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
Master’s of Taste saw it’s third successful year on May 6, when it brought together some of the city’s top restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and all-things-sweet-eries on the field of Pasadena’s famous Rose Bowl Stadium. More than 75 booths circled the turf, allowing guests the rare opportunity to not only walk along the infield, but to do so in gourmet style.
Eateries of all types took the opportunity to shine, churning out limitless tastings of house favorites. Prime rib and wasabi mashed potatoes from Alexander’s Steakhouse, melt-in-your mouth brisket and cornbread from Gus’s Barbecue, and handmade pasta with imported Italian sausage from Nerano were just a few of the eclectic flavors to be found. Pez Cantina’s seafood tostadas and Maestro’s carnitas tacos duked it out for South of the Border deliciousness while Poppy + Rose and Maple battled over who served the best fried chicken.
Live cooking demonstrations held a stronger presence this year, with The Bellwether’s Ted Hopson and Ardour Hospitality’s Michael Hung putting on excellent shows for intimate crowds.
On the drinks side, wineries gave up their usual lion’s share of the spotlight to breweries, distilleries and alternative beverages…not that there was any shortage of wine, though. Angel City Brewery, Indie Brewing Company and MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. were just a few purveyors of refreshing sips for the warm day, accompanied by wineries such as Navarro Vineyards, Rutherford Wine Company and Larimar Wainery. Dulce Vida Organic Tequila and American Born Moonshine crafted some killer cocktails, and rounding out the lineup were excellent nonalcoholic selections such as Humm Kombucha and Groundwork Coffee.
And what would a spectacular food festival be without dessert? ‘Sweet Masters’ are their own category at Master’s of Taste, and rightfully so with characters like Zooie’s Goodies and Sidecar offering up birthday cake and panda cookies and huckleberry donut holes. Pink chocolate fountains and unicorn poop meringue cookies were just a few more of the day’s decadent staples.
All proceeds from Master’s of Taste went to Union Station Homeless Services, a non-profit organization committed to helping homeless individuals and families rebuild their lives. The event continues to grow as one of LA’s premiere food festivals, and the foodie community is already anticipating what’s in store for year number four.
For more information, visit MastersOfTasteLA.com
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.