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.

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.

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.

Another trip into LA

steak and eggs
I know, I know, I travel far too much on the weekends, but I like to have fun.  This past weekend was no different and I headed up to Los Angeles for the day.  I started out my morning at easily the best brunch spot I have ever had – Eggslut.
Gusto
egg, sausage and cheese
view from the counter
steak, eggs, chimichurri sauce, argula

For those that haven’t been to Grand Central Market, it is definitely worth visiting.  Once a hole in the wall locals only spot, trendie LA foodies have started to rent stalls and open up their places in a food cart sort of way.  Eggslut is one of these places and has a counter that you order at then sit at the bar to eat your food.  I ordered the steak sandwich which was legit, and I watched the guy basically pour butter into every part of the steak. (DELICIOUS)  My boyfriend, Phil, ordered one of the breakfast sausage sandwiches.  His by far was the better sandwich.  For $20, we were stuffed and had such a good meal.

cold brew growlers at Stumptown
Next we went to Stumptown Coffee, you might remember it from my Portland report.  This LA one has a VERY different vibe, is totally LA hipster, and totally a place you go for the “scene.”  It was still great coffee but quite pricey.
Gusto
For dinner I met a girlfriend for my birthday (its the beginning of my birth month) at Gusto in West LA.  It was a cute Italian spot full of families, couples, and groups of friends.  The vibe was really nice, and the wait staff was extremely attentive.  The food was really good.  Everything we had was shared plates and homemade Italian plates.  I don’t know what the bill was, but the menu was well priced for what I thought.  It was a little “Beverly Hills” feeling for me but I would definitely come back here for a date or special event.

Now I need to stop eating food for a while…

Eggslut on Urbanspoon

I really hate when I get bad service.

Whenever I hear about a new opening, I try to visit the restaurant as soon as possible.  Bosscat Kitchen was no different, and I was even more inclined because it is around the corner from my work and a friend had visited it with great reviews.  So when I needed a place to celebrate my birthday, this was my first choice for my girls’ night out.
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shrimp and grits

Bosscat has a gastropub feel – cocktails, craft beer, and Crow Bar-esque food.  The food was actually pretty great: the short rib was phenom, the shrimp and grits are good but spicy, and the red velvet churros were the best thing we had there.  The burger also looked tasty and the fries are worth ordering.  However, the pricing of the food is WAY off.  These are tapas style sizes but at a price tag of $15-20 per plate.  Outrageous.  
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cornbread and huckleberry butter
But what really ticked me off was the service.  It took about 45 minutes for us to flag down our waitress to order our food, we couldn’t find her to even get a spoon to serve ourselves, and the bus boy took my friends sharing plate TWICE without asking.  Not only that, but as we were leaving we found out the kitchen had “closed” (at 9:30 PM) because they couldn’t handle all of the orders coming in.  Get your shit together people…



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red velvet churros with cream cheese frosting
The space was actually really nice because its indoor/outdoor with a large patio so the sound has somewhere to escape and you aren’t too hot inside a bar.  The owner John came out and introduced himself and gave us some birthday shots (which clearly I loved), but then he disappeared in the kitchen to help bring out orders.  It just seemed very disorganized and chaotic.  This place needs to settle in and work out all the kinks.  Until they can learn how to be attentive to their guests, I would recommend this place for drinks only, otherwise you might be waiting all night to order your dinner.

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french fries with housemade ketchup
3.5/5: The food was tasty so I can’t totally bash, but with all the options of places to eat in Orange County, I am over the whole bad service thing that I keep running into…hopefully Friday was a wake up call and they will get more help and soon!