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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Creating New Family Memories at The Ritz Prime Seafood Restaurant

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 in American, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Some of my fondest childhood memories were from dining at The Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach with my parents. I would always get dressed up in my prettiest dress complete with tights and patent leather shoes before going to dine at The Ritz with my family. It was a place where we celebrated my Grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, birthdays and family milestones. When the time had come for the iconic Ritz Restaurant to close their doors, many people were saddened by the news that a place where so many of us created family memories together would be gone forever. That was until they decided to re-open their doors offering the same Ritz Restaurant that we all know and love but with a fresh new look, vibe, and location. When the restaurant...

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Best Sushi Take-Out Sushi in OC: Shinkou Sushi & Poke

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Asian, Featured, Reviews, Sushi | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue I LOVE sushi. But that wasn’t always the case. For a long time, I could not stand sushi. I would avoid eating it at all costs. What I didn’t realize was that I just hadn’t experienced eating decent sushi yet. As my husband continued to try and persuade me to try sushi at different places, I finally began to cave in and found that sushi can be delicious when it is prepared properly and when made with high-quality ingredients. Slowly, I have begun to find my favorite places to eat sushi, and recently discovered the best place in Orange County for take-out sushi Shinkou Sushi & Poke. Let’s be real. As parents to three children, we are always on-the-go. We don’t always have time to cook dinner or eat at a...

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Sushi Roku Introduces Gluten-Free Menu Items

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Dining News, Events, Featured, Gluten-Free | 0 comments

 In an effort to continue to embrace gluten-free dining, Sushi Roku Fashion Island highlights the numerous wheat-free items on its menu. As with the entire menu, the gluten-free dishes feature fresh, global ingredients to create a contemporary sushi experience unlike any other in the region. In addition to Sushi and Sashimi, which are gluten-free, Sushi Roku also offers the following wheat-free dishes during lunch and dinner: Seared Albacore Sashimi with ponzu sauce Tofu 3 Ways with truffle oil, caviar and lemon oil, and scallions and sesame oil Filet Mignon-Wrapped Asparagus with soy mirin sauce Sashimi Salad with frisee and soy ginger Chilean Seabass with yuzu sauce Shima Roll with shrimp wrapped spicy tuna, cilantro, and avocado *Gluten-free menu items are served with a special housemade gluten-free Soy Sauce as well as a special house-made gluten-free Ponzu Sushi Roku Fashion...

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You’ll Feel the Love Tonight at Leatherby’s Café Rouge

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in American, Events, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue “Can you feel the love tonight….” You’ll find yourself singing this classic song from “The Lion King” while savoring the delicious cuisine prepared by Chef Ross Pangilinan at Leatherby’s Café Rouge before going to see The Lion King at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Chef Ross is one of the most talented chefs in Orange County, and his limited-time three-course theatre inspired menus are my all time favorite. Before taking my son to see the Lion King, I surprised him with dinner at Leatherby’s. We joined our friend Anita at Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman and her friend to embark on an epicurean adventure into the jungle. Not only do I love the theatre menus prepared by Chef Ross, but also his soups. Whenever I dine at Leatherby’s, I...

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NYC Meets the OC with the Opening of The Halal Guys

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Featured, Mediterranean, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Who doesn’t love New York City street food? The last time I was in New York, I took the subway in freezing temperatures to get myself a gyro from The Halal Guys. Guess what? OC locals no longer have to fly across the country, and put on snow boots to get some of America’s favorite street food from The Halal Guys. Because they are opening their first Southern California location right here in Costa Mesa on October 2nd! I had the pleasure of taking my daughter with me to a pre-opening of The Halal Guys to see if they are living up to the NY reputation. The minute that we walked in the door, we were greeted by friendly staff that walked us through the ordering process. Ordering is simple. 1....

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Creating Culinary Memories at Roy’s Fashion Island

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Featured, Reviews, Seafood | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Roy’s Roy’s was the first “fancy” restaurant that my little foodie daughter, Ella, had dined at when she was just about two years old. We were dining with my parents for a special occasion, and I still remember her being mesmerized by the fish tank and being kept happy during dinner with their complimentary children’s plate. Almost ten years later I returned with her to Roy’s for a special Mother/Daughter dinner to have our two favorite foods, steak, and lobster! Roy’s has recently introduced a limited-time surf and turf pre-fixe two-course menu for $32.95. The theme for the evening was lobster as we started with their popular Lobster potstickers. The potstickers were a little bite of heaven served with spicy Japanese miso butter sauce, and prepared with ginger, garlic, and Thai basil. We...

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Chef Azmin Ghahreman Expands Sapphire at School Meal Program to 11 Schools in Orange County

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Dining News, Featured | 0 comments

   Noted Local Chef Azmin Ghahreman, founder of Sapphire at School, a program designed to teach children about well-balanced nutrition and feed them delicious, fresh, chef-prepared meals, has announced that his initiative will now reach more than 3,500 new Orange County students as it spreads to four additional locations in the region. Adding to seven schools already involved with the program, Chef Azmin and his team will be able to serve a total of 8,000 students at 11 schools on any given school day beginning with the 2015-16 school year. New schools now added to the Sapphire at School full service lunch program include, Harbor Day in Corona del Mar, St. Catherine Of Siena Parish School in Laguna Beach, St. Edward The Confessor Parish School in Dana Point, and Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita. Designed...

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Vessel Restaurant at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in American, Featured, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue One our favorite things about staying at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego was dining at Vessel Restaurant. The restaurant came with the highest yelp ratings in the area and lived up to their expectation when we dined for dinner. We had made reservations to dine at sunset, and even though it was extremely warm outside, decided to dine on the outdoor patio. Once the sun disappeared the temperature cooled, and we were given a spectacular show of bright, beautiful colors blending in the sky. We began dinner with the delicious lobster macaroni and cheese. The appetizer featured a cheddar fondue, panko, chives and large pieces of fresh lobster. The sinful dish satisfied all our rich cravings and was the perfect prelude to our meal. For the main dish, my...

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Del Taco Introduces Handcrafted Ensaladas (Giveaway)

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Featured, Giveaways, Uncategorized | 11 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue The one thing that keeps us coming back to Del Taco is their commitment to offering their guests food made with fresh ingredients. When I heard that they were introducing some new handcrafted Ensaladas, I couldn’t wait to stop in and try one for lunch. The best part – they are all less than 600 calories with salad dressing. The salads are made to order (not pre-made) and features a fresh lettuce blend, hand sliced avocado, pico de gallo and freshly made tortilla chips. The new featured salads include: Chicken Bacon Avocado Salad: features freshly grilled marinated chicken, fresh sliced Hass avocado, crispy hand-chopped bacon, handmade pico de gallo salsa, chopped cilantro, and fresh house-made tortilla chips atop a mix of fresh crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce. Served with new cilantro...

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A Taste of Hawaii in San Diego at Bali Hai

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Featured, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

  After checking into the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego, I couldn’t decide where to go for dinner. Since we were dining at Vessel Restaurant located at the resort on the second night of our stay, we took the advice from the front desk and went to Bali Hai for dinner. Thank goodness that the resort had made a reservation for us because the waiting room was packed full of people waiting to get a table for dinner. We were lucky enough to walk right into the Polynesian-themed restaurant and get a table right next to the glass that overlooked the beautiful crystalline waters. The restaurant was filled with tables of people laughing, and celebrating life together over delicious cuisine. We started dinner by sharing the coconut shrimp appetizer. The deep fried coconut covered shrimp came served with...

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Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe in San Diego

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Bakery, Featured, Travel | 0 comments

  After spending the morning exploring the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, my kids had worked up a huge appetite. A lunch spot that I have been wanting to try for months, Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe, was just a short drive from the National Park. Once all our exploring was done, we headed over to the cafe to get some tasty sandwiches for lunch. I had heard that all of the bread and pastries were made fresh onsite daily, and I was thrilled to find out that it was true. When we walked into the restaurant, the kids got to see a real working bakery in action through all of the large glass windows. They got to see the big machinery, ovens, and racks of freshly made pastries. As we made our way toward the counter...

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Save Room for the Second Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Dining News, Events, Featured | 0 comments

  If the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival’s media preview event on July 30 was simply a “taste” of what’s in store for the actual Festival, then there’s never been such a jaw-droppingly satisfying appetizer! With thoroughly primed tastebuds, I’m already craving what’s to come at the Second Annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival. This three-day foodie adventure kicks off with a Launch Party & Charity Event on Friday, October 2 at Island Hotel’s Oak Grill & Aqua Lounge, to be followed by two action-packed days at the Newport Beach Civic Center featuring live cooking demos with celebrity and local chefs, tastings from 30 of Orange County’s best restaurants, wine panels led by Master Sommeliers, mixology courses, tastings from over 200 boutique, cult and world-renowned wines, and cocktail and beer tastings all set to the tune of...

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Brio Tuscan Grille New Fall Menu

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Featured, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Brio Brio Tuscan Grille is one of our favorite places to stop for lunch while shopping at the Irvine Spectrum Center. They offer a chic dining environment and beautiful outdoor patio for guests to dine al fresco. Brio Tuscan Grille just launched their new fall menu, and I couldn’t wait to try some of the new dishes while having lunch with my daughter. Due to the extreme heat we have been having recently in Orange County, we decided to have our lunch inside vs. on the outdoor patio. We took our seats in a comfortable booth and got ready to embark on a delicious dining adventure. My daughters eyes were immediately drawn to the tomato and mozzarella Caprese, but it was the sliced steak bruschetta that caught the attention of my taste buds....

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Authentic Mexican Food at El Rinconcito in Redding

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Featured, Mexican, Travel | 0 comments

  While spending a couple of days in Redding this summer, we couldn’t decide where to go for dinner. There were so many restaurant choices in the Redding area, with all of them having raving online reviews. There was one restaurant that stood out to us the most, so we made the choice to go to El Rinconcito for authentic Mexican food. I drove past the restaurant at least twice before realizing it was tucked away behind a local gas station in a car repair and liquor store parking lot. Since I was traveling alone with my three children, I was nervous about going into a restaurant that was so hidden from the street, but all the raving online reviews couldn’t have steered us wrong. When we walked into the small restaurant, we were immediately greeted by the family...

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Kid-friendly Plant-based Menu at Project Juice

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Featured, Gluten-Free, Reviews, Vegetarian | 1 comment

 We dined as a guest of Project Juice Watching my picky eater eat an entire raw spiced lentil wrap made me overwhelmed with joy. My two older children are always up for an epicurean adventure, but then there is always my youngest “picky eater” who is always resistant to trying new foods – especially healthy foods. Last week, I took all three of my kids into the Project Juice in Laguna Beach to sample their all-new plant-based food menu. I was shocked to see that it was my picky eater who devoured almost every raw dish prepared for lunch. We started our lunch with a refreshing watermelon berry juice mixed with sparkling water. It was made with organic, cold-pressed watermelon, strawberries, young coconut water, green apple, and lime. It was the perfect summer drink to enjoy on a warm...

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The Best Cookies and Milk in Orange County at The Dirty Cookie in Tustin

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Dessert, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of The Dirty Cookie Milk and Cookies lovers are rejoicing with the recent opening of The Dirty Cookie in Orange County. We recently made our way over to the hottest new dessert destination to see what all the hype was about, and it was love at first sip. The one challenge when having milk and cookies with my kids is finding a cup wide enough to dip the cookie into the milk. The masterminds behind The Dirty Cookie solved the problem with their brilliant invention. When we first arrived at the small restaurant, we were greeted by the employees that were just as sweet as the sugar made to make their cookies. They helped guide us through the process by first picking out our favorite type of cookie. Now, this isn’t a regular cookie,...

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Phantom of the Opera at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Events, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue The Phantom of the Opera is only here in Orange County until August 16th. Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge has created a themed Phantom of the Opera menu that is only available while the production is in Orange County. Before going to see the Phantom of the Opera over the weekend, I took my son for dinner at the highly-acclaimed restaurant. We began our evening by taking a seat together in one of the comfortable oversized booths. I sipped on a glass of chilled white wine while my son enjoyed the freshly baked bread and creamy butter. For the first course, we began with “The Phantom.” This dish was my favorite item on the menu and featured a lightly cured cobia, dashi, radish, nori, rice, and citrus. It was light and yet bold...

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Five Must-Have Seafood Dishes at Slapfish Irvine

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Featured, Reviews, Seafood | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Slapfish College students attending UCI, and families living in the surrounding areas are in for a treat with the opening of the all-new Slapfish Seafood location in the University Center (right across from UCI.) Slapfish brings sustainable seafood, and rich, bold flavors together to create some of the most delicious seafood dishes available in Orange County. Slapfish is the first place where my “picky eater” finally gave into eating seafood for the first time. It is still the only place where I can get him to enjoy the health benefits of sustainable seafood. While Slapfish is known for their rich and savory lobster roll, they also have a lot of other dishes that I highly recommend trying, including the lobster lettuce roll. The Chowder Fries! I would never have expected this dish to...

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Best Clam Chowder in Morro Bay: Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 in Featured, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Morro Bay Where is the best place to get clam chowder in Morro Bay? Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay. While spending some time in Morro Bay this summer, I had a chance to eat clam chowder at almost every restaurant, and Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay was the clear winner for having the best in the bay. Not only does the restaurant have the best clam chowder, but they also have one of the best dining views from being located right on the waterfront. My kids and I had lunch at Blue Sky and dined at one of their outdoor patio tables. We were able to enjoy the cool ocean breezes while absorbing the majestic view. My two boys each ordered the quesadilla while my daughter and I shared the clam...

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Lard Lad Donuts at Universal Studios Hollywood

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Breakfast, Featured, Theme Park Dining | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Universal Studios There is only one way to start your day at Universal Studios Hollywood, and that is with a giant donut at Lard Lad Donuts. I had heard about these giant sweet donuts from friends and made sure to plan on getting one of the sweet treats with my kids during our recent visit. When we ordered the giant donut, my kids could not believe their eyes. It was one of the largest donuts that they had ever seen, and they couldn’t wait to sink their tastebuds into the sweet treat. We all sat together at one of the outdoor tables and gobbled up every last crumb of the massive donut before starting our day exploring Universal Studios Hollywood. The donut is called “The Big Pink” and is priced at $4.99. Guests...

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