Is It Any Good?

Second verse, same as the first…in Pasadena.

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When I first went to Equator all those years ago, I wrote this:

You know what’s harder to write about than Restaurants?




While there are only so many ways to describe a bite of Taiwanese Sausage, or the slurp of really good Ramen, what can you say about what you have at a Bar?


Wow, they really serve a below average Pabst Blue Ribbon? I don’t think so.


What matters about a Bar is the time you have while you’re there. That’s it.


You walk into Equator, and the first thing that hits you is the oddball energy coming in around you from off the walls, from the people there. The vibe is just different from a look of bars you go into. Despite the fact that there’s a massive, massive angry looking Buddha looking down on you (how’d that ever happen?), you still feel kinda…well…good behind in here.  Happy…in here.


Equator apparently used to be a Hookah Bar, with easy access to wireless. When that wasn’t working to the extent the owners wanted, they decided to go in a more adult direction. What you see when you walk is is the result.


It looks really, really funky inside, and in this case…this is a damn good thing. Suffice it to say, you haven’t see a bar quite like this, at least not with this kind of strange, weird and wonderful artwork, all done by the same local artist.


Now, go get yourself a beer…and maybe a dumpling. They do those here as well.

It’s been almost two years, and…well, Equator’s undergone a name change. It’s now Edwin Mills…by Equator.

And…well…nothing else has really changed.

Edwin Mills in Pasadena.

The Decors changed, that’s true. The massive, massive Buddha that used to adorn the far wall is gone. The paintings by local artists seem to have shifted to…more European looking paintings by local artists.

So no more quasi raiders of the lost ark by way of Cost Plus World Market.

The menu has gone from semi-Asian straight ahead bar food, to pretty straight ahead Asian. I mean, I’m sitting here at Edwin Mills…by Equator and having Dim Sum.

But it’s still a bar where you can stop by and nosh on some food by a kitchen that at least has a vague idea what Chinese food is supposed to look like.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Looks like. Tastes like?


I got three of the basics of Dim Sum, the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, the Pork Pan Fried Dumplings, and the Baked BBQ Pork Buns.

The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns at Edwin Mills.

I think it’s probably more than a little unfair to judge a place like Edwin Mills…by Equator against a place like Lunasia

…then again, if you’re going to serve Dim Sum, you should probably get judged against a place like Lunasia.

The magic part of a place like Lunasia is that they have cooks who can make this stuff by hand.  (Not that the crew at Edwin Mills…by Equator doesn’t.  It’s just that I can tell the goods at Lunasia are just by biting into them.)

The Baked BBQ Pork Buns at Edwin Mills.

Me, when I’m at home, and want the goodness of Dim Sum treats without going to the restaurant, I go to 99 Ranch Market and buy a bunch of frozen Steamed Pork BBQ Buns, or Baked BBQ Pork Buns or Dumplings.

These tasted like the ones I’d get at the Grocery Store.

The Pork Pan Fried Dumplings at Edwin Mills.

I’m not saying that’s what they’re doing, but the texture, the taste, the flavor (overly sweet, which is a dead giveaway for something), were barely okay. If you want Dim Sum in Pasadena, you’re not going here. You’re going to the Lunasia Dim Sim only place on Colorado.

We like that place.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just be aware that Edwin Mills…by Equator is tucked off in an alley, and is impossible to see from the street.

And the hours are…odd. No more lunches at Equ–errr, Edwin Mills…by Equator except on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Wait. Why am I coming up with new Safety Tips? Nothing’s changed, after all.

Odd thing. Thursday Nights they seem to regard as “College Nights” so they close a bit early to get the crazies out of there.  But other than that, party on Wayne!


Okay, that may have changed.


PARKING: Plentiful.  Consult our Pasadena Parking Map.  Physically closest is the structure on Delancey, but the Schoolhouse Garage is not that far away.  You’ll have to navigate some alleyways to get to the bar, but hell…that’s half the charm right there.

Edwin Mills in Pasadena.

Edwin Mills…by Equator
22 Mills Pl.
Pasadena, CA 91105

Tel: (626) 564-8656

Monday-Wednesday: 3:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday-Saturday: 10:00 am – 1:45 am
Sunday: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm