Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So truely statisfying

Originally published in the April 6, 2011 issue of the Coast Report
By Britney Peraza, Staff Writer

With an adjective like true underlined in the name, I had high expectations for the True Food Kitchen and they were more than fulfilled.

The restaurant focuses on natural ingredients to keep the body healthy without sacrificing taste. The whole menu is based on Andrew Well’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Food Pyramid, which is focused on the ingredients needed to sustain a healthy physical and mental life.

The restaurant’s interior cultivates an eco-friendly look in its high ceilings, wooden and glass decor, green plates and planted grass sectioning off the tables. The relaxed aura adds to the sophistication of the atmosphere.

I started off with a refreshing red moon soda which was a mix of pink grapefruit, yuzu and agave. The tall glass paired with a slice of grapefruit made the essence of real chic come alive and the smooth taste with a kick of sweetness cleansed my mouth after every bite.

The soup of the day cleverly titled immunity soup was a delicious mushroom stock base with onions, shittake mushrooms, carrots, blanched broccoli and astragals root. The stock was a little strong but the vegetables added their own oomph to the soup to lighten the taste.

My main dish of choice was the natural certified angus beef steak tacos. Every second of eating these tacos was an experience in itself mainly because of the tenderness of the steak pieces that were piled high on tiny corn tortillas.

The steak’s juices and woodsy spice complemented the avocado, sprinkled cotija cheese, and tomatillo salsa laying gracefully a top the meat. Since the three tacos are assembled and prepared like three bite sized street tacos, each bite gives you a taste of every flavor.

Accompanying the tacos was a bowl of heavenly anasazi beans with a hint of cotija cheese, onions and tomatoes. The kitchen was a true success that left me feeling balanced and satisfied.

The True Food Kitchen’s prices range from $6 to $12 for appetizers and $7 to $24 for entrees.

The restaurant is located in Fashion Island at 451 Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Irish beers to help make your St. Patty's Day authentic

Originally published in the March 16, 2011 issue of the Coast Report
By Annie Kim, News Editor

Photo courtesy of Google

A St. Patrick’s Day celebration is never complete without a nice tall glass of cold beer. So for the sake of research and to become fully prepared for the upcoming holiday, four popular Irish beers were put to the test.

The first beer on the tasting menu was Smithwicks, pronounced “Smitticks.” This Irish ale was first produced by brewer John Smithwick in 1710.

On first sight the beer is a dark brown color but still somewhat clear with a thick white foamy head. It definitely had a malt taste with noticeable hops. The beer was smooth and it was fun to keep saying “Smitticks” with each sip.

The second Irish beer was Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale which originated from Ireland’s oldest brewery. This beer was reddish-brown in color and had a creamy taste to it.

Kilkenny, along with Smithwicks are both brewed by the Guinness brewery company.

The next beer was Bass and although it is an English ale it was recommended by Aubre Day, the bartender at Skosh Monahan’s because of its popularity in Ireland. This beer was much lighter than the first two ales but seemed to have just as much intensity in flavor.

The last and final beer on my quest of finding the perfect Irish beer was Harp Lager. This beer is also brewed by Guinness and is said to be made with water from the Cooley Mountains in Dundalk, Ireland.

This beer was the lightest in color and noticeably crisp in taste, especially when compared to the other three beers.

So, after tasting four different beers and contemplating which beer reigned supreme, the best answer I could find was — try all four. After all, it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

Festive food for St. Patrick's Day

Originally published in the March 16, 2011 issue of the Coast Report
By Priya Gupta and Hanna Fry, Views Editor and Editor-in-Chief

When one goes to an Irish restaurant for traditional Irish fare, one might not know exactly what to expect.

Those who frequent Skosh Monahan’s, however, know that they can expect something wildly unfamiliar yet totally delicious.

While the restaurant boasts a variety of everyday favorites, even going as far as to healthful offer gluten-free options, the traditional Irish cuisine is a must try for the more adventurous among us.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was like being in your hometown pub, but with all of the contemporary amenities. It’s a comfortable mix of dark wood, dim lights and plasma TVs.

The traditional food is nothing like what you find at your hometown pub though.
Skosh Monahan’s sheppard’s pie was definitely a pleasant surprise with its hearty and flavorful meat and potatoes. The gravy that came with the dish had a slight spicy kick to it and made for a perfect pairing.

The cabbage and corned beef was also quite delicious. While pickled cabbage in not everyone’s cup of tea, it was definitely worth trying and the beef was spiced and brined enough to give it flavor but not so much as to overpower the natural flavor of the meat.

On the other hand, the bangers and mash were less than satisfactory. The sausages seemed a tad overcooked and, accordingly, had a very dry, tough texture to them.

The mashed potatoes which were served with the sausages were light and fluffy and paired with the afore mentioned gravy. Interestingly enough, that gravy seems to taste great on just about everything.

The restaurant also features a full bar with all the traditional drinks and a selection of Irish beers and liquors.

For all those looking to go on a mouth-watering Irish adventure, Skosh Monahan’s can be found at 2000 Newport Blvd., on the corner of 19th street and Newport Boulevard, in Costa Mesa.

Prices range from $5 to $15 for appetizers and $10 to $30 for entrees. The traditional Irish favorites cost about $15 each.

Season's 52 offers tasty delights

Originally published in the March 16, 2011 issue of the Coast Report
By Elizabeth Schmidt, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Google

A newer restaurant at South Coast Plaza does everything to impress from its unique d├ęcor to its versatile menu with every item less than 435 calories.

Season’s 52 opened in fall 2010, and has an upscale environment. It has a dining room, a wood fire grill kitchen, and a bar as well with many selections of wine.

The name of the restaurant reflects its menu because the menu changes when the seasons change.

The lunch and dinner menus consist of flavorful choices including wood fired flatbreads, appetizers, salads, entrees and mini indulgences for dessert.

I had the Organic Baby Spinach Salad and the Grilled Chicken Caesar Sandwich which were both delicious.

The tangy vinaigrette dressing and sweet pears complemented the salad. The chicken in the sandwich was cooked to perfection and had a balanced medley of tomatoes, lettuce and Caesar dressing.

Season’s 52 also has mini dessert indulgences which are served in a shot glass and are $2.75.

My dessert selections were the chocolate peanut butter mousse and keylime pie. The keylime pie was accented with a layered graham cracker crust that was savory with every spoonful.

The other mini indulgence choices are mocha macchiato, Meyer lemon pound cake, pecan pie, Belgian chocolate rocky road, carrot cake and fresh fruit.

The customer service exceeded expectations from the moment of entering the restaurant to leaving and it created a very pleasant atmosphere.

For such a busy Saturday afternoon, my friend and I were served in 45 minutes and everything came out in a timely manner.

I would recommend this restaurant not only for its delicious items on the menu, but also a healthier option when going out to dine in Orange County.

Lunch at Season’s 52 ranges from $10-$20 and dinner from $15-$25.

Seasons 52 is at 3333 Bristol St., Ste. 2802 in Costa Mesa.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mama D's serves Italian food with a familial feel

Originally published in the March 8, 2011 issue of the Coast Report
By Britney Peraza, Staff Writer

Warm greetings, nook-like dining, soft jazz in the background and a mix of artwork including children’s drawings and family photos–this mama knows how it’s done.

The Original Mama D’s Italian Kitchen is all about family and hospitality with the age-old recipes to go with it. The picture of Mama and Papa D over the fireplace gives it that real feel of the love that comes with being together around an Italian meal.

This restaurant is a new found love and not just because of the homemade food, but for its over-the-top customer service.

While waiting over an hour just to sit down on a Saturday night there was a non-stop bustle from hosts and managers to make sure every customer waiting received bread, drinks, free appetizers and complimentary blankets for those outside.

This is a place that makes sure you enjoy every single moment during your experience. Every employee feels like family, and encompasses the character to go with it.

The menu consists of genuine “like mama used to make it” Italian food with the option to add Mama D’s famous pink sauce. A creamy blend of their homemade alfredo and marinara sauce.

I completed my Saturday with friends at Mama D’s by starting with parmesan crusted bread—warm and made from scratch. The calamari fritti with marinara was the perfect shareable appetizer with a crunchy fried shell covering tender pieces of squid.

The Roma pasta with delicate mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, soft flavorful artichoke hearts tossed with moist chicken and Mama D’s famous pink sauce.

The developed richness of the sauce gave every bite the real taste of authenticity. Although the linguine pasta was heavy, the fresh vegetables gave the plate a light finish.

After falling into a Mama D’s food coma a dessert seemed far from an option and surprisingly there is no dessert menu. A tiny oven-warmed and gooey chocolate chunk cookie for each guest was brought to the table for the flawless ending to Mama’s experience.

Prices at Mama D’s range from $5 to $8 for appetizers and $10 to $22 for entrees.
The restaurant offers complimentary valet parking for guests and is located at 3012 Newport Blvd. in Newport Beach with two other locations in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mobile food truck offers delicious gourmet sliders

By Annie Kim, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Mobi Munch

There were about eight different food trucks that Thursday afternoon at the Orange County Fairgrounds’ Food Truck Fare, ranging from sweet and savory to Asian and Mexican.

Still, the noticeably long line at The Burnt Truck gave me the clue that that’s where I should probably start.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rudy's Pub is more than just a sports bar

*Editor's note: the writer of this review was  previously employed at Rudy's Pub & Grill*
By Priya Gupta, Staff Writer

Logo courtesy of Rudy's Pub & Grill

Great food, friendly service and sports galore are hallmarks of the Rudy’s Pub and Grill experience.

Usually when you head down to a pub, you brace yourself for the greasy—and usually not too tasty—pub fare, however, eating at Rudy’s requires no such preparation.

In addition to all the normal amenities of a sports bar, such as the 38 TVs throughout the restaurant and the full service bar, Rudy’s also offers patrons a full restaurant menu.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Onotria Wine Country Cuisine is hidden treasure

Originally published in the Sept. 22, 2010 issue of the Coast Report
By Priya Gupta, Staff Writer

When occasions that warrant a formal dinner come around — be they big celebrations or just a thank God it’s Friday moment — most people will head over to one of the many big name chain restaurants in the area.

Sometimes, however, there are hidden gems to be found right in one’s own backyard. Costa Mesa’s own Onotria Wine Country Cuisine is certainly one of those gems.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Five Guys burgers good, not great

Originally published in the Oct. 13, 2010 issue of the Coast Report

 Photo by Andy Nguyen
When I read on the Orange County Register’s Fast Food Maven blog that there was going to be a Five Guys Burgers and Fries opening in Huntington Beach, I was ecstatic.