Experience Northeast Los Angeles: Tasting menus for Claremont Restaurant Week

On July 10, 2014, Discover Claremont and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce held a preview tasting event to kick off the 2nd Annual Claremont Restaurant Week from July 14-20, 2014. Restaurant chefs and owners were on hand to talk about their restaurants and the food they serve. Held in the courtyard setting of the Hotel Casa 425, restaurants set up shop to showcase samples of dishes that they will be serving during restaurant week.

Here’s sampling of what you can enjoy this week from the participating restaurants (for a complete listing with addresses, phone numbers, and menus, click here) :

  • Aruffo’s Italian Cuisine served up antipasto, pasta, and entrée options. Maiale Osso Bucco is a 24-ounce pork shank braised with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, Chianti wine, and served with tomato coulis and potato gnocchi. The pork just fell off the bone and the Chianti wine added a robust, well-balanced flavor to the garlic and rosemary. Gnocchi Della Patata is Italian potato dumplings in a rich and savory sauce of braised flat iron Bolognese with Pecorino Romano cheese. The sauce is mild, not too acidic and the flat iron steak is like a shredded short rib that clings nicely to the gnocchi. Tortellini Della Mamma is spinach & egg tortellini stuffed with Pecorino Romano cheese, and baked in a delicate cream sauce with sweet baby peas, prosciutto, and Pecorino Romano cheese. The pasta was cooked al dente with fresh, creamy cheese inside. The sauce was creamy with notes of green and sweet from the peas and slightly smoky and salty flavor from the prosciutto. Ricotta Bruschetta is bruschetta toast layered with ricotta cheese, slow roasted tomatoes, cracked peppercorn, sea salt, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. The bread was crispy and contrasted perfectly with the soft, creamy ricotta cheese. The tomatoes added a sweet flavor to the mix.
  • Bardot
  • Casa De Salsa served up Filete de Pescado al Cilantro which is pan-seared bass fillet baked with spices and butter. The sauce was light yet rich in flavor which complemented the fish well.
  • Casa Moreno Mexican Restaurant Bar & Grill
  • Euro Café served a sampling of vegetarian options. Vegetarian Paella using soy sausage was robust in flavor and the sausage was spicy and meaty. The Portuguese Custard Tarts were amazing with phyllo-like crust and custardy goodness on the inside. All they need now is Malasadas!
  • The Last Drop Café
  • La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana
  • Lounge 425 @ Hotel Casa 425
  • Loving Hut Claremont
  • The Orchard at DoubleTree by Hilton Claremont served up samplings of their first courses. Watermelon Carpaccio is served with pomegranate syrup, smoked feta cheese, and micro pea tendrils. The sweetness of the fruit balanced perfectly with the smoky, slightly salty feta. The Ahi Tuna Tower consists of marinated ahi tuna, mango, avocado, lotus root chip, and wasabi; a California version of ceviche/poke. The flavor of the ahi went to the background as the mango and citrus flavor came to the forefront. They also served the famous DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies as well.
  • Packing House Wines
  • Pappas Artisanal made a playful crudité cup (visually described as a “savory adult version of Cup of Dirt”). The cup was made of compostable bamboo and stalks of green beans, baby carrots, fennel, radish, and squash sprout up from tendrils of micro-greens. At the bottom, a dry dip of ground nuts and spices lovingly attach to the vegetable like “the earth it sprouted from”. It was definitely the most inventive and imaginative dish presented.
  • Podge’s Claremont Juice Co.
  • Pizza n’ Such
  • The Press Restaurant
  • Rounds Premium Burgers sampled their new Stuff It! burgers. Similar in concept to a ‘Juicy Lucy’ where the burger patty is stuffed with cheese, Rounds offered up a burger stuffed with bacon and American cheese. It was melty and juicy. The bun was brioche-style which held up well to the juiciness. I would definitely like to try again stuffed with bleu cheese and bacon sauced with siracha aioli atop a fresh pretzel bun.
  • Saca’s Mediterranean Cuisine served up a variety of vegetarian Mediterranean dishes. Dolma is seasoned rice wrapped inside of grapes leaves. If you have never had grape leaves before, it’s has a very bright, green, almost citrus flavor to it, with a mild scent of tobacco. It’s a healthy Mediterranean version of an egg roll. Some palates may take awhile to appreciate the flavor. Feta Cheese and Mediterranean Olives are a quick finger food option. The creamy, soft texture of the feta works well with the slightly chewy, salty flavor of the olives. Hummus, a puree of chickpeas and spices, is the ultimate dip with pita bread or accompaniment with roasted meats and pita sandwiches. The texture is smooth with creamy notes, and Saca’s version is not too lemony. Tabouleh Salad is freshly chopped parsley, diced tomatoes, green onions, and cracked wheat flavored with an exotic blend of herbs. Nothing is more refreshing than tabouleh -- it pairs perfectly with gyro, lamb, or chicken. Baba-Ghanouj is a puree of eggplants and spices. Saca’s version uses peeled eggplant so the color stays a consistent cream color. This is great with pita bread.
  • Saladfarm
  • Tutti Mangia Italian Grill served up antipasti of bruschetta topped with tomato concasse & grana padana cheese and bruschetta topped with a puree of fava beans, shaved parmesan, and crispy pancetta. The tomatoes were a little on the bland side, but the fava bean puree on the other hand, were quite flavorful – almost like a thickened pesto sauce with the salty, crispy texture of the pancetta and creaminess of the parmesan.
  • Viva Madrid
  • Walter’s Restaurant
  • Z Pizza

Check out the list of restaurants and make your plans for lunch and dinner this week! There is a wide spectrum of cuisines and the restaurant week menus will definitely not break the bank.

For more information:
Claremont Restaurant Week

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