Although The Raymond 1886 is well known to many, my husband and I had our first experience via a multi-course meal, cocktails and dessert, that brought our level of culinary education up a notch…or three.
Executive Chef Tim Guiltinan has a way with food. It appeared to us, right off the bat, that he had designed his plates to delight a diner with three things: flavor, color and texture. It went like this:
Steamed Blue Mussels, angry lady sauce, Chinese sausage, Thai chili served with toasted bread.
What a wonderful batch of flavors, from the subtle tang of chili, the meaty and spicy sausage, to the tender flavorful mussel nestled inside. The toasted bread served on the side was the perfect accompaniment to sop up all of the juices nestled at the bottom of our bowl. I actually wrote down, “finger licking good” and labeled the dish an “Eve’s Pick.”
Micro-Farmed Massachusetts Oyster, Tim’s Habanero Horseradish Hot Sauce.
Cool, clean, crisp, refreshing with a hint of salt – and then with one drop of Tim’s orange-colored sauce and our oysters were spiced up just enough to make them that much more interesting to savor. (Ed liked two drops.)
Hand Harvested Scallops, Oregon black trumpets, grapefruit, English peas and vanilla-bean potato.
I took some time to savor the colors before diving into my scallops: the green peas, bright grapefruit segments, the blackest of Oregon black trumpets and slightly golden and glistening scallops. Dear me, the taste did not disappoint and I ate all five.
Short Rib-72-hour braise, liquefied potato, haricot vert, radish-onion-carrot slaw.
An extremely tender, smoky and juicy short rib was surrounded by a blend of colorful vegetables cooked al dente. And again, the colors, red, brown, green, orange and white, added to our pleasure. Eddie thought the dish worked in perfect balance.
“Chocolate Hazelnuts” Dark chocolate cremeaux, coffee soil, milk chocolate hazelnut praline crunch, espresso ice cream.
In the dessert, the crescendo of our meal, Chef Tim Guiltinan again used flavor, color and texture to tantalize our taste buds. We loved breaking up the sweet crunchy hazelnut praline and then dipping into the cool and creamy espresso ice cream. Simply decadent.
More menus can be viewed online. (We asked our server for recommendations as we think that’s a good bet the first time we visit a restaurant.)
Cocktails and Wine List
“Pimms #6” – Russian Standard vodka, Pimms, mint, cucumber, citrus and carbonated lemonade. I could see right away why this was a signature drink. It refreshed the palate perfectly between bites of appetizers with its fruit, mint and cucumber. Definitely something I could imagine sipping on over brunch in the patio – next time.
“Rye Reverse” – Templeton rye, Rittenhouse 100, dry Vermouth, Maraschino cherry, a drop of curacao, stirred and served over large rock with lemon and orange peels. Ed ordered this one and loved it. From the presentation to the taste, this was a perfect aperitif.
This is just a sample, there are a lot of cocktails to choose from, so have fun selecting your own!
As we had a single cocktail we didn’t order wine as well, but we did note these favorite wineries had found their place on The Raymond’s multi-page list (I’m sure you’ll find some of your favorites there too): Ramey, Pahlmeyer, Joseph Phelps, Robert Craig, Turley, Schramsberg, Veuve Clicquot, Rocca, Frank Family, Ancient Peaks, Stolpman…to name just a few.
What do you think? Heading back for brunch in a week to enjoy the patio and all that Chef Tim Guiltinan has in store for diners again!
In its heyday, The Grand Raymond Hotel was an East Coasters’ winter respite celebrating the finer things in life. Though the hotel is gone, its original caretaker’s cottage remains and houses The Raymond | 1886 Bar. With beautiful patios, gardens, fireplaces, and one of the top cocktail and wine programs in the U.S., The Raymond | 1886 Bar provides a comprehensive experience that marries gorgeous atmosphere, top notch drinks, and innovative American cuisine inspired by international technique. (read more from Discover Los Angeles)
The Raymond 1886 – 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105 – 626.441.3136 – http://www.theraymond.com
Find on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaymondPasadena
Discover on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRaymondRestaurant
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com