Corazon y Miel's Eduardo Ruiz to Open Picnik in PasadenaBy Lesley Balla
March 6, 2014
This is a big year for chef Eduardo Ruiz. Not only did the young chef get a recent nod from the James Beard Foundation but his year-old restaurant Corazon y Miel got a three-star review from Patrick Kuh in Los Angeles magazine this month. He just did a successful pop-up at Ixtapa in Old Town Pasadena, which was a little foreshadowing for his latest project: Picnik, a casual spot for gourmet sausages made in-house, plus sides, salads and beer, which opens on March 15. This is one of the few new spots opening in the massive restaurant space in Old Town Pasadena on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Pasadena Avenue. The space was most recently 168, and Villa Sorriso before that. There will be various small restaurants serving food and drink around the courtyard, which is how this space originally started out. (Remember, the late Amy Pressman's famed Old Town Bakery lived there for years.)
For Picnik, Ruiz has partnered with Electric City Butcher Michael Puglisi. The two plan to serve things like merguez, chorizo, bratwurst, chicken sausage and more links that are ground, stuffed and twisted on-site, plus sandwiches like sardines with shaved fennel and a daily vegetarian special. There will also be a version of Ruiz's famous turkey leg sandwich, only this time made with a whole pork shank instead of poultry.
"Sausages are something that started off as a rustic dish but it's become more commercialized," Ruiz says. "Now that I'm working with Michael - who really knows how to produce sausages - and given our shared approach to cooking, we want to do this in a way that pays homage to the original creators and craftsman."
Ruiz is also helping curate the other concepts for the space. For breakfast, Felix Barone's success KTCHN DTLA - which is now at the Gorbals every Sunday- will open in April. Eventually some sort of wine bar and coffee counter will come in too. "The idea is that someone can come in and grab a glass of wine or a coffee and sit on the patio near the fountain," he adds. "Or they can have breakfast or a sausage and beer. Something for everyone at every time of day."