This is my last post of the year. This month, the blog also celebrated its 10th anniversary, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of your support, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to sharing another fun-filled and delicious year with you — see you in 2019!
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Chef Ryan Adams’ Sunday night fried chicken suppers from 370 Common makes its way to this fast casual eatery in Old Town Orange. The same deliciously moist, buttermilk-soaked chicken is fried to perfection, and available Tuesdays to Sundays for lunch or dinner. Now, you don’t have to wait a month to enjoy it.
The restaurant located within Hotel Fullerton was one of the biggest surprises this year, and the best meal I had in 2018! The restaurant is not stuffy, but rather, on the casual side. The cuisine, however, is thoughtful, creative, and of fine dining caliber. It makes me hopeful that this style of cuisine is absolutely possible in OC. Chef Zach Geerson is definitely someone to keep an eye out for as we move into 2019.
The dynamo quartet who brought you Vine and Ironwood, has done it again. Olea is their third restaurant, bringing you top quality food, with some of the best cocktails you’ll find. Located in Newport Beach, Olea has become one of the most sought-after restaurants in the area, making it almost impossible to get a reservation these days. However, if you want to grab a drink and people watch, feel free to mingle around the bar… the rest of Newport does!
Chef Ryan Adams has been busy this year. Besides Buttermilk, he also opened a unique pizzeria in Dana Point, offering New Haven-style pizzas — a rarity here in Orange County. The pizzas are thin-crust, chewy and crispy at the same time, with some rather interesting toppings to boot. Some of my favorites include the Clam, the Stinger, and the Killer Dana. But don’t stop there. Try the fantastic Sweet & Spicy Wings while you’re at it. I promise they won’t disappoint!
Terrace by Mix Mix
Chef Ross Pangilinan’s new offering at South Coast Plaza brings his superb menu to a more chilled and relaxed environment. Open for lunch and dinner, you’ll find some popular Mix Mix menu items available here. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, and best of all, you can bring the kids!
One of the most delightful finds this year was this speakeasy in the heart of Tijuana. A collaboration between chef Toshiaki Tsutada (formerly at San Diego’s Sushi Ota) and chef Pedro Valarde Padilla, Toshi Toshi brings together the craft of fine sushi, with flavors and ingredients from the Baja coast. The result is beautiful food, paired with fresh, interesting flavors of Mexico.
The Vox Kitchen
It took me a while to get to The Vox Kitchen, but once I tried it, I couldn’t get enough. In 2018, I visited this eatery at least six times, bringing new people with me each time. The menu is comforting, although a little discombobulated. Dishes are inspired from various cuisines including Korean, Peruvian, and Vietnamese. These days, it is difficult to secure a table here, but with the help of the Yelp app, you can reserve a seat before driving there. This way, it’ll minimize the wait time. Don’t forget to check in through the Yelp app to receive a free Lychee Lemonade!