On paper everything about Superba reads as trendy hipster; mini-succulents and minimalist decor, an enclosed but open floor plan that’s dog-friendly, coffee “mocktails” and an entire section of the menu dedicated to various toasts.
I’m glad I withheld judgment because Superba’s new Pasadena location is far more than the pretentious cool-kid coffee shop that offers espresso-based drinks, pour overs and glass cases filled with over-priced and average tasting pastries made elsewhere.
The open patio, separated by floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, allows for a lot of natural light and socializing. Rather than tables and chairs pushed along the walls, round tables and backless stools are small and easily movable giving Superba a social feel.
Although they are known for their bread and pastry options, the real standouts are the breakfast sandwiches and toast options which are well beyond the typical fast-casual breakfast spot in terms of quality.
The breakfast sandwich ($8) is served on a beautiful brioche bun, with crispy thick slices of bacon, egg, melty cheese, with greens and radishes for texture. It is easily one of the best sub $10 options in the city.
Even as a “millenial” I find the avocado toast concept ridiculous, but Superba really turned the gourmet toast trend into something more than a punchline. I tried the ricotta toast ($6), a thick brioche pullman bun with a ricotta spread overlaid with marmalade and seasonal fruit, currently slices of persimmon, and pomegranate seeds. The creamy ricotta blends with the honey-like flavor of the persimmons creating a delicious combination of creamy flavors.
On the more basic but still impressive side of the toast options is the almond butter with cacao nibs ($4) on rye pullman with a golden syrup. They use an almond butter with a smoother texture than I’ve had, and the cacao nibs aren’t overly sweet but add a crunch and extra flavor to the almond butter.
The cinnamon and sugar toast ($3.50) is made with cinnamon and sugar caramelized onto a slice of brioche and tastes like a grown-up version of cinnamon toast crunch cereal you had as a kid, and who doesn’t love a side of nostalgia with their breakfast?
Although they are known for their breads and baked goods, the actual dining options stole my heart more than the bakery offerings. The prominently advertised madeleines ($5) leaned far too hard on their lemon zest to provide flavor to a plain sponge cake. The pop-tart ($3.50) came with a seasonal pumpkin filling which was good, but because the toast options are incredible and around the same cost I recommend sticking with the toast. Not to mention, they’re much more filling too.
To drink, we were recommended the Matcha Mojito ($6) from the “cocktail” section of the menu and the Spanish latte, so of course, we tried both. The Spanish latte ($5.50) is made with condensed milk and is the perfect amount of sweet without tasting too overwhelming. As someone who prefers a minimal amount of cream in my coffee, I still enjoyed it. The matcha mojito, on the other hand, wasn’t my favorite. Made with green tea, fresh mint and lime, it really did take on the taste of a mint mojito, although the carbonation in the drink didn’t seem necessary in order to get that flavor. It does look aesthetically pleasing, however, served in a glass cup with a striped paper straw it might be worth it if only for the Instagram photo. Other unique and notable drinks worth trying on their menu include a mushroom latte ($7), a turmeric ginger ($6) and black sesame milkshake ($6.50).
If you’re familiar with the Venice dining scene you’ll recognize the name; its sister store and predecessor Superba Food + Bread is based in Venice where they have a commercial bakery from which they serve and sell their namesake breads. Whether in Venice or Pasadena, it’s well worth the try for their toast and Spanish latte.
Now, let’s move from breakfast and brunch to lunch and dinner at The Bucket. Originally opened in 1935, the famous Eagle Rock burger joint staple closed in 2013 and brought back to life in October. In its first life it was a biker hangout and favorite of students at Occidental College that has returned as an Instagram-worthy incarnation.
This small wood-fenced hamburger stand takes the family-owned greasy spoon hamburger joint concept and polishes it up with flat screen TVs, craft beers and simple but well executed burgers.
They have the Eagle Rock burger (single $6.50 or double $7.75) which is your classic cheeseburger with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, grilled with fries on top. The spicy Julio burger (single $7.50 or double $8.75) has all the basics you’d want in a burger, plus serrano peppers, a fried egg, bacon and Spanish garlic aioli.
The Bucket has an entire portion of their menu dedicated to their specialty fries, which can be ordered in a variety of combinations, or as a “make your own” option, allowing customers to create something even more outrageous. Each of the already made combos are $5.50 and offer up a “Classic” consisting of carne asada, cilantro, and feta cheese, topped with spicy garlic aioli and the “Americano” fries, topped with bacon, cheese grilled onion, served with ranch and spicy garlic aioli. My personal favorite to accompany the Eagle Burger, were the fiesta fries, made with carne asada, cheddar cheese and jalapenos, doused in diablo sauce and avocado cream. Let’s just say, you’ll never look at plainly seasoned French fries again after these.
With such a simple meld of concepts, cheap beers and mom and pop hamburgers, I’m simultaneously disappointed and amazed that the concept had not been executed already.
The interior of the restaurant, if I’m being only slightly hyperbolic, is the size of a pantry with maybe three barstools and a spot for walk-up ordering that overlooks the entire kitchen. Not to worry, though. The lack of indoor seating is made up for by the awesome outdoor patio which is mostly enclosed and has two flat screen televisions displaying the game of the moment, as well as a walk-up window.
The Bucket may just be the perfect spot to sit on the patio and a catch a game. At the walk-up window a few feet away you can order 805, or brews from Eagle Rock brewing for under $6, to pair with one of their decadent loaded fry combinations.
SUPERBA SNACKS & COFFEE
712 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena | (626) 522-7008
Major Cards Accepted
4541 Eagle Rock Blvd., | Eagle Rock | (323) 739-0660
Major Cards/Beer Served