The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

The age old question: Shake Shack or In-N-Out

Well first and foremost, I am a Southern California girl, born and raised in Los Angeles, living most of my adult life in Orange County – where In-N-Out is from for those of you uneducated.  So of course, I will never, haven’t ever, and will not bash that beautiful specimen of a joint.  However, (you saw that coming didn’t you) what I will say is that Shake Shack is pretty dang good for a burger joint.

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Eureka: How UCI got cool.

Okay, I don’t know if it will make UC Irvine cool, but this new chain called Eureka is exactly what the campus needed.  Although the pub has been voted best bar in Orange County by OC Weekly, Eureka caters to the community not just students.  As much as I love the pub, it does make me feel like I am trying to relive my glory days.  Eureka doesn’t judge me.

A great lunch spot, dinner, and even drinks.

3-Thirty-3 was always a place I avoided in college because it is where the “old people” went to hang out on a Friday night.  Well apparently now I am that “old” person and I am definitely hanging out there on a Friday.
 
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build your own burger and sweet potato fries

 Not only is it a fun place to people watch, grab drinks or a late night bite, it is also great for lunch or dinner.  As we all know, it’s my birth-month this month, so when co-workers offered to treat me to lunch we easily chose 3-Thirty-3.  With large booths for big parties, high tables for a group of 2 or 4, or the bar, 3-Thirty-3 can fit any group size.  It definitely gets crowded on a weekend, so call ahead. 

 
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view from our booth…yup on the water.
There is valet parking or you can park on the other side of Sol and walk over here.  The food is great and is a large enough menu to please all diet constraints.  At lunch you have the option of making your own burger (yup, just like The Counter), the salads are HUGE, and the chicken tenders and calamari are some of the best I have had. (especially when drunk)  And for dessert you cannot miss out on ordering the apple pie, it was crazy good.  The drinks might be on the pricier side, but just split a bottle before you cab over here…makes for a happier night anyway!
 
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sweet thai spiced calamari
 
I also have heard they have a build your own breakfast burrito and bloody mary bar that sounds really enticing, anyone tried it out before?
 
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breakfast burritos AND bloodys?! (pc: yelp)
3.5 for great food, lots of space (if you have a table), great drink selection but higher prices.

my wacky, windy weekend.

I need a weekend from my weekend sometimes.   I usually love planning events and get togethers. Lately, I have tried to NOT plan anything because I am so tired from working, but somehow I end up busy as ever.  This weekend was no different…

I started out my weekend with a girl’s night out at Crow’s Bar.  I’ve been before and cannot recommend the food more.  The burger and duck fat fries are a must have.  They also have a crazy variety of craft beer and wines.  And the happy hour there is such a deal.  I unfortunately decided to get the halibut sandwich and GREATLY regret that decision. But I devoured my fries so didn’t starve!
Saturday I tried something new and walked a 5k at Anaheim Stadium.  It was for the American Heart Association.  It was SO crowded, but it was fun because we got to walk on the field.  This is the fourth stadium I have walked on (Wrigley, Dodgers, Fenway).  The OC Marathon is coming up in May and I think I may sign up for the 10k…is anyone else running this?
After walking, we had to treat ourselves so we went to Anthill Pub.  If you haven’t been it is a great place to check out for beers.  Also the sweet potato fries are bomb.  It is located on UCI campus so you will have to deal with some weird grad students, and frat boys that have had one to many pints, but the beer selection is great and they even have some wine.  Tip: its cash only.
Our last spot for the weekend was Newport Peninsula.  My old stomping ground – when I was young and naive and cheap.  I met a big group of friends at Newport Beach Brewing Company for a birthday party.  I cannot tell you how much I despise this place.  The college kids like it because they have a special beer and a shot deal for about $7.  The beer, however, is disgusting.  Not only that, the shots are worse than well and are warm.  The place is so crowded you can’t move, and smokers sit on the patio and the smoke comes straight into the hot, sticky room.  Did I mention I hate this place?  
If you want a place to go out there are other options.  Rudy’s has dancing, Malarky’s has darts and pitchers, Mutt’s has scooners, and the District isn’t bad.  But if you are like me and are over the age of 25, its probably best you don’t come down here and just go to places like Costa Mesa or Santa Ana. 

What new place or activity did you try this weekend?  Any recommendations for others to check out?

A brand new phenomenon…

Well we all know I love burgers, but this is taking it to the extreme.  I haven’t had a chance to check this place out, but a few friends of mine were the first in line to try out the newest trend – Ramen burgers. Yes you heard correctly…

Toro Burger has opened in Santa Ana and is serving Ramen “buns” to hold their burgers.  They also have a Banh Mi Burger, but that’s not why people are waiting hours in line.

I asked how the burger was, and they said the ramen was fried to hold it together and make it crunchy, but if you get the egg or any sauce it can become mushy and hard to eat.  If you plan on trying out this place this weekend, GO AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.  The line is ridiculous and they do SELL OUT of the burgers.  Let me know what you think and if its worth a look!

It always comes back to the burger.

As a Friday treat, one of my old roommates took my boyfriend and I out to Umami for dinner.  Now I have been to Umami before, and I honestly wasn’t impressed (to the point I bad mouthed it.)  Well on Friday, I ate my words…and a lot of good food too.
Manly Burger

Gourmet burgers are usually disappointing.  Last time I got a truffle burger, and while it was good, it was small and just okay.  This time I asked the waiter what he recommended – the Manly Burger.
tempura onion rings
I am SO glad I asked him because it was phenomenal!  It’s a beef burger with, get ready for it, bacon lardon (think huge slices of the fattiest bacon slices), beer-cheddar cheese, and smoked-salt onion rings. Of course I also ordered some sweet potato fries and an Ommegang Amber to wash it all down.
sweet potato fries
The truffle fries are also great, and the craft beer selection is wonderful. They supposedly have good dessert but we were too full to even think about eating something more.  The burgers ARE expensive though and the size isn’t anything special.  For those hungry people they do have a double-double!
:original burger – fried cheese, ketchup, truffles:
Umami Burger on Urbanspoon

Fried, Juicy, Fatty, and Fresh…

Just how I like my burgers and fries.  My boyfriend is obsessed with finding local dive spots from yelp.  And when I am saying dive, I mean hole in the wall, middle of no where, dive spots.  For the most part, he is dead on.  This past weekend we tried one of his recommendations, The BurgerStop.

So much meat you can’t even see the avocado or bottom bun!

Walking in, I was afraid.  Although it was cleaner than expected, there was only a family eating at the restaurant, and two Asian cooks.  (Nothing against them, but it was burgers…I just wasn’t expecting it.)  I got a turkey burger combo and fried zucchinis and my boyfriend got an avocado burger with pastrami.  Our bill was only $16 bucks.  Such a good deal, and so much food.

I mean I would come back here for the fried zucchinis alone.  I didn’t try my boyfriend’s burger because it was gone before I could ask, but my turkey burger was decent.  I would try an actual burger next time, I just had eaten a LOT of red meat lately.  Located just outside of Old Town Santa Ana, its definitely worth a shot.  Forget Umami burger, get the grease here.

zucc fries
 Burger Stop on Urbanspoon