Popular…very popular…New Californian cafe food in Pasadena.
You may be surprised to learn this, but…there are times…not often…that your humble food blogger is at a loss for words.
Like I said, not often…but it happens. I mean, if I run out of words, the whole point of this food blogging thing kinda goes out the window.
Still, there are times, rare times, not-too-often times where the compass needle doesn’t point in one direction, it goes spinning round and round.
Lincoln has got ye olde compass needle spinning round and round.
Now, let’s start with the basics. Lincoln is a space started by Christine Moore of Little Flower Candy Co.’s. It’s really sitting in what appears to be an old industrial building off (you guessed it) Lincoln Avenue. The food is…
Now, y’see? This is the compass thing I was just talking about. The food is hard to describe in one respect.
If one were to look, and not look too carefully, you could easily describe it as Cafe food.
No, I’m not kidding.
I’m talking your basic sandwiches and salads. I’m talking a wide range of bakery goods.
In that respect, Lincoln is not that extraordinary.
And yet, at the same time, Lincoln serves really good cafe food, really good sandwiches and through the roof bakery goods. Of course, the restaurant is driven by Christine Moore, who really knows what the hell she’s doing, so the food is worth the trip and effort.
And effort there will be. Because there will be a massive line when you first pull up. Said line will curl inside the space of the restaurant and a bit outside the door.
Yeah, it’s popular.
You may wonder why. I mean, after all…Soups, Sandwiches and Salads. Most foodies have been to this dance before.
But as my dining companion explained to me, the ever knowledgable mind behind My Cookshelf (yes, that was a shameless plug for her site) reminded me, in this part of Pasadena, on this side of the 210, they’ve been waiting for a really nice restaurant like this for a long time. And now they’ve got it.
And more important, they’re showing up for it.
So it’s tough. Despite what you’ve just read, my feelings on Lincoln are mixed. I liked it. The food was really, really good. But, it’s also food that, frankly, I’ve had before, and had a lot of before. So my immediate impulse is that I don’t have to come rushing back…
…as good as it is.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: The one absolutely cool thing about this place is that the menu changes with what they have access too. My meal consisted of the Roast Beef Sandwich, which was…fine. It was good bread, the taste of which dominated my taste buds as I tore through lunch. You accompany that with a Mexican Coke, and your lunch is pretty much set.
But, as I said above, their Bakery selection is to die for. I went for the Coffee Cake with Caramel icing, which was good. But their Olive Oil Cake, which I should have gotten was amazing. Through the roof, hit the moon amazing.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: As I said, there will be a line, and finding seating will amount to having lottery ticket style luck. Just be prepared to share, which is fine. Seating is limited and…well…cozy.
Don’t be surprised if you drive past it once or twice getting here. It’s not hard to see from the street, but your eyes won’t immediately register “Restaurant” when you see it. Your eyes might register industrial somethin’-somethin’ at first. The best landmark to look for is the logo, the same logo attached to this article, but…it’s a bit hard to see when you’re cruising on by.
Just be aware that the restaurant sits back and away from the street.
Also, and I’m not sure why I include this, other than it’s just so damn odd. But for some reason, Lincoln has a…well…store.
Yes, a store.
Not, they’re not selling Lincoln T-shirts or homemade horseradish (at least, I didn’t see any). They were selling Kitchen wares and…Christmas Ornaments.
Like I said, just so you know.
PARKING: Limited. You’ll see a small smattering of spaces directly in front of the restaurant. Expect those to fill up fast. Around a narrow corner (and behind that store I just told you about) there is another group of spaces, that also fill up fast.
If you fail to land a space at either spot, worry not. There is an exit out the back of that second tier of spaces that will lead you back to Lincoln, and from there you can cross you fingers and look for street parking.
1992 Lincoln Ave.
Pasadena CA 91103
Tel: (626) 765-6746