Thursday, March 29

Europane Bakery

I first discovered Europane Bakery while salivating over tasty-looking creations on the picturing_food livejournal community. A picture of an egg salad sandwich had arrested my wandering eyes. The sandwich looked small, but extremely appetizing. After hassling the owner of the photo for a couple of days, I found out which restaurant made the sandwich.

I arrived to find that Europane Bakery had outdoor seating on the street; inside was a short line of people trying to place orders. The line quickly grew to be a lingering snake inside the little bakery. There was a beautifully painted ceramic pitcher of free water balancing itself on a divider. I was impressed with the atmosphere almost immediately. It was hip and a perfect place to have a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day. Not only that, but tantalizing loaves of bread line the shelves on the wall. I even found a loaf of bread intricately craved into a picture. The only drawback in the ambiance was its limited seating. It was hard to navigate (especially when the line got longer) and it felt as if I could not have a private comfort zone.

I ordered what originally enticed me there--the egg salad sandwich--on wheat, and also a chocolate dessert which caught my eye while I was waiting in line. Since I don't have photos this time around, I'll use my words to describe just how amazing the food was.

While I waited for my sandwich to be made and brought to my table, I dug into the chocolate dessert. It looked kind of like a cupcake, except it wasn't, and was topped with milk chocolate shavings and a raspberry. Honestly, the milk chocolate shavings were probably the best part of the dessert. Although it wasn't dry (but definitely not moist), I was offended by the lack of fudge or any other kind of filling inside the round dessert. I felt that it had too much flour substance, though I won't deny that the quality chocolate taste was evident and that that was the main reason for actually somewhat liking the dessert. Before I go on to rave about the sandwich, I need to say two more things about this dessert: it was more expensive than expected and locating its price prior to buying it was impossible. I could not find its price (nor the prices of the other desserts or the names of this and other desserts) on its display and I certainly couldn't find it on the written menus on the wall.

Let's continue onto the something more spectacular: the sandwich.

When the sandwich was brought to me, I was blown away. In addition to its tomato pesto sauce, and fresh, dark green lettuce, the egg's yolk was just oozing a bright yellow and orange. I will not lie: it looked--and I later discovered it was--delicious. Despite the fact that the actual salad dwarfed my wheat bread slices because the toasted bread was so small, I had no complaints about the sandwich. I could clearly taste the pesto sauce whenever I bit into the bread and the bold taste of egg yolk was rampant. It was so bold that I wondered if any egg white was even used. It was very very good.

My total for this meal came to $12.02, the sandwich being around $6.85, which makes the ambiguously priced dessert to be around $5.00. I would say this is a moderately priced bakery, but the sandwiches seem to be worth every cent, if not more, of their prices. Although I wouldn't suggest eating at the restaurant itself due to its seating arrangements, I do suggest stopping by even for just a cup of coffee. The quality of the food is mostly superb.

950 E. Colorardo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 577-1828
Mon - Sat 7:00AM to 5:30PM
Sun 7:00AM to 2:00PM

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Monday, March 12

Orean the Health Express

The thing that's confusing me most about this place is whether to call it Orean's Health Express, Orean's the Health Express, or Orean the Health Express. The restaurant's name, not its serving of healthy fast food, is the most confusing thing about the restaurant. But since I cannot quite clarify which is the correct name, I will talk about something I can vouch for: the healthy fast food.

Concepts of health and fast food are usually akin to oil and water, never mixing. However, Orean's has mastered speed, healthy-goodness, and taste. This vegetarian restaurant even proudly touts an "American Heart Association Approved" sticker on the front. It utilizes a wide variety of ingredients to make each dish flavorful, exciting to eat, and healthy. For instance, the Orean Salad Burger has garden vegetables, sunflower seeds, black beans, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and organic clover sprouts.

I made two trips to Orean's; on my first trip there, I decided to order the African quesadilla at the window and sit down to enjoy the meal. I'm accustomed to quesadillas with cheese and grease seeping out of the tortillas and soaking onto the plates, so I was genuinely surprised to find that the quesadilla wasn't at all greasy. In fact, the tortillas looked kind of dry. I felt disappointed and thought perhaps I should've ordered something to drink to help eat it, but my first bite told me that it was flavorful and definitely not dry. The variety of ingredients including sunflower and pumpkin seeds, beans, and cornmeal gave it an amazing blend of colors and an amazing tangy taste. The only bad thing about this dish is that I found it smaller than expected.

Because the prices were moderately cheap (it was $2.79 for the quesadilla!), I made a second trip there the same day. This time, I used their drive thru to buy the African burrito and Strawberry Super Shake ($4.69 for the burrito
and $2.85 for the shake). I found the African burrito to be large and well worth the money; in addition, this boldly flavorful dish boasted more ingredients and was tastier than the quesadilla. The freshness of the vegetables was hard to escape notice and it was so juicy that I had to use a paper bag to prevent the juices from falling onto my lap. The strawberry shake was quite thick and creamy, but I detected a taste of soy powder that was perhaps too strong. Other than that complaint, the shake was overall pretty good.

I would greatly recommend this restaurant to anyone, even to non-vegetarians. The fresh food is so good that people who love meat will not complain. The time it takes the food to be prepared is not long and I found that using the drive thru actually decreases waiting time. Just as I thought the restaurant couldn't get any better, I found out that it sells a healthy whole wheat vegan pancake and waffle mix at the restaurant--it has no cholesterol, dairy, or eggs! Excellent!

Orean... the Health Express
817 N. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 794-0861
Mon - Sun 9:30AM to 9:00PM

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