05 Feb The Raymond in Pasadena – An old place that feels like home
The Raymond in Pasadena is not a new place. In fact, it is rather old. Established in 1886, it was The Grand Raymond Hotel, frequented by East Coasters in the winter. The hotel no longer exists, but inside the original caretaker’s cottage is the home of The Raymond Restaurant and 1886 Bar.
Tucked away and hidden by trees in a residential area of Pasadena, The Raymond and 1886 Bar are out of the way and hard to find. But, it is worth the effort to spend an evening here as you will immediately feel right at home in the cozy, intimate space.
Owned by Leslie Levy and her husband, 1886 Bar has been drawing in cocktail lovers from around the city since it opened in 2010, as well as garnering awards for the cocktail program. A small, low lit bar filled with dining tables, there is not a lot of room to stand along the bar. But, if you can get a spot, you are in luck. Once you have settled in, get ready to do a little work. The cocktail menu is not for the lazy. Each drink is named after a literary reference and eloquently described in paragraph format, like reading a story. It is worth taking a moment to read through it but if you refuse, the bartender is happy to help you with suggestions.
Kafka On The Shore, a nod to the Murakami novel of the same name, is made with Japanese pear-infused Tito’s vodka, almond avocado milk, lime, simple syrup and egg whites.
Maggie the Cat, inspired by the character Margaret in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, is made with gin, house-made Curaçao, Becherovka, Amaro Nonino, grapefruit, orange and lemon juices with a cherry dropped into the center.
Winter Is Coming is a tiki-inspired drink made with muddled blueberries, lemon, passion fruit, Velvet Falernum and three rums—Diplomatico, Smith & Cross, and Martinique Blue.
At 1886 Bar, they have a hearty bar menu that is easy to fill up on. We shared an order of the tasty hot tater tots with spicy ketchup as we enjoyed with our drinks.
But we did not want to fill up too much as we had plans to move into the dining room for dinner. The dining room, or rather dining rooms, is small spaces throughout the house with a few tables in each room. There is also a back patio if you prefer to sit outside.
The New American menu offers a selection of vegetable dishes, seafood and steaks. The food is hearty, think elevated comfort food. The menu is divided into three sections, with plates getting larger in each section.
Quick Bites – These are the perfect dishes to order quickly as soon as you sit down and then enjoy them while you chose among the other items to order.
Micro-Farmed Massachusetts Oyster served with Tim’s Fermented Chili Mignonette
Starters – This section is dominant with vegetable dishes as well as small fish plates, such as mussels, sashimi and octopus. The starter plates are large enough portions that you can share with friends. There are so many appealing choices that I could make an entire meal just from the starter section.
Burnt Carrot Salad
Furikake Crusted Wild Albacore, pear-miso, kumquat confit, red chile, pickled radish
Roasted Golden Beets, organic tangerine, crushed pistachio, watercress, Greek yogurt
Steamed Blue Mussels, angry lady sauce, Chinese sausage, Thai chili, toasted bread
Tandoori Cauliflower, half a roasted head with mint-cucumber dip
Wild Northwestern Mushrooms, all organic, forest soil, salsify, smoked vinegar, “hay”
Entrees – Larger portions, this section is where you find the heartier meat dishes, as well as a few fish dishes.
Hand Harvested Scallops, Oregon black trumpets, grapefruit, English peas, vanilla bean-potato
Roasted Duck, fermented black bean jus, smoked onion, grilled kai-lan, creamed broccoli
Marinated Young Lamb, pepperoni roasted Brussels sprouts, horseradish-pecorino mashed potato
Short Rib – 72hour braise, liquefied potato, haricot vert, radish-onion-carrot slaw
Dessert – If you can, save room for the homemade desserts.
Spiced Apple Cake is one we enjoyed.
The Raymond and 1886 Bar
1250 South Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 441 3136