Do you ever get in that Friday funk?
This week felt so long and by the time I got home on Friday, I was done… until I started getting hungry. That was after a long nap and a few episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, but that’s besides the point.
All I could think about was PASTA! And to turn this day around, it had to be more than just your typical box + red sauce. I had been raving about Union Restaurant in Pasadena to my husband for what seems like forever. The first time I ate there last fall, he was off in Morocco filming Tut for Spike, and I had to eat all the pastas and go into a foodie coma without him. This seemed like the perfect time to revisit.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Union, it’s helmed by Chef Bruce Kalman who is a wizard of nose-to-tail dining, or in the case of our fennel salad—frond-to-bulb. You get the picture. He finds a use for everything and expertly finesses it for maximum tastebud satisfaction.
Most people know Bruce because of his killer porchetta. You can watch this gorgeous video illustrating his process on Life & Thyme. It’s inspiring. Although we didn’t order the porchetta (because, like I said, we wanted PASTA) the people next to us did, and they were generous enough to slap some of that crispy pork skin on our plates. Note: always make friends with the cool people sitting next to you when you’re dining out.
Obviously, another highlight of the Union Restaurant
eating gorging experience is the pasta. The simplicity of the chitarra—with its basic ingredient list of tomatoes, garlic and chilis—is one of my favorites, so is the squid ink garganelli with Maine lobster and truffle butter, but they were out of the latter because we showed up after 9:30 p.m. and apparently the word is out about the garganelli. As a backup we went with a few salads (hello, Mexicola avocados that you eat skin-on!), mushroom polenta (the Grist & Toll polenta Union Restaurant serves is local, rich and creamy) and three pastas. Here are some highlights and a fun TasteMade short I filmed.
Union Restaurant Pasadena
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