The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

Search for authentic Mexican

On a trip back from San Diego recently I stopped in a Mexican joint called El Campeon in San Juan Capistrano.  It is a grocery store, bakery and restaurant.  It looks like a hole in the wall (and it is) but stop in and order some food.  It is as authentic as it gets.

I got some tacos and then hit up the bakery and got some sweets.  I think tacos really define whether a place is good or not.  The baked goods are unbelievable.  The carne asada was well marinated.  I also got al pastor but wasn’t a big fan, and it also was quite greasy.  But the other street tacos were delish.  If you are in the neighborhood stop in!  I mean for about a buck a taco it can’t be that bad right?
4/5 for authentic tacos – but it isn’t your typical OC joint, its an adventure.

Day Trip – Part One Pasadena

Only an hour away, but a place I haven’t spent much time in, Pasadena can offer an adventurer quite a lot of options for a day trip.  Walking around Old Town can be a good start of fun.  I just so happened to do this and stumbled across the Dog Haus.

I am normally not a fan of hotdogs, so I was unsure of this place.  Boy am I glad we stopped in.  Only a block away from Stone’s Tasting Room, we opted to skip booze but it has a HUGE selection of draft beer sure to satisfy anyone’s quench.
I ordered the Thai currywurst.  It had thai chilis, kim chee and thai basil sauce all piled on hawaiian rolls.  It was amazing.  I have been obsessed with currywurst ever since I visited Germany, and this was a unique take on it.  I was afraid it would be too spicy, but it was just right.  Wash it down with the tater tots and you have the best meal ever!
My boyfriend got the Das Brat which is a bratwurst on a hawaiian roll with grilled onions, sauerkrat, and creamy mustard (he opted out of the American cheese).  It was okay.  The mustard needed to be tangier and the roll was too sweet for the brat.  Choose something else, and I am sure it will be better.
4.5 sausages because my meal was awesome!

Best news ever guys, this place is coming to Santa Ana this summer!

Beer is my Boo.

I have a love hate relationship with craft beer.  I love how good it tastes, I hate how bad it makes me feel the next morning.  For those that don’t know, craft beer means it comes from a brewery that makes a limited supply of that type of beer.  That’s it, but apparently it’s the trendy thing to do.
beers on beers on beers
For a fun escape from the OC, my boyfriend took me to San Diego for a few brewery tours.  Living in San Francisco for three years, I was forced to love craft beers.  San Diego is also a mecca of these types of beers and we easily found several to try.
We started off our day at Green Flash Brewery.  We did a brewery tour and tasting.  The tour was an hour long and was VERY informative.  If you aren’t interested in the making of beer, don’t do it – you will be so bored.  I enjoyed it because one day I would like to try to home brew (you know in my spare time).  Green Flash is known for their West Coast IPA.  IPA’s are very bitter and what beer drinkers call “hoppy.”  I personally love it, but it’s not for everyone.
last time these bottlers will be getting use at Green Flash

The great part about this brewery is that it has Food Trucks to satisfy those munchies that happen after drinking too much beer.  That night we got some waffle nacho fries and chow mein.  Both were pretty delicious, and by that point I would have eaten anything.

fries…not many left because I ate them all.
Next, we went to this restaurant called Waypoint Public in North Park.  It was a fairly new restaurant but they had more craft beer options then food options.  We got another round of beers and split a burger and fries.  Here is where the fatty in me needs to tell you how tasty this place was.  If you have the option, go here.  The fries were unbelievable to be honest.  The burger was good but I could have had a whole meal of those fries.  Even if you don’t have the option, go here.

Then we went to Hess Brewery.  I got the flight (of course I did) and had a few IPAs, a Pale Ale and some weird beer of the season.  I hated ALL of them.  They were just so hoppy – even for me.  I would skip this place for the beer, but the vibe was pretty good.  They even have board games!
good beer selection at least
We ended the night at this place called Coin-op Game Room.  Skip it.  Honestly it was a disaster.  The beer selection is great but its theme is literally an arcade, there are games everywhere and the layout just makes it very crowded and loud.  (Guess I am getting old.)  San Diego is a great place to visit for beer and food, and only a couple hours away.  Check it out.

Day Trip to LA

I traveled to LA a few weekends ago to catch up with my family and some friends from college.  Los Angeles is a great place for a day trip.  The museums, the art galleries in Culver City, Downtown LA bars and clubs, and of course my favorite – the restaurants.

Venice Canals
My parents live near Venice, so I grew up in a very unique area of the world.  Lots of different types of people: families, hippies, homeless you name it.  Well now its the trendy spot and Abbot Kinney is the place to be.  (On a sunny day, you won’t even be able to walk down the street it’s so crowded!)
I started off my day at Zinque on Abbot Kinney and Venice.  It’s a very trendy spot that serves brunch on the weekends.  We ordered a burrata sandwich (added prosciutto), an egg-white frittata, homemade granola and yogurt, and a tomato mozzarella panini.  The burrata sandwich was the best thing we ate, I could barely keep the sandwich to myself before my family ate it all.  I also feel weird about saying this because I am never “that girl” but the granola was un-freaking-believable!  It was not too chewy, not too hard and the  tart yogurt brought out enough sweetness of the granola.
Later that day, I had dinner at a restaurant called Picca.  It was in an unassuming location at the edge of Beverly Hills where my old dentist’s office was.  Pretty weird pulling up, and had to valet as there was NO where to park legally.  (All permitted parking and no lots.)  I was really unimpressed by this place.  It’s supposed to be Peruvian, but it kind of was just a hot mess.  Additionally, the service was HORRIBLE!  The hostess even told my friend that she was a liar!  (Long story, but eventually my friend proved her wrong.)  It’s a place to be “seen” but its not worth your time, or money.
First Fridays at Abbot Kinney
Tourist Tip: A fun sunny day adventure is walking around Abbot Kinney, window shopping, and grabbing a bite to eat.  Or if you make it on the first Friday of the month there is a food truck festival.