Picnic Outside the Box

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | 9:40 pm

Some things get better with age – wine, cheese, certain relatives – but few businesses can say that their age has made them stronger. But this is exactly the case for Pasadena’s The Kitchen for Exploring Foods. This unassuming catering company and gourmet grab-n-go sits on a portion of Colorado that doesn’t get much foot traffic but once you try their food, it will surely become a regular destination.

The Kitchen for Exploring Foods opened in 1984 and is known around town for their custom catering menu and proficiency in world cuisine. General Manager, Amy Vigouroux says that the chicken enchiladas have been on the menu since day one and are still one of their most popular options.

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In addition to Latin-inspired foods, The Kitchen excels in juicy sandwiches, piled high with gourmet fillings, seasonal salads and freshly prepared desserts. Their Ginger Cream Cookies are a sweetly spicy compliment to any meal and are also sold individually. Also look for their cheese toasts and hibiscus lavender lemonade in the retail portion of their store.

“We use a lot of flavors and get a lot of feedback from our regular customers,” she said.

Their cilantro corn salad is the perfect example of this – this summery salad is a refreshing blend of corn, bell peppers, cucumber and tomatoes with a liberal dose of cilantro. This item was made especially for a tasting and now has a home in their prepared food case for the day.

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Fulfill your summer food craving without heating up your kitchen. In addition to their robust catering business, The Kitchen also offers pre-order picnic baskets and Gourmet-to-Go meals every day of the week. These picnic boxes include a sandwich, salad and cookie for dessert. Vigouroux says these boxes are a popular choice for concerts in the Hollywood Bowl or at The Arboretum.

“The Gourmet-to-Go is really for locals to come pick up something when they don’t want to cook but still want a good meal,” said Vigouroux. “For a while we were the only option here,” she added. Currently, Little Flower Candy Co. is next door but their menu is more focused on treats rather than meals.

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The Kitchen’s daily rotation of prepared foods take the headache out of preparing a meal. They offer staples like Lemon Chicken and Wild Rice Salad plus vegetarian options like their Tabbouleh Salad and Veggie Foccacia on homemade bread. She adds that most of their items pair well together and that the staff is always at the ready with suggestions and samples.

“A lot of business and social interaction happens over meals – food is a conductor of conversation,” said Vigouroux.

With the rise of what she describes as the ‘foodie’ – people who eat for enjoyment and pay attention to where the ingredients come from – The Kitchen is busier than ever.

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The Kitchen for Exploring Foods is located at 1434 West Colorado Boulevard. Call Gourmet to Go at (626) 793-7234 or Catering at (626) 793-7218 or visit www.thekitchen.net.

 

 

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