Come to this little cafe on UCI campus and be prepared to pay! You also get complimentary baked goods such as raisin scones, banana bread and nut bread to pass the time waiting for your order. While other items definitely weren’t worth the price, the French toast (pictured) was unique in that it uses a brioche type bread with a hint of orange flavor. Portions are big enough for 2 smaller appetites if you get a side of something as well. Didn’t think the other stuff such as omelettes or the Monte Cristo were anything to write home about as they were just so-so. $14-$15 average for things like eggs Benedict, omelettes, and there like of is really too steep in my book, even moreso for a campus restaurant.
Britta’s Cafe, 4245 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612. Tel: 949-509-1211
There’s nothing better than eating off a roach coach when you’re living in soCal. However, these moving restaurants usually hover in and around LA, and not in a city like Irvine. It was cool that this particular taco truck was brought to my attention since it makes 2 stops outside the Sprint building at 10.30am and also 1.30pm. A bunch of us congregated for lunch and I had fish and carnitas tacos. It was a super cheap lunch, very flavorful — although the carnitas was a tad on the salty side but better over-seasoned than under-seasoned I say. They also have tortas. I’m trying the shrimp and krab tostadas next time — they looked awesome!
Alexa’s Catering, Sprint Building, corner of El Camino Real & Commerce, Irvine, CA 92602. Tel: 714-839-6332 (drive all the way into Commerce until you reach the T-junction. Make a right and then an immediate left into the office building. Truck will be parked right near the building entrance to the left)
Orange County Restaurant Week is a really good chance for you to try some of these restaurants. We did! 3-course lunch or 4-course dinner at $20/$30 respectively — I really loved my pecan-crusted tilapia (pictured)entree, fish was cooked perfectly, moist and tender with a nice crunchy exterior from the pecan and breadcrumbs. The vodka penne was probably for the vegetarians and is how you would expect it to be, just so-so. Nice atmosphere with impeccable service. Ordinarily, prices would be slightly high for lunch I would say — but these prix fixe menus created especially for this week is a bargain, and a very tasty bargain at that!
The Clubhouse, at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Tel: 714-708-2582
Surprisingly, it’s possible to find decent pizza in OC. I mean it’s not quite pizza in Italy, or NY for that matter, but it’s pretty decent for OC. Not too many toppings to bog the crust down and the best part is the pizza is thin with poufy sides. If you’re able to order the grilled vegetables with burrata (pictured), do it! It’s awesome! They also have paninis and house-made pastas — only tried the panini which was so-so — bread was too soft and soggy but filling was great. Definitely have to come back and try the house-made pastas which includes raviolis, tagliatale and more. Service is great too! If you have a sweet tooth, the ricotta cheese cake with berries is also highly recommended!
Pizzeria Ortica, 650 Anton, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Tel: 714-445-4900
A happy hour that ends at 6.30pm doesn’t leave much time for most, but if you can get to this one, it’s worth it just for the service alone! We got the Thai pizza and a beet salad (everything on the happy hour menu lists the regular AND HH prices) — loved the beet salad, the pizza…. not too much. The manager stopped by and asked how we’re liking the food and I was honest. He offered to get us a replacement. We asked for the veggie pizza instead. It was MUCH better, but the crust was still on the soggy side. If they can get the crust right, it woulda been pretty darn good. Service is excellent! Will come back and try the other items — the sliders looked pretty good!
Bistro West, 2601 Park Ave, Tustin, CA 92782. Tel: 714-259-9378
I’d always thought I’d miss eating red meat, but after a month of not using it as the main focus of my meal, I can honestly say, I don’t really think about it too much anymore. In fact, I’ve been quite enjoying the vegetarian options available out there, one of which has been the veggie BLT at Gypsy Den. I couldn’t believe how tasty this sandwich was — perfectly toasted bread with avocado, veggie bacon, tomato — delicious as hell. I mean what the hell is veggie bacon anyway? I have no clue, but I didn’t care. It tasted good and that’s all I needed to know. Never thought anything without meat could taste THIS good!
Gypsy Den, 2930 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Tel: 714-549-7012