Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cedar Creek Inn

Came here for dinner during Restaurant Week. They have both a $20 and $30 menu to choose from. The starters and dessert were the same, but the price difference depended on the main course ordered.

The Baby Iceberg Wedge salad, was more of a deconstructed Cobb salad, rather than the classic Wedge salad, but I wasn't complaining. Two baby halves of iceberg lettuce, came with chopped egg, applewood smoked back, grape tomatoes and blue cheese. All ingredients combined well and was not over dressed.

The Surf & Turf was a bacon wrapped petite filet mignon, which was a little dry, but the bacon made up for it. The lobster tail was 6 oz. and was served with drawn butter. A side of veggies finished off the entree.

The Coconut Supreme Cake is their signature dessert. A large slice of white cake with a coconut frosting (tasted like their was a little bit of cream cheese in the frosting ) and coconut flakes, came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake was a rather large slice, and was moist, tender and flavorful.

This was a very good value for the price. I would definitely head back here the next time restaurant week rolls around.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rumbi Island Grill

Rumbi Island Grill
24000 Alicia Parkway Blvd #23
Mission Viejo
The Gateway Center
(949) 206-1002
(949) 206-1158 FAX
Official Site


From time to time I have to reemphasize that I don't eat just Mexican food. I recently went on opening day (although a grand opening will take place on Monday, September 21 - read the Fast food Maven blog to find out about free food on Monday) to Rumbi Island Grill in Mission Viejo, a chain I had visited two locations of a handful of times while in Utah about three years ago.


Rumbi is mostly though not strictly Hawaiian. It also has some Caribbean and Asian and a touch of Mexican influence thrown in. I have described it elsewhere as a Hawaiian Pei Wei and that seems to be a good general description.



On Monday's visit I tried the Hawaiian Teriyaki bowl with chicken. Basically you pick the kind of meat you want and then the way you want it served. I got a half-sized bowl and along with the tortilla soup (yeah, I threw one of their two Mexican items in) was plenty for my lunch. As with my out-of-state Rumbi visits I am struck with how fresh everything is. For those who are used to ordering all their dressings and sauces on the side, well, it comes that way here automatically. Robustly flavored teriyaki glaze paired with white and black sesame seeds top off this bowl nicely. You can have it served over white rice, brown rice, Rumbi rice (I think it's white rice with red beans), or noodles (noodles are an extra 79 cents). For those who like to get half sweet potato fries and half regular fries at The Counter be aware that Rumbi fries already come that way.


Click here or any photo in this entry to be taken to the complete (14 photos) photo album at flickr.

Looking forward to their other OC locations opening up...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

China Garden changing ownership

We just ate there for dimsum lunch today, and noticed a sign in the windows indicating that the new owner will be "VIP Seafood Restaurants, Inc." Sorry to see the ownership change! Even with the splashier Capital Seafood opening up recently, China Garden was still my go-to place for dishes like geoduck and peking duck (no relation).

I guess the writing was on the wall, with the smaller crowds, and the new 10% discounts to try to entice diners. And it's not like the business is out of business, yet. Hopefully VIP Seafood Restaurants is the same entity that owns VIP Harbor Seafood in West Los Angeles, a second floor eatery off Barrington and Wilshire, that was similarly serviceable, if not in the same league as the outposts throughout Monterey Park and Rowland Heights.

And hopefully they try competing on quality, rather than price. Irvine's Capital is certainly more vulnerable on the quality and authenticity score.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Chippy

The Chippy Fish & Chips
2222 Michelson Dr. #216
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 833-2322

This is what you look for from Michelson

This is not a review per se but a quick augmentative followup to ElmoMonster's review of The Chippy on his Monster Munching site so go to his blog for the whole report. I read his report on Monday and since this place is close enough to where I live I headed there at dinner time and arrived at 6:23 only to find them closed even though they officially close at 6:30pm. Then I tried again on Tuesday, arriving at 5:42pm only to find them closed again. This was making my quest look more important to me than it was, but, hey, if it's close and they have good fish and chips why not give them a try?

The view walking into the food court

This morning I decided to play the early bird so I showed up for lunch at 11:30am and amazingly they were open. I told them about my prior two failures to try their food and they apologized and said sometimes business is slow after business hours (understandable considering they are in a food court whose main object is to feed lunch to hungry businesspeople). They said to just call ahead if it's near the end of the day and they will stay open if they know you are coming . . . as long as you still arrive before 6:30pm.

The most exciting picture ever

In short, this was a lot like the places I went to when I lived in Ireland, all of which were generically called, "the chippy." The owner here lived in England and brought his fish and chips knowledge back for us to enjoy. The only difference here is that this chippy didn't wrap their fish in several sheets of newspaper. Then again, the Belfast Telegraph is hard to come by in these parts.

My #4 one-fish, one-shrimp combo

ElmoMonster's writeup here.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of when I went back a couple weeks later and got some fish again and some hush puppies:


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Road to Lent (or one bloggers attempt to avoid meat)

I have a resolution to attend church more. In an effort to stray away from being my self-proclaimed "Catholic-lite", I'm also partaking in Lent. In a New York minute, this means that for all Fridays between now and Easter (starting on and including Ash Wednesday) I will not consume meat. My definition of meat includes beef, pork, chicken, and most land animals. Protein-rich alternatives include seafood, eggs, nuts, and tofu.

Seeing that steak and pork products are a few of my favorite things (cue Julie Andrews), this would not be easy. It's like in elementary school where you HAD to read the book and do a report on it. When it comes to food and my childhood, being told what I had to eat was frustrating. In an effort to help some fellow bloggers with the conundrum that is Lent, here are a few places I've tried in the last week.

Signature Kitchen (South Coast Plaza) - Costa Mesa

I was here picking up some concert tickets, and decided to spend my pre-workout dinner in this new take on a food court. Three culinary tastes all under one roof. The best part is being able to order off any menu at the register.

Local favorite Nancy Silverton features some fresh mozzarella sandwiches, grilled Gruyere, and a tuna melt panini. Her secret is the La Brea Bakery bread used. When in doubt, just go with the special: Any half sandwich/panini with a house salad or cup of soup for $6.95.

East coast's Marcus Samuelsson showcases his love of all natural, black Angus burgers. There's also a mahi mahi sandwich, feta salad, and the only selection with french fries *and* sweets.

Iron Chef Cat Cora has got her 'que on with fresh global options. Smoking hot vegetable soup, cheddar madeleines, BBQ shrimp, and the option of fire-roasted veggies and smoked mozzarella. There are not only fresh croutons and a drizzle of pesto in the soup bowl, but even more bread served alongside. It is here where I enjoy my soup with cheddar madeleines and include some natural, skin-on fries. The pesto was a delicious touch to my smoking hot bowl. I found this to be a great alternative to the other options on this side of South Coast.

Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina - Newport Beach

Decided to check out their OC Restaurant Week dinner special. Four starters and four entrees to choose from (plus dessert) all for $20. Didn't even factor in the tortillas (I had two too many), honey chile butter, chips and trio of dipping options. Carb overload? Yes. Also added a bottomless Caesar for $3, which "serves 1-2".....however, we realized too late that we were charged twice.

I began with Tequila Lime Shrimp. Now if I liked corn more, I probably would've ordered the lobster corn chowder instead. I couldn't tell if my shrimp was portioned specially for restaurant week, but it was kinda minuscule with three pieces. Flavor-wise, it was not bad. Red pepper, cilantro and garlic gave it a little kick. Round two were their Tacos del Patron - beer battered slipper lobster tails with avo, onion, tomato, cabbage and sauce wrapped in flour tortillas. There were also rice and ranchero beans (more filler!) To tell you the truth, I don't even remember the fried ice cream. Maybe I just gave up at that point?

The man began with the Caesar and ended with Rocky's Original Big Baja Bucket (a non-practicing dinner companion). For about $25, he was very pleased with delivery of carne asada, grilled chicken, Baja shrimp and lobster tails. Only required utensils for his sides! How very Man vs. Food. There was something for everyone that night.

The standby: The Veggie Grill at Irvine Spectrum

Can I tell you how much I enjoy this place? Seriously, if I forget where I am and just concentrate on the food ~ it tastes like chicken (or carne asada, as I had last Friday). Add some sweet potato fries (which I've had heated debates about how they counter those at The Counter) and you're set. I was a little "meh" on the chili, but steamin' kale is a good option too. I vouch for any of the "chickin'" entrees. Their Revolution iced teas are fantastic. I get bartendery and blend based on my mood.

Somewhere I've been looking forward to: Fukada off Irvine Center Drive

Tucked in one of those neighborhood centers (The Commons, to be exact) is the little non-chain that could, a Japanese space called Fukada. I've been craving their udon for a few weeks now, and since my lunch hour is so late in the day - it's the perfect time to go. As long as there's still a slight chill in the air, it's udon weather!

Next week for me - deciding if I want my fish and chips from The Olde Ship (Santa Ana) or that place ...what's that name . .. . I found last year off Tustin Avenue. Hole in the wall with a super long line. Next door to a 31 flavors I think. Anyone?

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