Welcome to our new series, "Where To," where we give our recommendation for a specific activity in a specific part of the city. The first post in this series is "Pizza in Pasadena"-- if you're in the area and craving a slice, this is the place to go! Please comment below with any suggestions, and if you need recommendations on what to do/see/eat in LA!
To be honest, I really don't spend a ton of time in Pasadena; it's a bit far from the areas in which I usually hang out, but whenever I make it out there, I'm always glad that I did. Pasadena is unique in that it manages to have a flourishing "Downtown" area with cool, modern shops, restaurants, and bars but still feels spacious and suburban. In recent years, there has been an influx of cool, hip spots peppered throughout the downtown area, like Copa Vida coffee and a Mohawk General store (cleverly hidden away in an alleyway).
Recently, Kyle and I had the pleasure of eating at The Luggage Room*, a pizza joint that is a bit off-the-beaten path in Downtown Pasadena. With a warm interior that married together features of a classic Italian eatery and an upscale modern bistro (red walls, beautiful chandeliers, and lots of wood), The Luggage Room is a wonderful casual eatery that focuses on high-quality, local ingredients.
Since it had to be 5pm somewhere (and it was Sunday, so why not?), we started out with a few drinks. The first was a local Belgian ale on draft, and was really good. Does anything go better with pizza and a hot day better than a cold, local brew? Well, maybe the sangria, which was dangerously delicious. I seriously could've had a few of these and then stumbled out the restaurant-- refreshing, fruity, and managed to taste like the perfect summer-to-fall drink with a nice combination of citrus flavors and Fall apples.
Now, onto the food. We decided to start off with one of their little starters, specifically, the bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese. Can I just say that bacon-wrapped dates are seriously the most satisfying bites? You get the salty, meatiness of the bacon with the sweetness of the date (and they had some sort of balsamic sauce on them that added a bit more sweetness), and then comes the cool, creaminess of the goat cheese in the inside. The crisp, freshness of the arugula perfectly balanced the rich little bites. An extremely satisfying appetizer.
Next up were the signature pizzas. We decided to order two, as each pizza is a good size for one person. We ordered The Gladiator, a meaty pizza with spicy Italian sausage and pepperoni, and the Shattuck Ave, a more mild, creamy pizza with burrata, garlic, and peppers. Both pizzas were fantastic and perfectly balanced each other (a suggestion courtesy of our waitress). The crust was crispy on the outside, and doughy on the inside, thin in the right places. The Gladiator was very satisfying and very meaty, and I loved the spice of the sausage. The Shattuck Ave was nice and creamy, with perfectly melty burrata, a rich tomato sauce, and the roasted garlic gave it a really nice, flavorful kick.
We had to finish up with a bit of dessert, so we ordered a scoop of mint chip gelato, which was great. The mint actually tasted like fresh, real mint (the way mint ice cream should taste), and was a perfect palate cleanser after the rich meal.
Overall, we both loved the meal. It was a hearty, filling lunch, but the flavors were really fresh and had that farm-to-table element that makes The Luggage Room a true California pizza joint. Because of its refreshing drinks, satisfying appetizers, deliciously-crafted pizzas, and a low-key-yet-upscale atmosphere, The Luggage Room is our "Where To" pick for when you're craving a slice in Pasadena!
Products/restaurants marked with an asterisk* denote gifted or free items/meals. For more information about how this affects my editorial policy, please click here.