The Get Down
The moment you walk in
Art You Can Eat
The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Toast Kitchen + Bakery celebrates a collective voice with creative menu items that fuze an amalgam of culture through unique renditions of classic dishes. Thai chile chilaquiles blends flavors from Mexico and Thailand, culminating into the perfect bite for your palate. Succulent pulled pork dances with the hibiscus pickled onions, complemented by the crispy chips slathered in salsa verde. If you’re looking to cool things down, finish with the acai bowl. Made with hemp seed granola, fuji apples, banana, berries, cashew butter and agave, this dish could just as easily be eaten for dessert (although the made-to-order malasadas are a good choice too). You’ve had many acai bowls in O.C., but this one is definitely gram-worthy. The textural components of the bowl have you coming back for just one more bite, spoonful after spoonful, toastkitchenbakery.com.
When was the last time you were convinced that eating tongue was delicious? If you weren’t standing next to a food truck or taqueria in 2018, it’s probably been a minute. The Recess Room isn’t here to convince you of this truth, but merely to act as a vessel for our culinary delight. Thanks to new executive chef Nikko Marquez, the lengua loco moco dish took us to Hawaii (sans requesting time off for vacation) where deep flavors collided to produce an insatiable craving for tongue that lasted the rest of the week. Consider this dish a tease to the rest of the incredible menu this restaurant has to offer. Editor’s picks: pork cheek roti and cereal milk crème brûlée, therecessroom.com.
Cozy in the Cottage
Winter, or as close to winter as Orange County can get, has officially come. What’s the best way to stay warm and embrace the holidays? The cottage pie at the wonderfully cozy Dublin 4 Gastropub in Mission Viejo. A real neighborhood gem and one of the best-kept secrets of the area, the menu is the greatest hits of elevated Irish classics. Arriving piping hot in its crock
Move aside deviled eggs, because there is a new kid on the block. Chef Greg Daniels’ team takes respect for local ingredients to a whole new level at Harley in Laguna Beach, and these simple, yet passionately prepared eggs are a perfect representation. Silky, delicate and carrying deep layers of flavor and freshness, the jammy eggs introduce you to the restaurant’s unapologetic celebration of ingredients. Before you head into the new year, order the jammy eggs, made with Gonestraw farms eggs, garlic herb marinade, snipped herbs, terrace hill olive oil and cracked pepper, harleylagunabeach.com.
Drop the Beet
One of the best things we ate this week was the
The pan jus served with hanger steak and fingerling potatoes on the Power Lunch menu at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Irvine tastes like the mother of all mother sauces. It’s flecked with brown bits of seared steak, rich with butter, and perfectly aromatic with fresh thyme. The hanger steak with pan jus is the highlight of a rotating, three-course prix fixe menu at Davio’s; a perfectly portioned lunch bookended by a crisp watercress salad and a refreshing blood orange mousse. Insider tip: Go ahead and welcome the bread basket. The pan
It’s All About the Crunch
A trip to Bamboo Bistro in Corona Del Mar is not complete without an order of Brodard Grilled Pork Spring Rolls aka Nem Nuong. This traditional dish was made famous by proprietor Chau Haller’s mother, Diane Dang, of the celebrated Brodard’s restaurant in Westminster. The praise could come from the grilled pork patty or Mom’s special sauce, but likely it’s the satisfying crunch from the crispy, fried rice paper in the center of each spring roll. Fragrant mint and finely julienned carrots create a light, refreshing flavor that keeps you coming back for more. Pair it with a cup of shrimp coconut soup, and it’ll be hard to approach the outer skirts of CDM without stopping in, vietbamboobistro.com.