La Grande Orange Café last weekend for a late lunch. I say "wandered" because, well, to be perfectly honest: Screw You, you stupid not-even-as-cool-as-a-bike-cop (and that's really pathetic) City of Pasadena bicycle-meter-man. Why are you harassing those nice valet guys? What is your problem? Who hurt you?!? Is the City of Pasadena paying on a commission only basis now? WTF?
Allow me to explain. We pull up to the valet literally seconds after scoring a reservation on OpenTable. There do not appear to be any open spaces, so we pull ahead about 15 feet to the red zone, whereupon we were immediately approached from behind by the aforementioned meter-man. On his goofy bike. And he got really, really close to the car and began waving us forward - he would not let us wait even a second for the valet space to be cleared so we could back up into it. So after pulling into an underground garage, taking a ticket, finding another valet guy down there who immediately knew that we had been sent down there by The Man, walking a quarter-block back up to the restaurant entrance, getting a valet ticket from the outside guy, etc., etc., we were officially late for our last minute reservation. So thanks, bike dude. You're a hero. And apparently you do this to the valet guys and the customers of La Grande Orange Café all the time. But that's okay. . . we got your badge number. Just sayin'.
All of this is just to say that their Euro-vibe was coming through loud and clear (and in French!). . . until you got to the menu because what the hell I didn't see one bit of French cuisine on the whole thing. Which, I might add, was comprised of at least 40% beverages and wine list. Here's the menu - I was baffled and had to take a picture. Tuna burger? Taco platters? Juevos Rancheros? Edna's Dixie Chicken? WTF? What country am I in?
H went with the "New Style" Sashimi, which as far as I could tell was just some thinly sliced raw fish on a plate that another server (again, nice, but almost methodically slow) drowned in ponzu sauce table side. (Fancy!) He also had a tuna avocado tower thing that looked very nice, but I swear I detected a hint of Maggie Sauce, so that turned me off to it pretty quickly. Stop putting that crap in stuff, people!
I do regret not ordering the dessert he offered us, however. It was a homemade olive oil cake that was lightly toasted and topped with a berry compote, so essentially a poundcake made with olive oil instead of butter. Does anyone have a recipe for this? If so, please pass it along! It sounded great, but alas I was too full of ribeye tacos at that point to even nibble.
In summation, this place was good, not great. Photo worthy, as you can see, and with tasty-ish food, but I've had better many, many times. Add that to the lethargic service, the mixed-message menu, the dirty seats, and the bike-cop valet hassle - I'd have to say I really doubt I'll be returning any time soon.
La Food Bitch