Except for occasional forays, Pasadena hasn't been a regular dining destination for me for awhile now, but after seeing Gourmet Pig's blog post about the June Old Town Pasadena Restaurant Week, I thought this would be a great chance to check out a couple new-to-me restaurants. With the prices running $25 to $35 for 3 course meals in selected restaurants, I would have been a fool not to. The second restaurant I took my dining group to was Pop Champagne and Dessert Bar. Our first visit was earlier in the week to Vertical Wine Bistro.
Our meal started with shared appetizers. First, there was the Parma Proscuitto with Medjool Dates, Figs and Fresh Melon. Nothing fancy, but I enjoyed the fresh figs and dates.
The Brie Toast with Chardonnay Soaked Raisins was our second appetizer, which seemed more like a dessert than an appetizer. It was a little sweet of a starter for my taste.
What I enjoyed the most was the Housemade Tapenade with Crostini, with three different tapenades on the plate, olive, tomato and wild mushroom. The tapenade wasn't too salty and the flavors of each of the focal ingredients really shown through, with the mushroom tapenade being my favorite.
As for the entrees, everyone choose either the lamb chops or the pasta for their main course. Although I'm not normally a pasta person, I went for the Spring Pasta with roasted garlic chicken, caramelized spring onions, pancetta, English peas, Roma tomatoes, parmesan and olive oil. It wasn't bad, but just a bit bland at times. It reminded me that usually the best place to order pasta is at an Italian restaurant.
I did have a couple of the lamb chops, which had a dijon herb crust, a port rosemary reduction and was served with roasted garlic and an Anaheim chili hummus and pita bread. One bite of the lamb chop and it made me happy that one of my dining partners was sharing it with me. The meat was juicy and I really liked the cheesy crust, something I've never had on a lamb chop before.
When it was time for dessert, two different ones from their tasting menu hit our table. Mine was the Chocolate Beignets with a Strawberry Sauce and Caramel. Considering that this restaurant is called Pop Champagne and Dessert Bar, I had high hopes for their dessert. I wouldn't say that these beignets were the best I've ever had, but they had a rich chocolateness to them that I liked.
What I ended up enjoying more was the Seasonal Pavlova, a French meringue topped with Chantilly cream and seasonal fresh fruit. It was nice and light and the fresh fruit were a nice end to the meal.
To end, considering that the name of the restaurant is all about dessert, I didn't know what to expect from having an actual meal there. Although there were a few minor bumps, I enjoyed what I had and while Pop Champagne isn't a destination a restaurant for me, I wouldn't turn down an invitation to return.
Pop Champagne and Dessert Bar
33 East Union Street
Pasadena, CA 91103