UPDATE: Celebrity chef de cuisine Michael Voltaggio is leaving The Langham to work on new projects


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“Top Chef” Michael Voltaggio will be leaving The Dining Room at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa when the restaurant closes for renovation on July 18, spokeswoman Elsa Schelin confirmed.

Voltaggio is leaving “to work on new projects.” Schelin said no further details about his departure were yet available.

Atlanta-based architecture firm The Johnson Studio will still manage the upcoming renovation of The Dining Room.

Here’s the full statement from Schelin:

“The Langham Huntington, Pasadena is grateful for our partnership with Chef Voltaggio this past year and wish him great success in his future endeavors. The Dining Room will close on July 18 to undergo a renovation, with an expected re-opening at the end of September. The restaurant will re-open with a new name and a more modern and stylish look and feel, designed by The Johnson Studio. Exact details regarding the restaurant’s name, design details, menu and launch date will be disclosed in the coming months.”


(Staff file photo)

Is ‘Top Chef’ Michael Voltaggio leaving The Langham in Pasadena?

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Rumors are building in the blogosphere that Michael Voltaggio is leaving the restaurant at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, Eater LA reported earlier today.

The L.A. Times travel blog says the departure has been confirmed by Langham spokeswoman Elsa Schelin.
I have a line into Schelin asking for more details.
It was less than a month ago when I sat down with Voltaggio in The Dining Room and talked about plans to reinvent the restaurant. He was still very much at the center of the project, working with hotel officials and Bill Johnson of the architecture firm The Johnson Studio to bring the design of the space into alignment with his cutting-edge cuisine.

If true, Voltaggio’s exit from The Langham would change a lot of things, including parts of our latest cover story that focus on the chef.
Stay tuned for updates.
In the meantime, here’s a video we put together from that recent interview and photo shoot with the celebrity chef.

Video: Taste-testing the spiciest hot wings in the San Gabriel Valley

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Alondra Hot Wings says its atomic wings weigh in at a hefty three million Scoville heat units. (Compare that to the hottest pepper, bhut jolokia or the ghost chili, which is at more than one million Scoville units.)

Diners are required to sign a disclaimer before taking on the Alondra challenge of eating the wings, and reporter Stacey Wang was up to the fiery test.
Watch the video, below, and read more in Rose Magazine.

Rose Magazine’s summer dining and entertainment issue hits stands Wednesday

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Pick up a copy of the Pasadena Star-News this Wednesday, June 16, and look inside to find a copy of the June issue of Rose Magazine.

Covering the best of summer dining and entertainment, this issue also examines the seeds of a new culinary culture being planted in Pasadena.
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You’ll read about:
  • “Top Chef” Michael Voltaggio and the upcoming transformation of The Dining Room at The Langham

  • The best local restaurants, farmers’ markets, ethnic cuisine, vegetarian picks, frozen treats, coffee shops and more
  • Summer spirits crafted by the city’s best mixologists and bartenders
  • The Urban Homesteaders and DIY tips to get you growing on the path to sustainable living
  • Some of the strangest, hottest foods in the San Gabriel Valley

  • L.A. Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring cycle and why booing belongs, especially at the opera
  • All our regular departments — Shop, Go, Think, Seen, Insider — including a Shop the Block feature out of Old Town Monrovia, plus the best of local events in June, July and early August
Check back here on our blog for lots of online exclusives — photos, videos and links to the online edition of the magazine — starting Wednesday.

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:


Continue reading

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)

BLD eatery scraps plans to open second location in Pasadena

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Owners of the popular West Hollywood restaurant BLD have cancelled plans to open a second location in Pasadena’s Raymond Renaissance condo building, seen at right.
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Amy Knoll Fraser, co-owner and director of operations for Grace Restaurant and BLD Restaurant, confirmed the change of direction via e-mail:
“Unfortunately, it looks as if the BLD in Pasadena is not going to happen. The timing turned out to not work for us. We are now moving forward with moving our restaurant Grace Downtown which will be closer to Pasadena.”


In June 2009, Fraser told the L.A. Times’ blog Daily Dish that the eatery was expected to open by year’s end. In a September 2009 post on the same blog, progress on the Pasadena locale was “going slowly,” she said.

(File photo)

Closed: La Mich Paleteria in Duarte shuttered

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We discovered this weekend that La Mich Paleteria in Duarte has closed down. A large for-lease sign now hangs in the window of the darkened store. (The file photo above is of Monica Ulloa, who was co-owner of La Mich with Annette Duran.)

On Yelp, some users started bemoaning the loss back in mid-March.
The store’s main phone line has been disconnected.
Staff writer Emma Gallegos had this to say of La Mich in her round-up of frozen dessert favorites in April 2009:
La Mich Paleteria’s ice cream is eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head good. It’s cursing-for-joy good. … File this one under “strip mall epiphanies.” 
The ice cream comes in unassuming pastels — like espresso in a cappuccino, the rich color of real fruits and intense flavors is drowned out in cream. The flavor mamey was a winner, a customer favorite made from a mild Mexican fruit that tastes like papaya and was flecked with small bits of fruit.
… The Mexican caramel, cajeta, was rich, not too sweet and there was a hint of salt — the way caramel should be. 
I’ve tried two flavors, and I live in agony, knowing that there are so many more Mexican-inspired flavors I haven’t tried, like the sorbets or the paletas that you can dip in toppings like nuts or chocolate.

We like the suggestion of one Facebook user who posted recently on the La Mich fan page: “Any hope you’ll break out a ‘La Mich’ Food Truck and join the others on the road?”
For now, all we have left to drool over is this picture:
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(File photos)