Café Bizou

4/5 PickyRatings

We’ve gone through most of the Chinese eateries in the Los Angeles area, but in this post I travel to Pasadena, CA.  Home of the iconic Rose Parade, it is home to many gourmet restaurants and sophisticated cuisine.  Café Bizou is just one of the restaurants around the block in Old Town Pasadena, which offers standard Americanized “French” food.

DSC_0509

DSC_0510

So let’s get right into reviewing.

I ordered multiple things for my appetizer.  The escargots are deserving of mention.

The liquid surrounding the snail shells is made entirely of butter.

The liquid surrounding the snail shells is made entirely of butter.  So unhealthy!  Well…that’s just Western cuisine…

These escargots are made with the traditional recipe.  As usual, they are tender and not too salty.  But as you can see, they are quite difficult to grasp using a mere fork and spoon, so use the clasp they provide for you to eat them.

They also have a special deal where you can add a soup to your entree for only one dollar.  To take advantage of this, I ordered the soup of the day which was the tomato bisque.

Looks like lobster bisque

Looks like lobster bisque.  The plate is spotted if you look closely

I was expecting more of a balance between sweetness and tomato flavor, but this soup tasted more like tomato sauce to me.  In fact, it was pretty sour.  I do understand that my expectations are pretty high, but I would still say that the soup was not too good.  It’s still refreshing for your taste buds though.

Before I review my entree (which was the lamb rack, my second post with this entree), I’d like to say that aside from the lamb rack I had, this restaurant also has daily specials along with plenty of Italian, French, and American classics.  The daily specials can vary from chilean sea bass to beef tenderloin.

Looks like a kids' meal

Looks like an oversized kids’ meal

I personally like how they really took the time to cut up all those lamb pieces into neat, bite sizes.  Overall, this lamb was really good, being not too salty nor gamey.  The meat was cooked to a nice medium rare, just the way I like it.  The lamb was also very soft and easy to chew.  As I savored my dish, I encountered little to no fat…take that Masons!

Undoubtedly the best lamb I’ve had so far (emphasis on so far).

The most anticipated part of the meal is dessert, except for diabetics.

DSC_0514

Chocolate cake with tiramisu at background

As you can see, I ordered the flourless dark chocolate cake.  When you bite into the cake, a rich chocolate taste fills your mouth, and it is extremely tasty and sweet.  It goes along perfectly with the whipped cream at the side of the plate.  Warning diabetic people, if you eat both the chocolate cake and whipped cream, your blood glucose will skyrocket.  It would be nice if they made the cake with Splenda.

The service makes you forget that you’re in a gourmet restaurant.  Rather, you feel like you are at a diner.  Let’s not go into details…

Overall, I hope you enjoyed my first post of Western cuisine in the US.  (You must be thinking, that’s ridiculous).  It is quite ridiculous, since I posted mostly Chinese food in the US earlier.  Wait…no…please don’t press that unfollow button!

In conclusion, Café Bizou is a quiet, comfortable location in Old Town Pasadena for business interviews or just casual family outings.  If you want a decent, basic meal when you are visiting the impressive town of Pasadena, CA, you should come here…just do not expect traditional gourmet French cooking.

Advertisements

Embassy Kitchen

5/5 PickyRatings

Welcome to San Gabriel in the Los Angeles County, a place heavily influenced by Chinese culture.  Just head east of Downtown L.A., and you’ll go into this vast suburb of LA.  You’ll be culture-shocked.  After all, LA is quite diverse.

Embassy Kitchen is a rather “high class” version of Chinese restaurant.  So far, this place is our favorite.  L.A. is big, so if you’re a tourist living in Downtown who wants to eat here, it’s going to take you approximately 30 minutes to get here.

DSC_0487

Inside

Inside

Here they specialize in Hong Kong style Cantonese cuisine.

Some things you should try:

Bean curd skin with luffa

Bean curd skin with luffa

The bean curd skin with luffa has a unique taste to it.  The bean curd is very soft and the luffa (the green vegetables) are not too crunchy.  It is perfect when you mix it in with rice as well.

Braised bean curd in foreground with imperial pork in background.

Braised bean curd in foreground with imperial pork in background.

The braised bean curd is a good light dish, except that the tofu isn’t too tasty, even though it looks like it’s covered in sauce.  When you bite into the soft tofu, a bland taste fills your mouth, and you might want to add soy sauce to enhance the flavor.  The imperial pork is very sweet and tender, (and the sauce is a perfect addition to your rice).  However, just be careful, you might have a hard time spotting the bones.  It’s still a excellent meat dish though.

A whole fish put out for you to eat

The catch of the day; a whole cod put out for you to eat

The live steamed daily catch is also a pretty good seafood dish.  You need to know that they haven’t removed any of the bones from the fish, so you have to be careful of where you pluck your meat.  The back (excluding the parts where you have the fins) and the tail are the parts where you will find the least bones.  Trust me.  Swallowing a fish bone is like swallowing a toothpick.  On the other hand, the meat is usually very tender and appetizing to the tongue.

Glutinous rice balls

Glutinous rice balls sprinkled with peanut crumbs, sesame paste inside

I really recommend the glutinous rice balls for dessert.  Aside from the free red bean syrup soup (this sounds strange, you’ll know what I mean when you go there) that they provide after the meal, this is another good dessert which is better (but not free).  The glutinous rice balls are very squishy and soft, but don’t squish the balls too hard for the main part of it, the sesame paste, will flow out and burn your tongue.  I can’t even describe how good the taste is.  One more word of caution: don’t breathe in the powder at the top of the balls.

You’ll enjoy this restaurant, no matter if you are a tourist or a local.  Maybe it will become your new cafeteria, just like this restaurant is ours.

Address: 218 S San Gabriel Blvd San Gabriel, CA 91776