum, apricot and a splash of Coke, says the menu, and who are we to argue? But it’s served in a wooden salad bowl, the straws are as long as your arm, and it comes with flaming croutons.”

Find it at: Bahooka (seen above and at right), 4501 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, (626) 285-1241, bahooka.com
  • Daily Double
“The bar these days may not be as classic as one might prefer — they have discovered pomegranate martinis, Key lime martinis with whipped cream, and elderflower liqueur — but it is still thrilling when the waitress asks if you’ll be having a regular-sized drink, or want to upgrade to the Daily Double.”

Find it at: The Derby, 233 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, (626) 447-2430, thederbyarcadia.com
  • Medicina Latina
“Medicina Latina, the invention of the peripatetic bartender Marcos Tello, follows him around like a faithful pup. … But the cocktail seems to be at its most potent where Tello’s tracks are the freshest, which means for the moment, you should be seeking your Medicina Latina at 1886, the sleek new cocktail bar tucked into the rear of the Raymond Restaurant.”

Find it at: 1886 at the Raymond Restaurant, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 441-3136, theraymond.com
The whole story, for your responsible consumption, is here.

(Staff file photos)

Now open: The Tap Room bar at The Langham does vintage, straight-up, with a modern twist

 
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The cocktail bar at The Langham, Pasadena reopened last week as The Tap Room after an extensive redesign by Atlanta-based architecture and design firm The Johnson Studio.
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The name is a nod to the original hotel bar, which opened in the 1930s — just following the repeal of Prohibition.
The focus is on classic libations and artisan cocktails, but the new bar is fortified by a well-curated wine list and craft beer menu, with Unibroue Blanche de Chambly, Chimay Tripel (White), Spaten Oktoberfest, Franziskaner Hefeweizen, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Birra Moretti, Green Flash West Coast IPA and North Coast Old Rasputin on tap.
At the grand-opening fete, The Langham’s new chef de cuisine David Fau prepared some amuse-bouches: a foie gras marshmallow croque-en-bouche, and a yellowtail tuna and green apple mille-feuille with argan oil.
It was a taste of things to come when the hotel’s former Dining Room also reopens, in November, as The Royce with Fau at its helm.
Another food station presented the new menu of upscale bar fare that Tap Room visitors can expect to enjoy, including a lobster corn dog with mango curry ketchup; smoked-salmon tartar; cochinita pibil en crostini with citrus onion and habanero salsa; and a black truffle, onion and German sausage tartelette.
Open Mon.-Thur., 2 p.m.-1 a.m.; Fri. and Sat., noon-2 a.m.; Sun., noon-midnight. The Tap Room at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena. (626) 568 3900, pasadena.langhamhotels.com

More photos after the jump:

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Celebrate Shanghai with the summer’s final Fusion Fridays event at Pacific Asia Museum

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The summertime fun of Fusion Fridays is coming to an end in classic Shanghai style.
Get dolled up in cocktail or 1930s attire for the series’ grand finale. It’s a nightlife vibe mixed with fine art — focusing on the exhibit “China Modern: Designing Popular Culture 1910-1970.” Expect gourmet food trucks in the parking lot, open bar, a live DJ in the courtyard and cultural performances.
Tomorrow, Aug. 27, 7:30-10:30 p.m., Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena. $10 members, $15 advanced, $20 at door. Limited capacity. (626) 449-2742, pacificasiamuseum.org
(File photos from “China Modern: Designing Popular Culture”)

Photos: Drawing on eclectic ingredients at Elements Kitchen in Pasadena

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Before Onil Chibs became a chef, he worked for more than a decade in animation with film studios like Disney, Sony and DreamWorks.

And at Elements Kitchen — the newest, fine-dining extension of Chibs’ already-established Pasadena catering and caf branches — Wednesday-night “sketches” are the culinary version of an artist’s extemporaneous doodle.
“There’s this whole idea of sketching and everybody having their pads out and translating it in a certain way,” Chibs said. “As food artists, chefs are doing the same thing.”
The kitchen staff is given a single ingredient — goat or curry or maize, as examples — and about a week to come up with a creative use for it in small-plate appetizers that are served for $5 in the Elements Bar. (On Thursdays, the bartenders do liquid sketches, creating $5 cocktails around an ingredient.)

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Photos: At Pasadena’s POP Champagne Bar, dessert is the most important meal of the day

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A traditional Spanish dessert — these days, corrupted by an explosion in popularity and en masse distribution at theme parks and even fast-food joints — the churros at POP Champagne and Dessert Bar are on the high end of the doughy spectrum.
Chef Ray Vasquez rolls his fresh churros in sugar and serves them up with a trio of sauces: warm chocolate, dulce de leche and cinnamon.
POP Champagne and Dessert Bar, 33 E. Union St., (626) 795-1295, popchampagnebar.com
More photos after the jump:

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Photos: Rose Magazine kick-off party with the Pasadena POPS

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Rose Magazine partnered with the Pasadena POPS and the Star-News to celebrate the kick-off of our summer dining and entertainment issue on Friday, June 18.
The party was held on the lawn adjacent to the Rose Bowl, which is the new concert venue for the POPS.
Guests enjoyed food and drink from Pasadena eateries like Porta Via and Polkatots Cupcakes.
Rose Magazine’s Woman of the Year, Nadine Washington, helped co-host the celebration and was honored with an official pin recognizing the commendation.
The festivities concluded with a working-rehearsal performance by the POPS and guest artists Cirque de la Symphonie, as they prepared to open their summer concert season the following night.
More photos after the jump:

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Photos: Summer libations from Pasadena bartenders


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    ELEMENTS KITCHEN

37 S. El Molino Ave., (626) 440-0044, elementskitchen.com
Every Thursday is “liquid sketches” night, when the bartenders gear up for an Iron Chef-style challenge.
Read the full story by Claudia S. Palma in Rose Magazine. Plus l

ots of photos and more bars after the jump:

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The Langham kicks off World Cup festivities with street food-inspired bar menu

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World Cup opening day is upon us, and, in celebration, The Bar at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa is now serving up nightly specials and inspired takes on street food from around the globe.
The World Cup “Kickoff” promotion includes The Langham’s signature cocktails and an upscale bar-food menu crafted by Chef Erik Schuster (that’s him, at left).
Each dish represents a different World Cup competitor country, and weekly face-offs will pit one country’s menu item against another. (This week is England’s fish and chips against the U.S. “Dirty Dogs.”)
Follow and play along on Twitter, too, for the chance to win some complimentary World Cup street food.
Let’s take a food journey, in photos, after the jump:


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L.A. Street Food Fest lands at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl in July

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Exciting news for Pasadena foodies: The original L.A. Street Food Fest is coming to the Rose Bowl on July 24.
There will be more than 55 food vendors, including all the top mobile-gourmet food trucks, old-school carts and stands, celebrity chefs and street-inspired dishes from L.A. restaurants. Added to the mix: Two beer gardens, cocktails and tequila tastings.
Ticket prices are all-inclusive, parking is free, and the proceeds benefit two great causes: St. Vincent Meals on Wheels and Woolly School Garden.

And, this time around, the food fest will be better equipped to handle the overwhelming demand that’s inevitable when every sought-after food truck is gathered in one locale — along with beer gardens, cocktails and live music. Organizers say they’ve worked out the kinks in the system that, at February’s event, created massive wait times and prevented some people from getting into the festival.
July 24, VIP preview, 4-5 p.m.; general admission, 5:30-9 p.m.; Tickets, $45; VIP, $65. Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive

(Photo by Watchara Phomicinda / Staff)

It’s a nice day for a white wedding … show

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It could be pure genius or just mere coincidence that a week after Valentine’s Day there is an abundance of wedding shows all over L.A. and Orange Counties and beyond — the most I’ve seen in just one weekend.
But offering something a little different from the rest is the White Satin Wedding Show being held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 21, at the University Club Pasadena.
There will still be a variety of wedding vendors and features just like any other wedding show but they want to kick it up a notch with events such as sparkling sake tastings, “Ask the Experts” with a panel of Southern California’s top wedding planners, and a special demonstration by the Rose City Ballroom dancers led by ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” choreographer, Christian Perry.
A bridal show by designer Deborah LaFranchi will begin at 1 p.m. followed by the dancers then a groom show by Friar Tux will start at 2:30 p.m.
The wedding planners scheduled are Mary Dann-McNamee, Tobey Dodge, Michael Willms and Kevin Covey, some who have been featured on shows such as “Platinum Weddings”, “Bridezilla”, “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway”, “Married Away”, and “Wedding Altered.”
Cost is $6 with online pre-registration or $8 at the door. University Club is at 175 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena. Valet parking next to the club is available for $5.
Wonder if the dancers can do Billy Idol?