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Wine, Song, Tacos and Friends

Firefly offers an eclectic menu of surprises

Published on Saturday, December 14, 2013 | 1:10 am

It’s Wednesday night at Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena, “Wine and Song” night. Owner Carl Weintraub ambles up to the stage at the behest of MC/host Brad Colerick. Strapping on a Martin acoustic, Weintraub is suddenly a gravelly-voiced, wizened whisky-soaked blues singer, detailing  his adventures on a tawdry night.

“The restaurant is my other life,” he confides, after stepping off the stage. Firefly is that kind of a place. Not only does it offer an eclectic menu of favorites and specials, this is clearly a place for friends.

Brad Colerick and John Roy Zat entertain at Firefly.

The wine and song night, for example, featured tonight, is called “a midweek soul-soothing spirit-lifting hootenanny.” That sounds about right. Tonight guitarist Mark Black and violinist John Roy Zat, were joined by a handful of visiting singer/songwriters for an evening of original folk and blues tunes.  Thursday evenings feature “Burgers, Blues and Beer,” (or some similar order), which of course, is essentially as the name describes.

Tucked along El Centro a block south of Mission, Firefly Bistro sits at the site of a former junkyard. Just past the foyer, the dining room opens up under a series of connected industrial-strength tents. (Fear not. The room is warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.)

Braised Pork Shank in sweet potato puree at Firefly.

Co-owner/chef Paul Rosenbluh offers a widely varied menu, with an assortment of theme nights as well. Our Wednesday night menu featured ‘Tacos for the Soul,” an assortment of tacos from Barbacoa Chicken, to Chorizo, to Fiery Grilled Shrimp.  Our own menu selection was a thick and hearty Lamb Barley soup with a Braised Pork Shank entrée, set in a sweet potato puree, recommended by Weintraub himself.

“Paul is so knowledgeable when it comes to food,” adds Weintraub. “I’m constantly amazed at the things he comes up with, but they’re always unique.”

Speaking of unique, Firefly will offer up a Southern-themed New Year’s Eve evening this year, with a prix fixe menu of American Southern specialties. Southern, as in South Pasadena. Makes sense to us.

See you on Wednesday?

Firefly is at 1009 El Centro Street, South Pasadena. (626) 441-2443.

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