Tag Archives: fashion island

Lark Creek Newport Beach

I realized it’s been quite some time since I reviewed an Orange County restaurant on my blog.  In fact, the last time I wrote a review was back in October!  Between wedding planning, work travel, and recipe development at home, I just haven’t been dining out as much.  This past weekend though I did make it out for a delicious dinner at Lark Creek Newport Beach.

The Englishman and I have heard nothing but great things about Lark Creek Newport Beach and decided to treat my parents to dinner there since they were big fans as well.  The restaurant is located in Fashion Island and has a wonderful outdoor patio area complete with fire pits and nice couches.  Since it was a bit chilly out we opted to dine inside, but I can definitely see myself returning in the summer for some cocktails and food on the patio.

The menu at Lark Creek Newport Beach focuses on seasonal cuisine which I happen to love because not only does the menu change frequently, but it also means you are getting the freshest produce available.

We decided to start our meal with a bottle of Rose, since the Englishman and I are obsessed after traveling to Oregon this summer.

Lark Creek Newport Beach RoseFor our entrees, I had my eye on the Truffle Burger so I ordered that as well as the Caesar Salad and split both with the Englishman.

Lark Creek Newport Beach Truffle Burger 1The burger was topped with black truffle cheese and truffle aioli and was cooked perfectly.  The fries on the side were a nice complement as well.  My only comment is the burger really wasn’t big enough to share between two people, and at $23, I felt the price was a bit steep for what you got.

Lark Creek Newport Beach Truffle Burger 2The Caesar Salad was good, just your basic salad.  It was good that we ordered this as well since the burger was on the small side.

Lark Creek Newport Beach CaesarMy mom ordered the Day Boat Scallops which were melt in your mouth good.

Lark Creek newport beach scallopsJust like the burger, the scallop dish was on the pricier side ($25) and she only got three small scallops and cauliflower puree. I would’ve liked to see a little more for the price.

It’s currently Crab Month at Lark Creek Newport Beach, so my dad ordered the Combo Louis Salad ($19) that came with dungeness crab, shrimp, lettuce, avocado and egg.  I happen to love dungeness crab so I snuck a couple of bites of his salad and they were delicious.

Lark Creek Newport Beach Crab Louis SaladFor dessert we ordered profiteroles, which were stuffed with caramel ice cream instead of traditional cream.

Lark Creek Newport Beach ProfiterolesThe pastry was light and flaky and I loved the ice cream inside of the profiteroles.  We practically licked the plate clean.

And since it was an ice cream kind of night we got a scoop of chocolate and vanilla.  Not the most exciting choice, but delicious nonetheless.

Lark Creek Newport Beach ice CreamI really liked the food at Lark Creek Newport Beach, but I did feel some items were over priced, and I have to mention the service.  While our waiter was nice and attentive, the lag time between courses was a bit significant.  It took a while to get the wine we ordered, and then the wait time between dinner and dessert was pretty high as well.  Since I’ve worked in the restaurant industry in the past, I definitely understand the timing between courses, but this seemed a bit excessive.

I’d like to come back to Lark Creek and try some of their menu items and see if the service is still an issue.  AND they have happy hour specials every day from 3-6.  Weekend happy hour anyone?

A Gastronomic Delight at True Food Kitchen

It’s no secret that I love True Food Kitchen.  I’ve blogged about it numerous times and waxed poetic about the cookbook (and no, I am not sponsored by Fox Restaurant Group).  When I was invited to participate in a media dinner at True Food, I jumped at the chance to dine at my favorite restaurant.

As much as I love True Food Kitchen, I tend to order the same thing every time I go.  Brunch is almost always the Greek Frittata, Lunch is the Chicken Chopped Salad or Turkey Pita, and Dinner is the Turkey Burger,  Tuscan Kale Salad, Sweet Potato Hash or Pizza.  This dinner was a great opportunity for me to try some of the other dishes True Food Kitchen had to offer.

Our meal began with a variety of appetizers – pita with hummus, raw crudités and edamame dumplings.  All of the appetizers were delicious and I was so preoccupied with them that I forgot to take a picture.  If you are really curious as to what the hummus looks like, check out this post.

The next two courses were salad courses.  The first salad that came out was the Farmer’s Market salad made with kale, radish, carrot, broccoli, beet, avocado and manchego cheese with a champagne vinaigrette.  This salad was light and refreshing and I know I will be recreating this one at home.

The second salad (and when I finally decided to whip out my camera) was the Harvest Chopped which came with squash, apple, pomegranate, goat cheese, walnuts and greens and topped with a balsamic vinaigrette.  I thoroughly enjoyed this salad as well (except for the walnuts since I am allergic) and loved the squash texture and flavor to the salad.

After the salad courses, we were presented with the Panang Curry, which came with tofu, potato, brown rice, broccoli, carrot, ginger and mushroom in a coconut milk broth.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t care too much for curry, so I only had a couple of bites.  It definitely had a fair amount of heat to it, and if you like spicy things, then this dish is for you.  The Englishman loved this dish which is saying something since he does not normally like tofu.  Well played, True Food.

Entree number two was the Grilled Albacore Slider with the Tuscan Kale Salad and Sweet Potato Hash.  I was particularly excited about this dish since I love the kale salad and sweet potato hash.  The grilled albacore came on a flax seed bun with avocado and wasabi mayonnaise and was delicious.  I loved that the albacore was seared and more on the raw side.

Finally it was time for the piece de resistance – dessert.  We were presented with three different desserts to share amongst the table, and I think it’s safe to say that they were all delicious based on the mmms around the table.  The first dessert I tried was the Squash Pie with coconut whipped cream.

Since I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie, I had a feeling I would like this dessert and I did.  The coconut whipped cream just took it over the top.  And if you are a vegan, then this dessert is definitely for you.

The next dessert was the Flourless Chocolate Cake, which I have had before and found it as tasty as ever.  If you have a gluten allergy, then this cake is definitely for you.  It’s made with 72% cocoa and is covered with caramel and vanilla ice cream.  Decadent indeed.

Last but not least was the Apple Crisp with Pecan Maple Ice Cream.   This definitely seemed to be the crowd favorite.  The apples were warm and the crisp topping melted in your mouth.  And I must figure out how to make pecan maple ice cream.

The best part of this meal is that everyone left pleasantly full but not feeling overstuffed or lethargic which often happens after big meals.  The dishes at True Food are so light and fresh that you can’t help but feel good after eating them.  I’m really glad I got to try a few new menu items and happy to report I have new favorites to add to the list.

Until we meet again True Food Kitchen!



Brunching at Le Pain Quotidien

This past fall I had the pleasure of dining at Le Pain Quotidien for lunch.  The Englishman has heard me go on and on about my lovely lunch, so finally I decided to take him to Le Pain Quotidien, only for breakfast instead.

We started out our meal the true french way with a coffee and a croissant.  The croissant was light, flaky and buttery, and reminded me of the delicious croissants I enjoyed when I was in Paris a few years back.

The menu had lots of tantalizing breakfast items, but I decided to keep it simple and ordered a bowl of steel-cut oats topped with fresh berries and milk.  It may not be the most exciting breakfast, but it sure did hit the spot.

The Englishman ordered a ham and gruyere omelette that came with a slice of wheat bread and a baguette.  I took a few bites of his dish and loved the delicious melted cheese inside the omelette.

Le Pain Quotidien is a perfect little breakfast/brunch spot if you are looking for something light and tasty.   The pastries are definitely the standout at this spot, and I highly recommend the buttery, flaky, croissants.  Get a croissant and a coffee, sit outside on the patio and you will feel like you are sitting on the Champs Elysses in Paris, at least for a little  while.

Le Pain Quotidien

401 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Lunching at Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien was always favorite stop of mine when I lived in the L.A. area.  I enjoyed the open-faced sandwiches, freshly baked bread, and delicious beverages.  But when I moved to Orange County, there was not a Le Pain Quotidien in sight.  Until now.

As luck would have it, Le Pain Quotidien opened in Fashion Island this past fall, and I’ve been itching to make a stop there.  When my mom suggested we burn off some of our Thanksgiving dinner by facing the Black Friday crowds at Fashion Island I made sure our lunch stop was at Le Pain Quotidien.

The interior of the Fashion Island restaurant was very similar to the ones I had experienced in LA – lots of big communal tables, glass displays of freshly baked goods, and a patio area.  Since it was a beautiful Southern California day, my mom and I opted to sit on the patio.

After perusing the menu and ordering much needed glasses of iced tea, I finally decided on the Paris Ham and Gruyere Tartine.

I was very pleased with this dish.  It came with a trio of different mustards and little cornichons on the side.  The ham and cheese were also very flavorful.  It was light, but not too light and left me satisfied.

My mom ordered the Tuscan Bean and Proscuitto salad, which I became immediately jealous of as soon as it emerged.

The salad came with arugula, parmesan and basil croutons which basically looked like cubes of Le Pain Quotidien’s freshly baked bread.  I tasted some of her salad and it was excellent.  Mental note made.  I will be ordering this next time.

It was a lovely lunch and the perfect fuel to get us through the rest of our Black Friday shopping.  I definitely want to make a stop at Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast in the near future, as their breakfast pastries cannot be beat!

Sorry for such the long hiatus, Le Pain Quotidien.  But fear not, I WILL be dining at you again in the near future.

Le Pain Quotidien

401 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660