The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

Oh my goshie its Omakase!

Okay how corny am I, right? But I needed to catch your attention on this awesome hole in the wall in Tustin.  A coworker recently suggested this amazing spot called Sushi Wasabi for some of the freshest fish in Orange County.  So when my fiance turned 29, I decided to take him out for his favorite food at a new spot.

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Dear Food Gods, Thank you for 370 Common

Well hello again friends.  It has been awhile, mostly because it was the holidays, a little because I worked too much, and also because I just was eating too many good foods to have time to share.  But now I am back and I would like to start with one of my new favorite places – 370 Common.

For my 100th post I give you the best restaurant in OC – Il Garage

Yes, you read that right.  Il Garage is the best restaurant that I have eaten at in OC.  While I can think of a few places that are as tasty (or tastier), this place brings something that other places don’t have – a garden.  Tucked in the middle of nowhere Stanton (yes that is in OC), Il Garage is hard to find.  In fact, you have to drive along Beach Blvd and then keep driving.  Once you have found Park Ave restaurant, you must walk through it into the backyard.  Then, and only then, will you find this treasure.

Ragin’ Cajun in Santa Ana

things to do in orange county
In a little strip mall a few blocks away lies a mysterious place, unimportant from the outside but full of delicious flavor and excitement inside.  When I first walked into Ritter’s Steam Kettle I was blown away.  I expected a fast-casual, counter service, unassuming place.  What I found was a cute family restaurant full of steam kettles lining the brick walls.  Although nothing fancy or overwhelming, Ritter’s brings a sense of character and style I just wouldn’t expect in Santa Ana.  And the food was just as pleasant.

Beachwood BBQ

So I finally ventured out of my little comfort zone and made it to Long Beach.  While not actually a part of the OC, it seems that most residents of Orange County have been making their way to the restaurants, bars, and food festivals in the area.  So when I had to find a middle spot between LA and OC to meet my parents, I chose Beachwood BBQ.

Finally Found my Heaven!

Pad See Ew (my fave Thai dish)
Madee Thai is a VERY small hole in the wall Thai restaurant on 17th street, tucked between a beauty supply store and a brick wall (literally).  For those that are scared off by hole-in-the-wall places, please don’t come here.  Because then it won’t be crowded when I show up.  This is one of the best Thai restaurants I have had in Southern California (yes the entire location), and I am afraid of spreading the word.  However, it’s too good not to share.

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Gulfstream…heaven in my mouth.

I am a huge fan of the Hillstone Restaurant Group and quite frequently eat at Houston’s, R+D Kitchen and Bandera.  So when I was asked to choose a place for my birthday dinner, it wasn’t hard to pick Gulfstream – their “fish restaurant.”  I am so glad I did because I now dream about this meal…

Halibut and slaw: seems minimal, but mashed potatoes are hiding under the fish

The service alone is why you should go to Gulfstream.  I love restaurants where every server is your waiter, and you can get your water filled the second you put it down.  We were never left waiting, all our questions were answered and the food didn’t sit in the back waiting for someone to bring it out.

the most amazing shrimp almost creole sauce that goes on the halibut

We started with the biscuits – only two because it’s a marathon not a race.  HOLY HELL they were good.  Now other restaurants in this group serve jalapeno cornbread which is awesome in and of itself, but these biscuits, wow.  Obviously they were warm and flaky and they have honey on the table or a huge side of butter for fattening up the meal, but they were also herby and not greasy at all.  I ordered the halibut because the waitress said it was her favorite dish at the restaurant, and I HAD to eat seafood here.  My boyfriend, Phil got the fall off the bone goodness that are the ribs.  Both of us stuffed our face.  Needless to say, I licked my plate clean and was so satisfied.  We didn’t have any of the desserts because honestly they didn’t sound that appealing or mind-blowing (and because Sprinkles is next door and I had eaten cupcakes all day – what it’s my birthday!)

ribs, fries, slaw: find ONE thing you don’t love about this meal
4.8/5 food was excellent, service was amazing, hard to not feel out of place with all the older Corona Del Mar people eating around you and for that I ding it slightly.