Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Newport Beach Restaurant Week 2010 - Things to Do in Orange County 66

It's that time of the year again. Newport Beach Restaurant Week is starting this Friday.

January 22nd - 28th, 2010.

I personally love this event. I know that they have the Orange County Restaurant Week, and Dine LA in Los Angeles. But this Newport Beach Restaurant Week just has a special aura to me. You sort of have this sense that it's a local city thing, and its nice to get to know all of the great areas and restaurants around Newport Beach.

Anyway, I just wanted to recommend a few things since this is my third time attending this event.

1. Go for lunch. Lunch is cheaper to go compared to dinner. You spend only $15 or $20 for lunch compared to $25 to $35. If you go with two people, it makes a huge difference in the total bill after you finish eating.

2. If you want to save money, be cheap, and just order water. Drinks tend to add to the total bill, and I'm not sure if you want to do that because part of the fun is being able to eat great food at a great restaurant for a great price. So just drink H2O. It's good for you, and its free.

3. Check out the lunch menu on the online menu feature they have on the event's official website. Some restaurants are a little cheap, or they just didn't want to put the extra effort to put up a good menu for you. They will only give you two courses, or count a soda as your first course. It is a suppose to be three course prix fixe menu, so when that happens, it is a bit disappointing. Of course, some other restaurants are extremely generous on their offering, and that's what I'm going to show you next.

Out of my experience, these are the restaurants that give the best deals for the Newport Beach Restaurant Week. Again, try to go to these places for lunch. Unlike the Dine LA event, the Newport Beach Restaurant Week allows you to reserve during the weekend. So you should be having lunch at these places this weekend.

Anyway, here are my recommendations. All of them are hyperlinks so just click on them to see my review.

I've tried all of the restaurants above with the exception of Tommy Bahama Island Grille, where I am going to kick off this year's Newport Beach Restaurant Week with. They are all worth your money and time.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Hobbit - Things to Do in Orange County 65

So, you're looking for a special dinner for that special person?

Well, look no further than to The Hobbit in Orange, CA. This is probably one of the most special dinner experiences you will ever treat someone to in Orange County.

The Hobbit is a special little restaurant that's been around for some time. The owners transformed their house into a restaurant. Once you're here, you'll feel just like family.

The evening starts off by some cocktails with other guests if you get there a little early. You will need reservations to dine here, so as long as you made it, they will have a tab set up for you under your last name. Just go up stairs to enjoy some cocktails at the bar with other guests. When we were there, people were celebrating their anniversaries, birthdays, and just having a special dinner with good friends.

Once you have your initial cocktails, you are led into The Hobbit's basement - their wine cellar. They will welcome you with a glass of champagne and many many hors d'oeuvres. The hors d'oeuvres are served buffet style, so you are welcome to eat as much as you want. Of course, you do not want to over do yourself here because you came to The Hobbit for a 7 course dinner. That being said, all of the hors d'oeuvres are just awesome, and I definitely went for seconds and thirds.

Alongside your hors d'oeuvres, since this is the wine cellar, your main purpose here is to pick out the wine you want to have during your dinner. The staffs at The Hobbit will help you pick out some of the best wines from all over the world. Since we're no sommelier, we decided to go with the wine pairing option that they have for people like us.

Once you are done with this step, you are off to your table. The servers here are amazing, and the setting is also beautiful. You will definitely be in for an experience when you dine here. Our dinner started at about 7:30PM and we were there till about 11:30PM dining. There's actually an intermission between your meals since its so long. How about that for an experience?

Here was the menu that we had when we went.

1) Champagne & Hors d'oeuvres

2) Olive Poached Swordfish, Fava bean & Fennel, Quinoa Salad, Red Pepper sauce

3) Grilled Quail, Rissolee Potatoes & Braised Artichokes, Baby Leeks, Thyme Jus

4) Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes, Baby Rochet Arugula with Basil Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese

5) Sorbet

6) Garlic & Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb or Fresh Alaskan Halibut

7) Grand Marnier Scented Ice Cream, Apricot Compote with Almond Cake

Needless to say, we were quite full after the experience.

The Hobbit is definitely a place you want to bring that special someone for that special day in Orange County.

Be sure to make your reservations before you decide to go. And just as a final note, there is a dress code here just in case you were wondering.

The Hobbit


2932 E Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 997-1972

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Plums Cafe - Things to Do in Orange County 64

If you're looking for a nice sophisticated place for brunch in OC, look no further than to the Plum's Cafe in Newport Beach. This place offers very good breakfast dishes with a lot of grace and elegance. Its like a brunch place for adults. At least that's the kind of feel I get.

Once you're here, do not hesitate to get yourself a glass of mimosa. This is a place for a nice morning cocktail. Without it, you won't get the full Plum's Cafe experience.

We got a couple dishes when we arrived here. (Alongside my bloody mary.) I always like to get one plate that's sweet, and one plate that's savory. And we share the two dishes between the two of us. That way we get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

So, we got the Northwest Berry Waffle and the Alderwood Smoked Salmon Hash.

Both were delicious. And as you can see from the pictures, the dishes here all seem to have vibrant colors that enhances your appetite even more. Both were prepared perfectly to my liking.

Plum's Cafe is a popular brunch destination in Orange County, so be sure to make reservations if you are going during brunch hours on the weekend.

Hope you get to enjoy the great food here!

Plums Cafe


369 East 17th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yum Cha Cafe - Things to Do in Orange County 63

Do you ever feel like dim sum, but don't want to gather up all your buddies to gobble up all that good food?

Well, this place is for you. And I personally love this place!

The Ym Cha Cafe inside the My Thuan Market is "dim sum to-go." You can get all that good quality food for take out. And starting at only $0.99 a dish. Now how awesome is that?

I found out about this place from a good buddy of mine. It's like the super secret of Orange County in my eyes.

The place is sort of set up like a Chinese take out joint where you pick 2 items along with your fried rice and chow mein. Only difference is that you'll find dim sum food here.

All the goodness of fried sesame balls, shrimp dumplings, to whatever its called dim sum food. Everything you find at a regular dim sum, you'll find here. Awesomeness.

The food is good, and best of all, it is super cheap.

Check it out, I got all this food pictured above, plus a little more for only $13.81. 10 dishes total. Enough to feed two hungry people, or four regular people.

Got to say, awesome deal! You got to go check it out!

Yum Cha Cafe

Inside My Thuan Market
8900 Westminster Blvd

Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 899-0700

Friday, January 15, 2010

Orange County Performing Arts Center Segerstorm Concert Hall - Things to Do in Orange County 62

So its been a while. I've been a bit busy taking care of things, so I neglected this blog for a while... Sorry for any of my readers who were actually waiting for my blog post.

The other day, I got to go visit OC Performing Arts Center. There are numerous concert halls there, and we got to visit the Renee and Henry Segerstorm Concert Hall. It was my first time there. The concert hall is relatively new; opened its doors in 2006.

We got a good deal on tickets off of Travelzoo to go watch the Tchaikovsky Spectacular concert.

I have to say, the concert hall was absolutely beautiful. The architectural details were very nice, and I'm sure acoustically, it is good as well. We got one of those seats behind the orchestra since I always wondered what it felt like to sit behind the orchestra. To my surprise, it was one of the best experiences I had at a classical concert.

Since you sit right behind the orchestra, you sort of have a front row seat to them. You get to sit above them, so you can check out everything they are doing, up to the music they are playing off of. Another cool thing is that you get to see the conductor up close and personal, and get to see how he moves with the orchestra. A three hour performance, and the conductor was sweating at the end. I'm sure it's a lot of work physically to conduct. Good cardio. No wonder the conductor is fit.

Now, I'm no classical snob so I enjoyed every moment of it. It was a very fun night.

Lastly, though I didn't take any pictures, the cafe inside the concert hall looked very trendy. Cafe Rouge is the name of it. You can have dinner and drinks before or after the concert. A great way to enjoy a sophisticated night in Orange County.

Hope you get to visit soon!


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