Quick Bites and Food News in Pasadena

From Pivots to new openings, here’s what’s happening around town.

While some restaurants have recently shuttered–even temporarily—others are expanding. Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina has two new concepts: Tokyo Hot Chicken is operating out of a “ghost kitchen” at his Bourbon Steak location in Glendale, which is still offering to-go and delivery. The new venture melds Nashville hot chicken with Japanese spices, sauces, and inventive sides such as wasabi mashed potatoes and togarashi Parker House rolls. Mina’s crew also rolled out a new Bourbon Burger Bar with prime dry-aged steak patties.

Tex-Mex staple HomeState from Silver Lake and Highland Park is expanding into the old Lincoln spot in the Foothill area on the border of Pasadena and Altadena. Expect the same great breakfast tacos, Frito pie, and Palomas on the patio by spring.

Seasonal and sustainable French-inspired Perle on Union Street in Pasadena opened last June, and executive chef Dean Yasharian is now celebrating the regions of France in a new six-course, prix-fixe menu from the iconic areas of Paris to Bordeaux.

Chakra Indian Kitchen on Raymond Ave. is planning to bring Indian fine dining to the community with dosas, biryanis, and tandoori specialties from the clay oven.

The striking mint green stand-alone building on Eagle Rock Blvd. is housing the sleek, modern interiors of CHIFA—a mesh of Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Peruvian cuisine from Opening Ceremony co-founder Humberto Leon and his family.

In the fast-casual space, Caterer Joseph Badaro opened Hummus Labs in the financial district on Lake Ave. last April. While the restaurant specializes in kabobs, falafel, and vegan-vegetarian dishes, new to the menu are the shawarma nachos made from filet mignon skewer, served with house-made pita chips.

Healthy and delicious Indian food is coming from brand-new IMLI in Whittier. Some of the dishes use classic ingredients such as a house-made ghee loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and good fats for modern twists on everything from butter chicken to burritos.

Over in Boyle Heights, chef Mario Christerna is using mole in some of his pie creations at Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co., now open on the ground floor of The Paramount, a historic music venue.

This has also been the year of the pivot, and we have seen plenty of new concepts from award-winning chefs and restaurateurs. The mastermind behind Guerrilla Tacos, Wes Avila, has opened a sandwich shop in Chinatown’s Mandarin Plaza. Angry Egret Dinette serves giant sandwiches and tortas piled high with unique ingredients such as pork shoulder-stuffed pig’s foot.

Restaurateur Steve Livigni of DAMA downtown and Scopa in Venice has brought Flaco to East Hollywood with vegan tacos, carnitas, and massive quesadillas. He has also joined forces in the same space with another DTLA transplant, E Stretto, known for premium deli sandwiches. In the Arts District, Michelin-starred chef Enrique 0lvera’s Damien is now serving a fast-casual taco and tequila concept, Ditroit, through a walk-up window in a back alley of the main space. —Carole Dixon

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