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dineLA October 2009: Cafe Bizou - Pasadena

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Our first taste of DineLA week(s) was really a matter of practicality. It was lunchtime in Pasadena. What was convenient? The menu at Cafe Bizou was varied, appealing and reasonable. We arrived just as they were opening and the first impression was not good. It was an empty FrancoDenny's with a disorganized staff.

Within 30 minutes the place completely turned around. Soon the room was bustling. Bread was brought to the table quickly, the fries were hot and crispy and magic elves seemed to be refilling the iced tea. This team was on the ball.

The appetizers course offered an option of Soup du jour (vegetable noodle on that jour), Classic Caesar Salad, or Baked Mushrooms - stuffed with chicken and spinach mousse in a balsamic sauce. The mushrooms were a nice surprise. Entrees included Grilled Ahi Tuna Salad, Sesame Coated Salmon, and an 8oz New York Steak. New York steak is not exactly the most tender cut of meat, but it was cooked medium rare as requested, with an extremely peppery brandy cream sauce. The portion was large for lunch, and I was unable to finish it. The fries were outstanding, crisp on the outside, and hot as hell.

Dessert options were a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Homemade Tiramisu and a Trio of Sorbets. I intended to only take a picture of the cake, have one bite and run, but it was so delicious I could not stop eating it. It was a perfectly lovely lunch, and a deal at only $16. ($25 after iced tea and tip). So I guess the lesson of the day is don't judge a book by its cover.