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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

New Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Dining News, Events, Featured | 0 comments

 Known for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach waterfront restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made vegetarian. Studio’s Vegetarian Tasting Menu currently includes the following dishes: CRIMSON BEET TARTARE – golden beet “yolk,” horseradish crème fraîche Roasted red beets are chopped to create this tartare, and topped with a golden beet “yolk.” The tartare is dressed with a ring of horseradish crème fraiche and garnished with micro herbs and edible viola flowers. Contains: Dairy CRISPY RICE PAELLA – bouquet tiny vegetables, romesco sauce Crispy risotto rice is cooked in vegetable stock with sofrito and saffron, finished with grated cheese, then sautéed until golden...

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Mimi’s Introduces a Tasty Honey Lavender Pork Chop

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in American, Dining News, Featured | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Mimi’s is one of our favorite family dining destinations in OC, and during the summer, they tested 175 guest-submitted recipes to find the newest addition to Mimi’s menu. With the help from Ellise Pierce, aka Cowgirl Chef, Mimi’s discovered the winning dish – a honey lavender pork chop. When I heard the news of this newest menu addition, I couldn’t wait to bring the family to our local Mimi’s to try the new dish. Mimi’s is my younger son’s favorite restaurant, and I was excited to surprise him with news that we were having dinner at his favorite restaurant. I waited to surprise him with the news until we arrived at Mimi’s, and he squealed with delight when he realized where we were eating. Our family was seated at a comfortable...

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Temecula’s So-Cal Chef Open: Chefs Compete, You Eat, Kids Win

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Events, Featured | 0 comments

  An invitation to the media preview of the 9th Annual So-Cal Chef Open set the stage for a gorgeous summer afternoon recently at Avensole Vineyard in Temecula where my favorite foodie in crime sister, Shan, and I sipped wine and enjoyed a variety of beautifully prepared bites. Sprinkled in were appearances by Celebrity Chef, Penny Davidi, as well as an award winning crew of Southern California chefs, all to benefit at risk youth and raise funds for Oak Grove Center For Education & The Arts. Oak Grove Center for Education & The Arts is a nonprofit residential, educational, and treatment center that serves at risk youth and their families struggling with a variety of challenges with facilities in Murietta, Perris and Bermuda Dunes. Speaking at the event was CEO, Tammy Wilson, who shared an overview of the center and...

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Ocean Breezes and Delicious Bites at Las Brisas

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in American, Best of OC, Featured | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue We were recently invited to Las Brisas in Laguna Beach to sample some new items from their Patio Menu. Hmm, summertime evening, taking in the coastline and enjoying the iconic restaurant? Absolutely! Upon our arrival we were thrilled to discover a favorite local chef of ours, Johannes Bernau, he is overseeing their menu, sampling new items with the guests and introducing dishes that are more seasonal. We love his creativity with food! In addition, you’ll find he is very down to earth and kind. While taking in the ocean breeze and views; we each sipped on a Spicy Mango Margarita. It was so delicious and quenched our thirst; not too spicy and not too sweet, it was just right. Soon after Chef Bernau, brought over a perfectly Charred Artichoke with Cotija...

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Square One Pizza in Irvine

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Featured, Italian | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue There is something special about a restaurant that is run by a mom and a dad with small children. I feel that when a family opens a restaurant during one of their busiest (and hardest) parenting phases that their entire family pours their heart and soul into the restaurant. I found this to be true when meeting the owners of a new local pizza place in Irvine called Square One Pizza. I brought our family to Square One for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I not only fell in love with the owners, but also the delicious cuisine they were creating. The restaurant has a fun hipster ambiance, and a beautiful outdoor patio that is perfect for parties and special events. Since there was a graduation party...

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Luna Grill Fresh Spring Menu

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Best of OC, Events, Featured, Mediterranean | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue I was recently introduced to Luna Grill, and it has become my go-to place for eating out on Tuesday evenings because of their kids eat free night. Our family of five can get more than enough food (often with leftovers) for less than $20 on Tuesday nights. The modern family dining destination just keeps getting better as they recently introduced some fresh and delicious spring menu items. When dining at Luna Grill last week, we were eager to try the new spring menu items. When looking at the menu, it was the spring arugula salad that caught my eye. It was larger than I had expected and featured Ancient grain superstar quinoa, tabouleh with chickpeas, celery, tomato, feta and roasted pumpkin seeds; all tossed with Luna’s signature house vinaigrette. The salad...

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The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar Introduces Sunday Brunch

Posted by on Apr 16, 2016 in Dining News, Events, Featured | 0 comments

  The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar will introduce a new Sunday Brunch at its waterfront location in Newport Beach (3131 W. Coast Highway), beginning Sunday, April 17th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Executive Chef Yvon Goetz will present a brunch menu that will change weekly and consist of dishes such as Zinfandel Braised Beef Shortrib Hash & Fried Eggs with duck fat-roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted cauliflower; and Almond Croissant Crème Brulee French Toast with fresh berries, applewood smoked bacon and a berry-zinfandel syrup. The menu will feature Chef Goetz’s Pacific Rim flavorings, such as fresh line-caught Opah, Mong Chong, Ono & Mahi Mahi flown in daily from Hawaii, and will also tie in to the expansive wine list with numerous wine-infused ingredients. The Winery Newport Beach Sunday Brunch intends to transport guests to a relaxing Napa...

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Spring Menu Makes Splash at Laguna Beach’s Driftwood Kitchen

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in American, Dining News, Events, Featured | 0 comments

  Driftwood Kitchen has received national recognition for its breathtaking ocean views and an exquisite menu of seasonal California cuisine, which is overseen by Executive Chef Rainer Schwarz. His acclaimed menu of ocean-inspired offerings now sees the addition of dishes featuring fresh & vibrant Spring ingredients, including squash blossoms, heirloom tomatoes, cauliflower, Yukon gold potatoes, green and red papaya, yellow corn, spring peas, and morel mushrooms. Chef Rainer’s new menu features the following dishes: Soup & Salads CARAMELIZED ONION & LEEK SOUP gruyere cheese | oxtail broth | grilled bread CHILLED CORN SOUP mexican style grilled baby corn | tomato chutney | cilantro Small Plates CRISPY THAI CALAMARI STEAK green & red papaya salad | spicy ginger cilantro dressing | curry aioli SUMMER SQUASH BLOSSOMS bellwether farm ricotta | lemon | mint | shallots | chunky heirloom tomato sauce...

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Newport Beach Duffy Boat Lunch Spot: The Trough Sandwich Kitchen

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in American, Featured, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue While on our Spring Break family staycation in Newport Beach, we picked up lunch from the popular sandwich shop, The Trough Sandwich Kitchen on the Peninsula to take with us on a Duffy Boat ride around the harbor. The Trough Sandwich Kitchen is one of the most innovative new sandwich shops in Orange County that uses high-quality meats, cheeses, and freshly baked bread. We walked into the restaurant and immediately was greeted by the friendly staff who helped us to select some sandwiches that would be good to enjoy while on the water. Once our sandwiches were ready, they provided us with everything that we needed to take lunch on the boat including utensils, and napkins. While our on the boat enjoying the beautiful sunny spring afternoon, when the kids tummies...

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Boudin Fresh New Spring Salads

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in American, Bakery, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Spring has sprung at your local Boudin where they are serving fresh and delicious seasonal salads for a limited time. I recently went to Boudin with my two children to see how the salads stack against other salads in the area and the flavors of the salads far exceeded my expectations. Boudin has always been my go-to place for soup or sandwiches, and this was my first time trying one of their salads. We placed our order at the cash registers in the front of the restaurant, filled our cups with sweet iced tea, and then took a seat in a comfortable booth to await our lunch. When the mouthwatering salads arrived at our table, we couldn’t wait to sink our taste buds into the fresh and healthy dishes. We began...

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The Book of Mormon Dinner at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in American, Events, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge is my favorite place to dine before seeing a production at The Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The Chef at Leatherby’s, Chef Ross, is one of the most innovative chefs in Orange County and creates culinary masterpieces themed for every production in the Broadway series at the Segerstrom. While I have dined at Leatherby’s multiple times with my children, I have never brought my husband before. Since I was planning an unforgettable Book of Mormon date night, it would not have been complete without dinner at Leatherby’s before the show. The minute that we walked into the restaurant, we were greeted by the friendly staff who walked us to a table by the glass windows that overlook the beautiful Segerstrom Center. We sipped on a glass of chardonnay...

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Pig Out at Pig Pen Delicacy

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in American, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue There is a delicious new reason to bring the family to 4th Street Market in Santa Ana – Pig Pen Delicacy. I recently went to the new restaurant for lunch to see what all the hype was about and discovered my favorite burger in Orange County, the maple bacon jam burger. It was my first time visiting the 4th Street Market, and I loved everything about the hipster dining destination. There are multiple restaurants to choose from, a relaxed indoor dining area, and a rad art inspired outdoor dining patio. I ordered my lunch at the Pig Pen counter, opened my cold bottle of coca-cola, and then found a perfect seat on the outdoor patio. The minute that I smelled my delectable lunch, I was in heaven. Inside of a soft,...

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Risotto Love at Brio Tuscan Grille

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Featured, Italian, Recipes | 0 comments

 One of my favorite things to eat is risotto. When I learned that Brio Tuscan Grille was introducing two new delicious risotto dishes, I couldn’t wait to plan dinner at Brio with the family. We dined on a Sunday evening after a fun weekend exploring Orange County together as a family. The kids were relaxed in the family-friendly environment and enjoyed coloring on the “paper tablecloth” while waiting for our dinner to arrive. Dinner began with a spicy shrimp bruschetta with housemade lobster butter sauce, fontina cheese, and charred tomato relish. The bruschetta came beautifully presented on a long wood tray and cut into bite size portions. I was expecting the bruschetta to be very spicy, but it was just right. The spice wasn’t too overbearing, and even my daughter enjoyed the flavor combination. Next we shared the Brio...

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Share Our Strength’s 9th annual Taste of the Nation

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Dining News, Events, Featured | 0 comments

 Montage Laguna Beach, the luxurious five star, five diamond oceanfront Laguna Beach resort, will host the 9th annual Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation® Laguna Beach event on May 15, 2016. A number of celebrity chefs will come together to prepare fresh farm-to-table delicacies to further Share Our Strength’s mission to end childhood hunger in Orange County and across the nation. Event attendees will enjoy an afternoon of delectable tastings, fine wines, signature cocktails, and picturesque panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean at Montage Laguna Beach. In addition to delicious food and drinks, the event will feature a silent and live auction with live entertainment by the local band, The Kalama Brothers. Executive Chef Craig Strong of Studio, Montage Laguna Beach’s award-winning signature restaurant, will be joined by the following talented celebrity chefs: Chef Nathan Beriau, Montage Palmetto...

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Romantic Date Night at The Anaheim White House

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in American, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

  It feels like forever since my husband and I have been able to sneak away for a night alone. The Anaheim White House has been on my list of places that I’ve wanted to go, and when the grandparents offered to babysit the kids, I jumped at the chance to go to dinner with my husband. The restaurant is located just a short distance from Disneyland and is right in the heart of Anaheim. When we arrived at The Anaheim White House, I was in awe of the beauty of the lights and the building. It felt like we had been swept into another era upon entering the restaurant. There is extreme attention to detail with every part of the decor from the hand painted murals to the light fixtures. I was already in love with the restaurant...

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Epic Korean Fried Chicken at Krave Asian Fusion

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Asian, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

  I am always in the mood for a new food adventure. When I heard all the buzz about the popular Korean fried chicken being served at the dining hot spot, Krave Asian Fusion, I couldn’t wait to come in for dinner. The restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of Irvine, right across the popular Hotel Irvine. I brought my two kids along with me for dinner to get their opinion of the delicious dishes, and ever since we went, they have been begging me to bring them back for more. The restaurant has a modern, relaxed, family-friendly ambiance with stellar service. We took our seat at one of the comfortable booths and couldn’t wait to sink our taste buds into the cuisine. We started with the salmon avocado salad that featured Persian cucumber, tobiko, crabstick, and pea...

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Hidden Gem: The Crooked Duck in Long Beach

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Date Night, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 When I heard about the upcoming Dine Out Long Beach, Restaurant Week 2.0, I realized that I rarely dine in Long Beach. I am always dining around Orange County, San Diego, and Los Angeles, but for some strange reason often skip Long Beach. It was time for that to change so I planned a date night with my husband at the popular local dining destination, The Crooked Duck. We dropped the kids off at their grandparents house in Huntington Beach and enjoyed a scenic drive along Pacific Coast Highway to the restaurant. When we arrived at The Crooked Duck, we were surprised with the location. The restaurant is located right in the heart of a residential community in Long Beach and looks just like a house that has been converted into a local eatery. Inside the restaurant was one...

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Sensational Slapfish Serves Fresh Seafood in Brea

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Featured, Reviews, Seafood | 0 comments

  Families in Brea are in for a big treat with the opening of the new Slapfish Restaurant. Slapfish has always been my kids favorite place to go for fresh seafood that is prepared in a way that children can’t resist eating. With there being so many restaurant options in Brea, a kid-friendly casual seafood dining destination is one that the community has been wanted for quite some time. The new Slapfish location is located right off the 57 Freeway and Imperial Highway in a brand new shopping center. It features both indoor and outdoor seating with modern decor. There are accents of recycled wood, fresh white tiles and chic tables. The overall design of the restaurant is welcoming and a place where young children will feel at home when enjoying a delicious meal. While dining at the new...

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Miner’s Diner in Julian

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Featured, Travel | 0 comments

  During our day trip to Julian, we had an incredible experience doing the mining tour together as a family. Our kids had worked up quite a big appetite after the tour, and we walked to downtown Julian for some lunch. It was a holiday weekend, and the streets of Julian were crowded with hundreds of people. Every restaurant had more than an hour wait, but we knew that there was not any other restaurant in the area for at least a 45-minute drive outside of Julian, so we waited the hour wait to have lunch at the popular Miner’s Diner. Once we took a seat at our table, we felt like we had been swept into a different era. There were people having dessert at the soda fountain bar, children bringing up candy to purchase from the candy...

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Sweet Bliss at poqetDONUTS in Irvine

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Breakfast, Featured, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Dare I say it? As I have gotten older, I have slowly lost my desire to crave sweet treats – GASP! My taste buds have changed over the years where I have now found myself preferring salty over savory. I’ve tried many of the new cutting edge donut shops around Orange County that have honestly left me underwhelmed. I just can’t grasp the concept of paying almost $5 for a donut when I would be completely content with a simple sugar donut. When I heard about another new donut shop opening in Irvine, I was curious to see if it would stand out among the rest in Orange County, so I brought my two kids in for an afternoon treat. The hot new donut spot is called poqetDONUTS. It is a...

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