Three Seventy Common

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I have to say I think this is one of my new favorite restaurants. The atmosphere is fun inside, although the last time we were there they were playing 80s music, which just did not fit with a nice sit down dinner. I have yet to order any entrees as they have an extensive small plates menu. The food is all locally sourced and delicious. I like the idea of locally grown food that is not flown in from all over the world. I found that most of the dishes were leaning towards comfort food, which I definitely enjoy, especially on a cold fall or winter night. A standout was the poutin, which is like gravy fries served with veal gravy, bacon bits, horseradish cream and large pieces of veal as well. It is a heavy dish and definitely meant to be shared. Another favorite of mine is the foie gras, which is served with huckleberry pancakes and bacon, so so good. Worth ordering the foie gras especially because in 2012 it will be illegal in California. Also tried the pork belly, which I liked, reminded me of carnitas. Was not a favorite but if you like pork belly it is good and has some meat on it, more than just the fat, which I liked. The frito misto was another good choice. I liked the brussels sprouts gratin, even though I don’t normally enjoy brussels sprouts. This creamy dish seemed cover up the bitter taste that I tend to find whenever eating them. My only complaint was the mac’n’cheese, which was a little too dry. I was hoping since most of the other dishes were on the heavy, creamy, cheesy side that this would be the same, especially with cheese right there in the name. It seems that they need to work a bit more on this dish, but other than that everything was delicious, including the cocktails!!!! YUMMMY!!!!!

http://www.370common.com/

BROADWAY!!!!

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So I have been to Broadway once and it is very good, but sadly I visited 370 Common first, and I have to say I like it better. The atmosphere at Broadway is amazing, I love the bar and the vibe the entire restaurant has. In that respect I do like it a bit better than 370, I think they definitely made Broadway their own, changing the interior entirely from how it was when 5′ was there. The bar gives the feeling of a 20s saloon or bar, very retro and cool. The drinks are delicious, I think this would be a fun place to go for appetizers and drinks before a night on the town. The food was good, I just felt that some dishes were missing something. I did not order any entrees though, only small plates. The hummus plate is delicious, probably one of my favorite that we ordered. The hummus is served with grilled bread and it pairs nicely. The sliders were one disappointment, they were a little dry and just lacking a certain something. They were not bad, I just felt that they could have been a lot better without adding much. The fries I enjoyed a lot. They were crisp and not to thick or thinly cut. The bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese were also delicious and quite heavy. The scallops with risotto was also a nice pick, I really liked the saffron risotto that the scallops were served with. Sadly the burrata was one disappointment. I felt that although it tasted good, it was a little much with the sun dried tomato pesto and toast. I prefer a plain burrata caprese myself, and sadly I do have a favorite already at Alessa and am always comparing to that. Lastly the desert we ordered was to die for. It was panna cotta and it tasted so good. It was served with some yummy sorbet as well, which was really tasty. The panna cotta had good flavor and consistency, definitely a plus! I do think I will go back and try Broadway again so I will give an update then to see if I like it any better.

http://broadwaybyamarsantana.com/

Seasonal Creations Wine Pairings

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I have been to two Wine Pairings through Seasonal Creations and both were delicious. I will say right off the bat that I loved the first one more only in that the dishes they created for that pairing included some of my favorite foods. The second Wine Pairing was more relaxed and fun because they teamed up with someone else and were not tied to another person running the show. I found that I did not enjoy this food as much only in that I do not like pork chops, one of the main dishes, and also I don’t like one of the fish dishes they made. This had nothing to do with the preparation, as both were delicious and my parents, who joined me, loved both of them, it was more my own personal taste. So for this blog I am going to focus more on the first pairing since that experience was a culinary delight.

For the first course Monica of Seasonal Creations prepared seared scallops with coriander infused coconut risotto, jicama, mango and cilantro. This was delectable and I am not even a big scallop fan. The risotto was done perfectly, as well as the scallops. The combination of flavors fit together so well and I loved the island feel to this dish. The second course was a roasted pork tenderloin with a sage demi glace, served with pear and a brussels sprout and blue cheese gratin. This was also cooked to perfection and once again I am not a big fan of brussels sprouts or blue cheese, but this won me over. I loved the flavor of it and it was cooked just right. The blue cheese gratin helped disguise the flavor of the brussels sprouts, which is perfect for someone like me. For the third course we were served braised short rib alongside watercress, baby carrots and white truffle gnocchi. This was probably my favorite dish of the night. I love short ribs and these were melt in your mouth delicious. The marinade or sauce, not sure the proper term, was so good and perfectly sweet. I am also a huge gnocchi fan and these were done just right. They were fluffy and not too dry, which can be hard when making gnocchi. My Italian mother agreed that these were perfect. For the fourth course we had an almond brown butter cake, which was delicious.

This was my first time trying Monica’s food and I was thoroughly impressed. I cannot wait to try her food again and hopefully I can take some cooking lessons from her in the future. She is an up and coming chef who I believe is going to go far in this business!! I hope that anyone who knows her will be tempted to come to the next event she has and try her food for themselves.

http://seasonalcreations.net/

Cucina Alessa

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Alessa is one of my favorite Italian restaurants. The first time I tried it was my birthday a year ago before they opened the spot in Laguna. We tried the Newport Beach location, which was definitely not as nice, but still had good atmosphere. My only complaint there was that when we arrived we were unable to be seated since we had changed our reservation and therefore had to wait an hour before being seated. It seems that the Laguna location is much easier to deal with. Although they do not take reservations if you know one of the managers you can call in and have them reserve you a table. Also it is easy enough to put your name in and then take a stroll around town before eating.

Now for the food, it is amazing. My favorite appetizer is the burrata caprese, so delicious. This is definitely the best burrata mozzarella I have tried. The heirloom tomato carpaccio is so good and it is all served with some arugula, olives and a touch of pesto. Now for entrees I have a multitude of favorites. I love the rigatoni ugo d’orso, which is rigatoni with a mushroom cream sauce and chicken. It is also delicious to order it with their homemade pappardelle. I am also a huge fan of the pappardelle al sugo d’agnello, which has braised lamb shoulder and ricotta cheese, so yummy! I have tried a few of the pizzas and they are also delicious, thin crust Italian style. A pizza is good to order if you want something to share. Most of the pasta dishes are also large enough to share if you order an appetizer as well. I have also tried the risotto with shrimp and asparagus, which was very good as well, even though I don’t really like asparagus all that much.

This is a must try if you haven’t already. It is always a go-to for comforting Italian cuisine.

http://www.cucinaalessa.com/about.html