2011 Food Highlights

As 2011 wraps to a close I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the dining adventures that I had over the past year.  There were some highs, there were some lows (cough Ecco) but overall it was a great year for food.  I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!  I already have some places on my must try list…

Here is the best of the best for 2011:

Best Organic Restaurant:  True Food Kitchen

My love affair with True Food Kitchen began early this year and hasn’t let up since.  I love the breakfasts, the freshly made hummus, the light flatbreads and of course the mojitos.  There will definitely be more True Food Kitchen in 2012.

Best Italian:  Cucina Alessa

Cucina Alessa is by far the best Italian restaurant I’ve been to in the O.C.  All the pasta is freshly made and the butternut squash ravioli is something else.  If you are looking for the real deal when it comes to Italian food, this is your place.

Best Mexican:  Mi Casa in Cabo San Lucas, MX

Mariachis, margaritas the size of your head and authentic Mexican cuisine.  Does it get any better?  I think not.  The chicken enchiladas were the best ones I’ve had in a long time.

Best Bar:  SideDoor

SideDoor was an early discovery in 2011 and I’m sad to say I haven’t been back since.  I loved the pub feel, loved the food, and loved the wine.  More return trips are in my future.

Best Burger:  Paul Martin’s American Grill

Paul Martin’s breathed fresh life into Irvine’s dining scene and I hope to see more places like this in 2012.  The burger I had was cooked to perfection and was incredibly juicy and flavorful.  The dirty martini that went with the burger didn’t hurt either.

Best Dessert: Sugar Blossom Bake Shop

Sugar Blossom Bake Shop was a refreshing change from your standard cupcake-chain fare. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Sprinkles, but I also loved the delicious cupcakes and unique flavors that Sugar Blossom had to offer.  In addition to cupcakes Sugar Blossom has cookies and other treats, namely a chocolate covered macaroon that I basically had a love affair with.  The carrot cake cupcake comes in a close second.

Best Bakery/Breakfast:  C’est Si Bon

C’est Si Bon isn’t new to Orange County, but it was a new discovery to me this year.  The scones are amazing, the croissants are nice and flaky and there is always a line out the door.  That should tell you something right there.

Best Cheap Eats:  Bruxie

Waffle sandwiches that are freshly made at a cheap price?  Sign me up.  Bruxie makes delicious waffle sandwiches with delectable fillings such as eggs and bacon, fried chicken and pastrami.  If you are skeptical about the idea of a waffle sandwich fear not – these sandwiches are a must try.

And that’s a wrap for 2011!  Bring on the good eats 2012!

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