Casual dinner in Orange County
Having trouble articulating this early in the morning, but have been tasked with finding somewhere to eat in about twelve hours (ideal dinner time is about 6pm). Links to previous posts are welcome, but here's some criteria:
* Pricing - Under $20/entree preferred, since I still need to factor in appetizers, dessert place, beverages, gratuity, tax.
* Alcohol - No bar needed, although it's okay if they did
* Location - That depends. Ideal is areas North of Mission Viejo, but South of Anaheim (5 fwy). Also Huntington Beach to El Toro Y (405). Anywhere inland is fine (91/22/55), just be kind with address/directions.
* Parking - Not an issue, he's blessed with parking karma (and good parallel skills).
* Payment - Debit/Credit cards preferred, but need a heads up if cash only.
* Service - He's a stickler on water refills and a friendly waitstaff. We do understand that you get what you pay for, so as long as they aren't plain rude I'd be happy.
* Atmosphere - Some atmosphere is nice. Trying to avoid hole-in-the-walls. Hard for us to relax and appreciate good food when a stark white wall is staring back (unless I'm alone/rushing - then it doesn't matter).
* Cuisine - The toughest one.
I'm not in the mood for seafood.
He generally avoids Italian and Mexican, but I can try to be persuasive.
I call myself "weak sauce" for my lack of tolerance for spicy food. Sorry.
All types of Asian are fine. We are normally found at New (and comfort) American cuisine.
Was contemplating Shin Sen Gumi (ramen) in FV.
Shin Sem Gumi (Ramen) hardly excels in the atmosphere department-- it's pretty bare bones. Utilitarian, like so many noodle joints.
Cafe Hiro is a great recco from Elmo. Thai Makorn is NOT similar to Hiro- it's full-tilt Thai and quite tasty (if you love Thai fare). Also in that general area: Park Ave. for American comfort food with a slight modern twist.
In Tustin: Opah for comtemorary American, Haveli or Dosa Place for Indian, Rutabegorz for retro hippie eats in a cozy setting, Zov's Bakery Cafe for excellent soups, salads, sands and entrees with a Med-slant.
In Orange (off the 22, near the circle): Byblos Cafe for decent Lebanese, The District for BBQ-esque meat meals, Felix Continental for cheap and basic Cuban fare. There's another Rutabegorz there, too.
Have you tried Cafe Hiro in Cypress? They've got a dish on the menu board right now which is very good. Poached seabass with uni, asparagus, Japanese eggplant, in a potato broth ($20). Comes with soup and salad. I had it last night. Awesome.