Maria’s Italian Kitchen

 

Next stop on our Pasadena Restaurant Week Road Trip found me in the Hastings Ranch area. On a strip of Foothill Blvd which holds a brunch of restaurants.

 

 

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I’m very familiar with the area.  Last time we were in the Argentine part of Pasadena and now here we are in the Italian section: Maria’s Italian Kitchen. Been very familiar with Maria but not in the eating way. Only an outsider looking in – until now!

When I arrived the restaurant was basically empty except for about 5 people.  My welcome wasn’t anything special except it was better than the 1810 restaurant reception.

 

I was asked if I wanted bread? Of course! Is that no longer the norm? Maybe the economy has something to do with it. Or maybe not: a drink was included in the pre-set special menu! I liked this bread better, and the olive & garlic(?) dips, than 1810’s.

 

 

1st course. I chose the Caesar upon the suggestion of my server and besides, it’s my favorite salad.  It tasted fresh from the shaved parmesan to the croutons and romaine. Nevertheless, I’ve had better Caesars. Souplantation has one of my favorites by the way.

 

 

Bar

 

 

 

  The Pre-Happy Hour Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second course. This was very good! The pasta was nicely cooked, the chicken tender & tasty. Upon recommendation of server.

 

 

Dining Room Annex

The Dining Annex.

 

 

Dessert could be either a lemon bar, brownie, or raspberry crumble bar.  This lemon bar certainly made the best entrance of any lemon bar I’ve had! With whipped cream, syrup, and powdered sugar. Balance of sweet & tart was too unbalanced to the tart, imho. Taste was good but no match to its looks.  I know lemon bars and this is no Euro Pane lemon bar.  Plus the powdered sugar is on the Euro Pane lemon bar, where it should be, rather than on the  plate.

 

PS: A funny thing happened on my way through my meal.  Despite a large availability of seats, within minutes two women came, and  chose to sit right next to me. To my right a brunette & left a blonde.  I suddenly felt like a hot dog squeezed between buns in this restaurant.

It’s become a strange, but common, occurrence around me over the years in these situations.  Now, I’m not a bad looking guy but I don’t carry any Hollywood actor looks either, like, oh, Charlie Sheen just as an example. Well, hold on, I have been mistaken for an actor a few times – even in Hollywood – believe it or not!

To make a long story short, the attractive blonde and I conversed through our entire meal. The restaurant workers were familiar with her. She’s a professional dancer/instructor. In fact she’s worked with the Dancing with the Stars television show.  She offered me a taste of her salad. How could I resist a taste of her…ahem, and before I forget, in return I just had to give her my lemon bar!  Well, just a taste – she would have to pay me if she wanted the whole thing. She loved it.  Anyways, a beautiful woman inside as well as out.

Next Stop!

 

 Maria’s Italian Kitchen

3537 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena CA 91107 (626)351-2080

 

 

Gotta Go Eat! Stay Thirsty My Friends

 

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26 responses to “Maria’s Italian Kitchen

  1. Well, I am very late to this post. And now I’m hungry.

    I’ve tried the Chicken Piccata at Maria’s and I also thought it was quite tasty. The ceasar salad looks delicious. I’m sorry it didn’t live up to its promise. Same with the lemon bar. But it sounds like the surprise company made up for any deficiencies in the meal…

    So, I’m trying to figure out which Hollywood actor you resemble. Lemme guess… Andy Garcia?

    • I’ve been here waiting for you patiently, SC, before I moved on to a new blogpost! What actor? That’s a good question I’ve asked myself!! And Maria’s has given me at least one reason for a return visit. 😉

  2. Caesar salad is my favourite too, Cafe. I’m glad the pre-set special menu had the surprise inclusion of attractive and friendly dinner company. You’re a kind puppy dog to offer a reciprocal share from your own bowl. 🙂

    • C, must be the photography, which is still far from perfect at capturing what we actually see. I’ve had raw meat before (chicken, beef) and this wasn’t. It actually tasted like chicken compared to most of what goes by that name nowadays.

      PA, I have your, and Jonathan Gold’s, Olive Garden! I mean to please your taste buds: PA’s Fav “Italian” Restaurant

  3. A friend of mine recently recommended this restaurant to me as I was supposed to be in Pasadena next week… my contract got cancelled so I won’t be going but thanks for letting me get a glimpse of it. I’ll let you know if I make it there some time and try the chicken piccata, it looks lovely 🙂

    • BB, I thought maybe the bread pic had lured you over here! Lemme know of any great eateries you come across around here.

      KB, I don’t know what the chicken looks like on your screen. But I’ve said before, I don’t care so much how the food looks as I do how it tastes. And this piece of chicken actually tasted like chicken!!

    • Thanks, Kaori. Well, she def got my attention and a probable return visit!

      IN, try some of their Italian items besides salads. Btw, I have an even more recent “magnet” story than this one. 😉

  4. Not a huge fan of Maria’s, although kids used to like going there when they were younger. I have been disappointed with their salads, but their bread is always delish!

    You are just a woman magnet! Glad you had great company for lunch! 🙂

    • If you only knew, Chieftess…there’s never enuf Garlic for me!!

      PIO, that’s a common trait in life for all: seen it, passed it, but never been in! Next time you’re on the upper east side.

    • Good to hear from you again, SinoSoul! 🙂 Whenever I start writing about food I always get a couple of food bloggers to comment. Re Panera: I asked my dining companion about it. I didn’t get an enthusiastic response.

      ChiefKath: the dipping oils are the fav part of this restaurant for you??? They were good, but I wouldn’t want to call them the highlight of any restaurant.

  5. Cafe!!! You failed to mention the fabulous garlic and olive oil you get with the bread!!! My favorite part of the meal!!! Oh…and the rest of the food is good too!!!

  6. My mouth is literally watering after looking at these pictures. Ohmigosh the food looks incredible. My mom would be in heaven here – she is obsessed with Italian food! 🙂

    • Thanks, Erika. I often get the same response after looking at your pictures! 😛

      “So many good places out” on your side of Pasadena, EoA?? Lettuce know where! And, if you’re really looking for a LBar then you gotta go Euro Pane – there’s one on Colorado 2 blks EastofLake! 😉

  7. Nice to see you in East Pas. I like Marias, but we have so many good places out here I don’t get there much. I didn’t know they had lemon bars. May have to move them up on the list!

    • Ok, I got your “surprise” vote on the side of The Carbs, MF. 😉

      Pulled Porker, I asked my new friend yesterday about their Pizza, but she just changed the subject & kept on eating. So their Pizza is very good? But I know I luv Garlic!!

  8. I have not been there in years but I remember liking their BBQ chicken pizza a lot. (Before I fell in love with the garlic/basil pie, the BBQ chicken is how I always judged a place.)