Saturday, May 14, 2011

Taste of Sicily in Orange, CA

Taste of Sicily
665 N. Tustin Street
Orange, CA 92867

  For along time I have been trying to find a local restaurant with  good home made Italian food. The only place I have been lucky enough to find and enjoy is all the way back in Arcadia which isn't so local. I have been driving by Taste of Sicily for years and finally made the decision that the family needed to stop in and give it try. I am kicking myself for not stopping here sooner. The family was seated and greeted by a warm and friendly waiter who promptly brought us some garlic knots. These things are simply amazing by themselves but are served with an oil and balsamic vinegar mixture. A dip in the oil makes these knots unbelievable, but I had to stop myself to ensure I left room for dinner.

  While munching on these little goodies I was able to look over then menu and try to decide what to order. The menu at Taste of Sicily is loaded with so many different choices from pizza, pasta, seafood and even vegetarian selections. My daughter picked the kids cheese pizza, my son got the meatball sandwich, my wife got the chicken marsala and I got the baked ziti with sausage added. With drinks and a huge dessert, more on that later, the meal was about $75.

  As usual my daughter chowed down on her cheese pizza. The cheese was super stringy when pulling the slices apart. This told me the cheese that Taste of Sicily used was quality cheese and not the crap chain pizza joints tend to use. She could not stop talking about how good her pizza was and manged to eat two slices. The pizza was pretty large for a child's pizza so I was impressed that she got two down. My son's meatball sandwich looked like a freight train when it came to the table. A freight train loaded with meatballs covered in sauce and melted cheese. He had to stop half through the sandwich because he was eating too fast. He said he could not help himself because it was good. He did end up eating another quarter of sandwich but I am wondering where he put it all.

  The last time my wife had a plate of what that restaurant called chicken marsala is was burnt and nasty. So I saw this on the menu and suggested she give it a try, my hunch was this chicken marsala was going to be good. She decided to give a try and she was glad she did. I had to have a bite a myself and I can tell you the chicken was tender and the marsala sauce was great. The thin sauce was in the bottom of a plate with the large pieces of chicken swimming in the sauce. With the sauteed onions and mushrooms this was a plate of food anyone could enjoy. She even ended up using some of the garlic knots to soak up some of the marsala sauce at the end of her meal. She said she was glad she finally got to taste what real chicken marsala was like.

  Myself I was torn between the baked ziti and the pasta carbonara. When I told the waiter my choices he told those are his two favorites dishes but if I went with the baked ziti they could add sausage for an extra charge. That sounded like the perfect meal to me so I agreed and I am glad I did. When my plate got to me it was ziti loaded with cheese and sausage baked til golden brown. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente and covered in ricotta and mozzarella cheese with some marinara sauce and large pieces of sliced sausage. The first bite had a bit of everything and was what someone might call the perfect bite. The creamy and slightly sweet ricotta with the bright marinara sauce was great. The meaty sausage with the gooey mozzarella was a great balance of flavors. This is a dish I would highly recommend to anyone.

  Sitting at the table feeling pretty damn full the waiter asked if we wanted anything else and I sat for a few seconds thinking then asked about the dessert menu. That was a mistake but a deliciously good one. I knew I didn't need the dessert but when he described the plate to us the family decided to go ahead and get it. I can not for the life of me remember the actual name of dessert but when he described the dessert the waiter said "Think of it as an Italian churro". It looked like pizza dough that was deep fried then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Then severed with sweetened ricotta that had chocolate chips in it, nutella and then sprinkled with powered sugar. A dab of the sweet ricotta with the chocolate chips made this deep fried treat even better. It's something that can and should be shared with the whole table but worth evey bit of caloric intake.

  Taste of Sicily was one of those unexpected surprises for me and the family. We had never really heard anything about this place but have seen the sign and always told ourselves that we needed to try it. I am super excited that we did because we now have a new Italian restaurant that we can frequent. The food was really well done and extremely good. The server was great, super helpful and was very attentive. The prices are what I expect to pay at a restaurant of this type so all in all Taste of Sicily gets a thumbs up from me. I would definitely suggest that if the urge strikes you then take a trip to Taste of Sicily and you will not be regret the choice.

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