any meal of the day at M Street Kitchen

Not long ago, I visited Stella Rossa Pizza Kitchen next door to this very eclectic and vibey cafe. Like its sister restaurant and neighbor, M Street Kitchen has a character of its own more often found on the east coast than here on the west.

Serving breakfast, lunch and an early dinner, the menu of sweet treats, together with succulent savories will delight you — it definitely  impressed me in more ways than one, two, or even three.

I’m a salty and my friend is a sweet, which makes for the perfect dining accompaniment when I go out to eat. Although I like to try the sweet offerings, I can’t bear to take more than one or two bites. With a sweet-toothed savior in tow, I can happily say, I can  sample and leave the eating to the pro.

We started with the Blackberry Bran Muffin ($2.50), a moist, sticky muffin which reminded me more of a sticky toffee pudding than a bran muffin. I took a bite and found the slight tartness of the blackberries very appealing. I took another bite — gooey, addicting even for me.

The Sourdough Muffin ($2.50) is made in-house and one of THE best muffins I’ve ever tasted. Texturally, it has a wonderful chewiness you won’t get from a commercially produced muffin. Served with butter and jam, the salty, sweet, tart combo is delicious as a light breakfast item or as an accompaniment to something more substantial.

When we ordered Crispy Hash Browns Benedict ($11), I wasn’t really thinking about how it would arrive. I was surprised to find the hash browns in place of the muffin but pleasantly so. The crispiness of the hash browns remained constant throughout and the perfectly poached eggs oozed over the potatoes making them the best breakfast ever.

You get a choice of ham or bacon with white or nine grain toast and we opted for bacon — salty with a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar lightly brushed on before baking. This is the dish I would come back for over and over again and it is a hefty portion so I would definitely need to share it!

If you have a sweet tooth, Blueberry Pancakes ($9) are absolutely not-to-be-missed. You get three huge pancakes with farm fresh blueberries embedded throughout. The pure maple syrup is not overly sweet and very light. I took three bites! That’s a record for me when it comes to pancakes!!

Lunch time offerings include Evil Thai Princess Salad ($11) with chicken, peanuts, lemongrass, kaffir lime. I was told this was one of the more popular salads, but I wanted a more “evil” salad — stronger dressing with more lemongrass and kaffir lime flavors — a lot more heat too — but I understand not everyone has demonic tastebuds like mine! My tolerance for heat is very strong!

Our last item was “Surfer Style” Tuna Tacos ($17) sushi grade tuna, grilled rare, with accompanying accoutrements such as guacamole, pico de gallo, black beans, and two types of dipping sauces — charred tomato salsa and chipotle mayo.

I took one of the corn tortillas and made myself a pretty little parcel. The taco is absolutely delicious, so fresh with a kick from the accompanying sauces. The portions are very generous and I strongly suggest sharing everything.

I’m excited for you to try M Street Kitchen and they have generously offered one of my readers a $25 gift certificate to do just that. Leave a comment with your full name and tell me what your favorite meal of the day is and what your #1 choice thing to eat is, for a chance to win. Entries close on Sunday March 5th. Winner announced Monday March 6th.

M Street Kitchen
2000 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tel: 310-396-9145

M Street kitchen on Urbanspoon

Great Mex is a surprising little joint

Ever since a friend of mine introduced me to this place, I’ve been coming here whenever I’ve been craving Mexican food. A small hole-in-the-wall, Great Mex is one of those places where food is simple but delicious and absolutely down-to-earth without any pretension.

There are three locations in Orange County and I recently visited their newest location in Costa Mesa hidden in a generic looking mall, easily missed if you’re not looking for it.

There is a salsa bar with a bunch of really great salsas ranging from mild to those with some kick to it. I love the smoky darker salsa as well as the one with a kick to it. Usually, I mix the two together. The chips flow endlessly if you want them to — just ask!

The Carnitas Fries here puts some others (I’m not naming names) to shame, both in flavor and size. For $5.95, the ginormous portion is so huge there is no way one person can eat it all — well I guess if you’re absolutely famished, maybe. There is a lot of meat, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese.

I normally am not a big fan of Chile Relleno ($2.50 a la carte $5.25/combo) because it is so heavily battered. Here, the coating is thin and all you get is a delicious pepper filled with cheese which oozes out when you cut into it. What could be better than that? This is the best chile relleno I’ve had in OC.

If you’re a taco fan, try the ones here. They run about $2 each and my favorite is the al pastor. Vegetarians can order the potato or mushroom taco (which they’ve recently added to the menu). However, my all time favorite is the shrimp taco! I get it every single time I come here.

I’ve been here once a week ever since my first time here and I’m completely hooked on the enchilada — well the enchilada sauce really. I’ve never liked enchilada before. I think I’ve finally figured it out, it’s the sauce! The roja sauce is simply amazing here. They definitely don’t put enough on the enchilada for me.

Breakfast is pretty tasty too. Chorizo omelette is jam packed with chorizo and jalapenos, served with potatoes and toast. The portion is so generous I was able to make two meals out of it.

If you’re looking for something light, check out the chicken salad. A grilled chicken breast sits atop a bed of baby greens tossed with a delicious salad dressing. I couldn’t stop eating this even though I was already stuffed.

Shrimp quesadilla has got to be one of the best items here. In fact, my son loves the al pastor quesadilla, but I love the shrimp.

Big chunks of shrimp are stuffed into this huge flour tortilla with melted cheese oozing with each bite. You can’t go wrong with this, or any of the items on the menu.

There are three locations you can go try some of this delicious fare at, so there is no excuse to not check this little gem out!

Tell me which location you would most likely visit and why and you might win a $10 gift certificate to Great Mex. 

Great Mex
703 E Balboa Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92661
Tel: 949-675-0808

Great Mex on Urbanspoon

2360 Newport Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Tel: 949-645-1884

Great Mex on Urbanspoon

1525 E Mesa Verde Drive
Ste 117
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tel: 714-241-1120

Great Mex on Urbanspoon