Tastes of LA: Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery
For most of my adult/weight-conscious life, I have been under the tyrannical thumb of the Protein=Good-Carbs=Fat School of Nutrition. Naked hamburgers and Bolognese without pasta prevailed. Needless to say, sandwiches were verboten. What a crime! Now that I’ve arrived at a stage of life when enjoyment of the fruits of the previous decades is primary, the exquisite pleasures of food easily trump any worn-out body image baloney I ever swallowed. All by way of expressing my delight at re-discovering the power of bread to enhance any ingredient it enfolds. Specifically, I point to the uber -satisfying panini and divine Monte Cristo concoction Foodie Friend #2 and I shared in Pasadena last weekend.
Agnes Restaurant and Cheesery, (they had me at cheese!), is a really lovely spot in Old Town, with a wide-open feel grounded by brick walls and a handsome marble-topped bar. Fronted by the cheese and charcuterie cases, it opens to a spacious indoor dining area and a sunny, covered garden patio in back.
We felt obliged, as cheese heads, to check out a small cheese plate to start, and while it was a nice assortment, what really got our attention were the house-made bread and butter pickles that accompanied. They really ought to package and sell those tasty, sweet-but-not-too-sweet garnishes.
The Cuban Melt, happily featured said pickles in among the gorgeous ham, pulled pork and oozing Spanish Riojana cheese: sweet and buttery and perfectly balanced flavors. But, it’s the Monte Cristo I’d write home about. Wow! It’s such an odd concept, like a French toast sandwich, syrup and all, but boy does it come together here. The unaged brick cheese melted beautifully into the smoked turkey and married the maple and raspberry jam flavors happily ever after in a lots a-butter-sautéed case of fluffy bread. Bread! It’s the greatest! Who knew?
*Logistical note: Don’t neglect the cheese, meats and visually striking tinned foods for sale up front!
40 WEST GREEN STREET
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91105
The tomato behind The Three Tomatoes.
Cheryl Benton, aka the “head tomato” is founder and publisher of The Three Tomatoes, a digital lifestyle magazine for “women who aren’t kids”. Having lived and worked for many years in New York City, the land of size zero twenty-somethings, she was truly starting to feel like an invisible woman. She created The Three Tomatoes just for the fun of it as the antidote for invisibility and sent it to 60 friends. Today she has thousands of friends and is chief cheerleader for smart, savvy women who want to live their lives fully at every age and every stage. She is the author of the novel, "Can You See Us Now?" and co-author of a humorous books of quips, "Martini Wisdom." Because she's lived a long time, her full bio won't fit here. If you want the "blah, blah, blah", read more. www.thethreetomatoes.com/about-the-head-tomato