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Corazon y Miel's Eddie Ruiz to open beer and sausage house in Pasadena

Corazon y Miel's Eddie Ruiz to open beer and sausage house in Pasadena
The chef of Corazon y Miel in Bell is heading north to open a sausage and beer house in Old Town Pasadena. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

Eduardo Ruiz, chef of Corazón y Miel in Bell, is opening a new restaurant – Picnik -- in Old Town Pasadena, moving into the current location of 168 Restaurant & Lounge on Colorado Boulevard.

Picnik is scheduled to open March 15, serving craft beer and house-made sausages in a collaboration with Michael Puglisi, formerly of Bouchon and the upcoming Orange County European-style butcher shop, Electric City Butcher.

Picnik's hand-made sausage selection will include a "peasant sausage" made with leeks, wine and herbs; jägerwurst (hunter's sausage) made with smoked onion and garlic; merguez made with ground lamb; chorizo; both sweet and spicy Italian sausages; bratwurst; and chicken sausage.

"We'll be doing an old world approach, meaning that old world sausage-making traditions will be applied, everything will be twisted and cased by hand," Ruiz said.

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All sausages will be served on French Vietnamese-style baguettes. The customizable toppings will be simple: sauerkraut, pickled red cabbage, sautéed peppers and sautéed onions. Sides will include hand-punched fries, macaroni and cheese and potato salad, to name a few, as well as a few seasonal dishes yet to be unveiled. Because they will be using only natural hog casings, not synthetic ones, they will not be carrying vegetarian sausages. But vegetarian dishes such as portobello sandwiches will be available.

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Sausages featuring single-breed pork will be made from Duroc heritage pigs. So far, they have confirmed Compart Family Farms as a supplier and are in talks with Cook Pigs Ranch. "The whole point of this is to make sure that we're sourcing the best to make the best possible product, and provide a comfortable atmosphere for everyone," Ruiz concludes.

Picnik's tap list will be 20 deep, a combination of local craft beers and European brews, with plans for a craft cocktail program too. Ruiz said Picnik would be open until midnight every day.

Picnik also plans a retail component in the 12,000-square-foot space. And Ruiz and Puglisi have up their sleeves other creative projects such as a daily breakfast service brought on by chef Felix G. Barron of the Gorbals breakfast pop-up, KTCHN DTLA. Still in development are a coffee bar and wine shop upstairs.

168 Restaurant is expected to close Sunday. Los Angeles Times retaurant critic Jonathan Gold wrote recently of 168's specialty, bossam, "a combination plate of boiled pork belly, spicy turnip kimchi and fermented tiny fish, which you wrap into a leaf of cabbage…. As dinner, 168's bossam was trashy but delicious."

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