Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sashimi – Sushi in Mission Viejo really?

This is a hole in the wall sushi bar located next to Vons in Mission Viejo.  Blink and you will drive right by it.  I would say there are only 6 tables and a nice bar.  Of course they have a flat screen TV hanging on the wall.  Who doesn’t these days?  Call me old fashion but I like to relax with my Saki. 

The staff is very pleasant and ready to help you with anything you need.  The drinks are always full and the place is clean.  You are welcomed with a booming hello. 

Clean – Check

Good – Food Check

Friendly Atmosphere – Check

So what is the downside you may ask?  Well the prices are higher than I would expect from a shopping center location next to a Vons.  In fact, I was taken by complete surprise.  These were the prices I expect to see in Laguna Beach not Mission Viejo.

The Martini rolls was fresh and tempting.  Seared Albacore topped with a slice of jalapeno.  It was not hot and could use a little more of a kick.  The Crunch Roll was spot on tangy and sweet.  It was one of the better Crunch Rolls I have had in years.  The Cucumber Roll was rolled nicely tight, perfectly wrapped around yellow tail, salmon and tuna. 

My favorite by far was the Happy Roll.  Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.  Once again Yellow Tail wrapped over spice tuna and avocado.  For some reason this sushi roll was light.  It did not feel heavy even though it was wrapped with rice.  There was just something about it that made it a delight!

Sashimi gets 3 Forks Up.  The price was too high.  The sushi was good don’t get me wrong but I just could not justify the price it blew me away and that’s hard to do.  The service was excellent and the atmosphere was welcoming but the price…..That’s what it comes down too.  If you are going to charge that much then I prefer a better location I just cannot justify it.

(949) 583-9103

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Hobbit – The best hidden gem in Orange County.

This is hidden gem in Orange which was born before the movie came out.  It has nothing to do with the movie by the way. So do not expect to see a Hobbit or Dwarf.  But it will be an experience you will not forget. 

The Hobbit has been around since 1972 and has been family owned since its opening.  Today the Hobbit is run by the grandson and still adheres to the original traditions.  The style has not changed only the menu has been updated as the time dictates. The experience still remains.

The atmosphere is perfect for that special occasion.  The Hobbit can also be rented out for that perfect holiday party.  It is old school romantic with all the bells and whistles upstairs is an old 1920 style bar fully loaded for with Mint Juleps for that Southern Belle. 

Downstairs the romance is a blaze with 2 dining rooms sitting no more than a handful of tables.  This establishment of a throw back in time ONLY takes reservations which are confirmed 3 times prior to your scheduled dining experience.   For a Friday or Saturday night try to book well in advance.  A deposit is requested at the time of reservation but that is understandable given the small venue.

This is a chef’s 7 course menu venue.  That means that the chef prepares a full course dinner, upon the making of the reservations please inform the receptionist of any allergies however, the chef is more than happy to make some changes at the time of service.  For instance someone in my party was allergic to pork the chef was able to prepare a fabulous substitution.  But given the skill level of the chef and his wonderful staff there was no surprise.

The summer menu is one featuring the freshest ingredients.  The menu changes like the seasons. 

The evening starts in the wine cellar where Champagne and Hors d’oeuvres are served.  After guests have selected a wine accompaniment everyone proceeds upstairs to dinner.  Appetizer consists of Seared Pacific Halibut with assorted French fingerling potatoes, baby artichokes and blood orange and sweet beet emulsion.  Second course is an Allspice and Black Pepper Dusted Kurobuta Pork Loin with fresh Brussel sprouts and apple wood smoked bacon served with a bed of orzo rosemary scented natural jus.  Third course takes us in to the Mixed Heirloom Tomato Tartar with micro frisee lettuce, humbolt fog cheese, black pepper caramel vinaigrette and ciabatta bread crisp.  As you are already in heaven there is a brief intermission.  This is the perfect opportunity to meet the chef in the kitchen and observe a real working kitchen.

As you return for Act 2 you are presented with a Clementine Orange Sorbet to clean your palate.  Next is the famous entrée portion as if the above items were not enough.  There is a selection between Filet Mignon with Spice Cured Foie Gras and New Zealand Blue Nose Bass with Beluga Lentils.  The Filet Mignon was so moist and tender you could cut it with a butter knife.  The Bass was light and moist.  It is so easy to mess up fish that sometimes I just don’t even order it anymore.  I hate to be disappointed but his time that was not the case.  Perhaps the sorbet did clean the palate but all I can remember is delicious flavor that left me wanting more. 

Dessert was a different world.  You are not presented with just one taste of erotica but two.  A beautiful Lace Almond Cookie Cup with Mocha Espresso Mousse and Sweet Chandler Strawberries with mint tops.  No you will not go home wanting.  You will go home wanting to come back.

The service was impeccable.  Besides Emeril’s in New Orleans and various places in Indiana The Hobbit by far has the best restaurant service in Orange County to date.  So place your reservation now for those special occasions because this gem will not be forgotten but will shine on.
This place is all the way a FOUR FORKS UP!  Price reasonable for what you receive, the service excellent and the atmosphere like no other. 


2932 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92869

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

PATACHOU ON THE PARK – A little street Café

Only not so little located on Washington Street in Downtown Indianapolis across from the Capitol.  Sundays are the busiest so expect a wait up to 30 – 45 minutes for a table.  It has been serving healthy selections since it opened which was a nice surprise for this health conscious individual who is known to frequent tofu restaurants just to compare the firmness.   

This quant establishment is known for its Broken Yolk Sandwiches.  What is a broken yoke sandwich you ask?  Well, it is something that you need to experience I my description will never do it justice.  It is rich and runny.  The newest endeavor is the Broken Yolk Sandwich with Smoking Goose Apple Chicken.  It consists of 2 fried eggs, white cheddar cheese and Smoking Goose Apple Chicken Sausage patties served as a sandwich.  Once you bite into eat the ooze goodness of the yolk spills forth onto your taste buds.  Yes, there is nothing like it unfortunately it was so good I forgot to take a picture and the next thing you know it was in tummy.

If a fried egg sandwich fails to make you turn cartwheels than they have more delights to choose from including various omelets.  Try the Hippie with a Benz made with fresh spinach, vine ripened tomatoes, mushrooms and feta.  It was a Hippie with a beat.  The Overachiever is made with famous Indiana Bacon, white cheddar cheese, sour cream and horseradish it’s sure to make you ask for glass of water.  It has a spicy kick to it.  As with every breakfast menu they always have to mention the word California and Patachou is no exception with its California Dreamer made with avocado, white cheddar cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.  Oh those hot summer California nights. 

If you are more a traditional type of person yes they do serve Fresh House made Waffles and Croissant French Toast.  Add a cup of fruit and breakfast is served.

Lunch is also served and you have your choice of sandwiches or fresh made salads.  A special flavor for vegetarians is the Lentil Pate which consists of a curried vegetarian pate with cubes of blue cheese mayonnaise.  But if meat is what you want then may I suggest the Fresh House Roasted Turkey with herbed cream cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise. 

Patachou serves the typical Chopped and Greek Salads however they do have few surprises.  The Winter Ensalada Fresca is chopped romaine, roasted butternut squash, red onion, cumbers, garbanzo beans, black beans and feta tossed with Buttermilk Herb dressing.  Or how about a throwback to time?  The Green Goddess Salad is one I would highly recommend if for the name alone.  However you will be pleasantly surprised.  This salad has all the goodies made with avocado, hardboiled egg, bacon, chopped tomatoes, apples, and natural poached chicken over lettuce tossed with their own version of creamy Green Goddess dressing.  Quick where is my fork?

One criticism I just cannot get out of my mind is the fact that if you coffee you have to get up and help yourself.  They have a coffee station directly in the middle of the restaurant which is not easy to get to as you have to weave your way through various tables.  If I am paying for service I do not want to get up to get myself a cup of coffee.  Call me old fashioned but that’s what I pay for and I do tip graciously as I was once a server myself.  The service is also a bit lax.  The manager just doesn’t have control as I witnessed him cleaning tables as patrons waited to be seated.  The water glasses were never refilled and there is no water shortage in Indiana last time I checked.  The food was good but a bit overpriced from what I experienced elsewhere.  Food was good but if you compare it to the service and prices elsewhere it just seemed to be lacking.  So sorry to say I can only give it 2.5 Forks Up.  With a little help I know it can do better.  The food was good and healthy.  The establishment had a great vibe and that is always a plus.

225 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, Indiana
(317) 632-0765