On a hot summer’s day, nothing hits the spot more than a glass of ice-cold lemonade.
If you’re a bit of a lemonade snob, like I am, then the from-concentrate variety found in most restaurants doesn’t cut it. I crave the homemade stuff: fresh squeezed, tart-sweet, ice-cold and refreshing. Refusing to settle for the watered-down and excessively saccharine, I went hunting for the most authentic, down-home lemonade around Pasadena. Aside from the neighborhood kids’ stand, here’s where you can find the best lemony goodness.
Little Flower Candy Company is a local favorite tucked away on West Colorado over the Colorado Bridge. This sweet shop and café is known for its simple yet sophisticated dishes, and its lemonade has the perfect blend of sweet and tart—exactly what I expect from genuine, homemade lemonade. Although it is a bit pricey ($2.75 for a small plastic cup), it’s worth the splurge.
To get more bang for you buck, Deisy’s Tasty Food at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market is a great place to find quality lemonade. The large (which is gigantic) is only $3, and it has several different flavors to choose from, including strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and your standard lemon. The regular lemonade is tasty, with lots of pulp and a mildly sweet flavor, but my personal favorite is the watermelon-ade; the watermelon is a natural, subtly sweet complement to the zesty lemon.
For the more daring citrus-beverage connoisseur, Euro Pane offers a more tart, intense lemonade for $2.45. It is only slightly sweet and much less watered down than the other options. The result is a very concentrated lemon flavor, which I personally love. However, if sour is not your thing, Euro Pane’s version may prove a bit too bold.
At Four Café in Eagle Rock, the lemonade flavor changes four times a year, in accordance with the season. Currently, its summer flavor is peach lemonade. It’s a fun, peachy-orange color and is slightly sweet (somewhere between Little Flower and Euro Pane), a with a subtle peach flavor. Although a glass here is expensive, ($3.81 a glass), it includes free refills.
The lightest, most refreshing lemonade I tried was at Fiore Market Café in South Pasadena. Not too sweet, it has a less concentrated flavor than some of the other varieties I sampled. For $3, it comes in a large pitcher (two to three small cups’ worth) and is so light in color that at first I thought it was water.
Little Flower Candy Company
1424 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626.304.4800, littleflowercandyco.com
South Pasadena Farmer’s Market
Every Thursday 4 – 8 p.m., at Meridian Ave. & Mission St., South Pasadena, southpasadenafarmersmarket.org
345 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626.844.8804
2122 ½ Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, 323.550.1988, fourcafe.net
Fiore Market Café
1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, 626.441.2280, fioremarketcafe.com