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Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

Nice report, but what I really want to know is what you had to drink with it! :)

Apr 17, 2014
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

I love Taco Maria. Something that OC can really be proud of! Also, Colin Morey makes some incredible Burgs, on par with some of the the Grand Crus I've had. I really enjoyed their 2009 En Remily and Meursault les perrieres

Apr 07, 2014
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

HELP! Moving into the abyss.........

Wow, I remember Chino and his posts fondly. RIP Wayne, and belated condolences to his family.

Mar 07, 2014
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

White Truffle Risotto at Providence

Does that apply to TFL too?

Nov 30, 2013
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Heading to the Stanton, CA (a little west of Anaheim) area for the T-day holiday

Right in Stanton itself is Park Ave, where I've always had satisfying results in the past, though haven't been for a few years. Menu is slightly reimagined but non-threatening takes of familiar comfort food classics, and the architecture / decorations may take them back to their "younger and hipper" years.

Nov 19, 2013
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Ken Ramen on 19th in OC

Eh, it's a pretty run of the mill place. Flavors were pretty bland, noodles were average. It's ok if you are driving by and really want ramen, but driving a little bit more will get you better.

Nov 13, 2013
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Overrated & Overhyped, 2013

Hinoki and the Bird

Loud, spotty service, overseasoned, heavy, sloppy preparations.

Oct 30, 2013
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Ritter's Steam Kettle?

Palace Station Oyster Bar in LV. Not sure if all of them are under the same ownership umbrella.

Sep 01, 2013
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

SF Dining Choices / Michael Mina with Ron Seigel

Coming in for a few days next week.

Has anyone been since the changeover?

Trying to decide between Mina or Benu.

Also might consider Atelier Crenn, but was just there in the Spring. Has the menu changed enough to warrant another visit?

Were also at Coi, Quince, and Ame earlier this year.

Also considering Saison- is the Chef's counter worth the substantial upcharge?

Would go to Aziza, but some of my dining companions don't like Moroccan food and no amount of debate will convince them otherwise.

Any other places on the radar recently?


Oct 09, 2012
kdoc in San Francisco Bay Area

Good Food, Good Booze, Solo Dining. Where in N/Central OC?

I've enjoyed it. The food is tasty enough, though sometimes a little heavy handed. Service is decent, though sometimes a little indifferent. Beers are good. Can get very loud in there, especially on the weekends when they host um, "musicians". All in all, it's a nice change of pace for the orange county area.

Sep 10, 2012
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

LQ@SK: Changes coming


Thanks for your review; we are heading there on Tuesday.

Did you bring a Reisling? How did the wines you bring work with the dishes? Thanks!

Feb 20, 2012
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Orange County birthday dinner with kids

I know you said no chains, but I've always found Roy's pretty reliable when it comes to options with kids.

Feb 18, 2012
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Sushi in the OC - Can't find anything decent and Yelp is absolutely useless!

Abe closed years ago, but he subsequently opened up Bluefin, an even more refined, upscale place in Corona Del Mar. Similar style with a combination of cooked / raw dishes. He followed that with an attempted mini-empire with Izayaka Zero in HB and Sea Smoke in San Clemente, but both have subsequently closed. Bluefin remains open and is still quite good.

Dec 23, 2011
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Mexican in Orange County

Don't go looking for MPE in Orange. RIP quite a while ago. Yet to find a suitable replacement.

Dec 14, 2011
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Picasso - any recent visits?

We were there within the last year. Room is still pretty, though feels slightly dated. Everything was fine, but unspectacular. Nothing really stood out (I'm actually struggling to remember anything that we ate at this moment), but nothing was bad either. So, a solid French meal that won't wow or offend anyone.

Aug 08, 2011
kdoc in Las Vegas

Anyone eaten at Fleur since reopening???

Dropped by there last month after some issues with the FOH at rm seafood and was pleasantly surprised. The food was fine, though, as others have mentioned, the menu is all over the place, but tends slightly towards asian fusion; the menu on the website is pretty accurate. Was there midweek, @ 530 and there was almost no business. However, service was friendly and earnest- their wine list is surprisingly somewhat minimal, and they voluntarily let us try a few different wines, and even comped us the tuna tacos. Had, among other things, the smoked ribs, oysters, tarte, mushrooms, and the halibut (exactly as described above). Our server mentioned that she had been there since the beginning and was a little sad about the change- and wasn't sure if it had really made much of a difference to the bottom line.

It is now very informal, almost like a nice bar with extended seating. I wouldn't necessarily choose to go there, but it is a decent, pretty tasty alternative at Mandalay.

Aug 08, 2011
kdoc in Las Vegas

Bartolotta or Guy Savoy? Please Help!!!

If you are already going to Robuchon, then for the sake of variety, go to Bartolotta, as Guy Savoy is fairly similar.

We recently had a meal for two at Bartolotta (the "Grand Tasting") and found it quite good, though their method of serving multiple courses at once, family style, was a little disconcerting. We likened the atmosphere more to a semi-formal family holiday dinner than to true fine dining, if you get my drift. Some of the sauces were a little heavy and thick, but overall, we would recommend it. Began with an array of seafood appetizers, followed by pastas, proteins, and desserts. It was a very hearty meal, and a lot of food. Our waiter chose the dishes for us, and it did include a whole fish that was served tableside.

At Sage, I would highly recommend contacting them regarding doing a tasting menu- we had been there twice before and were a little underwhelmed, but our last experience was superb- and being as some of the dishes there are a bit heavy the smaller ( but only slightly) servings worked to our advantage.

e' was fine, but I think all of the press it is getting makes it difficult to live up to expectations. It would be more accurate to state that the most of the dishes are put together in front of you, but have mostly (and understandably) been prepared in the back. Also, on our visit, they had one of the chefs from D.C. helping / supervising when we were there a few weeks ago, and the staff seemed a bit edgy / nervous and not particularly interactive. I think I almost preferred my dinner at Saam (Bazaar) over e'. Nevertheless, it was a good time.

Have Fun!

Aug 08, 2011
kdoc in Las Vegas

Wine before OC Performing Arts event

For us, Leatherby's is always a convenient and solid choice. You can also valet park / validate and walk to the Center, which makes exiting after the performance a breeze. They have no problems with children- we brought our five (now six) year old there all the time before shows.

Leatherby's Cafe Rouge
615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Jan 22, 2011
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Patina - worth it? Looking for some hound recs!

I had one of the most surprising and best meals of the year at Patina. First time I had been there in over five years, and I wasn't expecting too much, but it really did wow me. Room is actually pretty plain, but functional, and it wasn't very busy that day, but the service was on point, very accommodating without being suffocating, friendly without being too familiar. Esnault is a very talented chef, and his signature vegetable mosaic dish was one of the tastiest bites I've had all year.

In fact, I've been singing Patina's praises to anyone who will listen since then, as I feel I, and a lot of others, have been underrating it.

Nov 15, 2010
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Please help -- Need the best sushi restaurant in Orange County.


Wasabi is closed until June 11.

May 31, 2010
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

POLL: Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2009

> $25
Sushi Wasabi
Marche Moderne
Tradition by Pascal
Old Vine Cafe

Cafe Hiro
Tulsa Ribs
Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
Thai Nakorn

Dec 11, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

PLEASE POST YOUR VOTES HERE: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2009

Over $25

1) Urasawa
2) Providence
3) Spago
4) Animal
5) Melisse

Under $25 still pending...

Dec 07, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Need Suggestion for WIFE 30th Bday. (anything like PROVIDENCE in OC? )

Wow, you must have really liked it! Personally, I've had good to very good meals there, but never great. Not surprisingly, it feels kind of corporate- a nice corporate, but corporate none the less. Sat at the chef's counter once; they had a large party going on and the experience was kind of meh. Large room, and servers wearing the same ubiquitous name tags as everyone else at Disney. But it is nice to stroll around the area after dinner.

I actually forgot about MM (see below). Have had some nice meals there. Definitely sit outside, preferably in one of the booths. Inside is very cramped.

Sep 10, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Need Suggestion for WIFE 30th Bday. (anything like PROVIDENCE in OC? )

Has anyone been out to Studio since Craig Strong took over? However, if their strangely uptight attitude remains, it may not make a difference. I'm assuming you want the complete experience of food, service, atmosphere. Off the top of my head- Stonehill Tavern, Napa Rose (Disney), Pinot Provence (aging), The Hobbit (haven't been for a while), Andrea (Pelican Hill- some friends said it was pretty good), Charlie Palmer (though I've been greatly underwhelemd last few visits). Each place has its little quirks and I think if you try to directly compare them to Providence, they'll come up lacking. There are of course a bunch of other places in OC that serve great food, just that the service and surroundings may not be as polished. So just have fun, make the best of it, and enjoy the company!

Sep 09, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

A review: Pop's Cafe, Santa Ana CA

I think it means Breakfast and Lunch Diner. But back on topic, I've been there once- thought it was decent. Food was hot and tasty; service was pleasant.

Jun 02, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

California Sushi Roll Factory

They're still open? Huge, sloppily prepared rolls. Choose the customer created favorites hand written on the wall! Hey, it was great back when I was in school (in the same vein as the all you can eat at the Lighthouse and Cowboy sushi), but yeah, like the others, I've moved on.

May 27, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Mastros Ocean Club or Scotts Seafood

Scott's has seen its better days- it used to be one of my preferred locations for food in Orange County. Unfortunately, that was in the last century. A series of chef changes with an overall decline in food has left me with no desire to go back. The room is showing its age as well. Maestro's has the better food with prices to match, atmosphere is on the loud side with lots of energy- not the most romantic, but certainly fun.

May 16, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Cherimoya Fruit

The Asian markets (99, etc...) normally carry them, but yes, they are pretty easy to grow. My father has a tree and the fruit is indeed pretty tasty- though it took a little adjustment period for me to appreciate the creamy texture coming from a fruit.

May 16, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area

Napa Valley - three great dinners?

Recent Visits:

Redd has become our go to place for well prepared food, fresh flavors, and efficient service. Good value ratio.

Bottega- very energetic place; their wrap-around patio should be very nice this time of year. Food was good, but almost too boldly flavored- found the various sauces quite rich and powerful. Chiarello in and out of the kitchen hobnobbing. Service friendly but uneven.

Terra- reliable standby- even though miso cod has become passe, I still think no one does it better. Other dishes also well executed. Perhaps aging a bit, but comfortable wine country elegance.

Ubuntu- unique experience, very good, albeit different food. More hits than misses.

Bouchon- fine, but nothing special.

May 12, 2009
kdoc in San Francisco Bay Area

Private Party for 120 near Pelican Hill, Please help

Turnip Rose Catering has an event site nearby. Location is slightly weird (across the street from Triangle square at the end of the 55) but is easily accessible with plentiful parking. I've used them a few times before, and while not exactly cheap, I think their prices were reasonable for the level of service and quality they provide.

Turnip Rose - Grand Newport Plaza
1901 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA

May 07, 2009
kdoc in Los Angeles Area