The annual Orange County Restaurant Week has officially kicked with approximately 140 of OC’s finest eateries participating. I was fortunate enough to attend their launch party appropriately titled “First Bites” located at the Irvine Marriott. Around 40 restaurants were on hand sampling out some of their best cuisine and alcoholic beverages. From the likes of Holsteins Shakes & Buns in Costa Mesa to Urbana of the Anaheim Packing House all the way to the intricately prepared gourmet donuts of Poqet were on hand. You can’t really go wrong. There are incredibly unique eats for you to devour the entire week with special discounts and creative menus this week only until March 12th.
With so many food options it probably wont be best to go through each one individually, however feel free to check out the photos so you can get a better idea of how amazing was the food provided. Every restaurant nearly delivered too much food with large samplings that would fill you up just after a few stops. I made the mistake of eating the whole plate at each location in the beginning therefore I wasn’t able to make it to several I wanted to try, but that was my own fault.
The event was superb with a plethora of food and alcohol, however the venue was sadly small and made things a challenge to maneuver to each table inside. Add a wine glass, a plate of food, and no where to eat at times and you will understand how difficult it was at times to eat. I believe they go to a different city each year, so if next year is at a decent venue then you wont want to miss this event! It can be price-y but it’s worth every penny.
Some highlights included: some some slow braised short ribs with a red wine sauce from Waterman’s Harbor from Dana Point; a decadent mini apple pie donut from Poqet Donuts from Irvine; the best fried wonton of your life from Nirvana Grille; and butterscotch rum pudding from Eureka! made with homemade whipped cream, caramel sauce and flaky sea salt.
An abundance of Mexican food was available from all of your classic tacos and tostadas to some of the most gourmet creations that I can’t even reiterate because they were so complex and sadly I could write them all down. However, some breakouts included Chelas Mexican Grill of Laguna Nigel and Kutsi Cocina in Santa Ana. Chelas won me over with their light and refreshing Agave Lime Tostada; crispy tostada with shredded romaine lettuce, Jicama, black beans avocado, tossed in agave live dressing and finished with quest and fresh strawberries. Kutsi powered over t he competition with an artistic display and complex selections of sopa and delicious beef prepared with several ingredients that I failed to remember.
This doesn’t even cover the tip of the iceberg of the giant selection nor does it include some of the more intricate recipes of creative good eats that are just impressive to hear.
To get more details and search the many participating restaurants head over to http://www.ocrestaurantweek.com. Remember, it’s this week only all throughout Orange County. It’s time to experience the innovate cuisine Southern California is putting out. Your taste buds will thank you for it.