Also locations in Irvine and Del Mar
Our server was adorable and was patient while we browsed the extensive menu. There was plenty on the menu that I could have ordered which says a lot. You can see what we ordered. Everything was really tasty especially The Grilled Cheese Bacon Sandwich. Since it was truly a carb overload lunch, we took the tasty truffle fries home and finished with a delicious homemade Blackberry and Mint Sorbet, compliments of our server and Cate Hughes, the director of wine & beverage marketing. She could not have been more accommodating. The decor in the restaurant is really cool eclectic and has tables to seat large parties. They are big into serving family style which I think is a fun way to go because you can sample so many of their dishes. Cucina Enoteca is definitely worth a visit.
Also locations in Irvine and Del Mar
Our curiosity about this new pizza place in Crystal Cove got the better of us after a long day slaving over the computer. For your entertainment... Much to our surprise, we hit a winner. Settebello is a beautiful new restaurant that opened in Crystal Cove just three weeks ago.
We were greater by our darling waiter Jordan, who had many delectable suggestions to try on their menu. We needed wine after our day, and decided on some Gainey Chardonnay, which lacked a little volume on the pour. But when they get to know me, it should get better!
We started off with a delicious Romana salad and Duck Confit Crostini, which both put smiles on our faces. We were planning to save the third crostini for Trent, but it was too good not to eat. The bacon wrapped dates were to die for and we wanted to try Jordan's recommendation of the Crispy Polenta Bites, but we had already ordered two pizzas and didn't want to seem too gluttonous.
Next, we switched to a merlot for the arrival of Settebello's specialty pizzas.
The Diavolo was a tomato based pizza with spicy salami and roasted red peppers. Of course I added more pepper flakes to make it even spicier, while Shelby kept downing her wine to keep the fire down.
The Bianca was a different version than I'm used to. They add prosciutto and arugula to the mix. This was great with the arugula salad added on top. The crust was really good and almost sweet too.
Jordan is both a waiter and a pizza maker. He actually created the recipe for our dessert pizza, which was to die for.
I have to say, this place gives Mozza a run for its money! At the restaurant, I ran into my friend Elizabeth, who I do Bar Method with. We compared notes in class and decided that we both gave it a big thumbs up and will be returning soon to sample more pizzas!
Settebello Pizzaria Napoletana is located in Crystal Cove across from Javiers at 7864 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach
Open for dinner every day and for lunch on weekends
The restaurant also has locations in Marina Del Rey, Oxnard, and Pasadena, as well as a few in Utah and Nevada
Shuck is a crazy good Oyster bar in The OC Mix. I love to put my name in at Arc and head over to Shuck for a few oyster and a good pour. Shuck is open, airy, and very cool.
They have an awesome counter, which is really fun because you meet people and share your finds on the menu. Check out their oyster selection, great grilled cheese sandwiches, and my new favorite, the lobster roll. Their clams and chorizo are killer as well.
Be careful not to eat to much if you are going to Arc. While this is a oyster paradise, Arc is a meat lovers dream. Both are excellent and I highly recommend going to both.
Shuck Oyster Bar, 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa
Wow, look at Chef Molly go! She created an art piece that you can eat!
First, she smeared Lebne (a mixture of strained Lebanese Yogurt) with fresh herbs over a stainless table, then on top she added food stations of Beetroot cured salmon, assorted pickled and dressed thinly sliced vegetables with squares of Tahini Bread. The result was a self-serve bar of healthy treats. It was so creative and the mix of flavors was delicious.
Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Chef Molly has recently relocated from San Francisco to the OC. I always love meeting people who share my love and passion for food. The party was terrific. It had great pours, cocktails, and friendly wait staff in addition to the fantastic and really masterful nibbles. It was great meeting Molly and I can't wait to work on something together with her soon. I told her how picky I am and she absolutely wowed me. Thanks for including the OC Wino!
Chef Molly, 23552 Commerce Center Drive, Suite S, Laguna Hills, California 92653