Hooray  for Holly PHOTO: Steve Garrett

Hooray for Holly

The stylish new Market on Holly offers epicurean delights from Pasadena and packaged specialties from around the country and across the pond.

By Bradley Tuck 06/01/2011

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The quest for artisanal olive oil may or may not be high on your list of priorities. Certainly, at a time of potentially catastrophic climate change, global political turmoil and general human trepidation, such fixations might seem shallow. But if we’re not to run around, screaming, “All is lost, all is lost!” then perhaps it’s these small comforts that can help keep us at least somewhat sane. And doling out small comforts is what Marty Davich, longtime TV composer, and chef Mary Pat Brandmeyer are doing at newly opened eatery The Market on Holly. Davich has
long soothed and riled the senses with his soundtracks for shows like General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, Beverly Hills 90210 and NCIS. His wife, Carrie, has been equally helpful; with her home furnishings and accessories store, Maude Woods: Artful Living, she has been bringing harmonious beauty to the homes of the San Gabriel Valley since 2009. Right next door to her store, with an interior opening connecting to it, The Market brings a touch of New York--style gourmet deli to Old Pasadena. 
 
As one of Pasadena’s most respected caterers, Brandmeyer is a veteran of the gourmet food scene here. Her clientele includes bold-face names like Debra Messing, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Garner. Tyra Banks once said of her cooking, “What I love about the food is that it’s not ‘chichi poo-poo’ food. It’s, like, real --- fried chicken, potato salad, summer barbecue food.” Brandmeyer’s accomplished, straightforward cooking is at the core of this enterprise, and Davich’s passion for quality gourmet goods adds the thrill of discovery for anyone venturing through the well-designed doors of The Market on Holly.
 
Renowned interior designer Michael Berman was behind the visuals, and the place is beautiful. There’s an emphasis on reclaimed and recycled fixtures and materials, with clean white walls to better highlight the grain and patina of the surroundings. A coffee counter alcove serving Portland, Oregon’s finest joe --- Stumptown Coffee --- has a backdrop of emerald green metro tile. From the ceiling hang early-20th-century industrial fixtures that were salvaged from an old municipal building in Philadelphia.
 
At one end, a gleaming refrigerated display case is home to rounds of wonderful cheeses and charcuterie, along with Brandmeyer’s prepared offerings. Poached salmon comes with her signature salsa of black bean, ginger and citrus, a real standout. The potato salad has green onions, bacon and anchovies and is good enough to eat on its own. Add some slices of roast beef, and you have a great Sunday lunch for two.
 
In The Market, shelves groan with some beautiful olive oils (the Tenuta di Capezzana Extra Virgin from Tuscany is particularly good, showcasing the classic Tuscan character of grassiness and a peppery finish). Davich is a fanatic for quality dry goods and has a great selection of Rancho Gordo beans, as well as wonderful toffees and caramels from England and jars of Devon clotted cream, essential for scones and strawberry jam.
 
If you pop in during lunch hour, you’ll see office workers picking up bags of goodies to eat in the park or at their desks, and the epi-curious browsing the shelves. Friendly, knowledgeable service is the final key to an experience that, at least for the time it takes to eat, might take your mind off the worries of the world. With that said, it would be wise to chew slowly.

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