Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dinner at a Playground

The Playground DTSA
220 E. 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

  My wife and I have been dying to go to The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana ever since we heard of its opening. Chef Jason from the Lime Truck started The Playground with his winnings from The Great Food Truck Race season two which aired on The Food Network. Damn I am glad he did because this was one of the best food experiences I have had in a long time. But be prepared to pay and make sure you have reservations in advance. My wife and I got really lucky, and were able to sit at the side of the bar, which is first come, first serve. As for the food my wife ordered the wagyu ribeye lomo saltado, I ordered the maple glazed pork chop and we shared an order of hand cut french fries with sweet onion dipping sauce and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. With drinks and a tip this was $80.

  The hand cut french fires came first. The fries were small which meant they cooked up crisp and crunchy. The fries were covered in sea slat and fresh ground pepper. The sweet onion dipping sauce was the perfect compliment to these fries. The sauce it self was like a well made onion dip with a hint maple syrup in it. I really enjoyed these little french fries and continued to munch on them through out our meal.

  There was no way my wife was going to order wagyu ribeye lomo saltado and I was not going to steal multiple bites. This was the best lomo saltado I have to date. The wagyu ribeye was sliced in bite sized pieces. The beef was tender, flavorful and juicy. I believe the same fries we got as a starter were also used in this lomo saltado. This made the dish a tad on the salty side but the spicy green sauce helped to cut through all of that salt. The freshly sauteed veggies added a slight bit if sweetness that really helped to make this a well balanced plate of food, full of flavor.

  OMG! My pork chops was huge! This was all that I was served and I needed nothing else by the time I was finished. This was a two rib pork chop that was beyond tender. If not for the size I bet it could have been cut with a fork. I did mange to catch Chef Jason for a quick moment and he told me they cook these monstrous chops at 140 degrees for two hours. Then the slap it on the flat top to get the crust and glaze them in a maple syrup. It was plain delicious. The crusty end of the chop had some kind of spice mixture that when paired with the sweet maple syrup made for a bite of pure win. A chop I would easily order again and have already recommended.

  For dessert the flourless chocolate was so rich and dense it should be called fudge. The added cream had a hint of smokey flavor to it which definitely helped to cut the richness of the cake its self. The candied macadamia nuts added a nice texture to each bite of cake. I have a sweet tooth like a mofo and even this was too much for me and I am glad my wife and I shared. An easy choice for any chocoholic.

  Looking to splurge on an amazingly good meal? Then go to The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana. The wait staff was great, the food service was surprisingly quick and the atmosphere was fun. I can not stress enough how lucky my wife and I were to actually get a seat at the sidebar so make sure to plan your visit to The Playground in advanced and I am sure you will be just as satisfied as my wife and I were. Make sure you check out The Playground web site because the menu is constantly changing.

Playground on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ribs, ribs and ribs

Tulsa Rib Company
954 N Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92867

  As long as I can remember Tulsa Rib Company has been advertising about the ribs that they serve. The family and I finally took the time to stop by and give Tulsa Rib Company a try. It is small place right off Tustin in Orange. We were seated quickly and ordered almost immediately. My daughter got the corn dog, my son got the shrimp and rib plate while my wife and I shared the ribs, ribs and ribs meal for two. With drinks the meal was about $70 bucks.

  My daughters corn dog was a bit greasy almost like the deep fryer was not hot enough. That did not stop her from finishing her corn dog and most of her fries. She said she liked her meal.

  My sons plate of food looked good. The ribs were saucy and the shrimp were butterflied then deep fried to a gold brown color. He thought the bbq sauce was a bit too spicy for his liking but the meat was tender. He also said the shrimp were plump and good. He seemed to enjoy his plate of food and had left overs for a meal the next day.

  As for the ribs, ribs and ribs meal for two it started with a corn bread muffin and a bowl of bbq beans. The beans were cooked with what I think was the same bbq sauce used on the ribs. The beans were good. The corn bread muffin was a bit dry and needed butter. The texture was crumbly which made it hard to even butter the muffin.

  My wife and I both ordered the Tulsa potatoes as our side. The Tulsa potatoes were supposed to be tossed in a garlic, herb butter but they were lacking any garlic or herb flavor. The potatoes simply reminded me of thickly cut potato chips. The Tulsa potatoes were not bad but not anything like I was expecting.

  As for the ribs, ribs and ribs plate I was a bit under whelmed by the size of the plate. There were about seven baby back ribs, two beef ribs, two boneless pork ribs and two boneless beef ribs. They were all covered on the same bbq sauce. The baby back ribs pulled off the bone and were tender while still being juicy. The beef ribs were meaty and they were tender too. Both had a nice smokey flavor to them and were good. I tried a small bite of each of the boneless ribs and they tasted the same as the bone on.

  Here is my problem with Tulsa Rib Company. The food was good but it was nothing to rave about. I know amazing bbq is hard to do and Tulsa Rib Company does good bbq. The food was tasty, service was fast and the wait staff was nice. However while I walked out of the restaurant full I felt like the prices were a bit steep for the portion sizes. If you are in the mood for some bbq then Tulsa Rib Company will fill that void but you may walk out with the same feelings as I did.

Tulsa Rib Company on Yelp
Tulsa Rib Company on Urbanspoon