The Pasadena area is known for its gardens, especially the world-famous Huntington Gardens, and more locally for the Descanso Gardens. It’s also a city where ladies (and gentlemen) enjoy a good meal and definitely a good brunch. But until recently, the food offered at our local gardens has been sadly lacking in creativity. Now, there’s a gourmet reason to get out and smell the roses as both The Huntington Gardens and the Descanso Gardens have announced that they are becoming dining destinations for the greater Pasadena area.
Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge recently announced the opening of Maple, “a family-friendly culinary experience. Located within the gardens, Maple is under the guidance of Chef Mark Salazar and part of L.A.’s large Patina Group, which does the menu at many venues all over the city and has expanded beyond the West Coast. Maple is currently open only for brunch on weekends and taking reservations, but plans to expand service to include dinner on a daily basis during the Descanso Garden’s “Enchanted: Forest of Light,” event for winter. Eater reports that some menu items will change seasonally but thus far include smoked salmon bagels, eggs benedict, a breakfast burrito, and a thick brioche French toast in a modern rustic space that suits the garden’s woodsy feel.
The Huntington Gardens at The Huntington Library has been a pretty popular Mother’s Day tea option for years, but the esteemed historic estate seems to be updating a little with the culinary influence of celebrity chefs, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. Known to early watchers of the Food Network as the Too Hot Tamales, both chefs have been mainstays of the Los Angeles dining scene for decades and were early adopters of cooking television shows. The ladies recently announced the shuttering of their restaurants elsewhere in the city, Border Grill in Santa Monica and Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood. It looks when some restaurants close, others will open, although there aren’t really any details available yet about what the dining concepts will be for the Huntington, just that the estate is partnering with Palo Alto-based Bon Appétit Management Co. and will be offering sustainable, fresh local food on November 1.
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