Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tutto To-Go

Tutto Fresco
1808 N. Tustin St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

  Always looking for good Italian food I was excited to see Tutto Fresco taking over the failed Woody's Beach Grill location. My wife and I were driving home trying to figure what was quick, inexpensive and something other then burgers. My wife reminded me of Tutto Fresco so we thought we would give it try. Cool thing about this place is you can dine-in, take it home or even drive-thru. Since the kids were at home waiting for dinner we brought the food home. The entire meal was just shy of $40.

  My daughter went with the kids peperoni pizza and my son went with the Pollo alla Florentina. This was grilled chicken breast with sauteed spinach and Roma tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce with linguine pasta. My daughter gobbled down her pizza without any complaints. Just looking at the pizza it did not look too greasy and the crust looked crisp but still soft. My son said he liked his pasta dish but he thought there was a bit too much tomato. I tried a bite for my self and the chicken was still moist, the pasta was perfectly al dente but I did think the tomato cream sauce was lacking some flavor. For me it needed some fresh cracked pepper and I think that would have been the kick it needed.

  My wife ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo with bacon and peas. My wife said she really enjoyed this dish. I had to grab a fork full of this to try it for myself. Again the noodles were cooked to a perfect al dente, the Alfredo sauce was creamy, full of parmesan and richness. The peas were fresh and still had a bit of bite to them which made them pop with flavor. The bacon was still crisp and added a nice fatty, saltyness to the entire dish. The amount of bacon was just enough to let you know it was there but not enough to over power the entire dish. Personally I though the one fork full I got was delicious and something I could see myself ordering in the future.

  As for me I ordered the Baked Sausage Lasagna. This is  four layers of pasta with fresh tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Parmigian-Reggiano, ground beef and mild Italian sausage. Once again the pasta noodles were cooked perfectly. The tomato sauce was full of fresh herbs and garlic that really helped to bring all the flavors together. The ricotta was spread thick and remained creamy. The mozzarella added that classic richness and stringiness with a fork full of food. The ground beef and sausage were a nice combination which made the dish flavorful without being too strong in either directions. This was a very well made lasagna that I would not hesitate to order again.

  For an after dinner treat we got a huge slice of carrot cake. The cake it self was moist and chalk full of raisins, walnuts and grated carrots. You could really taste all of the different spices like cinnimon and nutmeg.  The cream cheese frosting was sweet, a little of this frosting went a long way but that is what I expect from a good frosting. This slice of cake was enough for all four us to get our fill. Tutto Fresco also has a chocolate lovers cake and I think that will be our next dessert to try.

  I honestly was not expecting this kind of meal from Tutto Fresco. Having never eaten here before and seeing that it had a drive-thru I was expecting so-so quality food. Boy was I wrong. The quality of food was fresh and everything is made to order. We only had to wait about ten minutes for the food to be ready which was a lot faster then I was expecting. The service at Tutto Fresco was super nice and very helpful. There are a few other locations in Orange County but I am glad this one has opened just down the street from home. I would definitely consider this fast-food but it has none of the typically fast-food qualities other then the food came out fast and I am looking forward to the families next visit.

Tutto Fresca on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Found my Juicy Lucy

Old Towne Diner
152 N Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

  I watch a lot of Food Network and have seen the Minnesota specialty burger called a Juicy Lucy. I have been trying to find a local restaurant that serves one and found that Old Towne Diner was doing this as a special. I grabbed the family and headed to Old Towne Diner for dinner once again. My only reason for going here was the Juicy Lucy, it was $5.99 with french fries.

  If you do not know what a Juicy Lucy is, it is two burger patties that have been stuffed with cheese before being cooked. In this case Old Towne Diner uses American cheese. The cheese gets all melted and gooey in the middle of the burger and every bite is filled with cheesy goodness. The burger is served simply with mayonnaise and pickles only.

  Normally I wouldn't cut a burger in half but I really wanted to show the inside of the burger to my readers. The burger it self was still moist and full of flavor. I really enjoy the burger patties at Old Towne Diner I don't know what it is but they are just damn good. The burst of American cheese with each bite was good and did not overwhelm the rest of the flavors. The pickles added a nice sour bite that helped to cut through all the cheese. The bun was slightly toasted but still soft. Such a simple burger but executed so well.

  From what I have heard this burger is a special for this month so I would advise getting over there and digging into this delicious mound of meat and cheese. I really do hope this burger stays on the Old Towne Diner menu because I now have a place locally that I can get one of these bad boys. This is now the third time I have been to the Old Towne Diner and they continue to impress me every time and have not disappointed me or the family. Take the time check this place out.

Old Towne Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Years Eve Dinner

Portillo's Hot Dogs
8390 La Palma Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

  The family found its way to Knott's Berry Farm for New Years Eve. Trying to save money we decided to leave the park for dinner and go to Portillo's Hot Dogs. You can walk there from Knott's, which we did but I would advise making sure you have your parking ticket and driving. It is a couple blocks East of Knott's on La Palma Avenue.

  There is no kids menu at Portillo's so my daughter had to order a normal sized cheese burger. My son ordered the combo-beef and Italian sausage sandwich. My wife ordered the bacon burger and I order the big beef, which is the large size Italian beef. Everything is a la carte so if you want fries they have be ordered separate, we got got two large orders. My wife also got a side order of chilli, with four drinks this meal was about $38.

  My daughter could only finish half of her burger so my son and I finished the other half. The burger it self had a nice chared broiled taste to it. The meat was good but needed to be a bit moister. My son said he liked his sandwich but he thought it needed a bit more of the Italian beef. He said the sausage was not spicy but flavorful. It looked like a good sandwich and may be something I try in the future.

  I did not bother to get a picture of the cup of chilli as it was covered in melted cheese and would have just looked like such. The chilli was full of beans and small bits of meat. A slight spice to the chilli gave me a slight kick at the end of each bite. Tons of cheese made this chilli gooey and stringy with each bite. The bacon burger my wife ordered had two pieces of crisp bacon and the rest of the typically fixings. My said that she thought the burger was hand formed and fresh. She said she liked the burger but that it was nothing special.

  I wanted to try Portillo's simply because of the Italian beef. In my many years of watching Food Network I have seen this sandwich but never been able to find a place that severed them until now. I ordered the sandwich with no peppers but you can get those added if you like. The bun is dipped in "gravy" which is the beef au jus. Next time I think I will have them dip the sandwich so it is soaked in beef au jus. The beef was thin and tender. The flavor of beef had a bit of smoke to it but no other real seasoning that I could taste. The sandwich was good but I was expecting so much more. The portion size was good and I did walk out full but not stuffed.

  Would I go back to Potillo's Hot Dogs? Yes, I would. The food was good and the prices are much cheaper then the food you will find inside Knott's Berry Farm. Overall the family was satisfied with the meal but no one was walking out of Portillo's singing its praises. My quest for a good Italian beef is over but I still hunger to find an amazing Italian beef. However next time I think I will be trying a sausage or Chicago style hot dog.

Portillo's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon