The Playground-Santa Ana, CA. This is one of my favorite places to go to eat and drink. The Playground is Located in Downtown Santa Ana and serves tapas style New American food but can also be considered fusion as well. The owner Jason Quinn, who is pretty much working in the kitchen everyday and also occasionally serves dishes explaining ingredients and methods used to the diners. He also owns the Lime Truck which was the Food Truck featured on the national TV show The Great Food Truck Race which won the whole competition. Playground’s menu changes daily. When you think about that it’s pretty amazing, they don’t add some items and remove a few, they change the menu completely each day. The only downside is sometimes you come back craving a spectacular dish to realize it isn’t on the menu; Minus The Playground Burger which is their signature burger that is not listed on the menu but they serve everyday. They also have an extensive beer and wine list. They offer craft beers and beers hand selected for their menu of about 15 beers on draft which are listed on their wall behind the bar in chalk. Which is chosen selectively by Jarred Dooley who is 1 out of 200 certified Cicerones (the food and beer pairing certification) in the world and has also passed his Court of Masters Sommeliers Level 1 exam. That’s an impressive beer and wine resume!
This time I went for brunch and wasn’t expecting the food to be that amazing considering it was brunch. Boy was I totally wrong. Every dish we ordered was very good and expertly crafted. I don’t mind if you drool over these pictures. Love, Peace and Wagyu Pastrami Grease!
Halibut Ceviche Sopes
Langanisa with spicy vinegar, achara, rice and fried eggs-nice comfort food
Ashleys Leftover Pancakes-they look very plain but they were actually really good and I am not a pancakes fan.
Wagyu Pastrami Eggs Benedict w/ Russian Slaw, 65 degree egg and Tyler’s English Muffin-This dish was amazing
Quest for Ramen Perfection-Handmade noodles in house
Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken with vinegar and Tyler’s Biscuits
Panini Cafe-Irvine. Went here for dinner. A nice mediterranean sit down restaurant. Have a great selection Mediterranean inspired salads, wraps, paninis and entrees. We ordered the appetizer sampler which was huge and came with pita bread, garbanzo hummus, edamame hummus, black bean hummus, babaganooj, tzatziki, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves with sirloin steak, seasoned rice and dates), Salmon Panini, Koobideh Wrap (charbroiled ground sirloin Kebab) Chicken vegetable soup and greek Mediterranean salad. Everything was really good and fresh. The Salmon panini, Koobideh wrap and Dolmades were definitely the stars of the show but they had an outstanding supporting cast. This one is Food List Worthy Panini Cafe has 7 locations throughout Southern California. Love, Peace and Koobideh grease.
Appetizer Sampler-pita bread, garbanzo hummus, edamame hummus, black bean hummus, babaganooj, tzatziki, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves with sirloin steak, seasoned rice and dates)
Greek Mediterranean Salad
Salmon Panini and Chicken Vegetable Soup
Umami Burger-Costa Mesa. If you haven’t heard of Umami Burger yet than you must be living under a rock. If you didn’t know already Umami is Japanese for the 5th flavor meaning savory taste. The 5 principle flavors are sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (savory). Just to drop you some knowledge on the beginnings of Umami Burger, Adam Fleishman opened the first location in LA on La Brea in 2009. In order to create the right Umami flavor he tested 100’s of flavor combinations and ingredients from Japanese markets to get it correct. His hard work has paid off into the Umami Burger we all know and love. Umami Burger is a high end burger joint where you can get a beer with your combo meal instead of your normal coke. There are about 14 locations and they are expanding, but the interesting thing is each location has a signature burger which range from the Pizza Burger, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Mini Burgers, Lemon Miso Crab Melt, Triple Pork and Chicken Shoyu Burger to name a few. I would be down to try every location’s signature sandwich. Some people say it is a little pricey for a burger restaurant but I think it is definitely well worth it; You get premium ingredients with original flavors. Love Peace and Umami Burger Grease.
Cherry Blossom Painting on the wall
Ranch, Diablo Sauce and Garlic Aioli
Tempura Onion Rings
Truffle Cheese Fries (hidden menu item)
Korean Kimchi Burger-Marinated patty, kimchee and onion strings
Truffle Burger-Truffle Cheese and Truffle Glaze, by far my favorite burger there. Seems so plain but it is so savory.
Pickle Plate-very impressed with the variety
Spicy Chicken Enchiladas with cilantro lime cream sauce with a side of white beans and brown rice. A healthier Mexican option. Still so good I scraped the plate. It’s gone! Love Peace and Chicken Enchilada Grease.
Nicks Deli-Los Alamitos, CA. Now I love burritos. They are one of my favorite foods and they are made so ingeniously; A warm flour tortilla wraps up your favorite meat, cheese, salsa and whatever else you desire, I love it. I have had my fair share of burritos but I heard this place had amazing breakfast burritos so I had to try it out for myself. This breakfast burrito from Nicks Deli comes with Bacon, Chorizo, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, green chiles and salsa all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. Their burrito has great texture and flavor. Was very impressed and it tastes different than your normal breakfast burrito with the Chorizo and Bacon most places only give you one meat. Oh and to make it even better they serve breakfast all day long, score! The pictures don’t give it justice to its pure deliciousness. Until next time. Love Peace and Breakfast Burrito Grease.
Aloha Hawaiian BBQ-Tustin, CA. So I have always been searching for the Ultimate Hangover food. Most of my life throughout college and after I have usually turned to some kind of warm soupy broth with noodles more often than not it has been vietnamese pho noodle soup and then I graduated to ramen. But recently I have discovered Aloha Hawaiian BBQ offers a Chicken Noodle Soup. I would have never ordered this or gave it a 2nd look until my good friend recommended it. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. The broth had a good flavor, noodles were decent and they give you a load of chicken. They actually give you a separate box of chicken which is way too much for the soup, but I’m not complaining. I ordered Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Noodle Soup and an order of spam Musubi. I would recommend their Hawaiian BBQ mix, Loco Moco, Chicken Noodle Soup, Spam Musubi and macaroni salad. This is my favorite Hawaiian takeout place on the mainland because the food is good and the portions are huge. A Hawaiian BBQ mix combo is basically 2 meals in one. Oh yeah did I mention I was born in Hawaii, so I also know really “Ono”Hawaiian food. So go over there and try “da kine” and you will be satisfied. Love Peace and Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Grease.
Sushi Imari-Costa Mesa, CA. This is a nice sushi place to go to for reasonable priced sushi rolls. They have a lot of different and unique rolls. Please Note: This is not a Omakase place with super high quality fish it is more of a place to get good reasonably priced rolls. The best thing about it, is pretty much every time I have received complimentary items. This time we got free Gyoza, onion tempura (like Japanese Onion Rings) and ice cream. Everyone likes free stuff right! We ordered an Imari Roll, Sunset Roll, Saba sushi and BBQ/Seafood Combination plate.
Veggie Grill-Santa Fe Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Veggie Grill must be doing something right when their veggie chicken sandwich tastes better than a real chicken sandwich. With red onions, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado and spicy mayo it is a great textured sandwich. Healthy lunch after a not so healthy weekend. Love Peace and not so much Veggie Chicken Grease.
Winner Winner Tandoori Chicken Dinner. Tandoori Fresh in Costa Mesa provides fresh Indian food at a pretty affordable price. Chicken Tikki Masala was surprisingly juicy and tender, sometimes meat in Tandoori and curries are dry; this was definitely not. The Biryani rice with chicken and yogurt sauce was flavorful. The Garlic Naan was great for dipping in the Tikka Masala. We also got a Mango Lassi which is a yogurt based drink. It was very creamy and went well with the spicy masala. Adding this one to the Food List! Love Peace and Chicken Tikka Masala Grease.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Biryani rice with chicken and yogurt sauce
Mango Lassi Drink
Ramen Yamadaya Costa Mesa, CA Tonkatsu Kotteri Ramen w/ 2 kinds of Chashu Pork, seaweed and egg. Wow this placed was very impressive. Broth was very complex with Black Garlic oil, layer upon layers of flavor. Noodles had a nice texture with a slight firmness. 2 kinds of Chashu and one piece was the thickest piece of pork I have ever seen in a ramen dish, scratch that any dish. This is definitely getting added to the FoodList. Ate so much my stomach hurts because I couldn’t stop eating. I won’t hide it…it’s great hangover food as well on a cold day. Love Peace and Chashu Pork Grease.