Posts Tagged ‘french fries’

Waffles and beer at The Iron Press in Orange County

A beer flight at The Iron Press

A beer flight at The Iron Press

The Iron Press in Costa Mesa is the food party lovechild of co-founders Jeremy Saenz (Lucky Habanero Salsa) and Leonard Chan (California Shabu Shabu). Tucked into the once furniture store-dominated shopping plaza South Coast Collection (SOCO) next to the 405 freeway, the restaurant specializes in waffle sandwiches and top quality, California-brewed craft beers. Whether you come for the beer or come for the waffles, you’ll stay for both.

Let’s start with the waffles.  Most items on the menu are waffle sandwiches. I was very tempted by the prosciutto and gruyere waffle sandwich and the country madame, but elected to order the country style buttermilk fried chicken. This actually wasn’t a sandwich at all, but rather fried chicken tenders topped with gravy, sitting on a freshly pressed Belgian waffle. Being the breakfast food fan that I am, I threw on extras of bacon and a fried egg on top. Traditionally, this comes served with a side of maple syrup (it did), but to kick it up a notch, I was also given jalapeño maple syrup to pour on my chicken and waffles dish. Even though there’s just a subtle difference, the spiced up version is definitely the way to go.

Country Style Chicken and Waffle

Country Style Chicken and Waffle

Though everything works together, if I had it all to do again, I would have elected to forego the gravy. It’s fine in and of itself — smooth and creamy — but I would have liked to let the crispy texture of the fried chicken get more appreciation. This was no fault of the dish; I can only blame my mind for adopting the attitude of “did somebody say gravy!?” The egg yolk didn’t run as much as I usually expect from fried eggs, but then again how much liquid does one want on his waffle?

On the side and begging to be shared were the Imperial IPA Irish Nachos. A beer lover’s take on one of the heaviest snacks ever, the Iron Press version actually tastes light and fresh. The cabbage, prosciutto and jalapeño are simmered in an imperial IPA before being placed on waffle fries and topped with lager cheddar sauce and sliced avocado. Between the sauce and the simmering, they actually manage to sneak almost a whole beer into these nachos. What makes the dish feel lighter are the crisp waffle fries that aren’t overly oily as their drive-thru counterparts usually are. The cheddar sauce is used sparingly so as to not make the fries soggy, and everything is fresher when you add avocados! Ketchup is provided on the side, but you won’t need it.

Imperial IPA Irish Nachos

Imperial IPA Irish Nachos

If you’ve conquered your waffle sandwich and skillfully shared your nachos, you’re ready to move on to dessert. There’s a Cap’n Crunch Berries-infused waffle and a S’mores waffle just ready to complete your ascension into food coma heaven. On this occasion, the Wookie called to me and I answered. Using the in-house cookie dough, a waffle-shaped chocolate cookie comes warm off the iron and is topped with ice cream. Again going the extra mile, I got mine topped with strawberries and bananas and drizzled with chocolate. Say what you want about me being fancy, I have no shame. This dessert can feed a bigger group than one might expect, though it gets a little tricky gathering your bites together on the plate. The cookie is crunchy rather than chewy, since it’s cooked thin on the waffle iron, so it’s brittle and breaks apart easy.

Wookie waffle

Wookie waffle

Opening in 2012, the place quickly became known for their events and evenings focused on breweries and craft beers. Every month, the bar hosts a Tap Takeover Tuesday with local brews, including many exclusive and limited varieties. In October, the bar featured Mother Earth beers from Vista, California. This is the night where the beer big boys bring their A game.

The Iron Press recently opened a newer location at the Anaheim Packing District, spreading its loaded waffle point of view across Orange County.

Note: This meal was hosted.


11 2014

Get your poutine fix at P’tit Soleil

Poutine Christine at P'tit Soleil

Poutine Christine at P’tit Soleil

Ah, poutine. That French Canadian mess of French fries, gravy and cheese curds that we all love to love. Previously, Angelenos had to either chase various food trucks or shell out a pretty penny for Animal’s foie gras version (which is sadly no more) to get their poutine fix, but no more. Now Westwood’s P’tit Soleil, the little sister restaurant adjacent to Soleil by Luc Alarie, offers poutine — all kinds of it — all day long.

Go for the Poutine Christine (pictured above), which comes with a cognac peppercorn sauce, or the Poutine Marat with sliced filet mignon, mushrooms and a cognac cream sauce. Both of these are great variations on traditional poutine. But perhaps the most interesting (and tasty) might be the Poutine Malik, which comes with merguez sausage and a spicy harissa cream sauce.

There are other dishes at P’tit Soleil, such as the Moules au Gratin (gratin mussels) and the Petite Tourtière (small French Canadian meat pie), that are also good options. You can get the tourtière as part of the restaurant’s Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, which takes place Oct. 7 and 8. For $28.95 per person, you’ll get four courses, including the meat pie and roasted turkey with all the trimmings.

See more photos from P’tit Soleil:

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further reading:

P’tit Soleil Has the Poutine I’ve Been Waiting For by estarLA


09 2012

Fries, gravy, cheese — oh, my! It’s The Poutine Truck

The Poutine Truck

The Poutine Truck

For lovers of french fries doused in gravy and topped with cheese curds, there’s a gourmet food truck just for you — The Poutine Truck, purveyors of that north-of-the-border delicacy that French Canadians hold so dear to their hearts.

Owned by Hollywood makeup artist James MacKinnon with a menu created by Chef Debbie Lee (Ahn-Joo Truck, Food Network Star), The Poutine Truck offers a focused menu featuring hand-cut Kennebec potatoes fried fresh to order topped with a variety of gravies and meats. Diners can choose from a traditional brown onion gravy, or a chicken or vegetable broth veloute. There are also plain, garlic herb and firehouse cheese curds, as well as thyme- and garlic-rubbed steak, Dijon chicken breast and apple-smoked bacon to pick from.

Steak & Frites

Steak & Frites

Poulet & Frites

Poulet & Frites

Lardon & Frites

Lardon & Frites

And to top it all off, you can order some fried cheese curds, which are served with an herb aioli.

Fried Cheese Curds

Fried Cheese Curds

I’m neither French Canadian nor Midwestern, so while I had heard about both poutine and cheese curds, I hadn’t experienced either until this day. And after four courses of gravy- and meat-covered French fries, I was so full I couldn’t really tell what was going on anymore! I did like the brown onion and veggie gravies best, though. I’m not as big a fan of the squeaky cheese curds, but I’m sure Midwesterners would disagree with me. I’m sure poutine would make a great post-drinking snack, though!

Further Reading:

Would You Like Fries With That? Meet The Poutine Truck by LAist

Note: This meal was hosted.


09 2011

KCET’s Free Lunch at Lazy Ox Canteen

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having lunch at Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo with some cool folks from KCET. Actually, they filmed me while I ate my lunch (it was a little awkward). See, this meeting was for a webisode of KCET’s Free Lunch, in which KCET buys you lunch and you talk about it. Anyone can do it — just leave a comment on one of their videos, and you’ll have the chance of being chosen for a gratis meal on the station. Cool, huh?

So, without further ado, I give you my small-screen debut.

I had the burger, which came with cantal cheese and green peppercorn mustard, as well as a side of fries dusted with dill. The burger was juicy and flavorful, and the fries were cooked perfectly. The dill was a really nice touch, too. I also ordered the roasted cauliflower with chili, mint and pine nuts, which I loved. There was also some lemon juice in it, too.

Lazy Ox burger

Lazy Ox French fries

Roasted cauliflower

You’ll notice in the video and KCET’s blog post that I waited a long time for my order to be taken. It was a bit ridiculous, though I couldn’t tell if they were just giving us space to do our thing, or what. The servers also didn’t want to be on camera, so that’s why it looks like I’m talking to no one. Oh, well, I had fun anyway!


06 2011

M Cafe 5th anniversary deals

Grilled tuna burger

M Cafe de Chaya, the macrobiotic mini chain that’s part of the Chaya Restaurant Group, is celebrating its 5th anniversary this month with different $5 specials each week at all three of its locations.

Week of June 7 — Falafel Wrap & M Chopped Salad (Grab & Go only)
Week of June 14 — 2 Salad Combo & Tofu Bento (Grab & Go only)
Week of June 21 — Breakfast Enchilada (breakfast hours only) and Double Chocolate Fudge Cake

What’s macrobiotic food? It’s food made from minimally processed, natural whole foods that are in-season. Fish is OK, but not poultry, red meat, eggs or dairy. I’ve been to M Cafe a few times, and it’s actually pretty tasty, despite its nearly vegan-like description. I have a few recommendations, none of which are part of the $5 specials. But no matter — you can always go back, and for certain items, it would be worth it.

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06 2010