Corfu Greek Armenian Restaurant Entrance
Let’s Eat Out
48 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre
Let’s Eat Out
John Sparr Tavern
3437 Oceanview Blvd.
Glendale, CA (Montrose)
Beautiful and delicious carrot cake
Maestro' s Mexican Bistro Interior.
Dining area at Heritage Eatery
Chicken mole in the shape of Mexico
Humus, Pita bread & tabbouleh salad
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Broiled Skirt Steak in cognac Sauice
If you love Mexican food and enjoy trying new things, then you will want to dine at Maestro. This new restaurant is unique in the preparation and presentation of Mexican cuisine. The chef, Daniel Godinez, has introduced sophisticated French concepts to traditional Mexican dishes to the delight of his guests and attributes to the restaurants popularity. Many of his dishes are recognized as regional Mexican specialties but styled with a French technique. Godinez was classically trained as a chef in Mexico where his training was definitely influenced by French cuisine.
Maestro is a small space but well -appointed with dark blue wainscoting, faux brass-topped tables and pendants hanging from a high ceiling. A long yellow banquette lines one wall and at the rear a cozy bar with a mixologist creates tempting beverages. There is a small patio enhanced with succulent filled flower boxes for delightful dining alfresco.
Start your dining experience with some of the best guacamole I have ever eaten served with plantain chips for dipping. This appetizer goes very well with some of the special margaritas…I loved the Paloma with lime, grapefruit soda and tequila reposado. The Maestro Margarita is colorful with Jamaica, lime and tequila blanco and the Agave old Fashion incorporates tequila, mescal and agave. The Bramble is gin, blackberries, and lime and the Pablos Westside consists of vodka, cucumber, mint and lime. All are very good and unusual.
The main menu also features some very exciting selections from which to choose. There is a unique take on Oysters Rockefeller with presentation on a cut wooden log that is bathed in creamed spinach, chorizo and Oaxacan cheese. Tacos Ahogados (chicken taquitos) take on a new look when served surrounded by a delicious flavorful chicken lime broth with tomatillo salsa. Roasted beets are paired with pineapple with a guava glaze and dollops of goat cheese. One of the most unique presentations is the Spanish octopus on the side of a horizontal Mezcal bottle attached to the glass with a sweet plantain puree. Each piece of octopus was topped with avocado cream and a flower petal creating a truly a beautiful presentation. The chicken mole arrived sculpted as a map of Mexico outlined by avocado puree and seared sea scallops arrived on a pedestal of rice blackened huitlacoche (corn fungus that doubles as truffles in Mexico). Fork tender beef short ribs are plated with sweet potato puree and a mole demi-glace while picadas (chopped meat) consist of tortilla spread with salsa roja and queso fresco topped with thin red radish accents.
Desserts are also unique with a panna cotta with a chile de arbol sauce and a corn cake that is not overly sweet with huitlacoche ice cream. The wine list features primarily California vintages, a few French and even some Mexican labels. Beer is also available if you prefer it with the cuisine. Have a beer with a shot of tequila to be really adventurous…Maestro is a complete dining adventure and one that the gourmet is sure to enjoy!
For more information on Maestro, please visit the website at www.maestropasadena.com. Due to the small size of the restaurant, reservations are definitely recommended.
Many people remember charming tearoom, Favorite Place that was owned and operated by Alissa and her husband, Sarkis. It was indeed the favorite lunch place and my sister, Betty and I frequented it for all special occasions. We were big fans of Alissa’s delicious salads, soups and sandwiches. We, as were many others, very sad when they sold it. The good news is, Sarkis and Alissa are back! They have opened Heritage Eatery at the same location but this restaurants is sporting a new modern look and an updated Armenian menu that is both creative and delicious.
For her birthday, I treated Betty to a birthday lunch and we, of course, headed straight of Heritage Eatery. After a very happy welcoming celebration with Alissa and Sarkis, we were excited to try their new cuisine. For starters, we enjoyed wonderful feta cheese with homemade fig jam, chopped walnuts on crispy lavash crackers. The combination of flavors with the tangy feta and the sweet jam were perfect to stimulate the appetite. Next, we enjoyed a big bowl of oven roasted tomato soup, perfectly seasoned and served with fresh bread and the most delicious humus spread I have ever tasted. We were now anxious to enjoy of old favorite chicken salad from the tea room days but Alissa has added a new twist to her old standby. The salad still features shredded oven roasted chicken with Romaine lettuce, arugula, home-made croutons dressed with the house dressing and topped with sesame seeds, but it is different from her tea room original chicken salad. It was very good and very generous so my sister and I split one which was definitely more than enough. The Spicy Organic corn with roasted cauliflower, raisins, Persian berries, celery, cilantro, roasted carrots, topped with Feta cheese and dressed with pomegranate dressing is flavorful and unusual as is the Vegetable Medley salad featuring roasted red beets, carrots, Brussel sprouts, raisins and arugula dressed with a pomegranate dressing. Yumm!
For Sandwiches, I would order the tuna with lemon, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, topped with spicy corn salad and arugula on Armenian Bread. Alissa claims this is Sarkis’ favorite sandwich. I also think the organic beef meatball sandwich with pilaf and stuffed in lavash bread with mozzarella cheese, arugula and sundried tomato dressing sounds delicious. Other menu selections available include: Oven roasted fish of the day marinated in yogurt and garlic, drizzled with pomegranate glaze, served with oven baked potatoes and carrots; Oven roasted organic chicken with oven baked fries, served with yogurt and garlic sauce (You can order Half chicken for $ 15 or a whole chicken for $30.); or Alissa's Famous Spicy Homemade Chili with Armenian spices and topped with mozzarella cheese and cilantro, served with Armenian bread. For dessert, don’t miss the carrot cake or for the chocoholics, the cupcakes or chocolate cookies…Polish off you meal with an expresso and you will be more than good to go. Heritage Eatery is very popular and I can understand why as it is a delightful place to enjoy excellent food in a bright and cheery atmosphere with excellent service and well prepared delicious Armenian food. Reservations are suggested as it is a small place with limited seating. Give it a try as you will not be disappointed.
Sierra Madre is a charming small community just north east of Arcadia. It is probably best known for the annual Wisteria festival held in the spring when busloads of visitors come to see the largest blossoming plant in the world (Guinness Book of World Records) and one of the seven horticultural wonders of the world that was planted in 1894. But that is not the only reason to visit Sierra Madre, you can go to enjoy some excellent cuisine. We recently dined at Corfu Restaurant, owned by Vic and Amy Satamian and enjoyed a delicious homemade Mediterranean style lunch with a group of friends. Our selections were guided by our Greek friend, Anna, along with our host/owner.
To appreciate Mediterranean cuisine, one must explore a bit of history. When the Byzantium was at its zenith, the Armenians and Greeks were both centered in Constantinople during the pre-Ottoman era. It was this period that developed the exotic cuisine that was influenced by these two cultures and also the Turkish cuisine. There is hardly any ingredient in Mediterranean cooking with which the Western household would not be familiar except perhaps the flavoring ingredients. Two of which are sumac, a course powder with a bit of a sour flavor and riganti, a wild marjoram. The more basic flavors of this cuisine include parsley, rosemary, dill, fennel, bay leaves, mint, oregano and basil. Lemon is used generously in many dishes and is favored as a flavor. Spices include cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The olive is also popular, especially olive oil that is used to prepare almost all the dishes. One cannot enjoy a Mediterranean meal without pita bread and hummus, a spread made from a puree of garbanzo beans, tahini, sesame oil and lemon juice. Pasta and rice are also incorporated into the menus along with chicken, lamb, beef and fish as well as an abundance of fresh vegetables. Feta cheese dominates many of the most popular dishes.
For our group lunch, we chose a variety of delicious entrees to enjoy family style. For appetizers, we selected dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), kofta (gound beef meatballs stuffed with beef, onion, and pine nuts), cheese boregs (pan friend cheese turnovers), spinach and feta pies wrapped in filo dough, and tabbouleh salad (parsley, cracked wheat, tomatoes onion, lemon and olive oil). The entrees selected included: Lula kebab (ground beef mixed with onion and parsley and barbequed); Pastitso ( macaroni casserole with ground beef and béchamel sauce); Moussaka (eggplant casserole with potatoes, zucchini, ground beef, topped with béchamel sauce) and the Combination Platter with beef kebab, chicken kebab, and lulu kebab served with rice. We also sampled the Greek Village Salad (a combination of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and oregano). Everything we ordered was devoured with great gusto by the group. I thought the food was exceptionally delicious, well-prepared and freshly homemade.
Corfu also offers delicious traditional American breakfasts including Belgian waffles, pancakes, a variety of omelets, eggs Benedict and oatmeal from 7am to 11am, Monday –Friday and until 1 pm on the weekends. Lunch services is from 11 am – 4 pm and features a variety of hot or cold sandwiches, salads, and soups. The salads at Corfu are most interesting and not the usual offerings. The Fattoush Salad with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, parsley, fresh mint, and toasted pita bread is delicious. The Raya’s salad is a combination of diced chicken, lettuce, cheddar cheese, scallions, corn and avocado served with a salsa and Greek house dressing. The wonderful homemade main entrees (all made to order) include a variety of pastas, seafood, poultry, and meat dishes. To finish you meal, enjoy the Greek coffee that is rich and flavorful. There is a variety of homemade fresh pastries for dessert to compliment your coffee. At Corfu you can eat in or take out. They also cater. There is a back room for private parties. I enjoyed the homemade food at this restaurant and appreciated that it was all prepared to order not pre-made and reheated as is so often the case. I also enjoyed the friendly service and the warm welcome from the owner, Vic. If you venture to Sierra Madre, plan to eat at Corfu Restaurant and enjoy some delicious homemade Mediterranean food. The restaurant is small so I advise reservations, call (626) 355-5993.
Entrance to John Sparr Tavern
Let's Eat Out
Maestro (Mexican Bistro)
110 E. Union Street, Pasadena,
John Sparr Tavern was established in 2017 in a completely renovated sight of the old Village Pub dating back to the 1950’s. When Rick Powel and Dave Fink took charge, they knew they had a major project on their hands. Both owners were former imagineers for Disney and have lived in Glendale for over thirty years. They both had fond memories of the East coast taverns of their youth, especially one called Blessings Tavern. They wanted to create a new special place in the Sparr Heights section of Glendale and this seemed the perfect location. They completely renovated the 1930’s building to bring back the 1940’s feel and style of a tavern with mosaic tile floor, floor to ceiling green marble walls, a tin ceiling, and dark wood paneling, The mahogany bar and furniture was built by the Amish craftsman in Ohio. The back bar was salvaged from a 1940 Art Deco bar in New York to top off the theme of a 1940 neighborhood tavern where friends and neighbors gather for good food, craft beer, classic cocktails, and fine wine. It is very reminiscent of the famous bar in the old television series, “Cheers.” The owners want their guests to feel at home and like to come around to the tables to chat and meet their guests. They have just opened a patio in the back and they are also planning on adding live music in the future.
The chef is Aldolfo Escalante who is remembered as the chef from the Beckham’s Grill in Pasadena where he specialized in American cuisine for many years. Beside the basics of steaks, fish, chicken, burgers, salads and appetizers. He has also added prime rib of pork with Cognac sauce, smoked salmon, roast duck and crab cakes to the menu at John Sparr Tavern.
John Sparr Tavern is not very large, so if you are coming on a weekend night, I would advise you to come early if possible. The seating only holds about 50 people at the absolute most so reservations are recommended. Because the owners were so careful about creating this space, I knew the food would be great. I started with the crab cakes and it was an excellent choice.
They were delicious deep-fried seafood rounds packed with crab and no fillers and served with a nice garlic aioli. We also shared a Tavern Burger and Wow! The burger meat, the brioche bun, the fries...even the pickle were terrific. The meat was cooked to medium rare as ordered and topped with a well-aged Cheddar to create one of the best burgers I have had in a long time. The fries were of the old fashioned nature: crispy and meaty. We also checked out the potato salad and it was also delicious with just the right amount of dressing like a good homemade version.
Other offerings on the menu that all looked interesting and received positive comments from other diners included: The crab bisque that was creamy, and exactly what a bisque should be; the broiled salmon that came with creamed corn and a nice rice pilaf and the small whole roasted duck with dark crispy skin and juicy meat with creamed spinach and rice pilaf. The onion soup received rave reviews all around and will be on my menu for my next visit. Also receiving excellent reviews was the rib-eye-steak, the Cauliflower Porterhouse (with Cognac Sauce; and the crab enchilada. Another winner was the corned beef sandwich and also the fish and chips. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the bread pudding or the carrot cake. The crème brule is also very good.
If you enjoy libations, you definitely need to make the trip to John Sparr, as bartender, Adam Delaney is making the very best cocktails in the area. Whether your cocktail is a classic, modern classic, or his own original creation, you know it's going to be an incredible experience. They also have a great selection of IPA’s, crafted beers and ales as well as a good wine list.
John Sparr Tavern is open for lunch from 11:30 TO 4:00, Happy Hour from 4:00-6:00 and Dinner from 5:00 to close Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday 11:30-4:00 lunch and 4:00-to closing for dinner. Again, I recommend reservations, especially for the weekends. For more information, visit the website at http://www.johnsparrtavern.com.
The popular combination platter
Fig jam with toasted lavoush crackers
Dolmades..stuffed grape leaves
Alissa's famous chicken salad with sesame seeds
Restaurant Reviews in and around the San Gabriel Valley and the greater Los Angeles area.
Updated frequently with new recommendations.
Fabulous baked onion soup
Let’s Eat Out
115 W. Wilson Ave., Glendale, CA