In an e-mail to someone yesterday morning, I gleefully typed, “…and today I’m having lunch at the candy store.”
Sounded like a child’s Hansel and Gretl dream. I indulged in an imaginary plate full of caramels, chocolates, and lollipops with a childlike glee. The reality of that little voyage would of course be one sickened, over-sweeted stomach. But it immediately put me in ‘wonder-mind’ prior to my much anticipated lunch at the candy store.
I have been to the Little Flower Candy Company before
. It is on one of the more important streets running through Pasadena, but is placed on the hairy western edge of the city next to a peaceful (minus the roar of the 134 in the background) tree-lined residential neighborhood. Those of us on the eastside get to cross the graceful span of the Colorado St. Bridge to get there. My suggestion to those coming from the west – take the 134/210 east until Fair Oaks. Turn right on Colorado and then amble across the bridge. The LFCC will be less than a mile after the bridge on the left.
When I was last here, Christine (a.k.a. The Queen of Tarts) was testing out a new sandwich menu (which was essentially what is in the above picture plus a few additions). She willingly provided me with a copy of her handwritten menu and JJ insisted that I post something about it. I didn’t have any pictures from that visit and was knee deep in piles of busy at the time, so I let it slide. Thankfully, other more powerful voices
have since trumpeted the arrival of savory at the sweet shop. The hard working queen seems pleased by the rise of her candy empire. Truth be told, so are we.
The menus are still handwritten. Yes, plural. The second page lists some really decadent seasonal offerings, some inspired by local farmers’ market fare. First my eyes lingered on the prosciutto with tomato-basil salad and goat cheese sandwich. Let your eyes wander down a bit and you hit a burrata
with now in-season baby broccoli, garlic, and pine nuts on ciabatta that would be a sin to miss.
I went with a friend so we split the difference and each took one half of the other’s sandwich – half a burrata ciabatta and half a prosciutto and tomato-basil salad.
The sandwiches were the main event. But rarely do the sides ever get my rapt attention. To my delight, the pickles that accompanied them were pure gold. They get a random variety from A-1 Eastern Home-Made Pickle Company
over in East L.A. and they are really one of the only accompaniments that could hold their own on a plate with her sandwiches. I recommend the garlic pickle. So so good.
EDIT: I just realized that I didn't even talk about the sandwiches. Silly blogger. Yes. They were good. The french bread on the prosciutto sandwich was crusty and flavorful and the tomato-basil salad draping it was practically summery in its warm, sweet tomato flavor. The burrata sandwich? Pure delight and vegetarian to boot. The baby brocolli was tender and very green tasting, a mouthful of spring, complimenting the uber-fresh milk creaminess of the burrata. The pine nuts just gave you something to think about amidst all that tenderness.
We sat at a large communal table in the main bay window. The seating is spacious and cozy, warmed by the presence of exposed brick, multiple tall and wavy flower arrangements, and eye-catching artwork. The pathway to the giant kitchen in the back is unobstructed, and it was pleasant to watch the kitchen at work prepping for a big catering event. Yes. Catering. Christine’s empire is going Roman in its scope. They don’t have a set menu arranged as they would rather work with you to get an idea of your tastes and preferences.
And what is the Little Flower CANDY Company without the candy? Not all of it was made on the premises. But whatever she was retailing from other candy houses looked and smelled quite lovely.
Her baked goods also didn’t disappoint. While drooling over the blood orange tarts, we were offered several samples of this cake or that cookie.
And there are always her trademark caramels and marshmallows. The sea salt caramels? So nice. They are velvety smooth and an ideal size for a small indulgence. We walked back to our parking space very content.
Which brings me to the one downside at LFCC – what parking? The bulk of the spaces behind the storefront are taken up by the women’s gym next door and the little stretch of street out front was full the entire time we were there. As this part of Colorado borders the 134, there is only street parking on the retail side. It was a pretty day so we parked by the park down the street. There really isn’t much LFCC can do about it – in every other way the space is ideal for them – but it did require some creative navigation and red-curb avoidance. Trust me, it’s all worth it.Little Flower Candy Company1424 W. Colorado Blvd.Pasadena, CA(626) 304-4800A-1 Eastern Home-Made Pickle Company1832 Johnston St.Los Angeles, CA(323) 223-1141