Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another August Birthday, More Cupcakes, and Restaurant 561

I made these for my boyfriend who celebrates his birthday this week. They're the same red velvet ones I made for myself just a couple weeks ago. Happy Birthday!
To celebrate, we went out for dinner to Restaurant 561. This is an establishment operated entirely by the student chefs from the California School of Culinary Arts who are completing their Le Cordon Bleu curriculum. It's a French inspired restaurant with a bit of a Southern California twist. The menu seemed creative with a fair balance of both meat and seafood, and our experience there was quite pleasurable. I really liked the cozy, warm feeling of the restaurant with its big picture windows overlooking Green Street, and its open kitchen. The students who were running the restaurant on this particular night were attentive and professional without being overbearing or awkward. Service was definitely an A+. Now onto the food: the bread basket was pretty divine--there were 4 different breads, my favorite being the

raisin and nut bread. There was also an interesting green olive sourdough, a plain sourdough (a little dull), and a parmesan flat bread cracker which was pretty tasty too. The breads are all made on the premesis by the students. Accompanying the bread was a plate of creamy, luscious butter and a tapenade spread which was a little tangy but a nice touch. We were give a complimentary amuse bouche which was prepared by one of the students there that evening. It

was a pretty little thing comprised of beets, goat cheese, pesto and pine nuts. Yum! We also ordered a buffalo carpaccio as an appetizer. I personally like the taste of buffalo and this was quite exceptional. The thinly sliced buffalo with shaved parmesan cheese was a melt-in-your-mouth delight and a perfect way to start our meal. I wanted to have fish this evening and ordered the Grilled Ono with Thai Black Sticky Rice. This was accompanied by a lovely grilled pineapple brochette which surprisingly went well with the rather meaty fish. The fish itself did not have a lot of flavor but when I dipped it into the hibiscus and five spice glaze, it

really packed a nice, sweet punch. My boyfriend ordered the New York Strip which came with seasonal veggies. It was cooked just the way he likes it, medium rare. I took a bite of the steak and have to say that it was indeed deliciously juicy and flavorful. All in all, we enjoyed the dining experience at Restaurant 561: good food, wonderful service, and a comfortable atmosphere.
Restaurant 561
561 East Green Street
Tel: 626-405-1561 Pasadena, CA 91101


Joe said...

Cute cupcakes! Happy B-Day to him!

Augustina said...

Thank-you Joe. I'll send him the message!