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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

The Sliding Door Cafe and Bakery

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The Newport Beach Peninsula was one of my favorite places to hang-out as a kid. In high school, it was a place that everyone went “cruising” on the weekends. Now that I am older, and have children, I visit the Peninsula in a totally different way than I did as a teen. Instead of cruising the streets with the top down on my cherry red Rabbit convertible, I now cruise the boardwalk with my kids on our bikes. While we love coming down to ride bikes on the weekends, the choice in restaurants is very limited for families. We always end up dining at Original Pizza or Ruby’s until finally discovering one of our new favorites in the area, The Sliding Door Cafe.

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My husband and I went for a Sunday Brunch tasting at The Sliding Door with some friends. We quickly fell in love with the ambiance, the location, the owners, and of course the food. The chef at The Sliding Door is constantly changing the menu to offer guest’s something new to experience every time they visit while keeping some of their fan favorites regularly on the menu.

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We started out brunch with their goat cheese fritters and lobster macaroni and cheese. The fritters were crispy and filled with warmed cheese that paired perfectly with a chile aioli dipping sauce. The lobster macaroni and cheese is one of our favorite appetizers to order when dining with kids. It is creamy and lacks the “fishy flavor” that so many children tend to not like. It is made with tasso ham, aged cheddar, herb gratine, and good size pieces of lobster.

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Goat Cheese Fritters

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Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

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Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

With scallops being my favorite seafood, I was eager to dive into their pan seared diver sea scallops. When the plate arrived with some of the largest scallops I have ever seen the flavor exploded when paired with the toasted couscous, bacon, winter squash and mushrooms. The scallops also were wonderfully complimented with the carrot ginger risotto with exotic mushrooms and bok choy.

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Pan Seared Diver Sea Scallops

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Carrot Ginger Risotto

The must-have item on the menu at Sliding Door is clearly their Cabernet braised short ribs. I have had short ribs at many locations throughout Orange County, and these are by far some of my favorite. They come upon a bed of creamy parmesan polenta, and season vegetables.

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Cabernet Braised Short Ribs

For families looking for a lighter dish the crispy seared Scottish salmon with lentils, cauliflower puree and red cabbage is perfect for a warm Spring evening. The dish is large enough for Mom and Dad to share with even enough for the kiddos to have a bite or two.

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Crispy Seared Scottish Salmon

If your kids are chicken nugget lovers, then they are going to be in chicken heaven with their brick grilled chicken. Your kids will never want another fried dino-shaped nugget again after their tastebuds are tantalized by this yummy dish that comes with truffled mashed potatoes, broccoli rabe, root vegetables and green peppercorn jus.

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Brick Grilled Chicken

The Sliding Door is one of our favorite places on the Peninsula to dine with your family because of the large use of vegetables in their dishes. Your kids will walk away from dining at this restaurant with their tummies filled with plenty of nutrition. Our other reason they are a top pick is that Mom and Dad can bring their favorite bottle of wine to dinner without any corkage fee. How fabulous is that to enjoy after a long bike ride around the Peninsula?

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Before heading home for the evening enjoy one of their freshly made desserts or take one home for later. The cheesecake and the carrot cake are our two favorite desserts at Sliding Door. The Cheesecake tasted just like the cheesecake that my husband’s Italian Grandmother used to make on Christmas evening – it was that authentic while the carrot cake was light, fluffy, and sweet.

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Pack the kids bikes in the back of your car and head down to the Peninsula for a bike ride and meal at The Sliding Door. The Sliding Door is located at 704 E Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach.

The Sliding Door Cafe and Bakery on Urbanspoon

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One Comment

  1. On a beautiful day, I love to bring my mom to Balboa to walk around. I cannot wait until our next trip so we can try this! Looks perfect for us. I already know my mom will want those scallops! I, as usual will be torn, but that salmon looks awesome!

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