California Gold

With EVOO this good, you should stay local

To find a variety of great extra-virgin olive oils from the Golden State, you don't have travel up and down the 5: Just hit the new Beyond the Olive store in Pasadena.

Owners Crystal and Chip Reibel are passionate about their EVOO. They don't specialize in California olive oil just because it's local–although that's important–but because they know it's easily as good as other oils from around the world.

Their small shop carries more than 50 varieties of California olive oil, which range in flavor from light and grassy to peppery and robust. Most come from up north, including Yolo Press from Winters, Sciabica from Modesto, and The Olive Press from Sonoma. And many are award-winning, like Dickson's Regina Taggiasca from Napa, which won a trophy at the International Olive Oil Competition in Italy.

You can sample everything at the tasting bar before you buy, whether it's the oils, olive tapenades or Italian vinegars, and the Reibels are quick to offer recipes for all of the store's products.

For heavy oil users, don't miss the bulk section: Buy an empty bottle and fill it with oil or vinegar from one of the stainless-steel canisters. When it's empty, just bring it back for refills.

Beyond the Olive, 10 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; 626-844-3866 or beyondtheolive.com