Category Archives: South Pasadena cafes

Quick Bites: Fiore Market Cafe- South Pasadena

While driving around during one gorgeous Southern California morning, J and I passed by the old Bistro K space attached to the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena and saw that “Fiore Market Cafe” had taken its place.  Having spent many evenings savoring the creative and mouthwatering dishes of Chef Laurent Quenioux back in the Bistro K days (Chef is now cooking at Vertical Wine Bistro) we just had to stop in and investigate.  I’m glad we did.

I love a chalkboard menu

The tiny corner space is now laid out like a deli/cafe, featuring prepared salads (Spicy Udon Noodles, Fennel Slaw and Curried Cauliflower were a few of the items available today), and menu of made-to-order sandwiches and fresh salads and an array of gorgeous baked goods piled high on different cake platters.  The lemon bars, red velvet cupcakes and large, flat chocolate chip cookies looked especially good.

Coconut, lavender and red velvet cupcakes

Seating is right outside the market in a lusciously landscaped patio, decorated with clay pots of the fresh herbs used in many of the dishes.  The romantic, spring-like feel of both the inside and outdoor spaces hasn’t changed since it was Bistro K and was one of the reasons why we always went back.  The rustic, European-country style is so utterly charming and makes the patio a perfect place to enjoy lunch al fresco.

Mulberry scones

Unfortunately we’d just eaten so we didn’t have the appetite to try any of their savory dishes, but we couldn’t resist buying a beautiful oatmeal cookie from the case.  It was slightly crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle and tasted of fresh butter, brown sugar and oats.  Wow.  I guess I’ll have to add that cookie to the list of things I’ll be craving again soon.

I’m excited to go back and have a proper lunch at Fiore but will have a hard time choosing between the Short Rib Sandwich on Homemade Bread, the Tempeh Bacon, Avocado and Lettuce Sandwich and the Roast Chicken and Maple Glazed Bacon Salad with Blue Cheese, Egg and Dill-Peppercorn Dressing.  Hungry yet? They also sell salami, jams and other gourmet goodies in the market.

In addition to the Tempeh Bacon sandwich (made with Vegenaise) the cafe also offers Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and a Lavash Wrap made with Soyrizo so carnivores and vegans can live happily ever after….or at least, eat happily together!

Fiore Market Cafe
1000 Freemont Ave.
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(626) 441-2280
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-7:00pm Sun: CLOSED

Nicole’s Gourmet Imports, South Pasadena

I can’t believe I’ve never blogged about this shop/cafe before as it’s one of J and my favorite places. It used to be more of a gourmet shop and catering company more than anything else, but over the last couple of years it’s evolved into those two things combined with a café which serves lovely French sandwiches, among other yummies.

Nicole’s is truly a gem- it has almost everything you need to throw an impromptu dinner party-. Hunks of foie gras mousse pate, packets of duck confit, boxes of exotic crackers, a beautiful selection of cheeses, ready-made mini and full sized savory or sweet tart shells, bottles of fruity olive oil all line the shelves and I never, ever tire of walking through the small shop looking at it all. The prices are extremely reasonable as well.

J and I will often ride our bikes to Nicole’s and order our favorites- the smoked chicken sandwich and a plate of her farro salad- grab a couple of glasses of rosé , sit outside and enjoy the quaint cuteness that is South Pasadena. What better way is there to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon? I certainly can’t think of anything!

If you haven’t had a chance to go, I highly recommend you check it out. In addition to the sandwiches, she has at least five varieties of salads in the deli case as well as some of the best prosciutto I’ve ever eaten. Got a sweet tooth? Wait til you get a load of the lemon tarts, pain au chocolat and a seriously drool-inducing apple tart tatin.

So this will be my last post for a bit as I am off to Bogota, Buenos Aires and Santiago for 10 days, following my husband’s band who is touring there. It’s my first trip to South America and I am very excited to see what I’ve heard are some of the most beautiful areas of the world! I will definitely try to post while I am there but I’m not taking my computer so I’m not sure how much access I’ll have to one. If not, expect a lot of South America posts upon my return!

Nicoles Gourmet Imports

921 Meridian Avenue, Unit B
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(although the website says they are closed Sundays, they recently started opening for brunch and are actually open until 3:00 PM)