In light of National Egg Day today, here are five egg recommendations from some of my favorite spots in Orange County.
It is no secret my love affair with Moulin Bistro. There are a host of items consisting eggs here, including the outstanding Croque Madame, however, Les Eggs Bénédicte is always a solid offering to share, or if you’re REALLY hungry, to polish off on your own. There are three versions — plain, ham or salmon – topped with a perfect hollandaise sauce served with a side of mixed greens salad. I love all of them, but am partial to the house-made jambon (ham).
One of my favorite chefs is Cathy Pavlos, who owns Lucca Café in Irvine and Provenance in Newport Beach, is a self-taught chef who truly understands how flavors work on a plate. At Lucca Café, I will usually order Eggs in Purgatory. Two cage-free eggs are coddled in a spicy tomato salsa, topped with cheese and avocado. Served over breakfast potatoes, it is hearty, but not heavy and I love how fresh the the tomato sauce is.
I am always amazed by how creative Chef Dee Nguyen of Break of Dawn is, how he is able to transform something super simple, into a work of art. My son’s favorite is Bacon and Eggs and he will tell me when he’s hankering for bacon and eggs at “Uncle Dee’s.” The “bacon” is a house-cured pork belly in a league of its own. Add to that crispy tempura eggs which reveal a runny yolk when cut into, and you have a masterpiece in itself. The accompanying Napa cabbage slaw helps cleanse the palate between bites of the unctuous “bacon” while the kimchi spiced crema gives everything a little hint of heat. We like to add some of Dee’s house-made hot sauce to the mix too!
Daniel Godinez is another extremely talented chef who has been breaking barriers in Orange County with his interesting and creative cuisine. Danny is so forward thinking and ahead of his time that in the past, not everyone has been able to fully grasp or understand what he’s trying to do. I have watched Chef Danny grow in leaps and bounds from the humble little breakfast spot to his innovative French-Mexican menu at his second location. Soon, he will open El Mercado in Santa Ana, where regional Mexican cuisine will prevail. When I’m at Anepalco’s for breakfast or brunch, it is usually the Divorciados that I order because it gives me both the signature red sauce AND the green tomatillo sauce on the same plate. This beautiful dish is composed of corn tortillas, ham, bacon, two runny eggs, red onion, avocado, cotija cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.
Chef Jason Montelibano is constantly finding new ways to tantalize our palates and on Sundays, EATS Kitchen & Bar offers Sunday Brunch with bottomless mimosas or a DIY Bloody Mary Bar you’ll want to partake in. Whenever I am eating breakfast or brunch at a new restaurant, I usually gauge it by how well they prepare the eggs Benedict. Chef Jason presents a versatile Portobello Benedict at EATS which can appeal to both vegetarians and carnivores alike. The dish comes with prosciutto, which vegetarians may opt to omit. The hefty portobello mushroom is a meal in itself, so there is no danger of leaving hungry.