Story and Photography by VERONICA AN
Published: Monday, February 20, 2017 | 1:06 PM
“When you get to ten years in the life of a restaurant, it’s a good time to reevaluate and revitalize,” said Robert Simon, the owner or Alma de la Rosa, formerly A/K/A Bistro. “We’re giving people new reasons to discover us all over again.”
This Pasadena staple underwent a transformation in both style and cuisine earlier this month. While both restaurants share a mission of providing sustainable, organic food, A/K/A focused on American food and Alma de la Rosa draws its inspiration for Latin flavors from Spain to Mexico. The new flavors reflect the diverse community in Los Angeles county and all dishes are dictated by the seasons.
“What’s important is that [the food] is grown and produced with a respect to the Earth,” said Simon. “People know what we stand for – our fennel tastes like fennel.”
“It all comes down to flavor. Flavor is the main objective…you’re really getting down to the essence of the Earth,” said Executive Chef James Lambrinos.
Alma de la Rosa prides itself on using organic produce and grass fed sustainably raised meat in innovative ways. Listening to Chef Lambrinos and Simon discuss the menu in minute detail, it becomes apparent how much thought is put into everything from the housemade chicharrones in the Arroz con Pollo’s Chicharron Cream to homemade cinnamon ice cream served with the Kahlua Brownie.
“Chef James is very passionate about food and is willing to do everything to reinvent the menu as long as it stays true to our mission of ‘all things sustainable and organic’,” said Simon.
Alma de la Rosa in One Colorado Plaza on Hughs Alley. This spot means they’re invisible from Colorado Boulevard but gives them the room to have an intimate patio and provide a cozy dining experience. As part of the restaurant’s makeover, Spanish tile was added and large, comfortable chairs were placed by the entrance.
“The lightness reverberates throughout the restaurant – it’s lighter, brighter, more inviting and romantic,’ said Simon.
In addition to their revamped menu, Alma de la Rosa has a full craft cocktail menu which focuses on tequila, pisco and mezcal. Try the Big Al, which is named after Simon’s father. It has Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon, Peychaud’s Bitters, ginger and lemon or order the Blood Orange Cosmo with freshly pressed juice.
“We’re trying to make an interesting and innovative [cocktail] menu with takes on traditional drinks,” said mixologist, Sarah Palcher.
From the quality ingredients and the presentation of the food to the handmade cocktails to the aggressive beer and wine program, Alma de La Rosa is a standout restaurant.
“It’s honest, really fresh, really bright; food that tastes memorable,” said Simon.
Alma de la Rosa is located at 41 Hugus Alley. Call (626) 564-8111 or visit http://almadelarosa.com/.