For most of the country, Southern California winters are easy to scoff at. Rarely dipping below 40 degrees and without a single snowflake swirling in the wind, the argument is often made that we never experience a “real winter.” Climate-related blessings aside, we still have our fair share of gray, rainy days and when they come around the only cure is the comfort of a warm bowl of soup. So next time the storm clouds roll in, duck into one of these restaurants and find respite at the bottom of a bowl.
Seafood and Tofu Hot Soup at Boiling Point
Self-described as the “original mini wok on a box,” each bowl of soup served at this Taiwanese hot pot restaurant comes to your table set in a metal box with a lit burner on the lower level to keep it piping hot until the very last sip. The concept was so new that they designed and built the holders themselves, eventually filing a patent on the final design. Bowls of the Seafood and Tofu Hot Soup come packed with a ludicrous amount of ingredients in a wonderfully rich broth. Shrimp, clams, cuttlefish rings, baby octopus, fish fillet, and Fuzhou fish balls simmer amongst tofu, enoki mushrooms, bok choy, pork, egg, and vermicelli noodles.
Boiling Point Concept
18 W Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105
Spicy Ramen at Ramen Tatsunoya
After opening 11 ramen restaurants across Japan, chef Ryuta Kajiwara finally made the jump to America and, in 2015, opened his first U.S. location in Old Town Pasadena. Easily identified by the bright yellow sign and persistent line of hungry patrons, the popularity is well deserved. If you’re looking to warm up on a cold day, go for the Spicy Ramen. Kajiwara’s pork bone broth is simmered for 15 hours to draw out the full umami flavors before blending in three kinds of miso and finishing the dish with a spicy oil that gives the entire bowl a glowing warmth. Slices of tender roasted pork that break apart with a quick pull of a chopstick and thick ramen noodles complete the dish.
16 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103
Spicy Beef Chili at The Arbour
When The Arbour first opened on Lake Avenue, the Spicy Beef Chili, a gourmet take on an American kitchen classic, was such a hit they suspected it would never leave their menu. And thankfully for us, it hasn’t. What makes this dish so unique isn’t the wonderfully warm spices or the savory ground New York strip steak, though both are appreciated, it’s the small tea candle that burns at the center of the dish. As it melts, the candle, made in-house from beef fat, release small rivers of goodness that spread throughout the dish, elevating every bite with a deep richness. Served with slices of airy ciabatta bread, toasted and buttered, it’s an excellent cure for the winter chill.
527 S Lake Ave #120, Pasadena, CA 91101
Shabu Shabu at Tokyo Shabu Shabu
It was Ludwig van Beethoven who once said, “Only the pure of heart can make a good soup.” Put his theory to the test at Tokyo Shabu Shabu, where you become your own chef. Vegetables and thin cuts of various raw meats flow from the kitchen followed by pots of rich, complex broth carefully placed onto burners built directly into the tables. The menu offers 16 different kinds of broth, from classic beef bone to several curries and a spicy pork miso. Once your chosen broth reaches a boil, you’re ready to begin. Throw in the sauces, noodles, vegetables, and meat, letting them cook and swirl while you sip cold beer and hot sake. When everything is just how you like it, ladle out your creation and enjoy.`
Tokyo Shabu Shabu Pasdena
345 S Lake Ave Suite 101, Pasadena, CA 91101