Thursday, August 13, 2009

Le Grande Orange Cafe

Pasadena, California

Restaurant: Le Grande Orange Cafe
Cuisine: American/Californian
Last visited: August 9, 09
Area: Pasadena, California
260 S. Raymond Ave
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4
Service: 5
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4
Additional comments:
  • Californian style, rustic contemporary atmosphere, bold flavours
  • Fusion influence - Mexican, Japanese & Californian mix
  • Focused on mostly organic & fresh ingredients
  • The only freezer space hold homemade gelato & ice cream
  • Hearty comfort food in a contemporary setting
  • Familiar to locals and regulars
  • Large portions
  • Restaurant & Catering
  • Serves breakfast, brunch, lunch & dinner
  • "Diners' Choice Winner of 2009"
  • "Best new restaurant in Pasadena" - Arroyo Parkway News
  • Complimentary cookies at the door (from the in house bakery)
  • Children under 12 eat free 4-6pm everyday and all day until 6pm on Sunday
  • After 6pm the crowd is age 30+, attracts late night crowd
**Recommendation: Gilled Ahi tuna taco platter, English muffins

I came upon this restaurant while I was doing research on excellent Californian restaurants - that wasn't a chain. I'm glad I cam across this one. Its very reasonably priced for what it is, and the portions are again very large. The waiter recommended us to order a taco platter each, which thank goodness we didn't, because it would have been way too much! Mind you we still ordered quite a bit, as I usually do =). I didn't get to try as much as I wanted to, but the food, service, and atmosphere is good enough that I would revisit it. Whether its breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner they offer local favourites no matter what time of day. They also have an in house catering section offering savoury items as well as freshly baked goods. This is a large restaurant that's always busy, with big tables, portions, and flavours!

On the table:
  • Deviled Eggs 3/6
    • This is a cafe favorite, offered during brunch, lunch and I had to order it
    • To be honest, I've had better. It was good, but it's just I've had better. Its not like there was some flavour in there that I couldn't put my finger on, it was just a well put together deviled egg, smooth in texture...a classic deviled egg served with rustic presentation. I guess I was just expecting more.
  • **Grilled Ahi Tuna Taco platter 5/6
    • Sushi grade ahi tuna grilled rare with chipotle aioli. Served with black beans, basmati rice, guacamole, charred salsa, and homemade corn tortillas (made-to-order)
    • This was the best thing we ordered. The portion or picture may look small, but its actually really big especial when you start eating it. Nice big pieces of ahi tuna that is cut to fit the size of one taco. Seared on the outside and still nice and rare on the inside. The soft corn tortilla shells are made in house and upon order and are absolutely delicious and warm. Definitely a traditional tortilla recipe and experienced chef/cook that's making these. They are miniature and they serve you 4 at a time and they're unlimited.
    • We needed about 8 mini tortillas to finish one platter. All the ingredients come separate so you can build your own taco - this is the ideal way to serve a platter becuase then you can actually see the quality and amount of ahi tuna you are getting. You only want to put one piece of ahi tuna in each taco because you want a good ratio of stuffing to tortilla.
    • The chipotle aioli was a key ingredient to making this taco platter stand out.
    • At $19USD it's well worth it!
  • Short Rib Taco platter 3/6
    • Served with pico de gallo, black beans, basmati rice, guacamole, charred salsa, and homemade corn tortillas (made-to-order)
    • This was enjoyable, but I prefer the ahi tuna tacos. The waiter recommended this one after the ahi tuna tacos so we took his advice.
    • The short ribs had a nice charred, hickory flavour. It wasn't dry, but if anything it was a tad bit on the drier side for me. But its ok because with the pico de gallo and guacamole it didn't matter.
  • Station Cafe Tuna Burger 2/6
    • Description on menu: "best ever" pan-seared medium rare with avocado
    • My description: pan-seared medium rare tuna much filler.
    • I was so disappointed because I felt the quality was lost because it was a patty. The tuna was all grinded up, so there were other fillers in there which sucks. It wasn't gross or anything, but it could have been so much better! At least the patty is as big as the bun though, which is really big. You get a generous amount of avocado slices, a big slice of beefsteak tomato, and shredded lettuce. You get the chipotle aoili that comes with the ahi tuna tacos with it as well. I also put some charred tomato salsa on my burger which made it better. On the side it comes with coleslaw, which is just your standard coleslaw. No unique twist to this.
    • JOEY'S Ahi Tuna burger is MUCH MUCH better.
  • Side of Mac n' Cheese 2/6
    • Fresh, made in house mac and cheese, you get a regular sized bowl for $3USD
    • Not that cheesy in flavour though because it wasn't a cheddar cheese they used. They used a white cheese, so it didn't taste that cheesy, which is disappointing - again I've had better...when I order a mac and cheese I want it to taste cheesy...wouldn't order this again
  • **English Muffins
    • They're their FAMOUS LGO English Muffins
    • I saw these in their display case in the bakery corner, but I didn't get to order them
    • You can take them to go 1/2 dozen for $9USD
    • Will definitely try it next time, I wanted to try them fresh, and I was there for dinner, so I didn't feel like it would be fair to write a review on their famous English muffins from the end of the day.
  • Sangria
    • I saw a lot of tables with pitchers of these. I didn't try it, but I'm not sure if it was good or if its just a good deal. A pitcher is $19USD and it serves 5. A glass is $6USD.
    • I'm really biased with Sangria though because I lived in Europe for half a year and my Spanish flatmates spoiled us with homemade authentic Sangria
  • Red Velvet Cake
    • Didn't get to try it, but I really really wanted to!! I saw people ordering it and it looks so rich and dense! It came with a big scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream too. This cake looked amazing. Next time!
  • Olive Oil Cake
    • Didn't see anyone ordering it, but I want to try it, so next time I will try it.
  • Complimentary door cookies
    • These are fresh from their bakery
    • They are mini and you can take them as you wish at the front door.
    • They had chocolate chip, white chocolate cranberry, peanut, and oatmeal raisin
    • All were nice and chewy - the best was white chocolate cranberry.

La Grande Orange Café on Urbanspoon

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