When you think weekend brunch you probably imagine vanilla French toast, cheddar cheese and bacon scramble and a stack of blueberry pancakes. OK, I do. So I was intrigued when I heard about the “Dim Sum and Then Some” Brunch at Equator in Pasadena. You get to choose from a menu of dim sum created by Chef Zhang, who learned a thing or two about the cuisine from his mother. She has worked at acclaimed Monterey Park and Chinatown restaurants for years.
On Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm, the Pasadena restaurant/lounge, presents this unusual brunch menu (each order is $3) of pan-fried pork dumplings (three pieces), shrimp siu mai (four pieces), char siu bao (two pieces) and sticky rice wrapped in a bamboo leaf, to name but a few.
I went here last Saturday to meet up with a friend and it was a fun thing to do, sharing dim sum with a gal pal on a lazy morning. Definitely a lot lighter than a traditional brunch. But I still managed to get stuffed after splitting an appetizer and four dim sum plates. I’m not a dim sum expert so I couldn’t tell you if it was better than Chinatown. However, I did enjoy the steamed BBQ pork buns. Wasn’t all that crazy about the sticky rice, mainly because of the steamed peanuts in it. Not my thing. And this wasn’t dim sum but I loved our app of spicy seared albacore topped with crispy onions ($8). That one, I didn’t really want to share.
We also ordered some of their special iced tea and coffee drinks, and they arrived in these huge goblets. She got the chai ($4) and I chose the Nutty
Irish Woman ($4) which is espresso, hazelnut, Irish cream and steamed milk. At first I thought it would come out all saccharine and syrupy but instead it was subtly sweet. Loved it! BTW, on the server’s suggestion I ordered it iced instead of blended since it retains its flavor better. It was dee-lish.
However, if you require a bit of hair of the dog, the brunch also features bottomless champagne cocktails and mimosas for $10. There is also a full bar but the day we went the server/bartender said he wasn’t familiar with cocktail making. Ah well. I was happy with my coffee drink.
BTW, the restaurant also has a couple of lounge areas that bookend the bar and are perfect for plopping down in and reading the morning paper while you sip your java. In the evening, they turn into the ideal place to kick back in with some friends and cocktails.
22 Mills Place
Pasadena, California (map)