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Farewell dinner - South Orange County

Any recommendations for a casual Sunday dinner party for 10 - 20 in South Orange County? Nice selection of beer/wines preferred, and I'm really hoping to avoid chain restaurants. Came up with one option thus far - Pizza e Vino - but would like several options, especially since P e V has become extremely popular (meaning crowded) in the last few months. Thanks!!

Sep 17, 2010
jgy06 in Los Angeles Area

Birthday dinner recommendations - Orange County

This Morning's Farm Egg, right? It's my favorite appetizer.
It's odd - I haven't been back to Chow since June and just happened to log in today. I guess I was meant to welcome you to CA. Now for the bad news - I haven't really found any restaurants that I can honestly say I love. There are great Vietnamese places (Brodard, Top Baguette, Pho Tau Bay), Japanese ramen (Shinsengumi, Mentatsu), Lebanese (Zena's, Open Sesame), and Chinese, but I have not found anything even remotely comparable to Blue Hill. I feel really bad to be so negative, but it seems that no one in the OC is able to combine locally sourced ingredients AND really good cooking. I did try Tabu (mentioned previously in this post), and found the food to be good but not necessarily seasonal or local and the ambiance was kind of odd. I also have not yet found a really good neighborhood restaurant (my current go-to is Zov's, but I'm really looking for something like the now defunct Le Tableau in the East Village). I suppose my favorite restaurant in the county is Stonehill Tavern. Good butter!
Our 5 year anniversary is coming up in two weeks and we're going to Stonehill Tavern on the actual day but we're really waiting to go back to NY in December to celebrate at Eleven Madison Park.
I have to caveat all this by saying that this is just my opinion. There are lots of transplants in the OC and I'm sure that most have found restaurants that they really like. Maybe my experience has been too limited. I really hope you like it here. Best of luck!

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Open Sesame
5215 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

Stonehill Tavern
St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629

Aug 30, 2010
jgy06 in Los Angeles Area

Birthday dinner recommendations - Orange County

Thank you for your suggestions!! We go to Pizzeria Ortica all the time - in fact, we were just there this past Friday. I'm glad other people like it too. My husband has been to Charlie Palmer a few times for business and had suggested going there for The Dinner so it'll definitely be in the running. Based on the comments so far, the top contender is Tabu - I know that every restaurant is different, but if you think has the elements that I'm looking for then that's good enough for me. (Just a side note - you're right about Blue Hill's local ties. Ingredients are sourced from their own farm north of the city and from other nearby farms/artisan producers. Their motto is "Know thy farmer." If you are ever in the area, definitely check it out!)

Jun 09, 2010
jgy06 in Los Angeles Area

Birthday dinner recommendations - Orange County

Hello - I am a native New Yorker whose husband's job required us to move to Orange County (Irvine) recently. My 32nd birthday is next week and I'm looking for a really good celebratory meal. I don't have a specific cuisine in mine and it will just be the two of us. To give you an idea of the type of restaurant I'm looking for, my favorite restaurant in the whole world (ok, my limited world) is Blue Hill, Dan Barber's restaurant in the Village. I love everything about it. A few other NY restaurants that I like - Balthazar (yes, it's touristy but I've loved it for more than a decade), Bouley, Convivio, and Tartine. In Orange County, I've already tried Sage, Stonehill Tavern, and Old Vine Cafe. I feel bad about saying this, but I didn't think any were in the least bit memorable. Can you provide some recommendations? Thank you in advance!!

Jun 09, 2010
jgy06 in Los Angeles Area