Proud of the Pasta at Celestino in Pasadena

February 24, 2019

Proud of the Pasta at Celestino in Pasadena


Three different kinds of tagliolini pasta at Celestino
Three different kinds of tagliolini pasta at Celestino

During a marvelous lunch at Celestino in Pasadena, California, I got caught ogling and photographing the house-made pasta drying in their open kitchen. This friendly cook noticed and encouraged me by posing with it. He was really proud of their handiwork. I like that.

Beautiful display of different pastas at Celestino
Check out our pasta!

He also showed me the equipment. I was delighted.

Demonstrating the pasta machine at Celestino
And here’s one of the machines

And boy oh boy, the pasta was excellent! I had a short tube pasta (maybe ditalini?) with a garlicky, rich and deeply satisfying wild boar ragu. One of my companions gave me a bite of her pumpkin tortelloni, which was also delicious – how could it not be, bathed as it was in a sage butter sauce? The bread was yeasty-crusty-chewy and the oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping were very high-quality and silkily unctuous. I wanna go back!

Pasta with wild boar ragu at Celestino
The wild boar ragu was reminiscent of a meal I had in Tuscany years ago…heavenly!

Celestino feels homey and welcoming. It’s like you’re visiting your wealthy aunt and uncle and they’re plying you with great food in their casually elegant living room. The staff is glad you’re there and eager to please.

The welcoming ambience at Celestino
The welcoming dining room
Oil, vinegar and wine rests on a beautiful old buffet at Celestino
An old buffet sports oil, balsamic vinegar and wine

When I was researching Celestino for this story, I discovered that it is owned by the Drago brothers, who have a bit of an empire in Southern California with about a dozen different Italian restaurants. Originally from Sicily, chef Celestino Drago, who in 1979 was the first of the four brothers to come to the US, was knighted in 2014 by the Italian government:

for his exemplary contributions to the preservation and advancement of Italian culture and traditions”.

from the LA Times article, Chef Celestino Drago becomes ‘Cavaliere Celestino’

Indeed! I could taste the Italian culture and traditions in every bite. I wanna go back!

The entrance at Celestino pulls you in
You can tell from the entrance that it’s going to be good!

Haiku: Happy at Celestino

garlicky goodness,
Sicilian hospitality -
i wanna go back!

Note: because February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and I’m a habitual haiku-er (is that a word?), all posts have a related haiku. For more Glover Gardens haiku, click here.

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