Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dinner after the show

Felix Continental Cafe
36 Plaza Sq.
Orange, CA 92866

  My wife and I were in Orange seeing The Maxies and after the show we were looking for a place to have dinner. While at The Maxies show a friend of mine had mentioned that they went to Felix Continental Cafe before the show and how good the food was there. This wasn't the first time I had been told about Felix so my wife and I decided it was time to try it out.

  The menu at Felix Continental Cafe was a bit overwhelming but not in a bad way, there was just so much on the menu that sounded really good. Felix has chicken dishes, beef dishes, pork dishes and seafood dishes. I personally was torn between the the ox tail, the Cuban sandwich or the roasted pork. I eventually decided on the roasted pork, my wife ended up picking the Arroz a la Cubana. With drinks this meal was about $32.

  The Arroz a la Cubana is casserole of saffron rice with chunks of pork, pieces of chicken and pieces of chorizo. My wife got the chorizo on the side because she thought the sausage would be spicy. I did try a little bit of each meat, the pork was tender but a tad bit on the dry side, the chicken was moist and shredded. While the texture of the chorizo kind of reminded me of wet jerky. The rice it self was cooked perfectly but still had some tooth to it. I said to my wife that the whole dish kind of reminded me of a Cuban fried rice. I really enjoyed each component of the dish separately and when mixed with the rice. A very tasty dish indeed.

  As for me the roasted pork was described as a Cuban holiday dish. Pork slowly roasted in its own drippings with bitter orange and seasonings. Served with rice, black beans and maduros. I love well made pork so I thought this would be a great dish and I was not wrong. The pork it self was tender and covered in the sauce which kept it extremely moist. The seasoning or sauce on the pork was so full of flavor and you did get a hint of the bitter orange. I enjoyed mixing the fluffy white rice with the pork and some of the raw white onion. I also thought the black beans were good, I am not a fan of black beans but these beans had a nice smokey flavor to them that I thought was nice. I tried the maduros which I believe was a deep fried plantain. It wasn't bad but not something I chose to eat simply because I wanted to finish the pork.

  I was very impressed with Felix Continental Cafe and will definitely be back. There are so many dishes on the menu that I want to try and I think the ox tail will be next. If you haven't been to Felix then I highly recommend you take a trip to this establishment as soon as you can. Oh on a side note the arroz con leche was creamy and the perfect end to this meal.

Felix Continental Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mediterranean Grand Opening

Luna Grill
3965 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606

  I received an email from a media relations person about Luna Grill having a grand opening celebration at the newest location in Irvine. So I thought I would go check it out. I was a bit disappointed that the food tasting was just samples and since I write about how foods taste and could care less about all the other festivities I had to go inside and actually order some food. My wife came with me so we got the chicken kabob and ground sirloin kabob plate, we also got a gyro plate and two drinks. This ended up costing me about $30. I wasn't surprised because the prices are clearly marked on the menu board but I was sure hoping the food would be worth the price.

  I stared by first trying some of the ground sirloin kabob. The meat was moist but a bit chewy. There was not much flavor to the meat other then the taste of beef. I did not get any taste of spice or seasoning. I was a bit disappointed to be honest. Next I tried the chicken and wow was this good. The chicken was tender and very juicy. The combination of spices and seasonings used on the chicken made it very flavorful. The slight char that the chicken had brought a nice smokey, grilled flavor to the chicken which left me wanting more of the chicken.

  Next I tried my gyro meat which is a mixture of ground lamb and ground beef with traditional near-eastern spices. I could tell from the slice of gyro meat that this came from a pre-formed hunk of meat and I believe I was correct. As I was about to leave I saw the cooks bring a perfectly shaped skewer of gyro meat out from the back and placeing in the cooking utensil. Now of course this could have been in the back but to me it just seemed to well made to be something that was done by hand. Now this is not to say the gyro was bad, in fact the exact opposite. The flavor of the meat was good and the spice is was exactly what I was used to, however, the meat was a bit dry because it was pre-sliced and sitting in a warming tray until being weighed out for service. I also want to mention that the sides on my plate were tasty. The basmati rice was cooked just right which made it light and fluffy. The pita bread was doughy but in a good way, not under cooked at all. The grilled tomato was a good compliment to the whole dish.

  The food at Luna Grill was good but seeing as how I am always trying to find the best tasting food for the best value I have to say Luna Grill isn't that place. If I had brought my kids with me the meal could have easily been over $50 and in my opinion I can get food that I personally enjoy more for less money. I will say that the chicken kabob at Luna Grill was out of this world fantastic and I would easily order that again but the combination of cost and just okay food may keep me away from Luna Grill in the future.

Luna Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A tasting at Gaufree

3851-A Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606

  I was invited to a tasting event at Gaufree (Go-free) and since I enjoy waffle sandwiches so much it was a no brainier. The menu for the tasting event was limited to a few selection and I was able to pick one sandwich, one side, one dessert and a drink. I went with the Philly cheese steak, fries, black cherry soda and peanut butter pie. Since this was a tasting event there was no cost to me but if you would have ordered this the cost would have been around $20.

  I did want to mention the soda at Gaufree because it uses natural ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. Which I think it pretty is cool. I much prefer these kinds of sodas when I do choose to drink soda. Plus the black cherry soda was excellent, nice cherry flavor without being overly sweet.

  As my food was delivered, Paul, the owner of Gaufree, stopped by my table and made sure to mention the garlic aioli that came with the fries. Being a lover of all things garlic that was the first thing I went for when it came to dipping my fries. The fries where crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The seasoning on the fries was perfect, just the right amount of salt to bring out all the flavor. But wait a minute, talk about a show stopper, the garlic aioli was just awesome. This dipping sauce would make a flip-flop taste good. The pungent taste of garlic was a welcome kick to the taste buds that sticks with you and will leave you craving more. Simply outstanding.

  I was fortunate enough to be sharing a table with a fellow food blogger we decided to share our sandwiches so we could each try more then more. I started with my Philly cheese steak sandwich, the waffle was loaded with grilled grass fed beef slices, sauteed peppers and onions which was all covered in melted cheese. This waffle had all the classic flavors of a Philly cheese steak, the beef was tender and moist, the peppers and onions added a bit sweetness and the cheese added a nice saltiness. The waffle it self was crunchy, fluffy and slightly sweet. This was a great tasting sandwich.

  Next up I tried the breakfast waffle which consisted of farm fresh organic scrambled eggs, apple wood smoked bacon and a garden herb pesto. Again the waffle was cooked just right, crispy and soft. The eggs were scrambled so they were light and airy. The bacon was thick which added a nice texture to the sandwich and a hint of smoke. The herb pesto brought a nice brightness to the entire flavor of this sammy. A breakfast sandwich that I could wake up to every morning.

  It must have been our lucky day because as we were sitting there enjoying our sandwiches we were offered a pulled pork sandwich. As full as I was there was no hesitation in answering yes. This pulled pork was slow cooked until pull a part tender and served with house made BBQ sauce. A bit of coleslaw also comes on the sandwich with caramelized onions and a spread of horseradish yogurt. The pork was tender and juicy, the BBQ sauce was smokey and sweet while the horseradish yogurt added some tang and spice. A very tasty version of pulled pork.

  Finally it was time to try the dessert waffle. This waffle is on the menu as a peanut butter pie waffle with sea salt caramel. However there are a few more ingredients included. The waffle had freshly sliced bananas, peanut butter, bits of chocolate cookie pieces, nuts and whipped cream the drizzled with caramel. This waffle brought sweet to a new level. You had better have a sweet tooth for this waffle. It was amazingly good but very rich. A cold glass of milk would have paired very nicely with this and rounded out this treat. I think this dessert is best shared with multiple people because too much can be overpowering but the flavors were spot on.

  My overall impression of Gaufree was very good. I was blown away by the quality of the ingredients and their attention to detail. I was watching them cook and after cooking the waffles they had a person trimming the edges so the waffle were nice and neat. All the ingredients are locally sourced, if possible, no use of GMO's and all natural where available. This combination brings the customers of Gaufree a quick dining experience that tastes like it came from a gourmet restaurant. I know I will be back and I suggest, no I urge, you to go and try Gaufree for yourself.

Gaufree on Urbanspoon