The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

The Holidays are upon us…

…which means bring on calories, sweets, and extra pounds.  When you aren’t running from holiday dinner to thanksgiving stuffing, you probably should eat something healthy – probably.  Urban Plates offers a wide selection of good eats.

Newly located in Irvine on Culver and Barranca, UP offers salads, soups, stews, meat plates, and healthy sides at a decent price.  With a variety of craft beers and wines, it offers a pretty fun night.  The wine pours the night I went weren’t great so I would recommend a beer or one of their specialty sodas.  There is even outdoor seating which is something different for Irvine, although it’s still in a parking lot.  Even though its no Abbot Kinney, it is nice to have a new type of restaurant coming into the area.  Think Lemonade or Tender Greens.  Definitely a nice spot to put in the rotation.

Urban Plates on Urbanspoon

What did you do this weekend?

Weekends are always too short.  This past weekend was the first time that I got to stay in Orange County for an entire Saturday.  (Wedding season is the worst for travel.)  Being local meant lots of new adventures.

ramen, Ajisen Ramen, Japanese food
Ramen, Fried Tofu and Cutlet Curry

Dinner time at Diamond Jamboree
For anyone who has visited this shopping market, you know that it is like Disneyland for Asian food.  Parking is a nightmare, so try the parking structure first before you battle for spots in the lot.  One of the best restaurants in that area is Ajisen Ramen.  It has ramen (duh), sushi, udon, and rice dishes.  They also have boba for you die hards.  The ramen comes out within minutes of you ordering and is so large that you will not need to eat for the rest of the day.

haven gastropub, beer, orange
Mac n Cheese, Beer flights, and Burger and fries

Drinks at Old Town Orange
This area is probably one of my favorites in OC.  It looks like it came straight out of a movie, with the roundabout and “main street’ walking areas.  There are lots of great restaurants in the area that I must try, but Haven Gastropub has been talked up so much I finally had to stop in.  The food is supposed to be unreal, but I was only there for the drinks.  The draft menu changes often and the wine list is almost two pages long.  I will definitely be coming back here for the mac and cheese though.  It smelled unreal!

Clementes seafood
Fish tacos, shrimp ceviche, fish in Ranchero dressing

The best “hole in the wall” seafood joint
When I find a meal that leaves me speechless I always have to ask myself if I am just starving or if the food is really just that good.  I can say with full confidence that Clemente Seafood was the best hole in the wall Mexican food that I have found in Santa Ana, let alone all of the OC.  It is some of the freshest fish that I have had, and the sauces and breading that they cook the fish in is so flavorful.  The shrimp ceviche is their best seller, but the fried fish tacos were my favorite.  I already told the owner they should expect me to be there at least once a week.  This place should be a must try on everyone’s list, seriously people…

Clemente Seafood on Urbanspoon

TGIF and TG for Chinese food.

Thank god it’s Friday.  Especially after the week I’ve had.  It’s the last weekend to celebrate Halloween, first weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving; that means a lot of fattening food people.

This weekend is all about Chinese Food for me.  With one of the best dim sum restaurants in the world opening up next year, its time we got serious about all the different varieties available in the OC.  Here is a list of some of my favorites.

dumplings, chinese

Cheap, Fast, Quick
No I am not talking about your ex, I am talking about A & J Restaurant.  Most people won’t understand that Taiwanese food and your traditional Chinese food are not similar.  The beef noodle soup is one of their best dishes, as well as the Thousand Layer Pancake.  Go in and try something new, it is very authentic and tastes great!

dim sum, chicken feet, chinese


Dim. Sum.
If you haven’t had it, you need to.  And Capital Seafood has the best.  Dim Sum is a brunch time meal, served in Southern China and Hong Kong.  Some items served at this dinning experience are dumplings, BBQ Pork Buns, and chicken feet.  (Don’t worry I wouldn’t eat them either).  My roommate swears by their fried rice with chicken sausage.  Even if you don’t make it for dim sum, the food at dinner is some of the best Chinese food I have had.
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Baked Goods
Now this is a must try for me, but it’s a yelp favorite.  In the heart of Buena Park, there is a little bakery called Micasa.  It has typical baked goods you would find at any bakery, but it also has Chinese pastries and all for a decent price.  Fruit tarts are under a dollar and they even serve don tats (egg custard tarts for newbies). 

Check out these places too: 85C, Seafood Cove #2, and Guppy House.  What’s your favorite spot? I’m dying to try some new places out!

Capital Seafood on Urbanspoon

Ladies who Lunch (and Gentlemen too)

There’s nothing better than that mid-day break.  Not only do you get to stop working, but you get to stuff your face with some yummy goodness before that afternoon nap going back to work.  So when my co-workers took me to a place literally behind our building that was super tasty, it felt like I had entered heaven.  Food coma, and a short walk, it can’t get better than that.

Juliette kitchen, burger, wine bars, places to eat in newport beach, Newport Beach, outdoor patio, outdoor seating, work lunch

Juliette Kitchen + Bar is the perfect lunch time escape.  Located in Newport Beach in a little shopping market off of Bristol and Jamboree, it has both indoor and outdoor space.  Although it is a bit pricey (three dollar signs on yelp), it is a fun “every once in a while” place to eat.  The roasted vegetable sandwich is one of my favorite entrees along with a side of those fries.  It’s open for dinner as well so stop in for an after work wine flight or dinner with some friends!

Juliette Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Happy Hour Hump Day

happy hour, sushi, OC sushi, orange county food blog, things to do in orange county
It’s time for a refreshment! 

We made it halfway through the week, and now we need a little something extra to make it ’til the weekend.  Try The Cannery.  This Newport Beach spot will perk up anyone’s work day.
Happy hour is from 4:00-6:30 in the “Jellyfish Lounge” only.  The best bang for your buck is the half priced sushi, but make sure you wash it down with a $3.50 draft beer.  While you will be surrounded by cougars (and no I’m not referring to the animal), at least the view of Back Bay is beautiful.  Come early as it is first come, first served and people will not be leaving until Happy Hour is over.  The two person White Sangria is worth a try: you can share it, or call yourself a cab!  Fresh fish and decent cocktails should be on everyone’s to-do list.

things to do in OC, food blogs, OC food blogs, the local list
Beer around a fire pit.

 Special Find for you Adventurers:

All though it may sound unusual, Whole Foods at Fashion Island has weekly events for the community.  Today, Back Bay Tavern, their attempt at a gastro pub, has a Beer and Dessert special from 4PM to closing.  Five 4 ounce pours and two desserts for only $12.  Have your tastings and then grab something to eat on the outside patio if it warms up.  If the Tavern’s food prices are too steep, Whole Foods has one of the largest pre-made food selections in OC.  Grab soup, a sandwich, pizza or even Japanese food and sit at one of the twenty-some tables outside.  Worth a try and won’t hurt your wallet.

Cannery on Urbanspoon

Weekend wrap up

So while your hangover is still fresh, I thought we could remember all the great things about this weekend.
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Tapas style with an Asian Flair.

A MUST Eat: The Playground is the beginning of a new era for Santa Ana.  A once sketchy area has now become the new hipster central, and this restaurant is in the middle of it all.  Fresh food with a different menu every day. 
If you are a picky eater, ask for substitutions or don’t like sitting next to strangers then you suck don’t come here.  This place is a food novel, starting with great cocktails and ending with the best Toffee Sticky Pudding anyone could imagine.  Best meal in Orange County yet.

things to do in orange county
Pizza, beer and sports: a true man’s spot.

Pitfire Pizza may be a chain, but it’s a pizza lovers delight.  The Burrata Pie is delicious, as is the Pitfire Sasuage for meat lovers.  For those that don’t like pizza the salads and sandwiches are also a hit!  Great beer selection for pretty decent prices in East Costa Mesa.  There is also a “speakeasy” in the back called Pie Society for those that enjoy a good Old Fashioned.

things to do in orange county, santa ana
Breakfast done right.

Hangover Cure/Best Breakfast Burrito in Orange County is at Nate’s Korner.  Yeah it’s in Santa Ana, yeah you have to drive there, yet you will not regret this.  Largest juiciest burrito you will find for a decent price, but it get’s crowded so call ahead.  If that one person in your party doesn’t want a burrito, there are sandwiches, salads, bagels, etc.  Buyer beware, the double cheeseburger  with bacon will give you a heart attack.

Nate's Korner on Urbanspoon

The Weekend Update

What to do this Weekend
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Cheers to Friday!

Huntington Beach:
Oktoberfest at the Old World Village.  A small piece of Germany in Southern California.  For $20 and a tight pair of lederhosen, join the traditional band and have a few liters of cold, wheat beer.  Prost!

OC Fairgrounds:
OC’s Ultimate Beerfest.  Craft beers, vendors, food trucks, what more can a girl hope for on the weekend.  There is even a flip cup competition for you old frat boys.  $50 entry fee for some serious brews, $15 for your DD (ouch).  Buy early because it will sell out.

things to do in orange county
Two Trucks, Two New Restaurants

Costa Mesa:
Seabirds Kitchen has opened up at The Lab.  An all vegan cuisine that started as a food truck taking local, organic food and making it into something special.  A must do on even a carnivore’s list.

OC Mix Mart:
Taco Maria opened its doors.  Despite its name, and its past truck menu, Taco Maria doesn’t serve any tacos.  Instead, diners can enjoy a 4 course meal with a beverage pairing option full of flavor, spice, and a new spin on traditional taqueria food.

things to do in orange county
Del sushi, now open at UTC, delivers sushi around the UCI area from 6PM – 2AM.  If only they had this when I were students…Prices are reasonable, and did I mention its delivery!

Old World German Restaurant on Urbanspoon