Union Pasadena

Union is an outstanding, MICHELIN Bib Gourmand rated, Italian restaurant in Pasadena, California

After a lovely Culver City to Venice Beach 11 mile bike ride and beers with Rosemary earlier in the day, I greatly looked forward to devouring dinner. Luckily, it was a preplanned night in Pasadena with Matt at Union.

Now, one thing I greatly dislike is worrying about parking. Specifically, in Echo Park and in Pasadena. What gaged me is how many people were out, on a Sunday night, on a Coachella weekend, in Pasadena. I literally didn’t not know that Pasadena was such a bustling place on a Sunday night. So much so that after two rounds of trying to find street parking, I ended up parking at the One Colorado run lot across from Union.

For $11. On a Sunday evening. Sigh.

Needless to say, it took me a bit to ground and be present for dinner. To speed the process, both Matt and I started with a glass of L’Arco di Az. Agricola Fedrigo Luca’s 2020 “Rosso Del Veronese”, from Veneto, Italy.

It went well with the BREAD & GIARDINERE (house made cultured butter, sea salt). Now, this was good – but I do think it was priced a bit high for what you get.

The PORK MEATBALLS (dinapoli San Marzano tomato, caper berries, chile) made everything better. The large, delicious shaped forms of meat – with the quality marinara sauce was plate lick-able.

Next up was the TWO PEAS IN A POD SNAP PEAS (lemon feta, market radish, black pepper vin., lemon bread crumbs). It was as delicious as it was beautiful.

At one point, I was stuck by how Parisian the scene felt. With the striking Jacaranda tree behind him as we sipped wine and talked, it felt extremely European.

Which made me miss Paris.

The star of the show was FETTUCCINI CARBONARA (Marin Sun Farms lamb belly, parmigiano reggiano, egg). The BUCATINI (Santa Barbara pistachios, grana padano, burrata, lemon zest) is good. But, the fettuccini was spectacular.

In fact, it was so good that Matt remarked

Oh fuck me, that’s delicious!

It was so good that I opted to take home part of my dish, to savor later.

We ended dinner with a slice of the PEAR SPICE CAKE.

Matt and I ended up heading to Blind Donkey to talk a bit more.

THE PEAR NECESSITIES (Sipsmith Gin, St. George Spicod Pear, Elderflower, Lemon Juice, Bitters) hit the spot as the conversation got extremely deep.

I still think of the most profound statements that came from our conversation:

Sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone, is saying goodbye. It’s okay to know that they may cheer you on from the sidelines. Or maybe, not at all. But know that no time was wasted.

The death of a profound friendship is the same as the death of a family member. Give yourself time for grief and know – through time and acknowledging the need for radical self love – everything will be okay. No, life won’t be the same. But, neither are you.

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37 East Union Street
Pasadena, California 91103
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