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D2 for Happy Hour

Sep 1, 2015

IMG_3433Rather than meet for our monthly late morning coffee, our small band of (mostly) women decide to do an early evening, gathering for Happy Hour at DusitD2 Constance Hotel Pasadena.

Though the name is laborious and clunky, this historic site, formerly known as the Constance Hotel and built in 1926 by Perry Constance, has been remodeled by Joey Ho into “slices of joy.”

Yes, this is the tag line of Mr. Ho’s design company at JoeyHoDesign.com: Joey Ho Design, slices of joy.

“Design is like making dessert, a recipe of feelings to make people happy.”

Then we shall thank you, Mr. Ho, as we are quite happy. Of course, a large part of the reason is we’re surrounded by good friends, company, and conversation, but the setting at the BluRoom Cocktail Lounge with its curved lines, wavy neon, low-back bench seating and low back, circular, bright blue Jetson-like chairs is fun and rather out of the norm for Pasadena, where even modern design tends to have an earthy feel. Our token male remarks that he feels as though he were in China; the lounge very reminiscent of places he’s visited.

 

Mixing the old with the new

Mixing the old with the new

 

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By Joey Ho Design; Mr. Ho, Interior Design magazine’s 2013-2014 Designer of the Year

 

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Our happy hour drink appears to be the size of two regular cocktails and is served in a copper mug—a variation on the Moscow Mule that’s traditionally served in a copper cup, one of our friend’s informs us. (The large serving is appreciated as it saves us from spending another $12.) The D2 Mule’s a combination of Russian “standard” vodka, passion fruit, ginger, and lime. It’s not too sweet and the passion fruit’s flavor stands out, followed by a nice, spicy bite of ginger. We would indulge in this cocktail again.

 

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Other delicious-sounding cocktails include Green Street Princesa with 1800 silver tequila, jalapeño, cucumber, and lime; Perry’s Old Fashioned with Templeton Rye, Creole, and orange bitters; Blu Blossom with Magellan gin, elder flower liquor, and lemon; and Mr. Grant’s Smash with Evan Williams bourbon, blackberry liquor, lemon, and passion fruit. Price: $12-$13.

Champagne and prosecco are served by the glass and by the bottle, as are red and white wines. Price: $8-$13/$30-$125.

Beer choices range from Samuel Smith’s IPA, Lagunitas IPA, and guiness stout to Bootlegger’s Old World Hefe, Westmalle Trappist Dubbel Ale, Lucky Buddha Lager, and Angry Orchard apple cider. Price: $7-$10.

Happy hour appetizers consist of oysters on the half shell, gourmet olives and almonds, marinated shrimp cocktail, brie and onion flatbread, an artisan cheese plate, a trio of beef burger sliders, a trio of albacore burger sliders, and a truffle macaroni and cheese. Price: $3.13-$10. (Yes, that’s not a typo; the olives and almond appetizer costs $3.13.)

 

Albacore sliders

Albacore sliders

 

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Truffle mac ‘n cheese

 

One of our party immediately requests the mac ‘n cheese as she’s had it before and “it’s divine.” About four people order the beef sliders, while one opts for the albacore sliders, requesting that they be cooked rare, hoping for seared. With the first bite, it is apparent they are not seared, but those taste-testing declare them juicy and delicious. The beef sliders receive good marks as well, and with three to a serving, this order could easily constitute dinner.

 

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Beef sliders

 

We choose the cheese plate and receive a wooden board with a small chunk of brie (we say small because we can inhale brie, but to be fair, it’s a decent portion for an appetizer). About five thin slices of cheddar are piled next to three plump, whole apricots, while salty, slightly spicy macadamia nuts are piled next to four thin grilled slices of bread.

The cheese plate deserves high marks. The brie is perfectly gooey and aged, the cheddar is sharp without being overwhelming, and the apricots are firm, yet soft inside—a terrific sweet and savory combination—and with the addition of the salted nuts, it makes for a delicious platter we would order again (for a mere $6.25). Serving the apricots whole is key, in our opinion.

 

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If blue lighting and modern aesthetics are attractive to you,  we would recommend the Constance’s BluRoom Cocktail Lounge for Happy Hour. Two types of bubbly, wine and well drinks are $6.25 and beer is $3.50 from 4 to 7 p.m. The room could get loud if crowded, but at 5:30 p.m. we didn’t have to raise our voices over other guests or loud music.  The bartender and waiter were solicitous, friendly, and efficient. Of course, we were the only party on hand, but their amiable attentions were appreciated.

All-in-all, Happy Hour at the Constance was a fun few hours with friends, along with the added bonus of a delicious libation, and appetizing, flavorful cuisine.

Dusit D2 Constance Hotel, 928 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 91106. Tel.: 1.626.898.7900. Dusit.com/dusitd2/pasadena.

 

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We did not valet park as we didn’t want to incur the expense and had heard it’s a lengthy wait; and spots are easily found along Green Street. A friend did valet and it only cost $5 with validation; the ticket is paid for and stamped at the front desk. (She found this quite reasonable, especially after dining with friends at Boa Steakhouse on a Friday night in West Hollywood—valet parking was $26!)

 

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Leading to the elevators, restrooms, more eating areas, and an outdoor patio

Leading to the elevators, restrooms, more eating areas, and an outdoor patio

 

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Looking back towards the front desk and entrance

 

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Interior walls of the elevator

Interior walls of the elevator

 

Checking out the 3rd floor…

 

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Back to the lobby…

 

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Dusit D2 Constance Hotel; courtesy photo (all other photos by Kat Ward)

Dusit D2 Constance Hotel; courtesy photo (all other photos by Kat Ward)

 

 




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