>Capital Seafood — hit and miss

>I’m beginning to believe that it is impossible to find excellent dim sum in southern California. In Orange County, it’s even more dismal. Capital Seafood offers dim sum during lunch, and while the place is packed like crazy the dim sum is only mediocre. Given, at the moment, it’s the best in Irvine, but that’s not saying much. The positives: beancurd rolls with meat and steamed tripe. Negatives: noh mai gai (sticky rice in lotus leaf) and ha cheung fun (shrimp wrapped with rice noodles). Siu mai (pork and shrimp dumplings) and har gow (shrimp dumplings) were both average. Prices are on the high side as well ranging from $2+ to $5+. If I had to wait for a table I would skip this place. If you’re too lazy to drive to Rowland Heights or Monterey Park then I guess this place will have to do. Their dinners are very overpriced but with the limited selection in Irvine, I guess this place is as good as any to drop dough and have a mediocre Chinese meal.

Capital Seafood, 2700 Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA 92606. Tel: 949-252-8188

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>Hacienda La Hoya — bigger doesn’t always mean better

>Like any other restaurant it is what you order that either makes or breaks the meal. This place is the same. A huge menu also doesn’t do it justice — in my opinion, a large menu just means you make a lot of everything but probably not very good of anything. Stick with al pastor, carne asada or camarones al mojo de ajo and you’ll love it. If you eat the pollo or carnitas, you probably won’t like it so much. Try the al pastor in a taco or on a plate with beans and rice. Soups are a hit and miss — mostly miss, so don’t bother with that. My garlic shrimps were awesome. In fact, I should’ve ordered only that and I would’ve been a happy camper!

Hacienda La Hoya
, 25542 Jeronimo Road, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Tel: 949-581-0930

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>Kimera — happy people for happy hour

>Lately my friends and I have been going to happy hour instead of meals. The deals are out there, but it’s a matter of finding where the best food and drinks are. One of my favorite places is Kimera. They offer 50% off the bar menu until 7pm and well drinks are discounted. For someone like me who isn’t into drinking, it makes great sense to eat here. After you apply the 50% discount, you’ll find that you’re getting some delicious fare for not much money at all. The pizzas here are outstanding, as are the parmesan garlic fries. If you’re wanting to go fairly low carb, you can try the crabcakes, seared ahi tuna, tomato and buffalo cheese or the hoisin chicken drummettes with sauce on the side. I find if you go with a bunch of people, it works out pretty cheap in terms of food. Alcohol is another story though, and if you like to get your drink on, it might work out to be a pretty penny even with the happy hour discount. Still, this is one of my favorite places close to home because honestly, all I come here for is the food and to spend time with my friends.

Kimera, 19530 Jamboree Road, Irvine, CA 92612. Tel: 949-261-1222

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>Super Pollo — dang it’s good!

>So after eating that bad breakfast at Eat Chow, we had to go and satiate our tummies before going home. Super Pollo was just down the road so that’s where we ended up. Their chicken is to die for as well as their quesadillas. The chicken is grilled with sweet paprika and drizzled with a garlic lemon butter sauce. They’ll give you more if you ask them. The quesadilla is HUGE and is filled with chicken, salsa, guacamole with a really crunchy shell. It costs about $6 but it’s enough to feed two light eaters easily. I was so full but I couldn’t stop eating — now THAT’s good food!

Super Pollo, 1731 Superior Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Tel: 949-642-7574

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>Albatros — any time day or night

>If you ever find yourself hungry in the middle of the night, this is a good as any choice to grab something to eat. Albatros is opened 24hrs, 7 days a week and although they are often quite slow with your order, the food is okay when you don’t really have anything else to choose from. I usually get the fish taco — they’re really generous with the piece of fish they put into your taco — a whole piece of breaded fish mind you. Just keep in mind that the tacos here are huge, not those little ones you get off a taco truck. I don’t particularly like their meat tacos as the meat is generally pretty grisly and I’m not into eating gristle. My friends usually get the breakfast burrrito but I’m not into eggs in my Mexican food all rolled up, but they swear that the chorizo is excellent. I like their green sauce here — very flavorful, but not much heat.

Albatros Mexican Food, 23591 Rockfield Blvd, Lake Forest, CA 92630. Tel: 949-859-9600

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>Eat Chow — do I have to?

>Came here at lunch time, but no lunch served. They decided to extended breakfast service until 2pm, it was almost 1pm. Bummer! Got the breakfast BLTA on sourdough — what arrived was a fried egg with lettuce which had already browned sandwiched between soggy bread with applewood smoked bacon and tomato. I never thought anything with bacon in it could be tasteless, but this was tasteless. Bland as hell. The sandwich fell apart really quickly. Shoulda just made my own breakfast sandwich at home. Friend had breakfast burrito with all beef chorizo — looked like regular sausage and again, had no taste. Decor is casual chic, but no refills on water, never asked us if we wanted something to drink. We had to wait for a table and the guy was apologetic — very nice man — about the situation. I wouldn’t have minded if the food had been stellar, but it was tasteless and not that cheap. Costa Mesa Omelette Parlor has far better food and it’s only a few blocks down. We had to go to another place to satiate our tastebuds after leaving here — not sure if I even wanna come back to give the regular menu a shot….. yeah…… that’s bad right?

Eat Chow, 1802 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. Tel: 949-650-2469
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