Pasadena: Cocktails and Bar Bites at Magnolia House
After a failed dinner at an undisclosed location, we headed to Magnolia House to soothe our food beasts.
It was my first time checking it out. We meant to get a couple of cocktails and dessert but we couldn’t help but try out some of the food as well. I ordered the Pina Verde first thinking about the one I heard about at Boilermaker in New York by Erick Castro. As it turns out, his drink calls for Green Chartreuse, Coco Lopez and fruit juices. The one at Magnolia House is agave spirits driven. It’s definitely a pretty drink and you might want to have a few of them but decided it’d be fun to try something more aromatic next time.
Pina Verde – blanco tequila, mezcal, pineapple, lime, cilantro, mint, cayenne, absinthe
I am not a huge lamb person but I love meatballs. The solution, get them anyway. These turned out to be very good without the gaminess I sometimes associate with lamb.
We really enjoyed the slight Asian influence with the short ribs which were topped with kimchi. The shitake mushroom and baby kale risotto was a great base with meat.
I really wanted to like the Gershwin which sounded like a perfect martini (martini with both sweet and dry vermouths) but I thought it was a little unbalanced. I’d add either more bitters or different bitters. I love Benedictine but didn’t taste much of it either in the drink. We weren’t sitting at the bar so I’ll have to go back to try this out again.
Gershwin Cocktail – gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, orange bitters
Brussels sprouts still reign supreme with the general dining public. We couldn’t help but get an order. And the deal was sealed with the perfect crispy egg on top.
I really have a problem with not ordering mac and cheese everywhere I go. And this one at Magnolia with King crab called my name like a siren. The mac was perfect though some might wish for a tiny bit more cheese. I loved how the crab was fresh and not overcooked. Just sweet, lovely crab.
Since it’s turned into a light night eating and drinking session, let’s get an order of fries. It turned out to be a good call. Great fries.
As mentioned, we had started out ordering just dessert and drinks. So the apple cinnamon bread pudding actually came before all our food. Who says you can’t eat dessert first? I really enjoyed the nice warm bread pudding. The vanilla bean semi-freddo and salted caramel was all mixed up in that business creating a super homey dessert despite sounding high end (whatever happened to ice cream and hot fudge?).
The table however was in love with the light, crispy and instantly crave-able Greek doughnuts, aka loukoumades. Served with honey, cinnamon, Greek yogurt and pistachios, this was my favorite dish of the night.
I recently tried to go back but the kitchen had just closed at 10 p.m. The bar remains open until 2 a.m. so get there early if you’d like to eat dessert, get drinks and maybe eat a second dinner after all.