Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CUCINA Enoteca Irvine

Are you already excited by all the food in the picture above? I am! I've never thought of Irvine Spectrum as a dining destination. However, when I was invited to dinner at Cucina Enoteca, I was game to give the place a try. And I was pleasantly surprised!

The menu is varied with large and small plates, which is great for either a full on dinner or just some appetizers with drinks. You can go for a cheese/charcuterie board, vasis (mason jars full of antipasti dips), bruschettas, appetizers, pastas, pizzas, and entrees. Also, the food arrived FAST (within 15 minutes of ordering) so if you're going to watch a movie across the way, no worries - you'll get in and out in record time.

Since we were so overwhelmed with options, we decided to go family style.

vasi - burrata, roasted garlic

grilled octopus, pickled beech mushroom, charred spring onion, acqua pazza aioli, black garlic and corriander vinagrette

chopped salad, escarole, radicchio, casalingo salumi, caciocavallo, pickled shishito, parmesan crouton, ceci bean, castelvetrano, garlic oregano vinagrette

risotto carbonara, pancetta, pea, pecorino, farm egg

short rib pappardelle, cremini mushroom, carrot, parmigiano

linguine+clams, salametto piccante, chili, white wine brodo, fettunta

tiramisu in a jar, mascarpone mousse, lady fingers, chocolate
dark chocolate budino, crème fraîche, amaretti cookie

As previously stated, I was extremely surprised by how great this meal was! We attacked the food as soon as it came so some of the pictures are not perfect (egg yolk broken, salad scooping in action) so I apologize .. but everything was well executed, season perfectly and arrived at the table piping hot, even though it all came out within 15 minutes of us ordering.

My only gripes are that half of the seating is outdoors so if you're sensitive to the weather, you may want to make a reservation and request an inside seat. And we ordered a non-alcoholic soda. the "aquazul" (strawberry, mint, lime, ginger, soda) and it was $7, which we thought was a bit steep. My friend probably didn't look at the price before she ordered it because she was a bit surprised.

CUCINA Enoteca Irvine
Irvine Spectrum across from movie theatre
532 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, California

Monday, May 18, 2015


A few weeks ago, I was able to meet up with Weezermonkey for lunch (yay!) and we decided to check out Redbird, a newly opened restaurant in DTLA. The space is formerly the Vibiana Cathedral on the outskirts of Little Tokyo so needless to say, it's well-lit and gorgeous. The day was hot, so we opted to go for a lighter lunch. And I just realized that the above photo was taken by her.

new caledonia shrimp, grits, cocoa nib chipotle mole

burrata salad, sweet and sour pears, duck proscuitto, pistachio, red watercress

gnocchetti sardi, Maine lobster, black trumpets, nettles, tomato confit

grilled prime hanger steak, crushed peewee potatoes, wild broccoli, black garlic gremolata

A bit on the pricey side but all-in-all a great lunch! The hanger steak was amazing ... well cooked and tender. It was probably the best deal on the menu for lunch. The chicken potpie also looked really good but the weather was way too hot to have potpie. Too bad we skipped dessert cause it would have been interesting to see if the greatness would continue. Until next time ...

Can't wait to try the next place with you, Weezermonkey!

114 W Second St, Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seattle - Staple & Fancy

Our last night in Seattle was spent at Staple & Fancy, which incidentally was right next door to The Walrus & The Carpenter. There are a TON of amazing places to eat at in Seattle but Lady Ducayne (who left the trip at the end of the Vancouver leg) raved about the family dinner at Staple & Fancy. For $50/pp, we got the below items which was tailored for our party of three.

We were able to sneak a peek at the table next to us and see the items that they got for family dinner and some were a bit different, as they had a party of four. You can also order a la carte if you don't want to partake in family dinner but for the amount of food we got? Totally worth it!

Family meal consisted of "a bunch" of appetizars, a pasta, two entrees, a cheese and a dessert. As stated, if there are more people at the table, then the number of pastas/entrees/desserts increase.

housemade speck, crouton, microgreens

radicchio, frisee, arugula salad with proscuitto, candied walnuts, parmesan

cornmeal fried oysters, Calabrian chili aioli

mozzarella, housemade tapenade

seared ahi tuna, red peppers, avocado puree, cucumbers

parsnip puree, fried sage

beef tartare

pappardelle pasta, beef bolognese, root vegetables

swordfish, cauliflower, fingerling potatoes

strip loin, braised escarole, pancetta, parsnip puree

l'tour cow/goat/sheep milk cheese from France, quince paste, marcona almonds

dark chocolate hazelnut terraine, salted caramel, chocolate gelato

panna cotta, huckleberries

The last dessert was extra, as one member of our party loved panna cotta and couldn't resist getting it.

I can't rave enough about how good this meal was. If you find yourself in the area, I definitely recommend going for dinner one night. At one point, I honestly loved it more than The Walrus & The Carpenter (sacrilege!!) ... and as of now, I'm still debating. Sorry, oysters.

Staple & Fancy
4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, Washington