Every Thursday evening, South Pasadena holds a farmers market on Meridian Avenue, near the Gold Line train station. The bounty of fresh produce includes wonderful baked goods, cheeses, fruits and vegetables.
Numerous vendors hawk prepared foods: Greek meze, grilled-while-you-wait BBQ, fresh corn-on-the-cob, and oozing pupusas, to name a few. Some of the food’s pretty good, but an even better bet is to walk around the corner to Firefly Bistro, which prepares a weekly menu of delicious tapas from 5-8 pm using produce from the market.
Chefs/owners/spouses Monique King and Paul Rosenbluh, who previously worked together at Chicago’s Soul Kitchen, opened Firefly Bistro on July 18, 2002, one street down from Mission, South Pasadena’s main drag, and the aforementioned farmers market. The couple has managed to stave off competition from hotshot neighborhood upstarts like Bistro de la Gare and Bistro K by combining stellar cooking and solid value.
On the night in question, Firefly Bistro listed 8 tapas on the menu, and with just me, I had to narrow things down. I eliminated the “assorted petit fours” first, since I can get an approximation at several other restaurants. Next went the “smoked bacon and brie panini with marinated peppers” second, since paninis are so prevalent. It was a tough call, but I eliminated the “sautéed jerk chicken with coconut and tomato,” since I wasn’t in the mood for anything really saucy. On to what I did order.
Considering Firefly Bistro’s emphasis on seasonal produce, it’s virtually guaranteed my next visit to Thursday Night Tapas will be entirely different. The tapas were so good the first time, that’s an exciting proposition. Now if I can just get my boss to let me out early enough to make it across town in time.
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