Melding their Japanese art of sushi with traditional Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, Sumiko Sushi delights palates with familiar flavors and unusual pairings. Pho tops the southeast asian offerings, pairing hearty beef broth with such fillings as sliced beef, meatballs, and shrimp. Innovative sushi rolls accompany sashimi with grilled meats and vegetables, eschewing rice for more unusual wrappings such as cucumber, vermicelli, and ghost rice.
Like many creative endeavors, the Togo's story started with a college student's empty stomach and equally empty pockets. In 1971, that college student decided to take action, opening a small sandwich shack near San Jose State University. Here's where the Togo's story switches gears from a tale of hunger to one of milestone after milestone. So popular was the sandwich shack that, much like the disco flash mobs sweeping the nation at the time, it earned a loyal following. In 1974, fueled by that support, a second location opened. Just over a decade later, in 1985, Togo's reached 100 locations.
Today, with locations peppered across the West Coast, Togo's continues to feed its ever-growing faction of fans with freshly prepped, wholesome meals. On Togo's menu, the corresponding nutritional information accompanies hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and wraps. And to keep things interesting, the chain runs quirky promotions throughout the year, such as the Pastrami Pounder Challenge, which started in 2012 and dares individuals to take down a 2-foot sandwich within 30 minutes.
Papillon Café and Creamery juxtaposes sweet and savory eats on a menu of subs, wraps, and paninis, bolstered by fresh-baked cookies, ice cream, and fruit smoothies. Fingers stretch around a selection of hefty sandwiches, including the spicy italian ($4.99), a cross-section of pepperoni, ham, and salami smothered in a cornucopia of toppings and Papillon's secret sauce, which disguises itself in public with mustard mustaches. A collection of 10 vegetarian sandwiches gives structure to garden greens in concoctions such as the grape-leaf-laden greek wrap ($4.99) and the Sailor Man wrap ($4.99), which floats spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes onto toothy shores. Continue the sandwich trend at the ice-cream counter, where diners can build custom confections with a pair of any of the seven fresh-baked cookies and nine ice-cream fillers ($2).
At The Novel Cafe Pasadena, chefs specialize in quintessential American comfort food with a gourmet twist. The menu includes tuna nicoise salads, eggplant parmesan sandwiches, and other lighter dishes. You’ll also find heartier fare, including barbecue back ribs and clams with linguine, as well as dishes rife with locally grown produce. The on-site coffee shop stocks more than 15 varieties of organic teas, in addition to organic coffee beans and espresso. The baristas also serve freshly squeezed juices and extra-squeeze hugs. The café also hosts regular performances from local singer-songwriters and jazz musicians, which you can enjoy while sipping on a glass of wine.
Eden Garden Bar & Grill sprinkles blooming hunger pangs with a host of traditional Mediterranean dishes served in a warm, intimate setting. Guests lamentably unable to stick round pegs into square holes can comfortably stick a soft pita into the hummus ($7) or sink recently sharpened incisors into four pieces of falafel, which come flanked by sesame seed sauce ($8). The chicken shawarma, served with hummus and salad ($13), stokes the fires of the poultry partial, and the crispy prawns represent the underwater contingent by enlisting seaweed salad as its running mate ($18).
Within CrêpeStudio's elegantly aged brick building in Old Town Pasadena, bakers follow an old family recipe when whipping up batter daily and shaping it into crêpes. Plates land on tables loaded with 24 varieties of sweet, savory, or breakfast crepes, which wrap around an array of grilled meats, cheeses, and vegetables or fresh berries and ice cream. Salads and paninis made to order house greater portions of ingredients without forcing vegetables to protect themselves against the elements by piling inside a sliced-open tomato. The studio surrounds its guests with modern décor, such as sleek wood paneling, exposed-brick walls, and colorful illuminated signs.