Once the guest cottage of the famed Raymond Hotel, an abode with celebrity allure since its founding during the place’s namesake year, The Raymond 1886 transitioned into an eatery more than 30 years ago and continues a rich legacy of hospitality in South Pasadena. Now with a new chef at the helm and an ever-evolving menu, this historic destination melds LA’s evolving culture with its iconic past.
Quaint and cozy fill every room in this labyrinth of a structure—which seems about three times the size of its true square footage—with dark wood and rustic features emulating a true 19th century feel. A new patio is found outside each window, each secluded and intimate in its own right, with small fountains casting a tranquil background chorus. The crowd spans across young families, elderly couples and large millennial groups, but the one thing they all have in common is the desire to sleep in: the brunch rush doesn’t start until about noon.
The menu is every bit as classy as you’d expect, with a healthy touch of fun added to your brunch classics. Executive Chef Jon Hung, younger brother of acclaimed LA Chef Michael Hung, is proving that there’s just something in the water for that family to produce such culinary talent. Delightfully tender steak and shoestring frites, heavenly biscuits topped with rich chorizo and perfectly cooked eggs, and a Dutch baby German pancake with seasonal berries and whipped cream create a spectrum of flavor for the palate to choose from.
Hung does get a slap on the wrist for his ‘al pastor’ breakfast burrito, which places just a paltry amount of meat atop an enormous burrito that should be filled with fewer [albeit delicious] eggs and more of that great pork. But he mostly makes up for it with his devotion to wholesome ingredients and scratch-made sauces. His pastry chef also churns out a decadent cinnamon roll…order extra cream cheese frosting!
Bar 1886, or just ‘The 1886,’ delivers an equally high-end cocktail program, plugging deep flavor into some very strong drinks. You’ll find your classic Bloody Mary, a mimosa sweetened with housemade curacao, and a beautiful Ramos fizz gin, a play on the sloe gin fizz, with whipped egg white orange peel to look like a sunny side up egg when viewed from the top.
The Raymond 1886 is located at 1250 Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105. Open 11:30a – 2:30p and 4 – 10p Tue – Fri, 9a – 2:30p and 4 – 10p Sat – Sun. Closed Mon. Avg. out-the-door brunch price for split pastry, entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$58/person. For more information call (626) 441 – 3136 or visit TheRaymond.com
Bone Kettle is a rare entity that boasts true respect to its South Asian origin in addition to an elegant ambiance that speaks to Old Town Pasadena. From the outside, Bone Kettle is another haute spot, with a clean, chic look that inevitably brings in the posh crowd that fills the place to the brim. The food, however, tells an entirely different story—one that typically comes from hole-in-the-wall spots with cheeky décor, questionable health ratings, and an equally eager following that knows this is the closest you’re going to get to true Asian cooking without crossing the Pacific.
Family owned and operated, Bone Kettle owes its culinary mastery to Executive Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, whose Le Cordon Bleu training and apprenticeships under Wolfgang Puck and Trey Foshee earned him a Zagat 30 Under 30 distinction. Tjahyadi’s recipes come from his mother and grandmother, as well as his own time in Indonesia, with French technique weaved in ever-so-delicately.
These time-honored cooking techniques certainly show, with Bone Kettle’s namesake bone broth elevating the restaurant up with the ranks of Pasadena’s finest. Cooked for 36 hours in a signature blend of spices, it’s served with tender ramen noodles and a sprinkling of vegetables, with add-ons from crispy tempeh to fatty brisket and the beloved braised ox tail. You’ll find a bowl in front of virtually everyone from that posh Pasadena crowd, where flavor clearly prevails over elegance as patrons sip and slurp their way to satisfaction.
The menu expands far beyond the bone broth as well. Chef Tjahyadi incorporates equally deep, bold flavors into small plates like buttery bone marrow, oxtail dumplings finished with seasonal mushrooms, and the char kway teow, a mix of noodles with prawns and sweet sausage that speaks slightly to chow mein, but with a distinct flavor profile says something new and different. Entrees include crab fried rice and garlic steak nasi goreng, where the steak is so rich with garlic and holds such a perfectly crispy finish that you just want them to bring the whole slab to the table
An array of wines, beers and sakes complete the experience, as well as some intriguing housemade mocktails such as lychee dragonfruit lemonade and a simply heavenly novelty that mixes yuzu, blue hibiscus and raspberry syrup.
Bone Kettle is located at 67 North Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103. Open 11:30a – 2:30p and 5:30 – 9:30p 7 days a week. Avg. out-the-door cost for split appetizer, entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$70/person. For more information call (626) 795-5702 or visit BoneKettle.com.
Crossings, known for hyperlocal American fare, has unveiled a new menu that hones in on spring and summer. Newly hired Executive Chef Kevin Malone has hit the ground running, bringing dramatic attention to detail and a special eye for exotic ingredients built up from his time at Mattei’s Tavern [Los Olivos] and Gargantua, an enchanting Santa Monica pop-up.
Both quaint and dynamic, Crossings allows guests to savor modern flavor in a century-old setting, with brick-and-mortar walls that date back to the building’s construction in 1913. In addition to an intimate dining room, cozy bar, and outdoor patio is the beautiful wine cellar, with a broad list that includes Angeleno Wine Company, LA’s first winery in more than 100 years.
Chef Malone’s range covers flavors from across the globe, with a special focus on locally-sourced ingredients. His heirloom tomato salad sources produce from the nearby farmers market, with creamy burrata, basil and pickled mustard seed. The spot prawn is drawn from the Santa Barbara coast, with Latin-inspired elote corn and queso fresco.
The menu continues its traverse with the Alaksan halibut, utilizing sous vide preparation to retain ridiculous moisture. The al pastor employs sous vide as well—cooking 36 hours undoubtedly releases excellent results, complemented further with amazing roti bread. BTW did you know al pastor is actually Lebanese?
Dessert gets the same seasonal treatment, highlighted by a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie with a buttery crust that’ll knock your socks off. Chef Malone adds fun plays with a white chocolate pot de crème and upscale elephant’s ears.
Crossings is located at Crossings Restaurant, 1010 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030. Open 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Mon – Thu, 5:30 – 10 p.m. Fri – Sat, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Sun. For more information call (626) 799-7001 or visit Crossings-Restaurant.com
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.