Wednesday, March 24, 2010

561

Yesterday's birthday didn't turn out like I thought it would. We picnicked at Vasquez Rocks Monday because I thought John had to work on Tuesday. I figured, on my actual birthday I'd do a little writing, have a nice walk with Boz and clean up the pile on my desk (forget it, that'll never happen).

Surprise! John took Tuesday off. I got a two-day birthday and the second day was entirely serendipitous. We had no idea where it would lead us but we started out hungry, so we headed to Green Street because I knew we'd find something there.

Restaurant 561. Of course. I've driven by many times and always wanted to try it. What a revelation. I don't know of anywhere else--anywhere else--where you can find this kind of dining for this kind of price. Everything was fabulous from soup to nuts--or in this case, from the amuse-bouche (compressed watermelon with...I think it was basil sauce with garlic chips but whatever it was, mmmmmm!) to the "roasted pine nut dust" on the chocolate mousse--and we got out of there for about thirty bucks with tip--which goes to a scholarship fund.

Restaurant 561, at 561 E. Green Street, is the teaching restaurant of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles which has campuses in Hollywood and Pasadena. Click on the links to learn more.

As a patron I couldn't have been happier in any restaurant, teaching or not. This was delicious food, beautifully presented and served. Even the coffee was tops; John kept exclaiming about it.

Update:
I'm adding a photo because Susan C asked about the entrees.
Plus, why not?

Tomorrow I'll show you another place we visited on my birthday: one of Pasadena's most eclectic shops.

34 comments:

lewi14 said...

Beautiful compositions, it's almost too good to eat it. I hope you've enjoyed your birthday...

Shell Sherree said...

That looks and sounds amazing, Petrea! I wish I could try it out for myself. And what a serendipitous birthday ~ even better!!

Katie said...

Yipeee--awesome Birthday food photos! The dessert looks divine. What fun that John took the day off and you had such a fun day, including this amazing meal at 561.

Bellis said...

John's spoiling you, but you deserve it. I didn't realize the food was presented so creatively, and at such good prices.
PS I once tried to throw a dinner party with the food arranged like this - by the time I finished six works of art, everything was stone cold and my guests had got drunk waiting for their meal.

Christie said...

Yum! This sounds like an awesome place to celebrate! Glad you had a great time, hope the year is even better.

Petrea said...

Good morning! This has been the greatest birthday. I must get back to work today but I do so with renewed vigor.

Nice to see you, Steffen. What a lovely spring photo on your blog today.

Shell, I've often thought there should be a Pasadena/Australia exchange. Pasadena is rather specific and Australia is rather general, but I still want to work it out. When you come we'll eat at 561.

Katie, I thought of you yesterday as you shall soon see in your mailbox.

Bellis, one needs a staff to do this sort of thing! Or at least an assistant or two. Next time you can enlist the help of a friend or two. It sounds like your guests had a good time despite the wait.

Christie, it's good to see you. I hope you've been well. Did you ever see the Victorian Pile I shot? We have mostly Craftsman homes and a few moderns in town, but there are a few more Victorians. I'll try to get you some more.

Eric Tenin said...

You really make it sound - and look - like it's a place to go to. I definitely want to visit the place when I go to Pasadena!

Bon anniversaire (un peu en retard) Petrea. You don't look 35 at all! (I mean you look younger of course ;-)

Plein de bises de Paris.

Susan C said...

What a lovely lunch. What did you have for your entree?

Petrea said...

Merci, cher Eric. A CDP blogger knows she's arrived when she rates a visit from you.

Susan, John had chicken with vegetables atop a parsnip puree (I forget how the chicken was prepared, but it came with mushroom jus). I had the vegetable pot pie that wasn't a bit like Marie Callendar's. Here, wait a second. I'll post a photo.

Petrea said...

There you go, Susan. The pot pie has purple cauliflower sprinkles on it. Lovely, no?

This restaurant is so classy that when we walked in I thought, "Uhoh. Better leave now before we regret the tab." But we'd have been pleased at twice the price.

Margaret said...

I've been meaning to go there for so long. Glad you liked it, and glad you had a fun birthday.

Petrea said...

Margaret, I guess they don't do happy hour, but this would be a fun place for coffee and dessert some afternoon. They also have an adjunct 561 rapide on Madison where you can get a quick sandwich and sit at sidewalk tables.

Susan C said...

Thanks for posting the photo of the entrees. That $30 was quite the deal. And I see from the photo that you both had iced tea.

Bellis said...

Did you have to book?

Petrea said...

I didn't have tea, Susan. It was mango flavored and I prefer mine straight, so I had water. John wasn't crazy about it. I wish restaurants that have fruity iced tea would offer the alternative.

Bellis, we just popped in for lunch and there were several free tables. I don't know what the dinner situation is.

Petrea said...

I seem to remember that the aren't open as regularly as other restaurants, so it would be worthwhile to check the website.

Ms M said...

I'd like that chocolate mousse-looking dessert, please :)

altadenahiker said...

Forget the food, I think John is absolutely charming to take the day off to celebrate your birthday.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I've passed by often on walks. Even entered once or twice but the timing was wrong. Finally someone to report on the experience; and reasonable too!

Petrea said...

I'd love to send you some mousse, Ms. M, but it is long gone. It went very quickly, I'm afraid.

Karin, I think he's absolutely charming, too, for many reasons, and that's one of them. He was very pleased by your comment. Men love to give kindnesses, I think. I suppose we all like our kindnesses to be acknowledged.

PA, I'll want to try again to check out the evening experience. Might be a good spot for a romantic dinner with Mr. V.

Virginia said...

1. When you're done with John, can I have him?
2. What the hell, Eric has never wished moi a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. And NON, I"m not bitter.
3. I think you dinner looked delightful and I'll give you a big birthday hug very soon! ;)
V

J+P said...

I'm a horrid person. I'm petty, and in constant contact with my ego, and easily distracted by shiny things. You could carve a better man from a banana. But I love my wife. I think she's just the coolest thing ever, & as long as she'll let me sleep in the same bed I'll be grateful.

Plus she's hot (I'm awful but I'm not stupid).

mark said...

What a great way to spend your birthday. Fine looking food too. Glad you enjoyed your day.

Petrea said...

When I'm dead, Virginia, if he's willing. You'll have to move here, though.
Eric knew it was my birthday because of Facebook. I wish it were otherwise. He doesn't have me in his little black book.
Can't wait for my hug. Scheduling email forthcoming.

J, I disagree with you on a few of those points (not all). Let's discuss it privately.

Thanks, mark. I enjoy your comments.

altadenahiker said...

Oh, I know J. P also said you snore and make other rude involuntary noises.

Petrea said...

Erp! Excuse me. I might have been talking about someone else in the marriage.

Gunn said...

That looks as nice as I guess it tasted ! Made me hungry...
I am pleased you had a very nice birthday!:-)

Dina said...

I wish these comments would never end.

Petrea said...

Hello, Gunn. Thanks for your visit and your good wishes.

I'm happy to have continuing comments, Dina, but I wonder why you wish they'd never end?

Lori Lynn said...

Oh, I have to try it!
Happy Belated Birthday!
LL

Petrea said...

Lori Lynn, I'm sure you have a much more discerning palate than mine, being a chef and food blogger yourself. I'll be interested to hear your opinion of this place if and when you try it.

Gina said...

If you are into cooking the school offers classes for the "home chef" many weekends. I highly, highly recommend them...they are fabulous (hands-on, not just demo). Call the campus cookstore to get on the email list for upcoming classes.

Petrea said...

Oh excellent! Thanks, Gina.

Levinson Axelrod said...

These dishes look tasty.