Unfortunately, UncouthGourmands.com didn’t have any gross revenues last month so I, Josie, had to return to my normal 9-5 gig. After my first day back, I left the office hungry. What, everyone doesn’t eat compulsively at their desk in corporate America?! I miss the UG headquarters but mostly, I miss Carina. The one silver lining was that I knew someone else was probably hungry as well… Ms. Ost. So I called my pal, Carina-Lu, and I was right. She was starving. I guess my absence gave her the heartbreak diet because she hadn’t eaten all day. We decided to try out The Counter, as it just opened recently in Pasadena and we’ve been hearing great things about it. Little did we know that the UG Girls would embark upon a Pasadena food renaissance.
The space was hip and thoughtful. There’s no stale artwork on the wall, but instead skateboards and colorful urban paintings. The staff is young and the “dineresque” warmth of the place is comforting and easy. A perfect first date place for those that want to just have a playful and unassuming time. Despite it being a Wednesday night, the place was packed with locals. We were seated at a small corner table and were handed a sheet of paper and a pencil. The fate of our burger was now in our hands. I opted for the very rare 1/3lb patty with caramelized onions, maytag blue cheese, garlic aoili, a fried egg, tomatoes, and wild arugula. The waitress looked at my ticket and said I had chosen the best mix on the menu. I felt proud! Carina also took the 1/3lb patty but medium rare with swiss cheese, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, mixed greens, and a dijon balsamic. Here are the brilliant burger options, what would you choose?
We split an order of ½ fries and ½ onion rings. The french fries were no McDonald’s, however, it was the thin onion ringlets that captivated most of my attention throughout the meal. A little too greasy, but in that good kind of way. You know, the “it’s so bad, it’s good” kind of pleasure – which for the UG girls has been consisting of more food less sex kind of experiences. *Sigh*
Carina, the bread snob, didn’t love the buns but I didn’t find them in any way offensive. In fact, I was in love! The 1/3lb burger was plenty large and ended up with fries and beverage being about $15 each. Like clockwork the UG girls got shorted once again when in this case, we showed up a day early. It was Wednesday and well despite being packed, the night to come to The Counter is Thursday. It is on Thursday’s that they have a DJ spinning and you can get their four mini burger sliders and four taster size beers for $12. Oh well, we left full and happy. I know that Comme Ca was the NY Times best pick for burger, but the UG girls disagree because The Counter produced exactly what these girls were in need of – a Pasadena food revival that would continue into the week at Louise’s Trattoria.
Thursday was a night of estranged friends. Our newest intern, Wendy, joined us in trying the newest menu at Louise’s Trattoria. The “new” Louise’s Trattoria features a new menu, new logo, and best of all, new lower prices. Our estranged Jewish friend, Nathan, who’s doing PR for the restaurant also joined us. I, of course, ran in late with my two complimentary Ice Blended drinks which Coffee Bean heavily promoted on Twitter. I heart Twitter! It turned out that our intern, Wendy, knew our friend Nathan. Who did we know at the restaurant? No one. Leave it to the UG girls to recruit a more popular intern than themselves! Regardless, the meal started off well because we were handed a copious amount of focaccia bread and were set to order. The menu at Louise’s has dramatically changed for the better and we were eager to see what new inspirations we were about to try. I always judge a place by its caesar salad so I opted for that as my first course; I was not left disappointed. Carina on the other hand went for the house salad, which despite always being uninspiring at most restaurants, was a joy to eat at Louise’s. The house salad had goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and a lemon vin. “Yum” just doesn’t begin to describe it. Our entrees came next, I ordered the Chicken Pomodoro on basil spaghetti and Carina ordered the Chicken Balsamico, which was served with braised spinach and veggies. Both entrees were great deals at just $12. There was plenty of food and we laughed the whole time; we felt right at home. Carina kept it classy and left a bit of food on her plate, but not me. I finished the whole entree and, in fact, when the waiter came to pick up our plates, he was astonished when he saw I ate all my food. He remarked that he’s never seen a woman finish a plate of Chicken Pomodoro. I’m a remarkable woman – too bad the boy I used to love doesn’t see that. We finished off the Pasadena meal with a slice of hummingbird cake, which was a sweet end to our night.
Even though we had finished our meal, the staff was in no rush to hurry us along. We sat at the table for about an hour or so gabbing it up to Nathan about our newest UG developments. Before leaving Louise’s we noticed one thing, apparently the day to come in was Friday and Saturday. It is on Friday and Saturday that Louise’s has a 1/2 off a bottle of wine menu. It was Thursday! Leave it to the UGs to show up a day early every time. It’s no wonder we can’t make a buck.