The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

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.

Eureka: How UCI got cool.

Okay, I don’t know if it will make UC Irvine cool, but this new chain called Eureka is exactly what the campus needed.  Although the pub has been voted best bar in Orange County by OC Weekly, Eureka caters to the community not just students.  As much as I love the pub, it does make me feel like I am trying to relive my glory days.  Eureka doesn’t judge me.

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.

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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Portlandia – the real deal

Just got home from Portland, Oregon for a long weekend trip and I wish I could list each and every place you should eat at, but we would be here all day.  So instead I will provide a go to list of must sees and eats and you obviously can always ask me about more if you actually are going there…

food carts

My uncle knows Portland well.  And I mean WELL.  He helped us eat and drink at as many places as we could in the three days that we were in town.  Without him (and a little of yelp) we would have been lost, but instead I now need to go on a permanent diet and probably have shortened my life span by 10 years…

Brunch: without a DOUBT eat at Screen Door – Southern cooking, fried chicken and waffles, pecan crusted bacon, biscuits and gravy…should I keep going?  Other spots: Bijou Cafe, Mothers, Byways.  Brunch is a HUGE deal in Portland see either wake up early or expect a two hour wait.

Oregonian at PBJ: jam, blue cheese, peanut butter

Lunch: Food carts.  If you do nothing else in Portland you must try at least one Food Cart.  My favorite was PBJ.  One of the more famous one’s is Nong’s Khao Man Gai which is Thai chicken and rice.  Didn’t get a chance to try it but everyone knows about it.

fresh ceviche

Dinner: The end of the day is one of my favorite times because you are allowed to eat until your stomach hurts then go to bed.  Oh you aren’t supposed to do that?  Oops.  We started off our Portland experience at Clyde Common; great first experience into the Portland food scene and phenom food.  The pastrami short rib was full flavored and juicy, I’m already starting to miss it.  Also recommend food at Deschuttes, Burnside brewery, and again any food cart (they are open late).  But the real star was Andina.  Fresh Peruvian tapas that is just so flavorful and made so well that even in my buzzed state I knew the food was better than just drunk munchies.  Only issue with it, you probably can’t get in.  It was a Christmas miracle we got reservations.

beer on beer on beer (but I didn’t like this brewery)

Other must eats/drinks:  Ruby Jewel ice cream (Portlandian’s might shoot me but I preferred it to Salt & Straw); Blue Star Donuts (NOT Voodoo – its overrated); Cascade Brewery for anything sour beerish; Deschutes for beer (obviously); Rogue (beer and food was pretty good); anything McMenanims; Rontoms for the outdoor patio; and The Departure for the most amazing views.

Can I move to Portland yet?

Brunch – the most important meal of the day.

Brunch is starting to become one of my favorite meals.  I am not a big fan of breakfast foods – as a kid I would ask for soup before school.  (My parents must have thought I was so weird.)  Now, I can manage some eggs, bacon and potatoes, lots and lots of potatoes.

My go to spot is usually Nate’s but this weekend my boyfriend dragged me out of my comfort zone to go to an old spot we used to hit weekly – Rooster Cafe.  I ordered the huevos rancheros and my boyfriend got a breakfast burrito.  I feel like I am cheating, but that sh*t was delicious.

The huevos rancheros might seem small because its only one “taco” but it comes with a heaping pile of red potatoes.  I couldn’t finish the plate and the salsa was perfect.  The breakfast burrito was…just so perfect.  Nate’s has the best hangover, greasy upon greasy, burrito.  Rooster Cafe has the perfect breakfast burrito.  We got it without cheese (lactard), and it actually almost felt healthy?  Not really an explanation you want of a breakfast burrito but believe me it is worth trying.

They also have lunch items that looked pretty good.  The line can be quite long, parking limited, but they have seating outside.  If you are willing to wait, definitely stop by here next Saturday for some good home cookin’.

4 huevos for good food but long lines and little seating.

4 reasons to C4

Santa Ana is the hipster mecca of OC these days.  When I found out a new sandwich shop had arrived I was overjoyed.  San Francisco had more delis in one district then South OC has in its entire vicinity.  C4 is definitely a welcoming sight!

1.  Clean, yet art deco appearance.
When you think hipsters, you usually think unshowered, unclean, vintage clothes, and obnoxious tats.  Well C4 has done a great job at giving you a retro vibe while keeping it clean and classy.

2. 16 rotating handles and wines on tap as well as bottles you can purchase for in-store consumption.
I love a place that has more than just Sierra Nevada on tap.   After spending a night with frat boys ordering bud light, I could not be more thankful that C4 is as far from the Peninsula as possible.

3.  The price is right.
Delis, especially “hipster” ones could be super expensive.  If this place was located in CDM it would easily be twice as expensive.  But C4 keeps it reasonable by having sandwiches priced from $5.99-$9.99 and they also even have combos.

4.  Food is hella good.
Can’t believe I just said that, but SF has changed me.  The sandwiches aren’t too big, but they weren’t small either.  The Rebuen and corned beef were just incredibly moist and tasty, and the sauces were like nothing I have had before.  They pickle almost everything, and their coleslaw was quite unique.

4.5/5 sandwiches – my only complaint was not enough meat on the sandwich.