Welcoming Summer with Agnes

Old Pasadena eatery features new summer menu
Published on Jul 19, 2023

In summer, there is nothing to do and there is everything to do.

Over at Agnes Cheesery on Green Street in Hall Pasadena, they are busily revamping menus. We dropped by to have a taste of one of  their seasonal summer menus.

The idea here is that Agnes will change with the seasons, and you’ll see a new menu in three months, of course. But for now, it’s summer and here is what’s on the table:

(Just so we’re clear, this is a tasting menu for two.  I bravely did my utmost best to consume it all, but a large portion of it went home with me in a handy box. A few boxes, actually)

In a category called “Snackadoos,” their creation is called Briar Rose Fromage Blanc. This is a twist on lox and bagels. Instead of salmon, cured trout gravlax is placed on a bit of white cheese (fromage blanc), with capers, and tiny, thinly sliced cucumbers, with just a little dill flavor here and there. 

It’s all served with hot, fresh spiced grilled flatbread instead of bagels. 

The cured trout is similar to the taste of salmon, and the flatbread is a refreshing change from all the carbs in a bagel. Very summery.

For “Veggies and Pastas,“ there is the Reuben Ravioli, which is pretty much what it sounds like —there is corned beef, some sauerkraut soubise– a sauce that is usually made from puréed rice and onions—Old Witch cheese, which is a vegan cheese sauce, caraway seeds, cornichons, which are tiny, young gherkins, all in a mustard cream. Imagine standard raviolis, bathing in a rich marinara sauce, and then fill the ravioli pillows with corned beef, and substitute a mustard-y cream sauce, instead of the marinara. 

It tastes like what it’s pictured as,  and that’s pretty nice for a summer evening.

Accompanying the Reuben Ravioli was a cheesy stuffed pepper, which was a large oversized pepper filled with risotto, Carolina “caviar,” corn chowder, spicy cilantro crema and Essex Street feta. It’s a lot of taste, the pepper is mild, and slightly tangy, and the risotto mixture is creamy and filling. This is a pretty large serving, and a lot of it came home to my modest Los Angeles apartment with me.

Did I mention it was quite a bit of food? The next serving was a Pachamama picnic platter — grilled pork belly, jalapeño, cheddar, wurst, mojo, pork shoulder with cornbread muffins, a bacon, pimento Maca and a marinated pea salad

As far as we are able to tell, Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. The Incas believe that she is a “Earth Mother“ goddess, as well as a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and, of course, causes earthquakes.

This was California meets Midwest and Southern dining, with a combination of the cheddarwurst, which is essentially cheese in a sausage,  the mojo pork shoulder with cornbread muffins, likely representing a bit of the South and of course, the necessary jalapeño cheddar to bring in the California to it all. 

With every delicious morsel, it was a very filling and satisfying lunch the next day. 

Finally, the desert was very American traditional — a soft serve Sunday. We had ours with a chocolate shell, a bit like that dipped cone you love at county fairs and beaches.

Once hardened, the chocolate shell took some serious whacking with a spoon to breach its armor, but the combination of the crispy chocolate shell, and the cool refreshing soft serve, really felt like a Friday night in late June.

Or July, for that matter. I strolled out, full and happy. 

Hello summer!

Agnes Restaurant and Cheesery is at 40 West Green St., Pasadena, CA. (626) 389–3839. www.agnesla.com.

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