When Intelligentsia opened in Pasadena last year, coffee geeks and foodies rejoiced: Not only could you finally get a decent macchiato in Old Town, but also charcuterie, lasagna cupcakes and Matthew Kaner-selected wines to boot. Now, six months later, almost all of that is still true.
The biggest news is that Matthew Poley and Heirloom LA are no longer overseeing the menu at the coffee boutique-cafe, but you can still get a wide variety of food throughout the day. Manger Tyler Wells explains that it was an amicable split, but, yes, that means no more lasagna cupcakes (at least not here).
But you will find similar dishes, like gnocchi with wild mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese (pictured above). Wells, who moved to Los Angeles from Austin just to work with this Intelligentsia, promises to keep the menu straightforward and seasonal. So that means crisp salads, daily soups and sandwiches for lunch; at night, dishes like Niman Ranch flank steak with sauteed local chard.
"Our menu philosophy parallels that of our coffee," says Wells. "We source the best ingredients, and keep things simple and clean. It's not rocket science, just awesome."
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You'll still find Cake Monkey and Bottega Louie pastries, and there's still a small selection of charcuterie, plus cheeses from nearby Cheese Store of Pasadena, served throughout the day. That's when the beer and wine list, with bottles like 2008 Cambiata Monterey Albarino or 2007 Chateau de la Liquiere Vieilles Vignes, comes in handy.
We recently stopped in for bacon-and-egg tacos, which were quite tasty and easy on the wallet for a quick brunch ($8 for two, plus a side of roasted potatoes). The hordes lining up at The Cheesecake Factory have no idea what they're missing. Wells looks to add more items to the menu soon, and hopes to eventually offer food all day instead of stopping during the afternoon hours, as it does now. Prices will be kept low, between $8 and $15, on all menus.
"The staff is really excited about the new direction, which makes things easy," says Wells. "When they're happy, our customers are happy."
As for Heirloom LA: Poley and his team are still wildly busy catering, and making pastas, sauces and lasagna cupcakes for pick up Silverlake Wine, The Oaks Gourmet, (or order a pack online to shipped right to your door).