Tag Archives: Lucca Cafe

Lucca Cafe: Birthday Edition

If you are a regular reader of Sweet Potato Bites you know that I have written about Lucca Cafe numerous times.  So it should really be no surprise that I am writing about Lucca once again.

The reason for our recent trip to Lucca was to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  She recently signed up for Lucca’s birthday club (visit Lucca’s website to sign up!), and was excited to use her birthday coupon for a free entrée and birthday “surprise.”  So on Saturday evening, my parents, the Englishman and grandparents descended upon Lucca for a bit o’birthday celebrating.

Whenever my family dines at Lucca we always start out with one of Lucca’s signature cheeseboards which includes a variety of cheeses, crostini, dried and fresh fruit.

This cheeseboard included a Cotswold Cheddar, Ewephoria Gouda and Midnight Moon Goat Cheese.  The Gouda is missing from the picture above because we were accidentally served a Brie cheese instead of the Gouda.  But more on that later.

For my main course, I always tend to gravitate towards fish at Lucca because it is fresh and prepared well.  This time, I went with the John Dory with green beans and potatoes (green beans were in place of spinach since I have a spinach allergy).

My parents ordered the same, and the three of us practically licked our plates clean.  The fish was cooked perfectly and the white wine sauce was delicious.

My grandparents and the Englishman decided to go with the pulled pork and Kobe beef sliders.  I tasted some of the pulled pork and it was so juicy and tender.  Definitely ordering this next time.

Of course, no meal is complete without some sweet potato fries, so we ordered a few of those to share with the table as well.  I must figure out how Lucca gets their fries so perfectly crispy.

After all that food, we were feeling full, but not too full to pass up some of Lucca’s signature desserts.

The first thing we ordered was Lucca’s Bread Pudding since it is one of the main things that always catches my eye whenever I dine at the restaurant.  In addition to the bread pudding we went with a Chocolate Orange Torte, Ice Cream Sundae and my mom’s surprise birthday treat.

The bread pudding was delicious and had macadamia nuts inside.  The consistency was a bit more cake like than other “traditional” bread puddings I have had in the past, but it was still quite good.

The Chocolate Orange Torte was good, but a bit too rich for my liking (the creme brulee put it over the top).  I did like the fresh oranges on the side with chocolate shavings though.

I only had a few bites of the Ice Cream Sundae and one of the flavors was pumpkin sorbet. Yes, Lucca, I do need more pumpkin sorbet in my life.

My favorite dessert of the evening was by far the Lemon Poppy-seed Cake that was brought out for my mom’s birthday.  This cake was so, so good.  My mom and I pretty much demolished the slice ourselves.

If there is one thing Lucca does right, it’s lemon desserts.  Dear Lucca, please make this cake for my birthday in August.  Thank you.

While all of our food was delicious, the low point of the evening was the service.  With the exception of Adam our waiter, the service was just not on par.  When the cheeseboard was ordered the wrong cheese (Brie) was brought out, and our side of salami to go with the cheeseboard didn’t arrive until after we had finished the board itself.  My mom’s birthday cake was brought out significantly later than the other desserts, so she was sitting around waiting while everyone else was digging into their after dinner treats.  Fortunately, Adam was very apologetic about the situation and even mentioned that his team was “not on the same page” that evening.  Hopefully Lucca can get their service straightened out because the food truly was delicious!

Service issues aside, I still consider Lucca to be one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County and I declare their Lemon Poppy-seed Cake to be one of the best around.  Until next time…

OC Restaurant Week Spotlight: Lucca Cafe

It’s time for another OC Restaurant Week spotlight!  Previous restaurants included in the spotlight series include Pizzeria Ortica, Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille and Cucina Enoteca.  Today we are shining the spotlight on Lucca Cafe.

It’s no secret how much I love Lucca.  Since I moved back to Orange County from LA in 2010, Lucca has always been a go to for me.  Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Lucca aims to please.

Best way to start a meal at Lucca

Lucca, like many of the restaurants participating in OC Restaurant Week is quite delicious but not the cheapest place on the block.  But thanks to the prixe fixe menus Lucca is offering during OC Restaurant Week, you’ll get to try some of the best that Lucca has to offer.

On the lunch front, for only $15 enjoy a soup or salad to start, followed by some of Lucca’s signature entrees such as the Pulled Pork Shoulder Sandwich or the Veggie Lasagna.  And don’t forget dessert!  You also get a delicious dessert included in your $15 meal.

For only $30(!) at dinner, enjoy an appetizer, entree, and dessert.  Plus, you can also get selected glasses of wine at 25% off.  If that isn’t a steal then I don’t know what is.  Definitely save room for dessert at this meal, because the banana bread pudding and the dark chocolate creme brulee are divine.  To check out the full restaurant week menu, click here.

Stay tuned to see what restaurant will be featured next in the OC Restaurant Week spotlight!

*OC Restaurant Week runs from February 26th-March 3rd.  Check out all the participating restaurants at OCRestaurantWeek.com*

Lucca: Dinner Edition

I’m no stranger to the wonderfulness that is Lucca.  In fact, I have already raved about it on the ol’ blog.  The Englishman however, has only experienced Lucca during the breakfast and lunch hours, and was all too eager to have the full Lucca dinnertime experience.

After talking about going to Lucca for dinner for months, we finally decided last Saturday that we would get all fancied up and have a grand dinner at Lucca.  And what better way to start off the evening on the right foot than with a bottle of Pinot Grigio?

The Pinot Grigio was the perfect complement to the crostini and olive tapenade that we nibbled on as we scanned the menu.  I had seen an email from Lucca (yes I’m on their mailing list) a week prior announcing the arrival of freshly made Pumpkin Gnocchi (!), and since I have a love affair with pumpkin, my mind was quickly made up.  The Englishman, however was having a more difficult time choosing.  Finally he decided on the Land and Sea – sirloin steak with the catch of the day over sweet potato mash and vegetables.  Of course, no meal is complete without some shoestring fries as a side dish.

Lucca serves their dinner tapas-style, so smaller portions (ie: normal sized portions) that are meant to be shared.  This is one of my favorite ways to dine because you don’t leave feeling overly stuffed, and you get to try out other dishes you may not have ordered!

My Pumpkin Gnocchi was served with broccoli rabe and a chipotle-maple syrup on the side (I requested on the side, but normally this dish is served with the sauce on top).

The gnocchi was cooked to perfection and I loved the contrast between the sweet pumpkin and the bitterness (in a good way) of the broccoli rabe.  I actually didn’t end up using much of the chipotle sauce because the gnocchi was flavorful enough to begin with.  The Englishman actually ended up stealing the sauce and using it in his dish.

Which brings us to the Land and Sea.  The steak was cooked to perfection, the sweet potato mash was nice and creamy, and the fish, while good, wasn’t all that memorable.  It was probably the lower point of the dish overall.

The Englishman and I agreed that the gnocchi was by far the superior dish of the evening.

Then it came time for dessert.  90% of the time I don’t order dessert in restaurants, namely due to just not being hungry for it, food allergies, etc., but this time we decided to go for it.  Peach tart with chocolate sauce and homemade vanilla ice cream it was!

The vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce were the scene stealers in this dessert – the ice cream had nice vanilla flavor and was not overly sweet, and the chocolate sauce was melt in your mouth good.  The peach tart also had nice flavor, but I would’ve liked to have seen more peaches!  Less crust, more peach next time k?

And so we have another successful dining experience at Lucca.  Lessons of the evening?  Definitely order their seasonal specials (like the gnocchi), you are almost guaranteed to have an amazing glass or bottle of wine, shoestring fries go with everything, and whenever in doubt, always, always order the dessert that comes with chocolate sauce at the end of the evening.