To those of my local followers who have avoided Fig & Olive like the plague, Fear No More. Read More
One of the most delicious Chinese Restaurants I have every experienced. The fresh fish and the amazing sauces will draw me back for more. My Foodie friend said this would be a culinary treat and it was a great tasting frenzy. Read More
Even though I have been eating at Ramos House for years, for me, it continues to get better and better every time I go. The atmosphere has also become more refined and sophisticated. Just look at this food. It is truly artistic and really delicious. You must come hungry and you'll leave extremely happy. Check out the San Juan Mission across the tracks if you need to walk it off a bit.
Some of my other favorite dishes are the Mac n Cheese w/ Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffle, and the Basil Cured Salmon Lox w/ Toast Points and Baby Herbs.
I am so impressed with John, owner and chef. He has been opened since 1994 and I truly respect him for keeping tradition. It is a very special place and he hasn't tried to expand out of his historical gem.
Ramos House Cafe, 31752 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, 949 443-1342
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
The OCWino is finally making it big in the press junket! Our team was invited to join an opening press party for Driftwood Kitchen, the new restaurant in The Beach House's former location. The party was super fun and we were able to check out the space and meet the chef. Try out some appetizers and drinks in The Stateroom, their dark homey bar.
A few weeks later, the team came back for dinner to try out the proper fare.
We started with the Squash Blossoms appetizer. They are stuffed with ricotta, mint, and topped with an heirloom tomato sauce. It was a light and delicious dish to split.
Shelby won in the entrée selection contest with the Sonoma Duck Breast with a grilled nectarine and quinoa salad and huckleberry sauce. Everyone kept trying to steal bites from her all night.
The Driftwood Kitchen is a great alternative to The Deck next door if you want something a bit more classy, but still want to catch the sunset and eat some delicious appetizers. The Stateroom could be a great late night spot (it serves cougar crack!) and even has a back patio with a fire pit.
Driftwood Kitchen 619 Sleepy Hollow Lane next door to The Deck in Laguna Beach
Sunday morning, we picked up Trent from LAX after his two week medical mission in Ghana, Africa. He was craving three things: Starbuck's venti iced green tea, cement roads, and Bar Ama for lunch. Off we went to explore some culture.
Aubrey, McCall, and Trent exploring the street art
Chef and owner Josef Centero has completely wowed my family and friends… and to wow me is a task. We went to his first place across the street called Baco Mercat before, which was crazy good. But Bar Ama has a Tex Mex menu originally coming from the inspiring recipes from his grandmother Grace Alice. The pictures tell all.
I can't wait to try the third location Orsa and Winston. He rules the corner of 4th and Main. Truly worth the 40 minute drive from the OC. It is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner with great Happy hour and taco specials. This is OCwino's top pick. Belly's full, off we went to explore.
Bar Ama 118 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
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
One hot Friday afternoon, we decided to venture over to Costa Mesa for some Shabu-Shabu. California Shabu-Shabu on Baker Street was our pick of the day.
We loved the wild decor and while waiting for our counter, I got to play two rounds of my favorite video game Galaga!
We were all smiles when we figured out what to order on the menu. It's pretty massive. Trent ordered the chicken, Aubrey and McCall got the steak, and I had the salmon and scallops.
So you start off with a hot pot and add veggies and your choice of meat. Initially you are cooking your own food to your likeness. Yum! It was actually great.
After you finish cooking your meat, you add noodles, tofu, and the rest of your veggies to make a delicious and healthy udon noodle soup. Since I of course love spice, added the hot drops to all my sauces. Go hungry, because by the time I was ready for the soup, I was stuffed.
It's the perfect place to go if you are feeling a little under the weather, are super hungry, and are craving something warm and comfy. Might want to save this adventure for a cold winter day. The soup warms you inside and out.
It's a really fun atmosphere with a young and lively crowd. It's always fun to sit at the counter because you meet so many interesting people from all walks of life. Hearing new stories is always the OC Wino's favorite activity (apart from eating and drinking of course).
California Shabu-Shabu, 801 Baker St, Ste A, Costa Mesa
Day 2 of adventures sans OCWino... Trent and Shelby decide to venture over to Huntington Beach area in search of the legendary Samurai Burritos. Hidden within a sleepy strip mall, Samurai Burrito was filled with people getting their oh so Californian meal. The small restaurant serves sushi wrapped up burrito style in various hand rolls. They have a set menu, but you can also create your own burrito. Samurai Burrito also offers delicious custom poke bowls as well.
Shelby, a self proclaimed albacore fan, went for The Kamikazu with brown rice, seared albacore, garlic chips, sliced onions, avocado, crab mix, cucumber, and rising onion sauce. Trent went for something a little spicier with The Yakuza, which has rice, yellowtail, jalapeño, masago, green onion, crab mix, cucumber, and rising onion sauce.
Afterwards we were both incredibly full and satisfied. Burritos are cut in half, so they are great to share and try out more options!
Samurai Burrito, 18932 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley