The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

Gyu-Kaku: the gift that keeps on giving.

Gyu-Kaku, Tustin, Huntington Beach, the local list, the local list oc, oc food blogs, food blogs, foodies, oc foodies, things to do in OC, orange county, bbq, barbecue, smores, pitchers, beers, happy hour, grilling, grills, group dinners, family dinner, Japanese
I first attended this glorious restaurant in LA.  It was new and all the rage when I was in high school.  Unfortunately, that was quite a long time ago.  Anyway, this place is still a fun spot – especially during happy hour.  So when I was trying to think of a place to grab dinner at 8:00 on a Friday, I thought why the heck don’t I try this place out again?

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An odd place for a happy hour.

Good Morning Gents and Ladies.  It’s my favorite day of the week – Thursday.  Why you ask?  Well once upon a time it meant the start of the weekend: toga parties, bar crawls, etc.  Now it is one more day to the weekend, but I can see the light; I am finally happy that the weekend is so close; and I am not exhausted from an entire week of work.  Plus Friday is really just a short work day anyway right?  (Sorry work, I am absolutely kidding about that…)

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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.

San Francisco Must Haves!

stuffed french toast from Zazie

So my number one must eat when I visit San Francisco is San Tung.  It is by far my favorite Chinese food in the Bay Area and quite possibly my life.  The original dry fried chicken is the best thing on the menu.  Once you try it, you will crave it FOR-EV-ER. The dumplings are a big hit and any type of noodles.  This place is a little unique because it is a Korean-Chinese family cooking Chinese food so things are a bit different (and spicy), but they still serve beef and broccoli for us white people.

san tung
string beans, “crack” chicken and veggie low mein

As you know, I like brunch.  Like a lot.  So when we needed a spot to have our family reunion in SF we quickly chose Zazie.  As all brunch spots in SF, Zazie is ALWAYS crowded.  However, unlike other spots, it has an outdoor patio that is really cute and comfy and not super loud.  The best part is the food though.  First order yourself a custom mimosa (yes custom – you can add sherbet into it), then find five friends to help you share as many items on the brunch menu as possible.  I highly recommend the stuffed french toast (and this is coming from a girl who doesn’t eat french toast EVER).  If that’s still not your thing get one of the many types of benedicts available.  Tip: the front tables are first come first serve!

Zazie

There are so many other spots that I personally love in SF: Brenda’s in the Tenderloin, Guerras out in Sunset, Nick’s Tacos in Russian Hill, and Suppenkuch in Hayes Valley are just a few of them…can’t wait for my next visit!

Summer time and the living is…busy.

Summer time in Orange County can mean laid back beach weather, or crazy adventures attending all of the summer events going on in the area.  As a “porcelained skin” (read: pale as hell) person, I prefer to go to the events then lay on the beach.  So this past weekend, I packed in my adventures and had a great time at the OC Fair and Del Mar Horse Track.
 
fried cookie dough = heaven
The OC Fair is one of my favorites.  Large enough to give you tons of options, but small enough so you don’t get overwhelmed, the fair has live animals, tons of food and rides to keep you busy.  It’s open until August 10th everyday except Monday and Tuesday.  If you check out their website there are certain discount days if you donate goods or if you go early enough in the day.  Best food we had was the fried cookie dough – trust me.  (Quick tip: bring cash for the food vendors, not all of them take credit card – and you can monitor your eating if you need that kind of self control).



biggest corn dogs ever, and I don’t mean the girls…
Del Mar Horse Races has always been a fun day trip.  You can hop on the train and head down to the racetrack to avoid all of the horrendous traffic.  Once there, grab a (very overpriced) drink and take a seat while you bet on some horses.  If betting isn’t your thing, walking around and people watching is pretty awesome too.  When I went last weekend there was a beer fest going on from all local beers.  Pretty fun because you know San Diego has one of the best collections of craft breweries.  Skip the food here and instead bring in your own sandwiches or my favorite, California Burritos!

Other things to be excited for:
Taco Asylum’s brand new menu of tacos (including Bacon PB&J!).
C4 Deli’s Cupcake and Wine Pairing Nights on Thursday.
Blaze has opened in Mission Viejo.
The Robbins Nest Wine Bar is alive and kicking in Santa Ana.
Montreal Poutine has opened in Costa Mesa.

A hidden treasure.

I have been trying to follow as many blogs, websites, people, newspapers, etc. as I can lately to learn about the new restaurant openings, closings, and OC events so that I can 1) attend obviously, and 2) try to let you know about it!  So when Stick a Fork In It mentioned a new spot called Fireside Tavern I was so excited to try it.

fireside tavern, thelocallist
So the weird thing is, this spot is in the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Bristol.  If you had convinced me to stop in without me seeing photos first I would never be caught dead.  However, I am so glad that I saw the cute photos of the place because it was the perfect spot to meet a couple girl friends for a well deserved happy hour.

fireside tavern, thelocallist

The best part about this place is that happy hour is everyday until 7PM.  That’s a long time, even for people like me that get off work at 6:30.  I can get my butt out the door and still have a glass of wine (or two) before I get cut off.  My girlfriends and I had a lot of catching up to do so we ended up staying for several hours and eventually trying some dinner menus.  The happy hour menu is great – they even have a burger on the menu!  I recommend the charcuterie board (its huge), as well as the loaded tater tots.  We tried the fish and chips (which I recommend sharing) and it was tasty but REALLY fried and greasy (to the point where all of our stomachs were hurting afterwards.)  My biggest complaint was that there were fruit flies EVERYWHERE.  I would recommend sitting in the cute patio outside to get rid of these annoying buggers.  So annoying and pretty gross to be honest…
 

If you are in the Costa Mesa/Newport/Santa Ana area, or need a break from shopping all day at South Coast, I would recommend happy hour here.  It’s not crowded, its friendly service (most of the time), and the price is just right.

3.8/5 because who has gnats in a restaurant?!  But check out the food and drinks, they are worth it.

Reverse Happy Hour is the ISH!

As we know, I have a big thing for sushi – HUGE.  So when my friends mentioned reverse happy hour and on a weekend nonetheless, I ran to Tomikawa as fast as my feet could get me there.
crunchy salmon roll with spicy tuna

 The fish here is very fresh, and they have fun rolls that fit every one’s choices.  Downside is that there is no sake/beer special, but this is a family place.  Don’t expect to do sake bombs here – it’s a classy joint.  And reverse happy hour doesn’t start until 8:30.

Alaskan Roll – skip this
The best rolls we had were the Rose Roll, the Lion King Roll, the Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll, and definitely get the garlic chili edamame to start.  Add a large Kirin, a great group of friends and possibly an uber (in case there’s more than one Kirin in your night), and you could possibly have the best night that Irvine allows.
Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll

4/5 for great sushi with a little bit of an uptight atmosphere.  But let’s remember its still reverse happy hour 8:30-close!