Posts Tagged ‘Orange County’

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

A favorite daytime meal: Break of Dawn

The Skillet, with roasted new potatoes, bacon, cheddar poached eggs, gucamole and chipotle sour cream.

Located in a small shopping plaza behind Laguna Hills Mall in Orange County, Break of Dawn is a local gem of a restaurant for breakfast and lunch. With the entrees divided into the two main categories of Traditional and Savory, Chef Dee Nguyen uses bold flavors and Asian influence to take his dishes to the next level at accessible prices. The result is not simply fusion food, but rather a hearty Asian and American meal.

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08 2010

Weekend eating, drinking and some shopping, too

Mike & Chris scarf. From Chocosho.

Maven Collective: On Saturday, May 1, go to the final sample sale featuring Mike & Chris, b.son, Anzevino & Florence (current season!), Gram, Sneaky Steve and more. Everything will be priced from $5 to $50 with both cash and credit accepted.

Maven Collective sample sale
324 Flower St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Saturday May 1st 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

1642: This new Echo Park/HiFi (Historic Filipinotown) bar is holding a night of romance (or whatever floats your boat) with its Slow Dance on Saturday, May 1. Gypsy Tailwind and friends will be spinning soul, rock, country and folk starting at 9:00 p.m. Expect craft beers and boutique wines.

1642 Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Whist at the Viceroy Santa Monica: The Viceroy’s restaurant, Whist, is introducing Savor Sundays starting this Sunday, May 2, with family-style prix fixe menus through June 20. This Sunday’s menu features butter lettuce wedges; buttermilk fried chicken with bacon cheddar biscuits, collard greens, grits, mashed potatoes and market slaw; and pecan pie with whisky caramel and vanilla ice cream.

1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401
$27/per adult, $12/per child under 12
Sundays, May 2 to June 20, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.


04 2010

Healthy Japanese food: Fukada

This is the first post from ShopEatSleep contributor Eros David, a long-time friend and like-minded blogger. You can follow his work at Clement & Co. and on his Tumblr.

From Eileen T. on Yelp

Healthy, organic Japanese food. Buzzwords may draw a crowd to Fukada in Irvine, but the delicious taste keeps them coming back. Because it’s in the same plaza as a 24 Hour Fitness, it’s not uncommon to see the same people frequenting both locations. Tucked away in a small plaza on the outskirts of town across the street from the Verizon Amphitheater, Fukada is not really the type of place you just come across randomly; you’ll most likely have to be introduced. There is also a “2 Go” location in north Irvine, not far from the UCI campus, with a slightly different menu.

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02 2010

Christmas dinners in L.A. and O.C.

Steak at Morels

Steak at Morels

What, you still don’t know what you’re going to eat for Christmas? Well, don’t worry — check out some of these Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals in Los Angeles and Orange County. (Note: I have not checked if these places still have available reservations, but I’m sure there will be last-minute cancellations in any case.)

Los Angeles

Christmas Eve

Marino Ristorante: This Hollywood eatery is offering a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner, a common custom in southern Italy. This 10-course feast will be offered during both lunch and dinner. The menu features traditional dishes such as Insalata di Rinforzo, a pickled cauliflower and vegetable salad that is typically eaten on Christmas Eve; Baccala Fritto and Baccala in Umido, two preparations of salt cod; and Italian dessert Souffle di Panettone.

Price: $59 per person
Address: 6001 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Reservations: (323) 466-8812 or online

Patina: This downtown mainstay will be offering a special four-course prix fixe menu featuring Maine lobster salad, a fall glazed-vegetable mosaic, foie gras ravioli, and a choice of Pennsylvania roasted duck in huckleberry jus or Colorado rack of lamb with baby artichokes. Dessert options are a chestnut Mont Blanc with French meringue or macerated raspberries with chocolate gratin and milk emulsion. Menu here.

Price: $95 per person; $25 for additional artisanal cheeses; a la carte menu also available
Address: 141 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Reservations: (213) 972-3331

More Patina Group restaurants, including Café Pinot, Pinot Bistro, Zucca Ristorante, Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse and Kendall’s, will be having special dinners for Christmas Eve, too.

Christmas Day

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro: This fancy-but-not restaurant at The Grove is offering two different meals, one at the more casual bistro with a seasonal soup or salad, choice of Chilean sea bass or filet mignon, and choice of a flourless chocolate cake or black & white chocolate mousse. The other meal will be served in the upstairs steakhouse with choice of lobster bisque or spiced butternut squash soup, choice of seared jumbo scallops or a beet and goat cheese napoleon, main courses of filet mignon and Maine lobster tail or roasted duck, and dessert of either molten chocolate cake or Mont Blanc sundaes.

Price: $35 in the bistro; $65 in the steakhouse
Address: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Reservations: (323) 965-9595

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12 2009

Eating, Orange County edition: Chef Chen restaurant


Every time I go home to Irvine to visit my parents, we almost always go to Chef Chen for lunch. Located in a nondescript strip mall off Jeffrey Road and Walnut Avenue that has become a hub for Asian (mostly Chinese) food, it’s easy to miss. But if you’re in the area or even if you’re just passing through — it’s really close to the 5 freeway — check out Chef Chen for a satisfying meal of Taiwanese and Shanghaiese cuisines.

The menu here ranges from clay pots to northern Chinese dim sum, and it’s a big menu. There is still so much more I need to try, but here are some of the dishes I have liked so far.

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12 2009

"Snowballs" coming to O.C.

Fast Food Maven has news that New Orleans-style “snowballs,” or snow cones with either vanilla ice cream or sweetened condesnsed milk, are coming to Orange County. Sno-On-The-Go will take over a former coffee drive-thru hut in Mission Viejo. I’ve never heard of ‘Nawlins-style snow cones, but this type of snow cone sounds like a cross between Hawaiian shave ice (ice cream) and Chinese shaved ice (sweetened condesnsed milk).

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05 2009