Sunday, March 13, 2011
When it comes to interesting interior design in the coffee business, I think Intelligentsia has done some truly interesting things over the past four years. From Silver Lake to Venice Beach and now the new Pasadena location, the design has been interesting and even innovative.
Unlike the Venice Beach location, Pasadena doesn't go overboard with the Gee Whiz design approaches, like the hard concrete bleachers, odd espresso pods and underused "Slow Bar." Instead, Pasadena borrows heavily from the current Farm2Table fad of repurposed chic urban style and traditional bar design - which is probably better because it's not causing customer traffic jams at the entrance.
It's Sunday afternoon and the place is hopping. A short line and a rather friendly girl greets us. She takes our order and we're on our way. The service is friendly and efficient. LAWeekly writes about the pretentiousness of The Intelligentsia Experience, I can't comment on it because I've already been recognized by Phil.
The girls consider the offerings.
For me, the new Intelligentsia shops have become "must visit" shops whenever they open. While I may not agree or think that the designs are the best, they certainly are different and progressive, which I think is something to be celebrated or, at least, investigated.
Where Pasadena doesn't go for innovative interior design, they've worked some truly nice touches into their bar: integrated drip trays line what seems to be the entire run of the bar, allowing the baristas to spill, drip or dump liquid at any point with minimal cleanup or fuss. Water gooseneck dispensers are strategically placed, as are pitcher rinsers at every workstation.
While I'm starting to tire of the reclaimed wood and artifact style of urban design, the lineup of three larger scales that act as both weighing devices as well as a worksurface for the hand brew bar is a nice touch. Maybe even nice enough to riff on when we build the next Spro.
A cappuccino from Phil.
Our drinks come and we retreat to a table in the back. The interior is nice and I'd tell you more but if you've been to any of the new farm2table style restaurants in the last five years, then you know exactly the interior of Pasadena.
As always, the drinks are solidly executed. My brewed coffee is sweet and tasty and it's been another nice visit to a new Intelligentsia.
Tuna with soy sauce dressing.
Sometimes even chain restaurants get it right and the Shin-Sen-Gumi chain is one of them. Great tasting Japanese cuisine all across the L.A. area. We've been to the Gardena location before and this time the girls were in the mood for the shabu shabu teriyaki combination of their Monterey Park location. Enjoy. It was tasty.
Ian ready for it to begin.
Salmon Egg bowl.
Beef Heart Yakitori.
The hotly contested Yuzu Pepper.
Black Sesame Ice Cream.
111 N. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754