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1st time to Orange County-Recs needed

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hammocc Jan 16, 2008 05:06 AM

I am flying into Orange Sunday and need dinners for Sun, Mon, Wed. I am a big time foodie and looking for a great experience. Can be California cuisine, ethnic etc....not picky. Doesn't need to be high end but can be. I just want to have a great local experience. Also, any ideas on must see food joints anywhere in that area bc I have a car. Things like local food shops, markets, bakeries, chocolatiers etc.... I really appreciate it. I think Rest. week is starting and typically in my area they stink as far as quality and service goes so, if you have a better program would like to know that too. THANKS A MILLION.

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  1. w
    WHills RE: hammocc Jan 16, 2008 07:11 AM

    You should google newport beach restaurant week. They are having that event this coming week. Most restaurants are offering a 3-course dinner for $20 or $35.

    1. g
      glutton RE: hammocc Jan 16, 2008 07:16 AM

      It's a lot easier to offer help if you're going to LA, not OC. To me, the best thing that OC offers is the Little Saigon area. You'll find an endless number of vietnamese restaurants, markets, etc. One of my favorites is a hidden little restaurant called Brodard and you'll read about plenty of others on Chowhound.

      If you're willing to venture up to LA, then you'll have a much wider variety of choices.

      5 Replies
      1. re: glutton
        Das Ubergeek RE: glutton Jan 16, 2008 07:30 AM

        Then you need to spend a lot more time in Orange County, my friend. I'm not going to retype my list, but you can find it in the replies to this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/473061

        That wasn't even a comprehensive list, either. I don't eat in the fancy coastal high-end places, though -- I eat inland, in the ethnic dives -- so others will have to chime in for the $40 entree places.

        I do agree with you that Little Saigon is special. So is Thai Nakorn. Santa Ana's got the highest concentration of Mexicans of any city in the US, and the restaurants reflect it. The Koreans who have moved out of LA live in Buena Park and Garden Grove and there's food there to rival K-town. Costa Mesa has its little group of Japanese markets and businesses; Irvine has its Chinese places.

        Not everything is like "The OC" and "The Real Housewives Of Men Who Chose Them For Their Looks". I don't go to LA to eat -- really at all, ever. (Okay, the SGV. But that's its own beast anyway.)

        1. re: Das Ubergeek
          h
          hammocc RE: Das Ubergeek Jan 16, 2008 12:48 PM

          Thanks everyone. I appreciate it. I am from a somewhat not nice city area so, I am used to be careful. Can anyone tell me if these places are safe for a single female dining alone or am I better off getting take in to hotel? I love ethnic food! So, can't wait to try these out.

          1. re: hammocc
            i
            I got nothin RE: hammocc Jan 16, 2008 01:13 PM

            I think you will be fine dining alone at any of the places listed by DU. Although being born and raised in Orange County, speaking fluent spanglish, and a thorough understanding of OC geography may make me unqualified to project my beliefs of safety onto you.
            I'll 2nd DU's suggestions for Little Saigon for Vietnamese, Garden Grove for Korean, and Costa Mesa for Japanese. You can also find many good Mexican places in Costa Mesa, search for 19th street in costa mesa rec's.
            As for NB Restaurant Week, here's a recent post discussing it:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/477537
            Good luck

            1. re: hammocc
              Das Ubergeek RE: hammocc Jan 16, 2008 07:11 PM

              There are unsafe areas of Santa Ana, but use your best judgment -- in many cases the restaurants will be closed at night (such as Trieu Chau, on 1st and Newhope, which closes at 5 PM). Orange County is pretty suburban and even the sketchy-looking parts are safe enough if you're not acting stupidly (counting money in public, approaching groups of men standing in shadows at night, etc.).

              You can safely go to any of the places in my reply on the other thread.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                h
                hammocc RE: Das Ubergeek Jan 19, 2008 09:04 AM

                Thanks I really appreciate the advice.

        2. m
          mlgb RE: hammocc Jan 16, 2008 01:19 PM

          There are some nice Korean restaurants on Beach Blvd in Buena Park. There's a big Korean supermarket at Beach and Malvern (Super 1 Hannam or something like that). The food court inside has lots of options. Also there's a bakery (Paris Baguette). Surah at the far corner is an upscale Korean restaurant, they have a good lunch special. If you go for dinner, get there by 5:30 or you'll have a wait. Its better to order a soup or stew at dinner, something like $11-$15 gets you the full array of banchans, rice, and beverage. A buffet is better for a single person if you want to try Korean barbeque.

          -----
          Surah
          5333 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90621

          1. elmomonster RE: hammocc Jan 16, 2008 04:19 PM

            Welcome to OC. Hopefully you've gleaned off some good tips from the Chowhound archives.

            The trouble with OC is that to do all the things you want you'll have to drive everywhere, which can be tiring. A good thing to do is follow Brookhurst St. Das Ubergeek does these postings called Explorations on Brookhurst, where he proves that you can have great ethnic food from Japanese, to Vietnamese, to Korean, to Persian just by trapsing this humble boulevard.

            Check it out.

            Also I have some archived posts on OC Food on my blog, if you're interested:
            http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            1. junglekitte RE: hammocc Jan 17, 2008 02:49 PM

              Nirvana Grille in Mission Viejo for upscale Cal cuisine (I recommend the cauliflower gratin, moules frite, and seabass in pistachio crust)

              Studio at the Montage Resort and Spa for VERY upscale Cal cuisine at its finest. The tasting menu is fresh and always delicious with an ocean setting.

              Brodard for vietnamese in Garden Grove. Get the shrimp on sugar cane egg rolls. The best EVER! (well, that I've tried anyway). The duck salad is also delicious as are the fried egg rolls. And the shaking beef. I also love their avocado shake afterward!

              Also I LOVE Zankou chicken. I believe there is one in Anaheim, although I've never been to that location. They have delicious rotisserie chicken with the BEST garlic sauce in the entire world. I always leave with the large tub you can buy and eat it at home!

              I also recommend checking out some good Mexican. :D :D :D

              I'm not sure where you're coming in from...(that would help my recommendation) but I can't think of any spectacular food shops or bakeries that really stand out above the norm.

              2 Replies
              1. re: junglekitte
                h
                hammocc RE: junglekitte Jan 19, 2008 09:03 AM

                Thanks actually I am in town on business. I have open Monday basically until 3 to tour around and was hoping to hit some markets, food shops so anything you can suggest would be great!

                1. re: hammocc
                  m
                  MzMaggie RE: hammocc Jan 22, 2008 02:03 PM

                  As far as markets, you should go to Wholesome Foods on Michelson at Culver in Irvine. they carry Persian, Asian, Kosher and Halal products and have a great food court. Also Ranch 99 market on Culver in Irvine carries Asian products.

              2. l
                lawdog262 RE: hammocc Jan 17, 2008 03:02 PM

                A few suggestions for a local experience: (1) try to make it down to Laguna Beach -- its very pretty and arty, and has some good restaurants; (2) there's a great French restaurant in a strip mall in Irvine/Newport Beach called Traditions by Pascal (Pascal has been a staple of the OC scene for almost 20 years); (3) Basilic on Balboa Island. A great and quaint restaurant that's also a good excuse to walk around Balboa Island. (4) Reallty try to go to one of the great authentic Mexican and Vietnamese places that abound in central OC. There are a lot of good suggestions on this board as to the latter.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lawdog262
                  t
                  torta basilica RE: lawdog262 Jan 21, 2008 07:32 AM

                  Agree - whatever you do, do not miss strolling around Laguna Beach and Balboa Island. Both are very charming and, especially in Laguna, you'll find all kinds of excellent food options. Try to have lunch at Sapphire on the patio.

                  Also fun exploring Little Saigon, as others have mentioned, and the various Asian restaurants & 99 Ranch Market on the corner of Jeffery & Irvine - I love the make your own yougert treats at Yougertland!

                2. i
                  iotone RE: hammocc Jan 18, 2008 03:35 PM

                  If you're willing to go off the beaten path for some steak, I recommend Trabuco Oaks Steak House in Trabuco Canyon. You'll have to take some toll roads if you want to take the short way, but I think it's worth it. Don't forget reservations.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: iotone
                    t
                    torta basilica RE: iotone Jan 21, 2008 07:33 AM

                    Do you think a single woman would enjoy it here? I agree it's interesting & fun, but would hate to go there by myself... and I travel on my own a lot!

                    1. re: torta basilica
                      d
                      david t. RE: torta basilica Jan 21, 2008 12:42 PM

                      OC has come along far enough that it can stand on it's own.

                      Try Marche Moderne at South Coast plaza. They offer a $20 fixed price 3 course lunch menu and it is one of the best french bistros in southern california.

                      Try The Counter in Irvine for some good hamburgers.

                      A vietnamese sandwich at Bahn Mi Cali on Brookhurst Road.

                      Taco Mesa in costa mesa for a carne asada burrito.

                      Thai Nakorn as metioned for thai.

                      Bristol Farms is a wonderful high-end place for grocery shopping (truffles, foie gras, meats, wine, cheese etc.

                      There is this cheese shop that is wonderful called Frog's Breath in Orange. They let you sample the cheeses.

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