Bellinis for Brunch
The Flintridge Proper, La Cañada Flintridge’s neighborhood gastropub, serves up hearty traditional breakfasts with a twist.
By Irene Lacher 12/06/2013
Sunday is popularly known as a day of rest, but for foodies and many others, it’s also known as the day of morning Mimosas. Or Bellinis, if you have the good fortune to start your Sunday at The Flintridge Proper, a neighborhood gastropub that opened in La Cañada Flintridge in April and launched its brunch in early fall. And not just the prosaic peach variety — The Proper offers an eclectic Bellini Bar, with such exotic infusions as elderberry syrup.
Locals Brady and Mary Elizabeth Caverly opened their temple to American comfort food to help fill La Cañada’s relative void of upscale dining establishments, surprising given the affluence of its inhabitants who must often drive to surrounding burgs if they want more than burgers. The Proper’s brunch offerings reflect Chef Kevin Napier’s locavore philosophy and high-end orientation, even including a chef’s five-course tasting menu, which on my visit included a bowl of fresh berries and chicken-fried steak (better shared by two).
The brunch menu is pretty extensive, with sandwiches and salads accompanying the requisite selection of omelets and pancakes. Light eaters can make a meal of squeezed-to-order orange or grapefruit juice ($3) and housemade brioche donuts with strawberries ($8). But my crew was up for some serious brunching, so we zeroed in on the breakfast plates. Full breakfasts start with a lovely platter of fresh crusty bread, housemade jam and mild cheese curls. The Real American Breakfast ($11) seemed in order, and while it consisted of the usual suspects, it was quite flavorful. The scrambled free-range eggs came with meaty artisanal bacon and “smooshed potatoes” — really home fries nicely crisped. The Housemade Biscuit & Gravy ($6), while a generous portion with two large biscuits smothered in white gravy, was rather bland, although the housemade breakfast sausage and bacon added some welcome snap.
Something else to savor is the diverse collection of La Cañada memorabilia collected by the Caverlys — from local high-school yearbooks and vintage hurricane lamps to horse statuettes and tack in honor of the area’s equestrian heritage. If you visit later in the day, you’ll want to belly up to the bar — crowned with a reproduction of the carved wooden sign that topped the gateway to the Flintridge Bridle Paths — and check out The Proper’s claim to being the world’s largest gin bar. All in the interest of science, of course.
In other brunch news, The Royce at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena, recently launched a Sunday Market Brunch with such imaginative offerings as Wood-Grilled Skirt Steak with Pomme Purée and Chimichurri as well as Eggs Benedict with Cotto Ham, Bernaise and a Petite Salad. Oh, yes, and plenty of Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Served Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; $58 per person, $29 per child under 12.
And on the lunch front comes good news for foodies hungering for some serious Italian pasta. Pasadena’s Contessa Chocolate has just started serving Giovanni Fabbri’s GMO-free pasta made in Chianti, Italy, for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations must be made by the day before by calling (626) 793-7761.
Altadena Farmers Market Manager Joseph Shuldiner has begun offering free tours at 4 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month. Shuldiner will introduce you to farmers and food makers and offer a mini-tutorial on such market-savvy info as the meaning of “certified market” vs. “certified organic.” And yes, he promises plenty of samples and tastings. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Flintridge Proper |464 Foothill Blvd. |La Cañada Flintridge
(818) 790-4888| Theproper.com
Restaurant: Monday–Saturday, 7:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m
Bar and café: Monday–Thursday, 7 a.m.–midnight; Friday, 7 a.m.–1 a.m.;
Saturday, 8 a.m.–1 a.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.