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Chapter One: The Modern Local is part of a larger revitalization of cities around the L.A. basin, where the emphasis is on energizing downtown businesses in core areas. In Santa Ana, this particular restaurant mixes innovation, ideals, community and history. Celebrating all things local, the farm-to-table, seasonal menu adheres to sustainability which makes the simple, yet flavorful ingredients stand on their own. The craft libations, from beer to cocktails are excellent, and if you arrive late, the kitchen stays open until midnight.
Pop's Cafe in Santa Ana is a classic, old school style diner specializing in breakfast and American dishes. From the red vinyl seats to the checkerboard floor, you will definitely know you made the right choice as soon as you step in the door. Once you check out the menu, take your pick from American breakfast classics like biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, French toast (grilled or fried) and of course, pancakes. For those who aren't breakfast folk, they also serve classic American lunch dishes like tuna salad, burgers and BLTs.
Casual yet classy, Old Vine Café is a popular local dining spot. Featuring a small, tastefully decorated vibrant space, the cafe's menu offers a diverse range of delicious gourmet options through breakfast and lunch daily and is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm onwards. Choose from seasonally inspired dishes to classic lunch time fare like Seasonal Blueberry French Toast, Lengua Omelet, Southern Brunch, Porcini Mushroom Mac & Cheese, Torta de Lingua and more. Paninis, salads, soups and starters are the mainstay during lunch. A 3 course menu is offered at USD23 per person as well. Dinner is a more elaborate affair diners can choose from several tasting menus as well as a la carte options with dishes like Hand Made Raviolo, White Truffle Polenta and Rabbit Mole. Resrvations for dinner are highly recommended.
SOL Cocina situated on Balboa Marina in Newport Beach is a Mexican restaurant with a difference. Specializing on authentic Baja cuisine with a contemporary assimilation of Baja's street food such as antojitos, street tacos and cocteles de mariscos. Simplicity and flavor are rulers of this delectable cuisine made with fresh ingredients. Smoky aromas fill the air from the open kitchen as the chefs grill their meat and fresh seafood on mesquite wood, rousing your appetite for the delicious spread that is to come. Salsas and sauces are freshly made daily using only the freshest ingredients. The restaurant offers quite a few dining options that includes the private dining room illuminated by the warm glow of the lovely candle wall which is downstairs. Their beautiful patio overlooks the Balboa Marina, and their unique bar with a welcoming fire pit is a great place where you can enjoy the creative hand made cocktails highlighting over 60 hand-crafted tequilas. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch and also features live music on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
With a welcoming sign of 'Welcome to the beach' Alley Restaurant and Bar greets first timers as well the 'Alleycats' into their breezy, seaside pub. This legendary Newport Beach restaurant which has been reveling locals and visitors alike for the past 25 years with their American pub cuisine of classic burgers, sandwiches, Filet Mignon, lamb shank, chicken picatta, garlic green beans, pound cake, sand dabs, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Chilean Sea bass and more and late night 'anti happy hour' at their vibrant bar. The vintage look of the main dining area with its stained glass bay windows and dim lighting, invites you for a time of fun and frolic. Alley serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Welcome to the world of Alley.
Lulu's Creperie Cafe has all the idyllic French countryside charm. Be it indoors or on the beautiful patio, you will be serenaded by the French experience. Delicious food, whether it is gourmet French, lovely crepes or classic American dishes, you will surely relish. And the warm hospitality and affordable prices sets the tone right for a delightful time here. At Lulu's you will feel as if you are meeting your long lost friend. Enjoy the live music nightly and on Sunday brunch, and just unwind with a great smile playing on your lips. Lulu's is known for their hearty breakfasts and brunches, so step in to have a wonderful dining experience.
This is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Orange County or, for that matter, Southern California. The views here are to die for, with the coastline spread out before you. This makes it a popular spot with tourists, who like to take pictures of themselves against the spectacular backdrop. Locals love it too. Most of the entrees are seafood-centric but there is something for everyone. Try the pasta Las Brisas, Bouillabaisse with a half-lobster tail, or scallops in tomato saffron broth. There is a full bar and an extensive wine list with some good medium-priced bottles.
TAPS Fish House is a pleasant and casual restaurant specializing in all things seafood and beer, a classic pairing. You can start out with a selection of various preparations from the oyster bar. Next move on to their internationally-inspired menu of appetizers like Maine lobster dumplings and Crab Imperial and entrees like espresso crusted ahi tuna or their "Colossal" Surf and Turf. Never fear non-seafood eaters, there are a few menu options for you. To accompany your meal, try one of their more than 30 different kinds of beer brewed especially for TAPS, in styles ranging from a Bohemian Pilsner to Imperial Russian Stout.
Vue sounds apt for the marvelous view of the Dana Point harbor and ocean that it offers to its diner at this resort restaurant in Laguana Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa. Bringing you delightful Californian cuisine which has the freshest of meats and seafood, organic produces in their dishes, the seasonal farm to table four course menu is worth all the wait. Highlighting the diverse choices and sustainability in their menu which changes every week as well, lunch served on Saturday and Sunday while dinner is served only on Friday and Saturday evenings. Breakfast is served daily with an outstanding breakfast buffet. Because of its exclusivity, it does come with a price, whether it is a scrumptious breakfast gazing at the ocean, or a romantic dinner outdoors. Some of the specialties that were featured recently were the Alaska Weathervane Scallops with charred corn kernels, heirloom tomatoes and beets, as well as Filet Medallions with butternut squash, asparagus, bell pepper and carrots. Whether these will be available or not, the food is noteworthy and the experience is exquisite.