Chef Joachim Splichal
German-born, award-winning restauranteur and chef Joachim Splichal has lived in San Marino for 25 years. As owner of the Patina Restaurant Group (patinagroup.com), with more than 70 establishments coast to coast—including Nick + Stef’s in downtown Los Angeles and The Kitchen at Descanso Gardens—he has embarked on another passion into the viticulture world. When he’s not at his Provençal vineyard near the medieval town of Brignoles in the South of France, which produces his rosé, Domaine de Cala, the dynamic chef is checking out some of these favorite places in and around Pasadena.
My favorite chef is Josiah Citrin from Mélisse and Charcoal. I love the Scrambled Farm Egg with Osetra Caviar that he makes. But the layer cake of ahi tuna with soya onion, avocado, and yuzu is my favorite dish. You can go to Nick + Stef’s and ask Executive Chef Megan Logan to prepare it for you as a special request.
For brunch it’s Cos & Pi in South Pasadena. I always order the butter croissant sandwich with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and bacon. My favorite cocktail bar is The Proper in La Cañada Flintridge; they make a killer margarita. When I want takeout, I order the Yellowtail Sashimi from Noda Sushi on Lake Avenue. A great new restaurant in town is The Arbour, also on Lake. Ian Gresik worked for me a long time ago at Patina and he’s a young, talented chef whose food is exquisite. For a classic establishment, I go to Arroyo Chop House on Arroyo Parkway for an aged prime rib eye and creamed spinach.
The best restaurant interiors are at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse & Patio, which were done by Christian Schnyder from Beleco. My favorite part is the brown-leather booth in the first dining room.
For the freshest produce, I head to the South Pasadena Farmers Market and La Cañada Flintridge Farmers Market, where I primarily look for seasonal fruits and vegetables. For meat and fish, I go to Bristol Farms in Pasadena, where I like to pick up an aged American rib eye from Nebraska. At Nicole’s Gourmet Market & Cafe in South Pasadena I buy imported ingredients from a wide variety of French cheeses, pates, oil, and vinegar.
The Huntington Library is a great romantic spot. It’s the entire atmosphere, from the architecture to the art and seasonal gardens. —Carole Dixon