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Pasadena: Crepe Vine

September 24, 2006

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Oh dear. It is not often I have deep fried sandwiches with french fries for lunch and I don’t think I should do it that often. But when I do – no regrets! Well here comes the truth, I’ve actually been back in school for nearly a month but am still doing my Hawaii posts from this past summer. Can I help it if there’s so much to eat on our tiny island and now enough hours in a day to post? :) I’m far from finished, but I had such a gooooodgooood meal today that I would feel awful if I didn’t share it with you.

Sabine and I drove down to Pasadena for a late lunch at the Crepe Vine. Our original plan was for tartines and brioches along with chocolate tarts and praline spread on baguettes at Le Pain Quotidien – a place I used to visit frequently in NYC. But we were sidetracked by this small restaurant right off the bustling streets of Colorado Blvd. What’s life without a little adventure, eh? So we turned in. And boy, am I glad we did.

We were quickly seated in the small European-esque restaurant. There were a handful of diners on the outside patio, but it was such a hot day so we opted for a cozy indoor corner seat. The menu came. And we were hungry! It would be logical to order crepes at a restaurant by the name of Crepe Vine but once I saw the words “Monte Cristo” on the menu, I instantly fell in love. Why, I can’t even recall the last time I had this hot crisp delight. With garlic fries nonetheless! I am soo easily sold.

Mmmm, lookie. Monte Cristo – fried ham and cheese with strawberry chutney ($9). It was divine. Layers of ham and cheddar sandwiched between a thick & fluffy soft, almost challah like bread. Dipped in an eggy batter and fried till the corner were crackly crisp and nearly burnt. Each bite revealed hot savory ham laced by the melting cheese and such bread, hot soft, sweet. You really can’t go wrong. My only disappointment was that there wasn’t any strawberry chutney smeared inside the sandwich, as the menu description implied. Instead they gave a small dish of diced strawberries on the side. We’ll forgive them. Top the sandwich with a whimsy of powdered sugar and I was set. Well almost – don’t forget the fries! Stringy hot crunchy strips tossed with plenty of pungent minced garlic and a handful of parsley. This brings up the “mountain of fries issue,” – every time a good restaurant offers fries it often comes it a beautiful massive mountain. You look at it and think, “man, there’s no way I could finish this.” But then you do! You ALWAYS do! No matter how big the mountain. Shudder. It’s as if they just disappear. Like magic… I don’t even want to tell you about the after effects of this meal. I felt like I had solid bowling balls of oil hanging in my belly. Surely not a pretty sigh. But so worth it!

The menu description of Sabine’s Portobello with Avocado and Burrata sandwich ($9) sounded reasonably “healthy” (-er than mine), but guess what? You just can’t escape the frying pan in this restaurant. A little short on the burratta, but with creamy, melty avocado and warm mushrooms inside, this could form a terrible addiction. Based on Chowhound reviews and looking around at the dishes of other diners (in addition to my own experience), the items at Crepe Vine lean on the VERY heavy side. Even the crepes are filled with cream based sauces. I wouldn’t come here too often, but when I do, I will splurge. :)

The Crepe Vine
36 West Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 796-7250



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