Let’s start 2012 right with my first post of the year — Old Vine Cafe. I’ve been here several times in the last few years but have never written anything until now. I’ve asked myself why but the only answer I can come up with is no real excuse except for the lack of pretty pictures. I really like the dinners here too, but for the purpose of this post, I’m focusing on the brunch selections.
Right before the new year, I came here with my friend and her family and with 6 people it was easy to sample a variety of things on the menu. The 3-course set lunch at $20 is one of the best deals around and some of us ordered this while others ordered a la carte.
One of the choices for appetizers was the Caprese of Mozzarella Buratta and everyone chose this option. Imported buratta, grape tomatoes and flash fried arugula are drizzled with a citrus infused extra virgin olive oil — I love burrata but the best part of this dish was the crispy arugula, it added a really nice textural contrast to the dish.
Pulled Pork Panino ($13.50 a la carte) is a lovely grilled sandwich stuffed with tender all natural pulled pork and Chef’s BBQ sauce with smoked gouda cheese. I’m not a big fan of BBQ sauce, but my son loved this sandwich!
My friend’s Tuna Melt Panino ($13.50 a la carte) was delicious. Fresh wild albacore tuna salad with dill Havarti cheese is pressed between two slices of bread making the sandwich slightly warm but possessing a great crunch from the toasted bread.
If you like omelettes, try the Omelet España ($13), a Spanish-style omelette with prosciutto, artichoke hearts, red bell peppers, shitake mushrooms and Manchego cheese. I’ve had this before and enjoyed its savoriness tremendously.
On this occasion, I ordered the Frutti di Mare ($14.99), a cold salad of shrimp, calamari, octopus tossed with shredded carrots and a lemon vinaigrette and served on a bed of wild arugula greens.
I am not a fan of sweets but a mouthful or two works great when someone orders Pumpkin Pecan French Toast ($13). It’s not like the regular French toast you get elsewhere, it is thick like brick toast, layered and generously portioned and garnished with whipped cream. It is not overly sweet and is a nice finish to a meal.
Grandma’s Cheese Cake ($7 a la carte) was the dessert which came with the 3-course meal. Cheese cake is one of those desserts I actually enjoy. I really liked the crunchy graham cracker crust and the wild berry puree added a tart component which is what I usually look for in desserts! I liked this a lot!
The atmosphere is very relaxed and chill, but expect a wait on weekends. The place is popular and deservedly so!
For a chance to experience Old Vine Cafe yourself, I have a $25 gift card to give away to one lucky winner. Just leave me a comment telling me why you want to go to Old Vine Cafe, by Friday Jan 6th. Winner announced on Saturday Jan 7th. Good luck!
Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol Street, #A102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626