Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 28, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:9



Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 28, 2017 


This one might be tough to explain, but in my 
quest to keep you, my loyal reader, educated we 
will discuss organic and natural wines. Last Thursday Night I visited the Urban Plates Restaurant on 
South Lake Avenue in Pasadena. 

Much like Chipotle or your work cafeteria, you wait in line, but the comparisons end there. My task 
was to try the food, but also see what kind of wines matched up with their “protein-focused” menu. 
I sampled their free-range chicken, California line-caught albacore, and a turkey meatloaf that my 
grandmother would have been proud of. Other entrees on my list for my next visit are sautéed brussel 
sprouts and organic potatoes. Organic potatoes? I can’t tell the difference between organic, natural, or 
farm-to-table, but we live in a new generation of “foodies” and reading the labels in the grocery store 
seems to be the norm, not the exception.

While menu boasts many healthy choices like beet salad with goat cheese, you can live it up with 
an order of pork ribs and macaroni and cheese. Both of these go great with their selection of local 
beers. All entrees are in the $10 to $16 range and come with char grilled focaccia bread. The wine list, 
though small, offers a wine-by-the-glass program that I really appreciate. I counted 11 wines by the 
glass and have been told once management gets requests for additional wines they will expand. All 
and all they have great food and a nice wine list!

So what exactly is “organic wine”? Urban Plates carries a few that are and a few that are not. I love 
the fact that you can get a great glass of wine with your lunch or dinner for $7 and up. Here is my 
best explanation: the term “organic” has the same meaning as when applied to other products of 
our everyday consumption such as organic poultry or produce, and conveys the concept of natural 
growing practices. Organic winemakers use only natural fertilizers and never use pesticides. It is 
simply a pure and natural method of wine growing and wine making! Simple, right? I find there is no 
taste difference. It might cost you a few more pennies, but give it a shot!! All winemakers are farmers 
and their intent is to keep all of their wines/farms goods as close to natural as possible. 

Side note: Each morning I stop at my local grocery store for a bottle of Kombucha - Urban Plates has 
it on tap!

Simon tells me that the A/K/A Bistro is 
now the A L M A de la Rosa, featuring 
Cal –Latin influenced cuisine. I’ll give 
it a shot in a few weeks!

Urban Plates 269 S. Lake Avenue, 
Pasadena; Lunch and Dinner

Listen to Dining with Dills Sunday 5 
PM KLAA AM 830 www.peterdills.

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

Julie’s Favorite Family Recipes


Happy Chinese New Year


2 pounds pork boneless top loin

Vegetable oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg 

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in syrup, drained and syrup reserved

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar 

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 medium carrots, cut into thin diagonal slices 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

8 cups hot cooked rice 


Trim excess fat from pork. Cut pork into 3/4-inch pieces.

Heat 1 inch oil deep fryer or Dutch oven 360ºF.

Beat flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup cold water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the egg in large bowl with hand 
beater until smooth. Stir pork into batter until well coated.

Add pork pieces, one at a time, to oil. Fry about 20 pieces at a time about 5 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, 
until golden brown. Drain on paper towels; keep warm.

Add enough water to reserved pineapple syrup to measure 1 cup. Heat syrup mixture, brown sugar, 
vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the soy sauce, carrots and garlic to boiling in Dutch oven; reduce heat to low.

 Cover and simmer about 6 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 
tablespoons cold water; stir into sauce.

Add pork, pineapple and bell pepper. Heat to boiling, stir constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve with rice.

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