Sunday, January 30, 2011

DeSimone Deli in Orange

Deli and Bakery in Orange
2279 North Tustin Street
Mon. thru Fri. 10-6
Sat. 10-3

  I have been looking for a deli sandwich in my area for a while. I have seen this large sign outside of deli in Orange that claims they have the best Cuban sandwich in Orange County. I love a good Cuban but had never taken the time to stop and try until this weekend. The family and I made it a point to stop at DeSimone Deli and Bakery in Orange for lunch. DeSimone is inside a strip mall across the street from The Orange Village and it may be a little to hard find but is well worth the effort.

  When you first walk in DeSione you see a small deli counter and couple tables with chairs. The people behind that counter welcomed us and were extremely nice. My whole reason for being there was the Cuban so when asked what I wanted I ordered a sixteen inch Cuban. My wife ordered an eight inch American sub, my son ordered an eight inch meatball sandwich, and my daughter got a small ham and cheese. We also got one large and one small drink and three bags of chips. This entire order cost me about $40 but my Cuban was almost $13 alone. Also if you choose to eat there you get a small plate and access to free potato salad and macaroni salad.

  My daughter's ham and cheese had a fair amount of ham and thick slices of American cheese. She was being a bit finicky but did eat half a sandwich. I think she was more interested in eating her chips then the sandwich. My son's meatball sandwich was loaded with large meatballs covered in marinara sauce then covered in provolone. I was able to try a piece of meatball and sauce, and just the bite I had was good. The meatball was moist and not over cooked. The marina sauce was thick and spiced perfectly.

  My wife's American sub was stacked with ham, turkey, cotto salami and American cheese. The meat was plentiful, thick slices of cheese and fresh veggies. My wife said the bread was tough but the meat was fresh and the veggies were crisp. She said the bread was like Fort Knox trying to keep her from the inside of the sandwich. This sandwich looked awesome but I did not try it myself. My wife said if the bread was bit softer that this would have made the sandwich that much better.

  The real reason for my visit was the Cuban sandwich. I love this type of sandwich and have not found a really good Cuban to date. However DeSimone has become my new go to Deli to get a kick ass Cuban. This Cuban was loaded with sliced pork that had a great taste. The ham in this Cuban was the perfect bit of salty. The swiss cheese added a creamy feel that was just perfect with the sour pickles and tart mustard. The whole sandwich was pressed and warmed just enough to make the whole sandwich one complete taste experience. I got the eighteen inch sandwich which was sliced into four pieces. I was able to eat three slices and had the fourth later. Even the leftover Cuban reheated and was just as good.

  If you are looking for a good Deli sandwich then I would suggest giving DeSimone Deli and Bakery in Orange a try. The sandwiches were huge, the quality was good and the prices were fair. Make sure you are really hungry, want left overs or plan to share before you order an eighteen inch sandwich. The people running DeSimone were super nice and helpful. If you live anywhere near DeSimone take an afternoon to drive over there and get yourself a excellent deli sandwich.

DeSimone Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is The Hat world famous pastrami?

World Famous Pastrami
Temple City, CA

  The family packed up on a Saturday morning to drive to my Mom's house so we could help move some stuff in the garage. This was a planned trip and for helping out with the garage my Mom offered to take us out to lunch at The Hat. I'm sure some of you that read this blog have been to The Hat in the past and you know how good the pastrami is but there may be a few that have not taken the time to stop in and try it out.

  The menu at The Hat has many different items but for me there is only one reason to go to The Hat and that is the pastrami dip sandwich. I ordered mine with extra mustard and extra pickles, my Mom order the same sandwich. My wife got a steak sandwich and she added cheese, my son got a pastrami plain, my daughter got a junior cheese burger. We also got one order of wet fries, one small order of fries and two drinks. This whole meal was about $45.

  My daughters junior cheese burger was not impressive looking at all. It looked like a thin patty with a slice of cheese that was slapped between a bun then pressed closed. It really didn't matter to her because she gobbled down that burger without saying a word. She then proceeded to munch down some of the fries her and my son split. This was my sons first time eating pastrami and he really enjoyed his sandwich. He was trying to tell me how good it was but his mouth was stuffed with pastrami the whole time. He managed to get half a sandwich down and then tapped out. Didn't take a picture of my sons sandwich since it basically looked like mine.

  When I open the steak sandwich my wife ordered, so I could take a picture it looked like a thin piece of meat that was over cooked, that they loaded with way too much cheese. My wife said the sandwich was good but The Hat is not her favorite place to eat because she does not like pastrami. I thought the sandwich could have had way less cheese and way more meat.

  I don't go to The Hat for anything but pastrami. I can get a better hamburger at other places and I can definitely get a better steak sandwich some where else. The reason any meat eating person would go to The Hat is for a pastrami sandwich. When they make the sandwich the bread is first dipped in a au jus. Then they cover the roll in yellow mustard and load it with pickles. Then they take thongs full of pastrami and mound it on the roll. The pastrami is thinly sliced and juicy. The pastrami is not too fatty and has a nice peppery bite to it. The yellow mustard and pickles help to cut through the richness from the fat. Every bite ends with some pastrami falling to the table so make sure to grab a fork so you can get the scraps. I wouldn't dare throw any of this pastrami away.

  You may be asking yourself," what are wet fries?" Well, they take a pile of perfectly cooked french fries and place them in large tray. Then take a couple ladles full of brown gravy and cover the fries. This combination reminds me of mashed potatoes and gravy with some crispy bits mixed in. The mountain of wet fries could be a meal on it own so it may be a good idea to share an order.

  The other items we got at the The Hat fell flat but the pastrami shined like always. The wet fries are another item that never disappoints. If you prefer chili cheese fries then make sure to order them instead of wet fries. You can also get the chili cheese with pastrami on top. Can you say heart attack in a tray? If you want a burger or regular sandwich I would say go somewhere else. However if you want a pastrami sandwich that has few equals The Hat is a must.

The Hat on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Woody's in Santa Ana

Beach Club and Grill
1808 Tustin Avenue
Santa Ana, CA

  Woody's is a new restaurant that just opened a couple weeks ago right down the street from my place. The first time the family and I tried to go there the ATM was not setup so we had to leave. This time the ATM was working so the family and I decided to give Woody's a try. When we first walked in we were greeted by a nice man asking if we had been there before and he also told us what was the best selling item of the day was. The other people behind the counter were also super nice and extremely helpful. The menu at Woody's was a mix of beach themed items with a few "Mexican" food items mixed in. Kinda like beach-mex like Rubuio's. My daughter ordered a hot dog with fries, my son got the fish sandwich, my wife got the taco salad and chips with salsa, I got the chicken sandwich and chili fries with cheese. With drinks this whole meal cost me about $30. Everything at Woody's was severed al a carte so if you wanted fries they had to be ordered on the side.

  We were given a number and found a place to sit. The food was brought to our table by the staff which proceed to ask us if we needed anything about three times. Not a bad thing at all but considering we were only one of three tables filled at the time they probably needed something to do. My daughter got her hot dog and it looked like an all beef hot dog that was cooked on a flat top griddle. It was served plain, she later added ketchup to it, with small hand full of fries. She did eat the hot dog without any fuss but it was just a hot dog, nothing special. My son got his fish sandwich and from what I could see the fish looked to be deep fried and greasy. It also looked like it was swimming in mayonnaise. My son said his sandwich was okay. He was not impressed and said he has had better fish sandwiches in the past.

  My wife ordered a taco salad with chicken and an order of chips and salsa. The taco salad looked like a handful of ice burg lettuce thrown in a shell. That was sprinkled with black beans, cheese and small scoop of guacamole with some cooked chicken pieces. The chips looked like they were just cooked when we placed the order. My wife said the taco salad was horrible. The tiny amount of beans and guacamole made this taco salad a bowl of lettuce and chicken with ranch dressing and cheese. The chips were super greasy and not cooked all the way. The chips left a pool of cooking grease on the plate. Instead of being crisp they were chewy. The salsa was good but that was about it.

  My chicken looked like griddle cooked chicken that was chopped up and placed on a hoagie roll with mayonnaise, tomatoes, cheese and lettuce. I thought the hoagie roll was a bit tough to bite through. The chicken had no flavor to it other then chicken. There was no seasoning on the chicken that I could taste. The shredded lettuce dominated this sandwich, I had to take some off to get a good picture. This sandwich was okay. It wasn't so bad that I could not finish the sandwich but it was nothing that I could not have made myself at home. The chili cheese fries looked promising but I was again left with disappointment after eating these fries. The chili was heavy in the tomato department which made me think it was more of spaghetti sauce with some kidney beans thrown in it. Either the sauce or the fries were too greasy because I was also left with a plate of cooking grease when I was finished.

  The prices of the food were reasonable but the quality of the food was nothing special. The way too greasy chips and french fries were a big turn off. I am guessing they did not have the cooking oil hot enough or simply did not let the oil drain after cooking. An easy thing to be corrected that would have made things a bit better. The service at Woody's was super nice and helpful but unfortunately that did not make up for the food. Overall my impression of Woody's was not good. The food was mediocre at best and something I would not recommend. Maybe because this is a new restaurant they have not quite fell into the groove yet but not sure I am willing to give Woody's a second try.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Disneyland treat at Cafe Orleans

Disneyland Resort Anaheim, CA

  The family and I made our way to Disneyland last week. We recently got a new set of annual passes for the family so Disneyland has become a weekend getaway for us. We can spend a few hours there and go home without feeling like we have wasted our money. On this day we decided to treat our selves with a special dinner. A Monte Cristo sandwich from Cafe Orleans. At one time you could only get this sandwich at the Blue Bayou restaurant during the lunch menu times. Good luck getting a table at the Blue Bayou on the same day you visit the park. Thankfully Disneyland realized how popular the Monte Cristo was and added it the Cafe Orleans menu.

  That night the family and I order a bowl of french onion soup and the garlic and parmesan pommes frites to start the meal. The french onion soup is loaded with caramelized onions drowning in a delicious beef broth. The soup is capped with a piece of crusty bread and melted gruyere cheese. The first spoon full of this soup is the best bite. I make sure I get some bread, cheese and plenty of onions. The broth is beefy but not too salty. The onions are soft and sweet. The cheese is gooey, melted goodness. One of the best bowls of french onion soup I have had.

  The pommes frites are just french fries with a fancy name but they are covered in garlic, parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. They are served with a cajun spice remoulade. These fries are cooked so they have a cripsy outside and a soft inside. Then they are covered in freshly minced garlic, grated parmesan and chopped parsley. By themselves these fries are wonderful but dipped in the remoulade they are amazing. The amount of fresh garlic on these fries would scare any vampire away so make sure you enjoy that much before you order them.

  The real treat at Cafe Orleans is the Monte Cristo sandwich. The sandwich is a bit expensive at almost sixteen dollars but for a once in a great while treat it is worth every penny. This sandwich is loaded with thinly sliced turkey, ham and swiss cheese. Then covered in a light batter and deep fried. Once cooked to a golden brown color the sandwich is plated and dusted with powered sugar. It is severed with a side of berry puree. I know it sounds like a sandwich no one in their right mind would order but trust me this sandwich will blow you away. The sandwich is warm when it arrives at the table and it must be eaten with the berry puree. The batter is crispy, the bread is soft, the swiss is melted and the meat is warm. Almost like a grilled meat and cheese sandwich but a thousand times better. The ham and swiss add a saltyness to the sandwich that counters the sweet batter. The berry puree adds a bit of sour that makes each bite of sandwich a mouthful of deliciousness. It is hard for me to explain this sandwich because of how unique the sandwich really is.

  Three Monte Cristo sandwiches and a child mac and cheese with drinks and tip set us back about $85 dollars. Like I said this is an expensive meal but for a family treat I am willing to pay the price. To date this is the best Monte Cristo sandwich I have had and trust me I have been looking. If you happen to be visiting Disneyland and have the budget then make sure to stop by Cafe Orleans and get yourself a Monte Cristo.
Café Orléans on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Benjies is good deli food

1828 N. Tustin Ave. Santa Ana, CA

  The family wanted to go try this new place called Woody's but I guess we caught them before they were fully ready because the ATM service had not been installed yet. I didn't have any cash on me so we had to leave and find somewhere else to eat that night. Benjies is just down the street and it is a place I have liked going to since I was introduced to Benjies by my Dad and Stepmother.

  That night the family and I were seated right away by a friendly waitress and like always she gave us some the pickles that I absolutely love. No one else in the family loves pickles like I do, I could and did go through four dishes of pickles. I believe there are two kinds, a half sour and full sour. Honestly I am not sure but I do know they make the pickles there and they are unbelievably good.

  My daughter got fish and chips. She liked the fish and of course ate almost all of her fries before she even touched the fish. The fish looked good but I did not try any. She did tell me that the fish was good but too hot to eat right away. My son got the tuna melt. This looked like a classic tuna melt, loaded with tuna fish and grilled crisp. My son said the tune fish was good but not as good as his mother's tuna fish.

  My wife ordered the grilled hamburger steak. This hamburger steak was covered in grilled onions. My wife said the steak was good but too rich because of the butter that covered the grilled onions. I did have a bite of this hamburger steak and the flavor reminded of a well made hamburger. It had a bit seasoning but not enough to over power the natural flavor of the beef and onions. I too felt it was a tad bit too rich with all the butter from the grilled onions. My wife said the rest of her meal was good.

  I was in the mood for a deli style sandwich that night and decided on the pastrami and corned beef with swiss cheese. Normally it comes with a thousand island type dressing but I got mine dry. The pastrami was peppery and fatty but not too much fat. All good pastrami should have some fat in it, that's my opinion at least. The corned beef was tender and flavorful. Both types of meat were piled high on this sandwich. I wasn't sure where to start but trust me I managed to eat the whole thing. The french fries we all got reminded me of something someone could buy at the local grocery store. But that didn't matter to me because they were fried to that perfect golden crispy goodness. With drinks and tip the entire meal came to about $60 but that also included one of their fresh made daily eclairs that we took home for dessert. Unfortunately I did not take a picture but let me tell you is was huge, covered in chocolate and had a creamy center. The pastry it self was fluffy and flaky.

  My over all thoughts about Benjies is that this restaurant serves good food. This is not food that is going to blow your mind but it is food I would recommend to any of my friends. The prices may be on the high side but the portion sizes make up for the cost. You will walk out of Benjies full to the brim. If you have not taken the time to try Benjies I would recommend you get there and give this good deli food a taste test.
Benjies New York Deli on Urbanspoon