First Bite: The Right Stuff
There is a certain kind of medium-priced grown-up restaurant that is spreading over the landscape like kudzu: urban, comfortable dining rooms, often with outdoor terraces, lubricated with recorded bebop and reasonably priced Spanish reds, understated architecture and conversation. Mike & Anne’s, a few steps from the South Pasadena Gold Line station, has learned the formula by heart. Is there a cheeseburger with blue cheese and a sweet-onion relish? Beet salad with arugula and walnuts? Mussels cooked with some form of Spanish chorizo? Check, check and check. The flat iron steak is garnished with an entire farmers-market’s worth of fingerling potatoes and artisanal royal green apples (where were all the flat iron steaks just three years ago?), and the pan-crisped chicken breast shares a plate with vaguely curried couscous and a scattering of rather oversteamed broccoflower buds. Is this cuisine? No, it is cooking, the kind of stuff you might make yourself for small dinner parties if you had a farmers-market habit and a subscription to Bon Appétit. But it is good enough, and the banana bread with peanut cream is an inspiration. 1040 Mission St., South Pasadena, (626) 799-7199.
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