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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Quick and Delicious Dinner at Pizza 90

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue As a busy mom, I am always looking for a new place for fast and delicious dinner. After a busy day driving the kids to all their activities and working, I wasn’t in the mood for cooking, so we tried Pizza 90 in Irvine for the first time. What I loved the most about Pizza 90 was how quick and easy it was to order our dinner. We walked right up to the counter where we could see them making pizzas with fresh ingredients. Plus, all the pizzas are personal size so everyone in my family could get their pizzas personalized to be just what their taste buds were craving. A 3rd generation craftsman oven builder in Napoli, Italy, created the oven used at Pizza 90. The pizzas are made in...

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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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Fresh Brothers – Fresh Thinking Fresh Pizza

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue When brothers Adam and Scott decided to open up a pizza joint, they wanted it to be different; they wanted it to be fresh, and created Fresh Brothers Pizza. The minute that guests bite into their food, they can immediately tell the difference from their food and that of their competitors. From salads to wings, mini meatball sandwiches to pies, they take pride in their cuisine and are serious about keeping things fresh.  First, they offer a variety of crusts. From their New MegaGrain crust, skinny or thin crust, Deep Dish, Gluten Free, and seasonal specials like their Matzah crust, they have something for everyone. Then there is their sauce which is packed with 100% fresh tomatoes (not concentrate) and all-natural mozzarella cheese.  They take pleasure in their product and never...

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Franco On Melrose: Southern Italian in a Gardenlike Setting

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Considering I live in San Clemente, it’s surprising just how often I find myself making the one and a half plus hour trek up to L.A. for one reason or another. I always look forward to these trips. And I especially enjoy when I discover a new restaurant to add to my roster of favorites, which is exactly what happened recently when I was invited to a media tasting hosted by Chef Franco De Dominicis at his charming Italian Trattoria, Franco on Melrose. Chef Franco opened Franco on Melrose in 2012 after working in such notables as The San Lorenzo Knightsbridge in London, Il Buco in Beverly Hills, Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles, The Wilshire Grand Hotel and The Biltmore Hotel. He also served as Executive Chef of Conference and...

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Best OC Outdoor Dining at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

  I have enjoyed dining at the new Cucina Enoteca many times since they first opened. Whenever I am in the Newport Beach area for lunch, and it is a beautiful day, it is my favorite place to dine. It isn’t just the food that I love at Cucina Enoteca, but also the ambiance. The restaurant has the most beautiful decor with colorful chic accents through the restaurant. Last week, my son had an afternoon doctor’s appointment, and I treated him to lunch at Cucina Enoteca before going back to school. The outdoor patio is the number one place to dine at this restaurant, and he was comfortable and relaxed in the outdoor dining setting. The one thing about Cucina Enoteca is that once you find your favorite things on the menu, you’ll find yourself ordering it over and...

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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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Family Fun at California Pizza Kitchen

Posted by on Jan 1, 2016 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 From when my now 10 year old was 5, he would request his birthday family dinner be held at CPK. So for the past 5 years we would spend his birthday dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) in Spectrum or the one off Michelson which is now closed.  My son was devastated when he learned his beloved restaurant had closed only to be overjoyed to hear that CPK would open one up in the Woodbridge section of Irvine.   The restaurant was in the most perfect location for our family.  Three blocks from my mother in law in one direction and three block in the other direction from my mother.  Our family couldn’t have asked for a better spot unless it was inside my own home.  So this location has now become my son’s CPK, it hadn’t even opened and...

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OPM Serves Up Bold Flavors

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in American, Asian, Date Night, Italian, Reviews, Seafood | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue One of the aspects I enjoy most about food blogging is having the opportunity to try restaurants I might not have heard of or thought of because they’re not in my neck of the woods. Such was the case when I was invited to try the recently opened OPM in Huntington Beach. With Chef’s Tastings and special events, including an 80’s New Wave Music night, a masquerade party, a fashion show, speed dating, live DJs and more, OPM is part restaurant and part club attracting a young couples and girls’ night out crowd. Having taken over and completely redefined the space for what was once The Tap House, there is plenty of room for large parties and dancing. There is even a speakeasy downstairs with it’s own bar for private parties...

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Old Vine Café and The Splendors of Italy

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Cooking Classes, Italian, Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

 We attended as a guest of the venue Cooking classes in Italy. This is near the top of my bucket list. If you share my love for incredible food, cooking, and travel, Old Vine Café and The Culinary Institute will be hosting a 10-day epicurean adventure to Calabria and Sicily this April where travelers will enjoy hands on cooking lessons, fabulous meals, wine tasting, sight seeing and more. While sadly it does not look like I will be going this spring at least, I did have the consolation of attending a private food and wine pairing dinner at Old Vine Café celebrating authentic dishes from Italy prepared and presented by Chef/Owner Mark McDonald and Sommelier Kate Perry where Chef Mark’s passion for authenticity, using seasonal local ingredients, and sharing his knowledge of Italy’s regional cuisine made my first dining...

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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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California Pizza Kitchen: The Next Chapter

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in American, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the venue Psst…have you heard the news about CPK (California Pizza Kitchen)?  They are revamping not only their menu but also their restaurants and I got to have a sneak peek at their Irvine location off of Alton and Jeffrey.   This location is the first remodel built from the ground up in Orange County and it is so very California focused. From inside out CPK is embodying California culture.  The building design has incorporated California’s notable environmental roots with the use of unfinished reclaimed wood.  As you walk into the restaurant you can see how different the design is as the structure is more open and warm. The opening of the area re-creates a communal space with flexible, less structured indoor seating.  No more cozying up to another family on benches as you...

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Fast Family Friendly Pizza at Blaze Pizza in Orange

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Blaze Blaze Pizza just opened at the Orange Circle in Old Towne Orange, and my family got a sneak peek at this hot new pizza restaurant. When we stepped inside, we were met with amazing service. They greeted us and asked if we had ever been before? It was our first time, so they talked us through the step by step process, and we were on our way. On the menu board, you can choose one of their pizzas, or you can personalize your pizza with any of the available toppings. You are also able to choose one of their pizza creations and add or take away items from it. This is all for one amazing price. I decided to go with the “White Top” featuring white cream sauce, mozzarella, bacon, garlic, oregano,...

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The Best Fast-Casual Pizza at Pizza Rev

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Pizza Rev I know that there are a lot of build-your-own fast-casual pizza places popping up all over Orange County recently with the promise of pizza in less than 5 minutes. After having the chance to dine at Pizza Rev in La Habra, I now know that not all of these places and concepts are created equal. When I arrived at Pizza Rev with my younger son, I immediately noticed how clean and modern the dining area was. The La Habra location also has outside seating with a fire pit, for those that enjoy eating outdoors. I entered the restaurant and got a chance to view the assembly line where all of the ingredients are available for customers to create custom pizza creations. If you are not feeling like creating your pizza, don’t...

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Pizza:90 Authentic Napoletana Pizza here in Irvine

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Pizza:90 When my family moved from Newport Beach to “rural” Irvine in the 80’s; I went from restaurants and store on every corner of 17th street to a patch of dirt that kids would BMX on off East Yale Loop and Alton.  I loved “rural” living; I mean who wouldn’t love sneaking onto farm land and pick strawberries in the moonlight?  It was a great place to grow up but what I longed for was a fast food restaurant to ride my bike to, maybe even a restaurant or two.  Seriously the closest Taco Bell was over by the Tustin Marine base and that took me a good 45 minutes to bike to.  Finally in my senior year of high school that patch of land off East Yale Loop became a center.  Throughout...

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Oggi’s Pizza Express

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Featured, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of Oggi’s If your kids are anything like mine then you have been to your fair share of pizza joints.  My kids love pizza and have evolved to be self-proclaimed pizza pros. What is a pizza pro?  A pizza pro is a person who can tell the difference from a good slice of pizza and bad.  A pizza pro will stand up to the pizza challenge and venture to (aka beg their mom to drive everywhere) as many pizza locations that they need to in hopes of finding the best pizza ever!  Our journey today took us to Oggi’s Pizza Express in Orange. For those of you who are pizza buffs then you know that Oggi’s is the official pizza of the Angels!!!  That’s right if you have ever had a slice at Angel...

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It’s Not Your Typical Pizza Place at the Pizza Lounge

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Featured, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the restaurant I’ve driven past the Pizza Lounge a dozen times and never thought to stop in to see what it was all about until recently. A friend of mine kept posting pictures of delicious dishes on her social media network that perked my interest. I kept asking her where the hidden dining gem is that she kept frequenting; she told me it was the Pizza Lounge in Laguna Niguel. Since I’ve never seen a pizza place craft-up such culinary masterpieces I had to bring my husband with me to dinner to taste the food for myself. When we first walked into the restaurant, we discovered a hip yet family-friendly dining environment. There is a large square bar in the center of the restaurant, multiple high top tables and semi-private booths along the...

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Kids Love The Pizza Press in Orange

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Featured, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

 We dined as a guest of the pizza press Our kids love pizza, and one of their new favorite places is The Pizza Press in Orange. While my son was competing in the grilled cheese competition at Provisions Market earlier this month, we stumbled upon this newly opened pizza place next door. There was a line of people out the door, and the aroma surrounding the restaurant tantalized our taste buds. When we found ourselves with a night when Dad was working late, the kids and I jumped into the car and drove up to Orange to have dinner at The Pizza Press. We timed our arrival perfectly and walked in when there was only a couple of people in line. We picked up a menu at the door and made our way to the counter where we could...

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Fast-Casual Lunch at MOD Pizza

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in American, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

  After dropping my little one off at a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, I took my two older kids for lunch at MOD Pizza in Laguna Hills. I kind of felt a little guilty cheating on my favorite fast-casual pizza place, Blaze, but the guilt quickly disappeared after my first bite of lunch at MOD Pizza. The new pizza place is located in the newly remodeled shopping center at the corner of Moulton and La Paz in Laguna Hills. When we first walked into the restaurant, it had a cool hip vibe that my tweens fell in love with. They didn’t care what the pizza was going to taste like; they fell head over heels in love with it just because of the vibe. Ordering is simple with a 1-2-3 process. First choose if you’re ordering a...

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Authentic Pizza Napoletana at Settebello

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Featured, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

  You can’t walk past Settebello without being overwhelmed by the aromas that surround the restaurant. Since I frequent my favorite Indian restaurant, Tamarind of London, on a regular basis I am continually tempted to dine at Settebello. The restaurant has a beautiful inviting open air dining ambiance with rich wood tables and relaxing couches. When planning a Mother/Daughter day at the spa, I finally made plans to dine with my daughter at Settebello. From the moment that we walked into the restaurant, we felt at home. Guests were dining on the oversized couches and in the dining area. The restaurant has a hip vibe allowing guests to feel like they are dining in a restaurant on the streets of Napoli. Since it was restaurant week, my daughter chose to order the prix fixe menu, and since I am...

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Al Fresco Dining at Canaletto

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Featured, Italian, Reviews | 0 comments

  After dropping my son and his friends at the Island Cinemas to see an afternoon movie, it was the perfect weather to dine al fresco at Canaletto with my younger son. My son loves to dine on their outdoor patio so he can watch the beautiful cars that are always parked in front of the restaurant. With it being Newport Beach Restaurant Week, I could not wait to see what they had planned for their special prix fixe menu. We started our lunch with a basket of different breads followed by a plate of bruschetta. The bruschetta came with three large toasted pieces of baguette topped with finely chopped ripe tomatoes. With it being the off season for tomatoes, they were still sweet and blended with the perfect amount of olive oil. The menu had a great variety,...

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