LUNCH AT THE RAYMOND 1886
A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD FAVORITE
It’s always great to look at an old favorite in a new light as it can offer you an added appreciation for what you love. I didn’t think it was possible to become more of a fan than I already am of The Raymond 1886 in Pasadena but then again, I had never been for lunch.
Tucked neatly away on Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, if you didn’t know the restaurant was there you’d go right by it. But if you know it’s there, then you damn well know where to go for fine fare and the best cocktails in town. Whether it’s weekend brunch, lunch or dinner, Executive Chef Tim Guiltinan prepares a menu that’s stunningly inventive and his take on classically-inspired modern American cuisine.
If you’re brunching or lunching be prepared to day drink if you’re anything like me as time spent at They Raymond 1886 should include cocktails from the best bar program in and around Los Angeles. At lunch, day drinking favorites include the popular house Mimosa with homemade curacao, along with the Ramon Fizz made with gin, fresh citrus, cream, egg white and orange-flower water topped with soda. Other crowd pleasers include the Bloody Mary with dirty sue olive juice and an array of salts and spices, and the Michelada with house chile salt blend and Worcestershire.
During our visit for lunch, we started with the Quiche of the Day, which includes Chef’s daily selection with a light green salad and fresh fruit. While the quiches vary, the crust is always delicious and tastes divine. The accompanying sides made for a light and guilt-free selection.
Another light and pleasing item includes the Blueberry and Grilled Sweet Corn Salad with crispy fried chicken, organic arugula, vine ripened tomato, fresh mozzarella, red onion and the Raymond house dressing. While the salad is light the crispy fried chicken adds a wonderful world of flavor.
A menu highlight and a must-have item is the stellar Calabrian Chili Fried Chicken Sandwich with Italian Calbria chili mayo, crispy pepperoni, melted cheddar, lettuce and red onions on a homemade Portuguese sweet roll. This sandwich is so good, I called it the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich in Los Angeles after trying fried chicken sandwiches all over town.
This day we were hankering for burgers, all of which are served with your choice of French fries, potato chips, sweet potato fries or side salad. Consider “The Bourbon Bacon” burger prepared with Baconnaise, bourbon-bacon jam, spicy fried onions and melted cheddar a grand slam winner. This is bacon goodness come to life. You will be hard pressed to find a better mighty meaty titan.
Another beefy bonanza is the “Colorado Lamb” burger with freshly ground lamb, garlic aioli, feta cheese, mint pesto and arugula. Even during the middle of the day pair this burger with a glass of red wine and watch it get even better. As good as this burger was, it did suffer somewhat coming after the Bacon beast. If you’re sharing at lunch, you won’t find a better meal than the Bacon burger along with the fried chicken sandwich.
Time spent at The Raymond 1886, whether at lunch, brunch, dinner or just for drinks is always a relaxing good time. You’re just far enough away from the rat race in a comfortable and cozy environment that always delivers a first-rate meal and a dynamite drink.
The Raymond 1886 is located at 1250 S. Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday from 11:30am to 2:30pm. Call 626-441-3136.
Story and some pictures by: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: The Raymond 1886