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NY Times says, “Join the Union”

February 18, 2016

Thank you New York Times for recommending us!


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.


36 Hours in Pasadena, California


(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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.

What You’ll Be Eating at Knead & Co. Pasta

February 12, 2016

Enjoy this great feature by Zagat which goes into depth about what they’re serving downtown at our sister restaurant Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market. Lesley Balla includes lots of close up pics showing off the freshness of everything #TeamKnead is cooking up. If this piece doesn’t get you drooling, we don’t know what will. Read their full feature below or see the article on Zagat’s website at this link.

What You’ll Be Eating at Knead & Co. Pasta Bar Downtown

Article and all photos By Lesley Balla | February 2, 2016
In an effort to curb merging lines and crowded aisles, the Grand Central Market has finally put up signs designating where customers should wait in line for food at any of the stalls. That’s because the almost 100-year-old market is busier than ever, with hungry hounds descend on the place for cheap carnitas tacos, slutty egg sandwiches, curry sausages, wood-fired pizza, coffee, smoky brisket, oysters, empanadas, vegan ramen, cakes and cookies and Thai street food. You can now add handmade pastas, homey meatballs, extremely good cannoli and other rustic Italian dishes to the list, thanks to Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market from chef Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla.
This is the sophomore effort for Kalman and Petulla, who also co-own and operate Union in Pasadena. It’s a long space in the ever-expanding market, a newcomer to a corner of newcomers (Ramen Hood, Courage & Craft) near the Broadway entrance. Check out the chalkboard, order in the center and grab a red metal stool along two counters — one situated right in front of the glass-enclosed pasta-making operation, and the other in front of the kitchen. Dishes veer from East Coast–style Italian-American fare to more California-centric seasonal dishes, but they’re all centered around what the chef does best: make everything in-house, including all of the pastas, many of the cheeses, the desserts and anything he can do himself (soon there will be Knead salt-cured anchovies and a house-branded olive oil). It’s soulful food for a place with a lot of soul. Take a look at some of the offerings below. Knead opens Sunday through Wednesday, 11 AM to 6 PM, and Thursday through Saturday, 11 AM to 9 PM. (Once breakfast starts, hours will change to 8 AM.)
Kalman makes orzo with charcoal wheat, which adds a toothsome heartiness to this fresh salad with roasted cipollini onions, cauliflower, golden raisins, goat cheese and pistachios.
The panini aren’t what you expect. The porchetta dip is a riff on the classic French dip made with thick slices of Kalman’s famous roast pork, pickled mustard seed and roasted rapini on a crunchy baguette from Etchea bakery. You’ll want the side of pork jus for dipping. There’s also a veg version made with roasted cauliflower steak, pickled fennel, arugula and lemon aïoli.
Showing off some of the myriad pasta shapes to come out of Knead, many of which can be purchased from the little marketplace, is this curly porcini lasagnette. It holds the wild mushrooms, garlic and herbs quite well.
To keep on trend, this grain bowl is made with Grist & Toll grains, fresh mozzarella, heirloom carrots, Koda Farms chickpeas, carrot-top pesto and walnuts.
The classic bucatini all’amatriciana, long strands of al dente pasta tossed in a rich tomato sauce made with guanciale and chiles, gets a generous shaving of pecorino cheese.
It doesn’t get much more old-school than baked ziti with a blanket of melted mozzarella cheese.
These panzerotti are a cross between a fried hand pie and a pizza, with a soft, slightly sweet dough that gets a crisp, golden glow from the fryer. Inside…
..tomato, mozzarella and basil, or fennel sausage and peppers. This is a great snack to eat while walking around the market.
All who make meatballs will be judged harshly, and these are some of the best in town. They’re topped with Sunday gravy, a rich and meaty tomato stew. You can get meatballs on their own or with spaghetti.
Desserts include made-to-order zeppole, the Italian donut tossed in powdered sugar.
Not only does Kalman use Grist & Toll flour in the housemade cannoli shells, but he also makes the ricotta used in the filling. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better in town.
Gorgeous fresh pastas, along with bagged varieties, plus sauces, Kalman’s spice rubs, Hepp salts, olive oils and other goods are available in the marketplace.


February 11, 2016

Thank you to LA Weekly for their really nice write up on our sister restaurant Knead & Co. Market + Pasta. They’ve got a love for the porchetta dip, calling it “king of the heap” at Grand Central Market. See their full feature below or read the entire article at this link.


(Porchetta panini at Knead & Co.)
You can now find fresh-shucked oysters, hand-sliced pastrami, Northern Thai khao soi and killer falafel wraps at downtown’s Grand Central Market, so it should be no surprise that there’s now fresh pasta, too. It comes courtesy of Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla, the business partners behind Pasadena’s Union. Their newest endeavor is Knead & Co. Pasta Bar, where Kalman is serving pastas such as baked ziti and “Sunday gravy” spaghetti with meatballs, as well as sandwiches, salads and crispy, sauce-filled hand pies called panzerotti.
The first thing you’ll most likely notice about Knead & Co. is that its kitchen is absolutely enormous, about the size of a tractor trailer end-to-end. It’s bigger than the kitchen at Union, in fact. On one side is the hot line, where dishes like squid ink tagliolini and locally grown spelt cavatelli are plated as elegantly as they can be inside compostable cardboard bowls. On the other side is a pasta lab, an airy glass atrium where chefs use locally milled flour from Grist & Toll to produce a kaleidoscope of pasta shapes. You can also buy some of this fresh pasta to-go, along with tomatoes, sauce, tiramisu and other goodies.
If you’ve tried the stellar pastas at Union, you’ll recognize many of them on Knead & Co.’s menu — which is far from a bad thing. Twirling your fork around tender bucatini noodles sauced with tomato, basil and house-cured pork jowl is as pleasurable in a quaint Pasadena dining room as it is in the rowdy confines of Grand Central Market.
But if there’s one reason to make a beeline to Knead & Co., it’s the porchetta dip panini. It’s a bulging, downright carnal sandwich — part Philly roast pork, part French dip — with soft, dripping pork shavings crammed inside a crusty length of house-baked bread. A layer of roasted rapini cuts through the fattiness of the pork, and pickled mustard seeds add a sweet, vinegary zip. There’s a small cup of spicy-crunchy giardiniere and garlic-zapped jus on the side, but since the sandwich is succulent enough on its own, you might consider sipping the jus as if it were a cup of fancy bone broth instead. Even among the growing roster of competitors currently filling out Grand Central Market, this sandwich could be king of the heap.
Knead & Co. Pasta Bar, 317 S. Broadway, downtown; (213) 624-2378, kneadpasta.com.

Knead & Co. in Grand Central Market

Restaurant Hospitality Interviews Chef Kalman

February 10, 2016

Bruce Kalman rolls out Knead & Co. pasta bar

The eatery/market is a nod to the chef’s New Jersey youth.


Knead is open and the reviews are in!

February 9, 2016

Union co-owners, Marie Petulla and Bruce Kalman have opened their second venture together downtown, Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market, and the good reviews have come pouring in. We’re so happy for our sister restaurant which features handmade pastas, fresh salads, a porchetta dip, and cannolis! Enjoy the nice things being said about Knead and make sure to stop in at Grand Central Market for lunch. The Knead crew makes the pasta in front of you.


Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.13.54 PM


Just when you think the Grand Central Market couldn’t get more delicious, chef Bruce Kalman adds his meatballs and Sunday gravy, fresh-made pastas, salads and more to the mix. Knead & Co Pasta Bar is now open along the south side of the market, closer to the Broadway entrance. The space is bigger than most with a 16-seat counter that offers views into the kitchen and pasta making, plus a small marketplace for myriad dried goods, including Knead’s pastas, Kalman’s spice rubs, Hepp’s salt, funny pasta “spirit noodle” T-shirts and more. Of course the centerpiece is the menu full of rustic Italian specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You’ll find elevated Italian-American dishes that nod to Kalman’s East Coast roots — spaghetti with meatballs and a rich meat sauce (the “gravy”), baked ziti, lasagna Bolognese, cannoli and the like — alongside duck agnolotti with butternut squash, sage and raisins; charcoal wheat orzo salad; and a Tuscan grain bowl. All of the pastas are made in-house most using freshly milled flours from Pasadena’s Grist & Toll; you’ll also see some of these on Kalman’s menu at Union in Pasadena, the restaurant he and Marie Petulla opened in 2014. The morning menu is especially compelling with its breakfast raviolo with kale, ricotta and pepperonata; polenta porridge with seasonal fruit and Santa Monica honey; and ham-and-egg crostone with crispy fontina and tomato jam (watch out, Eggslut). Knead opens Sunday through Wednesday, 8 AM to 6 PM, and Thursday through ­Saturday, 8 AM to 9 PM.

Tasting Table

Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + MarketBruce Kalman’s pasta project has joined the destination worthy lineup at The Grand Central Market. Kalman’s kiosk has seating for 16 and an open kitchen where his team is rolling and extruding pastas, turning them into dishes like spelt cavatelli with spicy fennel sausage, chickpeas and rapini. In the mornings there’s a breakfast raviolo with eggs, kale, ricotta, and tomatoes as well as polenta porridge with berries, pistachios and honey. Find Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market here, or in our DINE app.

LA Magazine

1. Knead and Co. Pasta Bar
Finally, you don’t have to go all the way to Pasadena to get Bruce Kalman’s pasta in your mouth. The Union chef opened up his long-awaited Grand Central Market stall serving Italian staples like cavatelli with fennel sausage, bucatini all’amatriciana, and, of course, meatballs with Sunday gravy. The best part is—other than being able to chase your cannoli with a scoop of nearby McConnell’s ice cream—the bowls of pasta start at just $8. And if there’s one thing that Kalman does as well as pasta, it’s porchetta, which Knead and Co. is serving up French dip-style.

LA Times

Your spirit noodle

If you love Bruce Kalman’s Pasadena restaurant Union, you probably spend a lot of time eating that exceedingly pretty plate of wound spaghetti. And you’ve also probably been waiting impatiently for Kalman to open Knead & Co., his highly anticipated pasta place in downtown’s Grand Central Market. It has finally opened, serving many pasta dishes — you can buy pasta here too — and something the chefs calls a porchetta dip sandwich. If you needed another reason to go eat a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and pick up some squid ink garganelli for dinner later.


Los Angeles Restaurants to Eat at this Week

Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market
The newest addition to Grand Central Market comes from Chef Bruce Kalman. You may know him from his perfect pastas and porchetta at Union in Pasadena. At Knead, Kalman focuses on handmade pasta—you can watch his team make it in the open kitchen’s “pasta lab.” Dine on specialties like Sunday gravy spaghetti and meatballs, and spelt cavatelli with spicy fennel sausage and Koda Farms chickpeas. The all-day bar offers pastries and breakfast dishes like polenta porridge with seasonal fruit, pistachios and Santa Monica honey (Prosciutto di Parma and/or a cage free egg for an additional charge). You can also pick up made-to-order paninis, fresh pasta salads and classic desserts like cannoli, tiramisu and zeppole. 317 S. Broadway, downtown. kneadpasta.com


Remember that one moment this month where you thought “El Nino’s here, time to stop going out for a while,” and then the rain actually stopped and you were more like, “Oh, I actually should try to remember where all those new restaurants I was trying to hit were because I can actually leave the house”? Well, here they are: the best new openings of January, including an ultra-lauded chef’s new pasta stall, burgers from Roy Choi, and omakase… tempura?? Get to these spots now, before El Nino rain makes you a hermit again.


Bruce Kalman and Marie Petulla — aka the ultra-lauded chef from Union in Pasadena and his partner — have opened up this new stall at Grand Central Market, with a “pasta lab” churning out fresh noodle dishes (the simple Sunday spaghetti is fantastic), as well as made-to-order panini and Italian omelettes.

Eater LA

Bruce Kalman’s spot has housemade pasta for days, plus some other goodies.

Knead & Co. had a line of dozens of eager diners when it opened at noon today, about an hour off of their planned opening time of 11 a.m. Either way, Bruce Kalman’s fresh pasta bar was firing on all cylinders, cranking out everything from bucatini amatriciana to duck agnolotti filled with butternut squash, golden raisins, sage, and pecorino romano. Eater was on site Snapchatting the affair (follow the account at EaterLosAngeles) to get a look at the action.

As for the menu, it’s a variety of starters, panini, and hand pies capped off with 11 different kinds of fresh pasta, ranging simple spaghetti and tomato sauce for $8 to a lasagne bolognese for $16, though that comes with housemade ricotta. To start, have an arugula or shopped salad, and dive into the porchetta panini, which comes with spicy giardiniere and roasted rapini. Nota bene on that porchetta though, it’s a little on the smaller side, so you’ll want to line up a pasta dish if you plan to head back to your cubicle with a full stomach.

By noon the line had about a half hour wait, which means that 11 a.m. start time tomorrow (and for the time being) will be the ideal time to show up without a wait.


Chef Kalman Shows Us Around Knead

February 5, 2016

Food & Wine stopped by Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market to shoot video of Chef Kalman and co-owner Marie Petulla giving a tour of their new digs. Check out Food & Wine’s full feature, including video, at this link or read their feature below.

VIDEO: Look at L.A.’s Cool New Pasta Bar

By F&W Editors
Posted January 29, 2016
L.A.’s coolest new bar isn’t known for its cocktails. It’s all about the pasta.
Knead & Co., chef Bruce Kalman’s just-opened pasta bar in L.A.’s Grand Central Market, features bar-front views of an incredible pasta “lab” complete with a bespoke noodle extruder. The menu offers dishes both old-school, red sauce Italian like classic baked ziti, and innovative dishes like duck-stuffed agnolotti with butternut squash and golden raisins. There’s even a breakfast pasta: a raviolo with egg, kale, ricotta and tomatoes.
This past Wednesday, chef Kalman and his partner, restaurateur Marie Petulla, gave F&W’s fans a behind-the-scenes tour of the new restaurant and market (Knead is selling fresh-made pastas, sauces, cheeses and more) on Periscope. Watch the video at their link here.

Knead Pasta Bar Now Open!

February 1, 2016

Marie Petulla and Bruce Kalman’s newest venture, Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market, is now open for limited hours, 11am to 6pm, with full service starting soon. Located in Grand Central Market, our sister restaurant features Chef Kalman’s fresh, handmade pastas and sauces. LA Times had the scoop on their official opening. Read the full feature at this link or see below.

An Inside Look at Bruce Kalman’s New Downtown Spaghetti Factory

Watch all the pastas get made at Grand Central Market’s Knead & Co. Pasta Bar
January 22, 2016 Lesley Balla
When it comes to making pasta, chef Bruce Kalman is the antithesis of the #fuckyourpastamachine hashtag. The chef and co-owner of Union Restaurant in Pasadena, and the forthcoming Knead & Co. Pasta Bar and Market, believes that using a machine, as opposed to cutting every intricate strand and shape by hand, is the way to go.
“I don’t think anyone can really tell the difference,” he says. “As a chef, I appreciate the art, and we do make some of our pastas by hand. But as a business man, it just doesn’t make sense.”
It will actually make a huge difference when Kalman starts serving and selling thousands of little pasta shapes in the Grand Central Market this month. Knead, the sophomore effort from Kalman and business partner Marie Petulla (the two opened Union in Pasadena in 2014), takes over a long space along the southern side of the building, closer to the Broadway entrance. There’s a full kitchen, well-stocked marketplace, and a 16-seat counter with views right into the pasta factory.
The cornerstone of the kitchen is the Emiliomiti extruder from Emilio Mitidieri, who’s known far and wide for his pasta-making machines (Eataly is just one regular customer). Why this machine is special: It applies about 6,000 pounds of pressure to help make the smoothest shapes around. “It’s all about pressure and heat,” Kalman says. “The dough is crumbly and dry when it goes into the chamber, and it gets really hot from the friction and pressure, which creates an optimal environment for extruding pasta.”
Plus, it’s just super cool.
With its myriad settings, Kalman can make more than 20 different pasta shapes, from orzo and Israeli cous cous, to bucatini, rigatoni, ziti, caserecci, spaghetti, pipette, penne, and creste di gallo, a sort of curved ziti with ruffles on the edge (cresta di gallo translates to “cockscomb,” as in a rooster). He uses different flours for different shapes, like charcoal wheat for the orzo and spelt for cavatelli, all coming from Pasadena’s Grist & Toll flour and grain mill.
“We make our pasta by hand at Union, and it’s time consuming. With this new place, there needs to be a balance,” Kalman says. “I don’t think all pasta has to be handmade. And I don’t shun anyone who says it should, but it doesn’t work for me.”
That extruder is really the beating heart of Kalman’s business as a whole. Not only are they making pastas for Knead & Co.’s menu—there’s spaghetti and meatballs with Sunday gravy, baked ziti, and cocoa agnolotti stuffed with duck confit, among other dishes—but also for Union. And anyone can pick up bags of dried pasta in the marketplace, along with Kalman’s spice rubs, handmade cheeses, their own salt-cured local anchovies, Hepp salts and more.
While pasta is the hallmark for Knead, there’s a lot more to the menu, including made-to-order panini, fresh salads and sides, and desserts like cannoli. All will be available to dine in or to take to go. It’s just one more feather in the cap for the always bustling, ever-expanding Grand Central Market.
“I love the vibe and energy that’s down there,” Kalman says of the historic open-air space. “Seeing the audience is great, it’s a really diverse crowd. And there’s really something for everyone.”
And that finally includes Sunday gravy and baked ziti. Once open, Knead will open daily from 8am-6pm, Sunday through Wednesday, and until 9pm, Thursday through Saturday.

KNEAD & CO pasta bar + market “Most Anticipated Opening”

January 22, 2016

Thank you to the Eater LA for calling our sister restaurant, Knead & Co. Pasta bar + Market, one of the most anticipated openings of 2016! We agree and are so excited to share our new venture with you. Brought to you by Marie Petulla and Bruce Kalman, the same two owners here at Union, this spot will bring you all the pasta, all the time!
See their feature on Knead below or read the full article at this link.

The Most Anticipated Los Angeles Restaurant Openings, Winter 2016

by Eater Staff Jan 13, 2016
[Photo: Wonho Frank Lee]


Location: Grand Central Market, Downtown
Key Players: Bruce Kalman
The Situation: Housemade pasta maestro Bruce Kalman is taking his prodigious noodle talent to Grand Central Market, with plans to open Knead & Co. as a tour du force on the lunch and evening scene. Quick service plates of rotating pastas will showcase Kalman’s love for the stuff, while the rest of the large space will work as a market where customers can take home olive oils, sauces, cannoli, and anything else they fancy.
Projected Opening: Early February

Union named #2 Best Italian Restaurant in LA!!

October 23, 2015

“Dedicated. Thoughtful. Passionate. Trustworthy.”

September 18, 2015

PlateOnline.com interviews Chef Kalman after he landed a place on their 1 of 30 chefs to watch. Enjoy their full feature at this link or read the article in its entirety below.  Make a reservation to dine with us tonight by clicking here.

Chef To Watch: Bruce Kalman, Union

(Bruce Kalman, photo Marie Buck)

Bruce Kalman is having the time of his life, and you can feel it in the food he creates at Union, his restaurant in downtown Pasadena that is attracting people back to this once-forgotten community. He’s cooking his heart out, with each plate of albacore crudo with housemade spicy pickled lemon cucumbers; each pork meatball bright with capers and chilies; each bowl of housemade squid ink garganelli tossed with lobster, truffle butter and Meyer lemon; each tray of donut peaches gilded with lardo and honey. He’s offering up his soul and presenting it to guests on every plate. And like the omnivores they are, diners at this packed restaurant are devouring not just the food but the whole package.

“I’m 44 years old, and for the first time in my life, I’m cooking my food,” Kalman says about the transformation in his cooking since opening Union with business partner Marie Petulla. My chef friends are like, “This is unadulterated you.”

Maybe that’s what it is, that Kalman is doing his own thing instead of following someone else’s vision. His enthusiasm was certainly there when he cooked at Chicago’s Okno, and at The Churchill in West Hollywood. His creativity exploded when he founded his own “vine to jar” pickle company. But something is different now.

“Being a chef/owner, and having that opportunity and freedom to cook what I want, has made all the difference to me,” Kalman says. “I’m a very straight-up, honest person; I believe you should stand up for what you believe in, and stick with it. If you’re passionate about it, other people will be, too. Without the distractions, your creative ability changes, and you become this much more inspiring leader, and much less frustrated. I care what people think—my partners, my managers, my staff, the guests. I’m much better at taking constructive criticism than I was in the past. Because of those factors, I’m cooking better than I ever have.” 

And so, he’s inspiring his cooks (all 20 of whom are name-checked at the bottom of each menu) to cook thoughtfully, and reduce waste as much as possible. Under his guidance, the team at Union is figuring out how to use seeds, stems, roots, leaves and cores in their cooking, from dehydrated toasted seeds to fennel-top sorbet. 

“Respecting the ingredients plays a really big part in what I’m doing,” Kalman says. “A head of fennel deserves the same respect as a pig. Someone put in the time to plant the seed, take care of it, to harvest it. We’re constantly challenging ourselves with what we can do, looking at everything we get in and how can we use every part of it. It’s cool and fun to play with it. The whole thing is edible; it’s just how you treat it.”

That success has followed all this positive juju is not surprising. Kalman and Petulla are opening a fresh pasta stand in the Grand Central Market in downtown L.A. and have an eye out for other projects. 

“I’m cooking things that I never cooked before and having fun,” Kalman says. “If you’re happier, you cook better food. I’m my own chef. It’s all-around great. It’s just fucking great.” 

Chandra Ram Q&A

Albacore crudo with housemade spicy pickled lemon cucumbers

What was the first dish you ever made?

I think it was chopped liver with my grandmother; I remember grinding hard-boiled eggs, liver and onions. I still have that meat grinder.

What is your pet peeve in the kitchen?

I have a few. When people don’t care—when they go through the motions, and it’s a job, instead of them being passionate and excited about things and getting involved. I tell my cooks to do everything with a purpose. And I don’t like fussy food, or people who communicate poorly. And I can’t stand dirty cooks—they make me crazy.

What career would you have if you weren’t a chef?

I would be a rock star. Or trying to be a rock star – I play guitar.

Who is your dream dinner guest, and what would you cook?

Probably the Foo Fighters. I would serve them three pasta courses, and then the braised pork neck. [Ed note: I am so going to this dinner.]

What restaurant is your dream stage location and why?

I’d go to Vetri, because I respect Marc Vetri so much for his food and what he’s about. His food is insanely delicious. I want to go there and get inside his head.

What is the next cooking challenge or technique you want to try?

All I can think about right now is the new pasta machine, for Knead & Co., the pasta stand we are opening in Grand Central Market. We’re honing on past on a regional level and diving into how dishes came to be, historically. How all the old classics came about – mostly out of necessity because they didn’t have refrigeration. Now, we put ingredients together because they work, but going back and understanding how it happened is important. Being back to basics what I’ve always done, but I think it is the next molecular gastronomy. I continue to simplify and hone what I do.

What meal changed how you feel about food?

It was eating at Lincoln, Jenn Louis’ place in Portland, Ore. Her corned lamb neck dish is ridiculous. She cooks like I do. The first time I ate there, it solidified for me how powerful that is, to really view a similar situation and chef from a guest perspective, without the nit-picking I do when I’m in my own restaurant. I feel her passion for the food. It inspires me.

Also, Girl and the Goat. Stephanie Izard deserves every award and honor she’s gotten. The food blew me away, and for it to be that crowded five years after she opened says a lot about what she’s doing.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Denzel Washington.

What three words describe you best?

Dedicated. Thoughtful. Passionate. Trustworthy.