Tag: #Dan Rebelo

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NY Times says, “Join the Union”

February 18, 2016

Thank you New York Times for recommending us!

3. JOIN THE UNION, 6 P.M.

Surrounded by some of the most exciting restaurants in the country, Pasadena suffers by comparison. Nothing underscores this more than how little disagreement there is about the city’s most beloved restaurants. One could be forgiven, for example, for assuming an ordinance requires locals to recommend Pie n Burger, a half-century-old diner. At the other end of the spectrum, Union is nearly universally described as the best restaurant in town. A rare combination of decadence (think of the overpowering scent of truffle mingling with lobster) and informal without seeming slouchy,Union is part of a national wave of high-end Italian restaurants doing spectacular takes on handmade pasta, velvety risottos and puffy gnocchi. Reservations are a must on weekend nights. Dinner is around $150, with wine, for two.

You can read the full article at this link or see their full feature below.

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36 Hours in Pasadena, California

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(Union, a favorite Italian restaurant. Credit: Laure Joliet for The New York Times)

The second oldest city in notoriously youthful Los Angeles County — after Los Angeles itself — Pasadena has aged admirably. With its deciduous tree-draped streets, it has often been a Hollywood stand-in for the American Everytown. Known for neighborhoods of historic grandeur and institutions of repute, its cultural and scientific heavyweights — the Norton Simon Museum, the Gamble House and the nearby Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens among them — are why most people visit. But Pasadena and the surrounding towns like South Pasadena andAltadena also have a delicious Mediterranean climate, enchanting architecture and plenty of charming Americana, including A-frame motels and the original concrete mile markers along what was once Route 66.

Friday

1. GRAND ENTRANCE, 3 P.M.

The Linda Vista Avenue exit off 134 East will guide you to the Colorado Street Bridge, an iconic 1913 structure that arches gracefully over the Arroyo Seco riverbed and, according to local lore, is haunted by the souls of those who have taken their lives here. Just off Colorado Boulevard, stop atLe Muse Coffee and Wine Bar, which recently opened in a charming brick courtyard building designed by the local architect Harold Bissner in 1936. Now a Parisian-style cafe, Le Muse serves a modest but well-executed menu of cafe fare, coffee drinks made from the local roaster Espresso Republic and a wine list that encourages a glass in the afternoon Southern California sun.

2. FOR THE SMART SET, 4:30 P.M.

While in the Playhouse District, walk to the neighborhood’s namesake, thePasadena Playhouse, the official State Theater of California, founded in 1917. The Spanish Colonial Revival theater has a glamorous history as a “Star Factory,” from which actors like Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman have emerged. A block east on Colorado, Vroman’s bills itself as the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. An ample and cleverly designed shop, it intersperses each department with related items. In Food, for example, there’s classic Bauer Pottery alongside cookbooks; Travel features the usual guides and memoirs, but also luggage tags and international power adapters.

3. JOIN THE UNION, 6 P.M.

Surrounded by some of the most exciting restaurants in the country, Pasadena suffers by comparison. Nothing underscores this more than how little disagreement there is about the city’s most beloved restaurants. One could be forgiven, for example, for assuming an ordinance requires locals to recommend Pie n Burger, a half-century-old diner. At the other end of the spectrum, Union is nearly universally described as the best restaurant in town. A rare combination of decadence (think of the overpowering scent of truffle mingling with lobster) and informal without seeming slouchy,Union is part of a national wave of high-end Italian restaurants doing spectacular takes on handmade pasta, velvety risottos and puffy gnocchi. Reservations are a must on weekend nights. Dinner is around $150, with wine, for two.

4. BACK TO SCHOOL, 8 P.M.

Despite a walkable downtown, seemingly ideal for barhopping, Pasadena has a surprisingly tepid night life. So make the most of the city’s revered institutions, which frequently host lectures, music and arts events. Recent listings on the California Institute of Technology’s Caltech calendar, for example, included chamber music ensembles and a musical parody of Star Trekcalled “Boldly Go!” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, meanwhile, hosts monthly talks on space exploration and science.

Saturday

5. ON THE GO, 8 A.M.

Worth the drive to East Pasadena, Copenhagen Pastry is a simple storefront (no seating) selling Danish classics (from $1.95) like Kringle topped with shaved almonds or Nougat Crown dotted with almond paste, custard and hazelnut cream, each with so many air-filled layers of pastry they seem as if they could float. Then, head for the Lower Arroyo Park, where the Pasadena Roving Archers have been “dedicated to the art of the bow and arrow” since 1935. Their free class for first-timers (8:30 to 10 a.m.) is for all ages.

6. JONATHAN GOLD TIP, 11:30 A.M.

Take a tip from the celebrated chronicler of Los Angeles’s food culture, Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize winner and Pasadena resident. Try Gold-recommended Seed Bakery, which got its start at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market but has recently opened a cafe, where you can buy organic, Old World breads made from whole grains like farro, durum andkamut. There’s also a small menu of offerings like short rib melt with manchego, Gorgonzola, caramelized onion and Dijon ($12). Around the corner, La Caravana serves Salvadoran “comida tipica” (typical dishes), including immaculately fried pupusas, corn masa disks stuffed with everything from chicharrón (pork) to cheese with loroco flower ($2.75 each).

7. TAKE A HIKE, 1 P.M.

Pasadena’s position at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains is one of its greatest assets. Head to Altadena, an unincorporated area just north of Pasadena that has long fought annexation by its southern neighbor, for a hike at either Eaton Canyon or Echo Mountain via the Sam Merrill Trail. Both have intriguing histories, including a famed resort, now in ruins, once accessible by the scenic Mount Lowe Railway. Air quality allowing, bothoptions offer views of the Los Angeles basin and trails through cactuses and live oaks. Reward yourself with gelato in flavors like pistachio or pear atBulgarini Gelato Artigianale, which also features foreign films or live jazzin the summer.

8. MIDDAY INDULGENCE, 3 P.M.

Or, if you must, head straight for the divey pleasures of Rancho Bar, where cheap beers, shots and Bloody Marys come with a side of Echo Mountain history. The original owner was a collector of Mount Lowe memorabilia. Stop into Everson Royce in Old Town, which has a daytime drinking schedule from 2 to 6 p.m., pouring four wines that revolve around one cohesive theme ($15). Hidden away at the Del Mar Metro Station, theStone Brewery Company Store serves not just Stone’s year-round releases, but limited-edition beers like an 11 percent barley wine dry-hopped with Pekko, from the Yakima Valley in Washington.

9. RETRO SHOPPING, 4 P.M.

Along with its popular flea markets, Pasadena is home to excellent shops appealing to the retro-inclined. Near Caltech, High Low Vintage has a sexy, stylishly laid out collection of women’s clothing (sequins, paisley and gold lamé, oh my!) and funky, modish housewares befitting a midcentury Angeleno aesthetic. Next to one of the city’s well-worn, well-loved dives (the Colorado, where the jukebox plays nonstop nostalgia, from Otis Redding to the Jackson Five), Poo-Bah Records is legendary among hip-hop heads, D.J.s and anyone intimate with underground and avant-garde music scenes in Los Angeles.

10. SAN GABRIEL VALLEY NORTH, 8 P.M.

Many of Pasadena’s most appealing restaurants, from the addictive Armenian fast food at Zankou Chicken to the second location of San Gabriel’s organic Pan-Asian restaurant Green Zone, are actually outposts of local and regional chains. Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, meanwhile, isinternational, with restaurants in Asian and Asian-American communities far and wide. The menu focuses on steaming bowls of simmering broth (either spicy or an oddly appealing milky white aromatic base, starting at $3.75 per person), in which anything from lotus root to wood ear mushrooms, Kobe beef to goose intestine can be added. For an outstanding omakase in a strip mall setting, Sushi Ichi is an alternative to the better known (and pricier) Sushi Kimagure, near Central Park.

Sunday

11. OLD TOWN STROLL, 9 A.M.

Stop by the Pie Hole in the Indiana Colony, a collective of trendy vendors housed in one of the city’s oldest buildings, for rich savory hand pies, including a vegetarian or chorizo breakfast variety for $5 to $7.25 each and a cup of nitro iced coffee, the newest thing in fancy brews. Then walk a loop past Pasadena’s most beautiful structures, plazas and secret gardens. Head north on Raymond, cutting through Pasadena Memorial Park, with its snail-shaped Levitt Pavilion, home of a free concert series during summer months, past the Pasadena Central Library and through the main entrance of the Beaux-Arts City Hall, which leads to a courtyard of palms and comes out at the marvelous Moorish-influenced Plaza Los Fuentes, decorated with hand-painted tiles by the ceramic artist Joyce Kozloff. End your walk at thePasadena Museum of California Art (admission, $7), which explores the breadth of the state’s art and design.

12. L.A. FREEWAY, NOON

Lincoln is a souped-up pastry shop with a side patio beneath palm trees. The little sister to the supremely popular Little Flower Candy Co. has wholesome and creative comfort food (from 6:30 a.m.), like pumpkinmolasses pancakes with whipped sage brown butter, pepitas and candied yams ($10.50) or huevos rancheros with white beans, cilantro rice and tomato confit ($10.50). A fitting final stop before hopping on the freeway and heading out of town, the Offramp Gallery is an art space in theCraftsman home of a local legend, the Pasadena dance instructor Evelyn LeMone.

Dan Rebelo: Union’s new Chef de Cuisine

February 3, 2016

As Chef Kalman launches his newest venue with Marie Petulla, Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market at Grand Central Market, someone has to take the helm in Pasadena to keep the porchetta coming.
 
Dan Rebelo is the man Chef Kalman trusts to take over the kitchen at Union while he’s working downtown. We sat down and chatted with Dan to learn something about the man who’s been chosen to fill these very large shoes.
 
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When did you start working for Union?
 
I started working at Union in February of 2015 as a line cook. I saw a post on Instagram saying Chef Kalman was looking for people and I just applied.
 
Before I came to California and started cooking here, (Union) I lived on the East coast where I worked in a couple of restaurants that focused on Spanish cuisine. My parents are both Portuguese and so Portuguese and Spanish cuisines are my real specialties. And before that I graduated from culinary school in 2004.
 
How does it feel to be in charge at Union?
 
Union is a train that just keeps going. All I have to do is keep it on the rails.
 
Will you have a hand in the menu?
 
Just a little at first. Everything goes through Chef Kalman. I recently added a crostone to the menu, with cannellini bean puree, Ventura sardines, pickled shallot and wood sorrel. And I’m looking forward to testing out some lamb, but that’s a little ways off still.
 
What are you excited about in the near future?
 
I’m really looking forward to spring at the market. It’s a great time for produce. And I’m collaborating with Chef Kalman on a special Valentine’s Dinner menu which we will be releasing details on soon.
 
How is it cooking with fresh produce from the Pasadena garden boxes?
 

Great. Right now we’re using fresh harvested cauliflower, broccoli, their leaves and lots of fava bean leaves. We’re also meeting with Geri of The Cooks Garden by HGEL to plan out what to plant for the new upcoming season.
 
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