The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

And with a heavy heart I introduce to you…Iron Press

I really wanted to like this place.  Very badly.  Every time I visit The Mix, or OC Mix Mart, or SOCO, or whatever the hell that place is called, The Iron Press is always packed.  So on one sunny Saturday, I was stoked when there were tons of seats for my friends and I to sit down and grab some lunch.  I had been waiting months to have some chicken and waffles.
A piece of fried chicken and a waffle

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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.

Things to do This Weekend

Sorry I have been MIA again, a packed schedule at work plus a long weekend in San Francisco (post to come soon) means I have zero time for an outside life…and then I got sick.  However, this weekend is too packed with good stuff not to let you in on it.

1.  The Copper Door (one of my favorite bars in the OC) is FINALLY serving food.  If you love craft beer, this bar is a must.  Although dingy, dark and probably dirty, the vibe is a fun underground club with lots and lots and lots of beers on tap.  Their new menu is American- cuisine and currently all items are priced under $10.  Can you believe there is such a place??  Anyway, I am dying to go check it out.

2.  The new Irvine Improv opens with Umami Burger.  Irvine Improv has always been a little low brow, especially when you have to spend money on 2 items of either a horrible cocktail or really bad food.  However, fret no more.  Umami Burger will be served at all shows, beers are actually fairly decent, and if you fancy girl, they have bottle service (I mean really?).  The Improv also has opened up in a new location at the Spectrum, so hopefully it is bigger and better.  I am checking it out this weekend so I will let you know!

3.  Costa Mesa Restaurant Week!  Although restaurant week is not always my favorite, it is a great way to try places you normally cannot afford.  And Costa Mesa has some of the best restaurants in the OC.  Check out the selection here:  It starts today and only lasts a week, so plan your meals accordingly!

4.  Orange County is hosting its own music festival this weekend.  The Pacific Festival is being held at the Dunes this Saturday.  If you didn’t catch Holy Ghost at Outside Lands this past weekend, they will be finishing up the night.  Tickets are $75.

Hope the weather is great this weekend, because we have a lot of things to do!

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.

The Playground, brunch edition.

If you don’t remember, I visited The Playground for dinner a few months ago.  It was so good (especially the fried chicken – dont ask just get it).  So when my boyfriend’s plans for our brunch fell through (aka he didn’t check to see if the restaurant was open on Sundays), I remembered the Playground serves brunch and we headed over to try it out.

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Lazy Thursdays are the Best

In college, Thursdays used to be the night that all the parties went down.  God I feel old just even saying that.  Now, Thursdays are one of my favorite days of the week.  I can just lay on my couch, watch TV and know that I have only one day left of work.  But NOW the reason I love Thursdays is that Suits is back on.  What a great show!  If you haven’t started watching it, better catch up soon.  My plans for tonight is getting a pizza and sitting down on my couch with Harvey and Mike.
This weekend during the Oscars, I tried a new pizza place across the street (see the definition of lazy) called Rafael’s Pizza.  My friends and I ordered the Meat Lovers, and it was pretty tasty.  The dough is medium thick, and the toppings are fresh.  The marina was good too.  Not the best but it was convenient, good and relatively cheap -$22 for a large.  (The boys forgot that good pizza costs more than Domino’s $5 deals, and complained it was overpriced, but you decide for yourself.)  And they even deliver too!  You know, for those nights I can’t walk across the street.
Pair it with one of these local beers for a perfect OC night:
1.  Coulter IPA – Cismontane Brewing Company, Rancho Santa Margarita
2.  Black Phoenix Stout – Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton
3.  Red Hill Red – Tustin Brewing Company, Tustin
4.  Big Black Mariah – Noble Ale Works, Anaheim
5.  Leche Mole Stout – Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim
Or…If you are feeling very adventurous, or aren’t boring like me, The Copper Door is being taken over by Ballast Point Brewery (one of the better beers in SD) tonight!  25 kegs will be all Ballast Point (including a cask) with live music all night long!

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!