Saturday, October 30, 2010

House of Basturma

After talking about it for ages, we finally went to the House of Basturma in Pasadena and had a basturma sandwich!

So what's a basturma? Basturma is an Armenian cured meat that reminded me a lot of Spanish cured hams, except that it's intensely flavored with spices like paprika, garlic, salt, and fenugreek. Doing some research, I found out that basturma is found all over what used to be the Ottoman Empire and can also be called pastirma. Apparently pastirma has the same etymological roots as pastrami but the two meats are worlds apart, since pastirmas are not cooked. Armenians make basturmas out of beef or lamb, but it can also be made from goat or camel. I liked it, but a little goes a long way.

The House of Basturma's sandwich is very simple, but really good. Wonderful toasted Armenian bread, flavorama meat, two slices of tomato and voil√†.  The House also has lulukebabs, shawermas, koftas, soujouks, and other Middle Eastern/Armenian specialties.

I really liked the House. Clean, spacious, with super nice, relaxed owners.

House of Basturma
2487 E. Washington Blvd.
Pasadena CA 91104
626 345-9090

Friday, October 22, 2010


We were wandering around Koreatown looking for parking (of course) when we found the nicest tea store in the middle of a strip mall. A branch of the Hankook Tea company, the tiny store is called Chasaengwon and it sells primarily tea from the Gwangju area of South Korea. But what I really loved about the store was the beautiful teaware they had on sale, exquisite teapots and matching cups that can tempt you into personal bankruptcy.

Chasaengwon also has some unusual food items and a small area to taste tea. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.  And certainly a place to check out if you need to buy a gift for someone.