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BekahR's Profile

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Red O, Newport Beach?

I went tonight for a light dinner and drinks. The ceviche sampler was amazing. Tuna in a lime-laced guacamole, salmon in an oniony crema, and a mixed shellfish ceviche as well. All very fresh fish. We also had short rib tamales with a tangy roasted tomato salsa. Absolutely spot on for the food (though with Santa Ana nearby I feel a little guilty ordering tamales).

The Albarino was also pretty top notch with tropical fruit and the right crispness.

The yelp reviews complain about the service but I though things were pretty well on par for most joints in the first couple of weeks and will smooth out a good bit as the staff gets the hang of things. Given the venue of Fashion Island I think it's a pretty excellent option, and one I'm likely to hit up fairly often before the movies at the theater nearby. But as a warning the crowd is _very_ OC.

Definitely worth a try. Looking forward to hear how it goes for others.

Dec 22, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Broadway by amar santana ? anyone been ? thoughts ?

They are across from the Iron Press beer and waffles place. Opened Feb 8, so pretty new.

http://www.arcrestaurant.com/

May 30, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Broadway by amar santana ? anyone been ? thoughts ?

I should have mentioned below, Joseph is right, Broadway can be very noisy if crowded, although I feel the noise is lower at the seats surrounding the kitchen space. If you want a more leisurely experience, I'd aim for mid-week.

May 30, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Broadway by amar santana ? anyone been ? thoughts ?

I love Broadway. I think it is some of the best food in Orange County. The dishes are beautiful, delicious, and the technique is spot on. They have bone marrow, which is rich and savory, as well as a nice duck 3 ways (breast, smoked leg, and ... I have forgotten what else). I've also had a gorgeous Beet salad there scattered with edible flowers that was light and refreshing. (Photo below- looks better in real life. I don't use flash at dinner.) With the beets I chose a fish dish which was amazingly light and perfectly cooked.

They have spots at the bar surrounding the kitchen where you can watch the chefs cook, but only a few of those, so call ahead to reserve them. It is admittedly expensive, but I think worth the price given the level of craft. Amar recently did a dinner at the James Beard House in NY, and is a top-notch chef.

I just came back from ARC tonight at the OC Mart mix. The food is all done in the wood fired oven or on a wood fired grill. They have a very nice duck with berry jam, sizable portion of roasted beets, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert that are all gooey in the middle. I understand they have a good lunch as well, but have not been yet. It definitely has a cozy feel with really nice comfort food. The nicest spots, in my opinion, are at the bar where you can watch the fire, which would probably make a good date night.

The real win at Arc though is the cocktails. They've stolen Koire, formerly of the SideDoor/FiveCrowns who has created their bar menu. Tonight I had the Green Chimney, an herbal citrusy drink with a bit of fennel/anise to it. Awesome drink and I regret having to drive or I would have had more.

Both restaurants are worth going to, though they have very different feels. Broadway especially is worth driving to Laguna and I would put it at the top of my must-try restaurants in OC.

May 30, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Red Medicine or Son of a Gun?

LOVED Ink!!! That was a beautiful meal! Especially the peas with sesame, a sweet soy glaze, and coconut ice.

Apr 21, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Red Medicine or Son of a Gun?

@Porthos and @Servorg, I've seen your reviews on Chowhound and generally they've been spot on. (Part of why I was so surprised by RM!)

Let me know what you think when you go back. I'm interested to hear if it's a fluke, or if the chef and I simply have incompatible palates.

I promise you my meal was painful and not merely mediocre, or I would not have written!

Apr 21, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Red Medicine or Son of a Gun?

This may be a little late for your particular trip, but I'd read so many nice reviews of Red Medicine that I finally decided to head up to LA and give it a try.

I'll start by saying that I had a really fabulous cocktail- gin and lime with thai basil, citrusy and herbal, which generally tends to be my favorite. I only regret that I had to drive and could not have more than one.

Unfortunately, from there, I found the food to be wholly disappointing. Every dish I had was covered in sugar and acid, and was completely without balancing herb or spice that could have transformed the dishes into something more palatable. Textures were maimed and often did not complement one another within a dish, and plates often had large pieces for decoration which made dishes unwieldy and added little to their flavors.

My first dish was one of 'barbecued' leeks in a yuzu buttermilk sauce with charred ash. When the leeks arrived, they had clearly been boiled out of their misery, soaked in some form of sweet acid, and then supposedly grilled, though they did not have the caramelized smoky flavor one might expect from the fire. The leeks were plated whole, but had lost almost all structural integrity after being cooked for so long and were nearly unrecognizable-- except for the internal ribbing, which made them long, stringy, and difficult to cut through with the butter knife they gave me.

On top of the leeks was some kind of fennel or anise, served raw in 4in+ stems, again almost impossible to manage. The yuzu and the acid soaked leeks paired, in my opinion, poorly with the buttermilk, the charred leek ash was sparse, and the fennel too large to manage with a bite of anything else. At one point I even wondered if the chef had ever tasted his own food, and if so how in the world had he eaten the blasted thing??

From there I moved on to a dish of whole miniature eggplant, fresh pea puree, radishes, charred panko breadcrumb ‘dirt’, pea tendrils with flowers, and sunchoke chips. Individually, the pea puree, the panko dirt, and the fried sunchoke skins were interesting, but as a dish, the components did not marry with one another, the eggplant were again soaked in an overwhelming sweet vinegar, and pieces were once more so large and unmanageable that it was nearly impossible to have bites of two separate ingredients at the same time.

The dish LOOKED so beautiful, and there were certainly some promising elements, but it seemed that taste had been sacrificed to appearance, and that the dish had been put together with no thought for balance of flavor. The entire plate seemed so tragic, as a small amount of chili, shiso, thai basil, or for crying out loud, even black pepper would have brightened the dish, pulled back the inescapable and nearly painful sweet acid, and forced the different elements of the dish to interact a little more.

Finally, I finished with the pork belly served with rhubarb 4 ways and roasted alliums. Again, portions of the dish had little flavor but sweet acid, though the savory pork belly did a much better job of holding its own against acidic flavors. But then pork belly is somewhat difficult to ruin especially with the combination of fat and acid.

Alliums again seemed to have been boiled or steamed far past their prime, then thrown on the grill, and while marginally better than the leeks, it made me sad to see vegetables so texturally abused and mushy on the inside, then paired with giant stems of unknown raw leaves and long, rambling beet chips that once again looked lovely but added little to the flavors.

In short, I found the experience extremely disappointing, especially after seeing such universally positive reviews on chow. I rarely write completely negative reviews anywhere online, but I found the food to be so far off that I would be embarrassed to serve those dishes in my own home, and thought it was important to post a counterpoint to all the raves.

I hope for the restaurant’s sake that someone can vouch that my experience is an anomaly, and that others will have better dinners than my own.

With regrets,
Bekah

Apr 20, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Woodley Park-Zoo

Hi all,

Just got back from the trip. For the most part dinners were set directly next to the conference center just because of time constraints. The group hit up sushi and Indian on the strip, which were passable but not really much of note. We did go to the Afghan Grill which was a fairly pleasant surprise. Really nice roasted squash, spinach, and eggplant dishes, plus the wine was better than I normally would expect for that type of restaurant.

On the nicer end of things Open City diner was a great choice for breakfast (but not super quick). My friend got chai waffles and I had a standard but lovely American breakfast of poached eggs, grits, sausage, and hashbrowns. Being Southern I was happy to see grits again.

District kitchen was great food- nice sweetbreads, a really rich but dairy-free mushroom soup, assorted pickles made in house, roasted duck. The real win though was the cocktails. My sister had a "Yoda Soda" (lime, fruit, vanilla) and I had "Till the bitter end" (dark rum, mole bitters). I took my Boss there the next day and he was raving about their version of a Manhattan. They also had a dry rose, which I generally like on a warm afternoon. As a place for cocktails and snacks I'd recommend it if you happen to be anywhere in the area.

We also made it up to Bryan Voltaggio's Range. I'd been to his brother's restaurant Ink in LA (very different, more asian flavors and molecular gastronomy) so I wanted to try it out. The food was by all accounts amazing. The menu is extensive and has so much variation. Duck galantine, beef heart in chimichurri, sweet pea ravioli with edible flowers, smoked grits, spiced oven roasted potatoes, pan roasted white fish, potted foie. The amount of offal and other unusual dishes was pretty impressive. Overall I'd say the food was pretty mellow with a soul food feel, but with really nicely nuanced flavors.

The restaurant is also massive, and parts of the kitchen are open with bar seats right next to the chef-- likely a good spot for solo dining in the evenings and for date night (there's a movie theater across the street). I absolutely recommend it.

In any case, thanks for all your nice recs, and I'll keep the rest of them on file for my next trip to DC, which hopefully will have more leisure time for dinners!

Best Indian Food in Orange County

I haven't surveyed most Indian places here, but I like India Cook House. Their lunch buffet is awesome, and usually has more diversity than the standard chicken tikka masala.

At $8.95 per person, it's a steal.

http://www.indiacookhouseoc.com

Mar 17, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Woodley Park-Zoo

Thanks, Elyssa, That's actually super helpful. I'll try to hit up Cashion's when I'm there, provided there's time to sneak it in.

PS- I LOVE a good bunny, especially when it's cooked with a nice sauce. Hope they still have it when I'm there.

Woodley Park-Zoo

Wow! Thanks for all the recs! Really looking forward to the trip, and I'll be sure to report back on what I got to try.

Mintwood sounds like a definite Go, and District Kitchen since they are close. Hoping I can get in at Voltaggio's but it all depends on scheduling.

Thanks so much!

Weekend visit for a NY hound - recommendations for lunches / dinners this weekend?

2nd on Ink. Amazing, creative food, and molecular gastronomy that complements the food--- not kitschy at all. When I was there my favorite was sugar snap peas with a sweet soy glaze, black sesame, and a coconut milk liquid nitrogen ice cream. It worked really well.

Also really liked Animal for richer, meaty food. Same owners also have Son of a Gun. Friends like it, though I haven't checked it out myself.

Mar 13, 2013
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Woodley Park-Zoo

Hi all,
I'll be in DC for 4 nights at the beginning of April and I'm looking for nice restaurants for lunch and dinner. A lot of our meetings will only give as 1-2hrs for meals so spots within easy distance of the Woodley Park-Zoo metro stop would be helpful.

But nicer restaurants worth at trek across town are welcome too, as we may have 1-2 nights to check them out.

I generally enjoy a good gastropub, or creative French or American usually keeps me entertained. Asian or Mediterranean options are welcome as well. I know there are a few Ethiopian places a short cab ride away but have trouble deciding which ones are good.

In any case suggestions are welcome, and thanks in advance for the help!

PS- Coming from CA where foie gras is banned, so wouldn't mind finding a place that serves it, especially if it's done properly.

Ottawa Recs

Hi gang,

Thanks so much for the recs. They really helped. Conference was chaotic so I didn't get to try as many as I'd like (colleagues like dives) but there were several that I hit up.

Went to The Black Tomato, Social, Play, and Brothers. Black tomato I had duck in plum sauce, and a Canadian dry Riesling that was fairly nice. Social had a beautiful little seared albacore in a bright citrus sauce with cabbage and microgreens that was absolutely lovely.

But the real win was Play. They had a perfectly done carrot salad with cucumbers, ricotta, fenel seeds, mint, and soft lemon. The carrots had been cooked just enough so that the texture matched the cukes and there was a nice honey that I would guess had been mixed with vanilla, but the flavor was fairly subtle so I'm not sure. They also had a seared fish, perfectly cooked so that the center was just barely set with Oyster mushrooms and Asian flavors. Highly recommend that one, and thanks for the suggestion.

Photos on twitter under foodieBekah if anyone is interested, though camera ate half my food photos. Thanks to everyone for the advice, and happy chow-ing.

Jul 12, 2012
BekahR in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Valdavia Farms- Farmer's Markets

Hi all,

I found Valdivia farms at the farmer's market here in Irvine, and was seriously impressed with their produce. They are located in Carlsbad but hit several of the farmer's markets in Southern California, and are worth checking out if you see them.

They may not have the widest range of produce but what they offer is top notch. Best berries I've had in a decade and heirloom tomatoes that ACTUALLY taste like tomatoes. I'm a new fan and thought it was worth spreading the love.

http://www.natural-healthy-eating.com...

Jun 30, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Recs near Largo

Hi All:

I've come up with a last minute trip to LA (from OC) and am looking for Sunday night dinner recs close to Largo at the Coronet (address below) ~7pm. I'd prefer dinner under $50 per head, with a cocktail or glass of wine.

I usually enjoy gastropub food and loved Animal+SonOfAGun last time I was in town. No sushi recs please-- done too much of that lately.

Looking forward to the suggestions! Thanks!

366 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Jun 30, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Am I crazy? ie. Animal

They worked it out for us (once) party of 3 with no res showing up at ~6:30-7pm on a Sat, but we had to wait several hours. Fortunately there's a pretty good pub across the street with nice drinks to keep us happy (forgot the name, but high ceilings, raw wood beams, and looks very rustic). Fairly sure you could be seated but there might be a long wait.

Last time I was there they had a foie gras biscuit and gravy that was to die for.

Jun 30, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Ottawa Recs

Hi all,

Coming from OC to Ottawa for a conference in a few weeks, and looking for restaurant recs. I've generally had good experiences with gastropubs and other nice restaurants that serve creative dishes or well prepared offal. Generally I'm open to anything with exceptional food, but I'd prefer to keep dinner costs $75 or less with a glass or two of wine.

I'll be meeting with people from the conference a lot of the time, so suggestions on places that can accomodate groups would be welcome, though i may have a night or two with just myself and a friend.

Thanks in advance, and happy eating!!

May 20, 2012
BekahR in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Pizzeria Mozza, Newport Beach - has anyone been?

The chicken confit that I had a couple weeks ago was very good. And the octopus is usually amazingly tender. If you want something besides pizza on the mains, the Pappardelle al sugo d’agnello is absolutely amazing.

But get at least one pizza for the table. They really are nice.

May 16, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

ANQI by Crustaceans

They do a crab dinner on Tues nights that is very yummy. Black pepper, garlic, and soft chili notes. I also had monkifsh there the other night that was very beautiful and subtle.

The bar turns into a bit of a lounge scene on the weekend nights, which can be fun, and the cocktails are quite good.

Apr 11, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Laguna - Dinner, Breakfast, beach bar...HELP!

For dinner I'm a fan of Broadway by Amar Santana, or possibly 370 Common Kitchen. Both are a few blocks away from the beach but the food is very good. The food at 370 is gastropub food and comes off as slightly more casual, but it can make for a cozy night.

http://broadwaybyamarsantana.com/
http://www.370common.com/reservation.php

Apr 11, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Lunch at Topolobampo- Need reservations??

Hi all,

I'm headed to Chicago next week for a conference, and Topolobampo is on my list of places to hit up. My group of colleagues will inevitably be too unruly for us to do a reservation (can't say if 5 people or 20 will want to join) but I was hoping we might be able to grab lunch just walking in.

Is that too optimistic?? Our timing is a little flexible-- we can eat at 1pm after the rush in case that helps.

And thanks to everyone for their thorough reviews on previous discussions. I was able to nail down a nice restaurant schedule for the rest of the trip without posting myself.

Thanks!

Feb 29, 2012
BekahR in Chicago Area

Birthday dinner with the girls in Costa Mesa Area

I'd second Anqi for a girls night out. The vibe there is lounge-ish and a little smoother on the service than CP. It's the perfect place to head out for some fun dressed to the nines.

If you're looking for something with less giltter but great food, the Crow Bar in Corona del Mar is good (veg options may be limited) and I hear it gets a pretty crazy crowd there late on Thurs nights.

Have fun!

Feb 29, 2012
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Bold Flavors in OC

Their apps and entrees far outshine their pizza. Don't get me wrong, the pizza is totally good. But the rest of their food is just to die for.

I would never consider trading my meal for the pizza at the table next to me. You won't be jealous. :)

Wishing you the best.

Nov 11, 2011
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Bold Flavors in OC

Pizzeria Ortica's apps might work well. I usually stick with a couple of starter plates for my meal when I go. They have a wonderful prosciutto with burratta, a fabulous octopus dish (it has potatoes, but you might be able to ask them to do it without them), and a new conserva di pollo.

http://www.pizzeriaortica.com/

The Crow Bar also had a really nice shrimp salad a couple of weeks back, if you deal ok with veggies.

http://www.crowbarcdm.com/

A very filling dinner with a drink or two usually runs me ~$50 at each of those.

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Pizzeria Ortica
650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Nov 10, 2011
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza, Newport Beach - has anyone been?

If I've read correctly, the permit they've applied for that is listed as 'pending' would be a general liquor permit (47) that allows distilled liquor as well. In the meantime, I think the prosecco is quite nice.

Patience, my martini friend.

http://www.abc.ca.gov/forms/abc616.pdf

Sep 06, 2011
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Pizzeria Mozza, Newport Beach - has anyone been?

I went to the restaurant in Newport Friday night, and there was a wait even for one person at the bar. I'd recommend getting a reservation if possible, at least for the first several weeks. The prime spots are at the bar surrounding the pizza oven where you can watch the chefs.

The people next to me on either side LOVED the pizza. In total raptures. I had small plates. Fried squash blossoms and spare ribs were quite good, but to be perfectly honest were not as balanced as I'd like to see. The arancini were good. Hopefully they will work out the minor details over the next few weeks. I would recommend it.

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Mozza
800 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Sep 05, 2011
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Dining Solo in OC

This is long overdue, but it's taken me some time to survey enough places for a proper reply. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. They were very helpful. My top choices for solo dining are below.

1. My top pick for solo dining (or otherwise) absolutely has to be the SideDoor in Corona del Mar. The food is impeccable, the dishes are creative, and the menu changes weekly, making it a great place to go for dinner on a regular basis. The staff is very friendly and it is the ONLY restaurant I have found in Orange County where no one makes comments about how much I eat.

2. Pizzeria Ortica was lovely. The pasta is perfectly done, the flavors entirely balanced. I favor the other entrees and apps over the pizza, . The octopus is amazingly tender and the best I have had in years, and the papperdelle and lamb was amazing. Also took a cooking class at the restaurant which I would recommend.

3. Charlie Palmer At Bloomingdale was excellent. The food was lovely and the chef plays with textures in ways I haven't seen from other retaurants. I'll mention that I was there during restaurant week when Chef Palmer was in the house, so I'm not sure how it stands up on a typical night, but I'm looking forward to to going back.

4. The Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona del Mar. I'm clearly a fan of the gastropubs but the food is awesome and I like the atmosphere. Interesting people at the bar.

5. Mozza, which opened this past weekend. Mario Batali's new restaurant in Newport Beach. The food is a notch or two down from Ortica, IMO-- not quite as well balanced. But the atmosphere is great and they have seats surrounding the pizza oven where you can watch the chefs. Good for solo dining in that sense, and I have hopes that the food will improve as they work out the kinks in the new restaurant.

6. On sushi I liked Maru Sushi in Costa Mesa. I'm sure there are others that might be better but it's close to where I live, and I like it better than several other places that I've tried.

Places I tried but would not necessarily recommend:
Pascal's. Classic French food but way overpriced and NOT good for solo dining, especially for anyone under 60. Not sure what the recommender (non-chowhound) was thinking.

230 Forest Cafe and Opah. Food several notches down from anything listed above. Fish at Opah was definitely not local, which I find less impressive this close to the ocean.

Still looking forward to trying OldVine especially, and Marche Moderne, but I have travel coming up and it will likely be several weeks before I can get to them.

Thanks again for all the advice.

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Pizzeria Ortica
650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Maru Sushi
1500 Adams Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Marche Moderne
3333 Bristol Street, Suite 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Charlie Palmer At Bloomingdale
3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

The Crow Bar and Kitchen
2325 East Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92625

SideDoor
3801 East Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92625

Mozza
800 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Sep 05, 2011
BekahR in Los Angeles Area

Dining Solo in OC

Hi all,

I'm new to town and looking for nice restaurants in Orange County that would be good for dining alone. Preferably someplace quiet enough to chat with a decent bar space and friendly staff, but above all *good food*.

I have already found The Crow Bar and SideDoor in Corona del Mar, and Pascal's is on my list. I would like to find similar restaurants anywhere within a 20min drive of Costa Mesa. A place with outdoor seating would also be welcome. I can always bring a book to keep myself amused, but am generally open to chatting if I'm at a place with friendly people.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions.

Jun 02, 2011
BekahR in Los Angeles Area