An odd place for a happy hour.

Good Morning Gents and Ladies.  It's my favorite day of the week - Thursday.  Why you ask?  Well once upon a time it meant the start of the weekend: toga parties, bar crawls, etc.  Now it is one more day to the weekend, but I can see the light; I am finally happy that the weekend is so close; and I am not exhausted from an entire week of work.  Plus Friday is really just a short work day anyway right?  (Sorry work, I am absolutely kidding about that...)


The Secret to Din Tai Fung

So if you haven't heard of the place yet, you should probably dig yourself out of the hole you have surrounded yourself in.  Din Tai Fung has been in America for a while, but it originated from Taiwan (ya know that non-Chinese Chinese place).  The specialty here is Shanghai dumplings (ironic right?), which are small, soup dumplings usually filled with pork.

dumplings
Xiao Long Bao

Beachwood BBQ

So I finally ventured out of my little comfort zone and made it to Long Beach.  While not actually a part of the OC, it seems that most residents of Orange County have been making their way to the restaurants, bars, and food festivals in the area.  So when I had to find a middle spot between LA and OC to meet my parents, I chose Beachwood BBQ.

Finally Found my Heaven!

Pad See Ew (my fave Thai dish)
Madee Thai is a VERY small hole in the wall Thai restaurant on 17th street, tucked between a beauty supply store and a brick wall (literally).  For those that are scared off by hole-in-the-wall places, please don't come here.  Because then it won't be crowded when I show up.  This is one of the best Thai restaurants I have had in Southern California (yes the entire location), and I am afraid of spreading the word.  However, it's too good not to share.

This weekend in Orange County

Okay guys, I know I have been MIA.  And I have a lot of places to tell you about, but ya know...billable hours?  Hopefully I can catch up this weekend.  But in the meantime you tell me how you like these top stories.


Apparently this weekend is BBQ weekend, and it is only fitting as it is the weekend before Labor Day, the end of summer, and a hot 85 degrees.  So grab a friend, starve yourself all morning and check out the fun below:


1.  Pig Out 3.0 will take place August 24 from 2-7 PM in Costa Mesa.  Eat all things pig including dishes from your favorite restaurants (and mine) such as A Restaurant, Little Sparrow, Fireside Tavern and more.  Other restaurants are sending their very best mixologists to help you all wash it down.  I promise you, you will smell like pig when you leave...Mind you, you have to pay $75 for that l'eau de toilette.


2.  This Saturday the Fullerton Arboretum is hosting its Brews, Blues and BBQ for an adult only crowd.  Enjoy some Blues music as you taste your way through California's best breweries.  For $45 you receive 10 4 oz. tastings, a souvenir tasting glass and a potential DUI.  The BBQ is not included and is an additional cost, but at least you can choose what you want to eat?  Should be a gorgeous weekend for a concert.


3.  Long Beach is having its own BBQ Festival ALL WEEKEND LONG.  And for $80 you can become a VIP and have all you can eat access (I'm looking at you Wu).  There will be music and dancing, but really if you are eating all that food you probably just want a stretcher to take you from booth to booth.  I wonder how much that would cost....There is also a Photo Booth, but really no one wants to see a picture of you with BBQ sauce down your shirt...

San Francisco Must Haves!

stuffed french toast from Zazie
So my number one must eat when I visit San Francisco is San Tung.  It is by far my favorite Chinese food in the Bay Area and quite possibly my life.  The original dry fried chicken is the best thing on the menu.  Once you try it, you will crave it FOR-EV-ER. The dumplings are a big hit and any type of noodles.  This place is a little unique because it is a Korean-Chinese family cooking Chinese food so things are a bit different (and spicy), but they still serve beef and broccoli for us white people.

san tung
string beans, "crack" chicken and veggie low mein
As you know, I like brunch.  Like a lot.  So when we needed a spot to have our family reunion in SF we quickly chose Zazie.  As all brunch spots in SF, Zazie is ALWAYS crowded.  However, unlike other spots, it has an outdoor patio that is really cute and comfy and not super loud.  The best part is the food though.  First order yourself a custom mimosa (yes custom - you can add sherbet into it), then find five friends to help you share as many items on the brunch menu as possible.  I highly recommend the stuffed french toast (and this is coming from a girl who doesn't eat french toast EVER).  If that's still not your thing get one of the many types of benedicts available.  Tip: the front tables are first come first serve!

Zazie

There are so many other spots that I personally love in SF: Brenda's in the Tenderloin, Guerras out in Sunset, Nick's Tacos in Russian Hill, and Suppenkuch in Hayes Valley are just a few of them...can't wait for my next visit!

Things to do This Weekend

Sorry I have been MIA again, a packed schedule at work plus a long weekend in San Francisco (post to come soon) means I have zero time for an outside life...and then I got sick.  However, this weekend is too packed with good stuff not to let you in on it.

1.  The Copper Door (one of my favorite bars in the OC) is FINALLY serving food.  If you love craft beer, this bar is a must.  Although dingy, dark and probably dirty, the vibe is a fun underground club with lots and lots and lots of beers on tap.  Their new menu is American- cuisine and currently all items are priced under $10.  Can you believe there is such a place??  Anyway, I am dying to go check it out.

2.  The new Irvine Improv opens with Umami Burger.  Irvine Improv has always been a little low brow, especially when you have to spend money on 2 items of either a horrible cocktail or really bad food.  However, fret no more.  Umami Burger will be served at all shows, beers are actually fairly decent, and if you fancy girl, they have bottle service (I mean really?).  The Improv also has opened up in a new location at the Spectrum, so hopefully it is bigger and better.  I am checking it out this weekend so I will let you know!

3.  Costa Mesa Restaurant Week!  Although restaurant week is not always my favorite, it is a great way to try places you normally cannot afford.  And Costa Mesa has some of the best restaurants in the OC.  Check out the selection here: http://www.travelcostamesa.com/costa-mesa-restaurant-week/.  It starts today and only lasts a week, so plan your meals accordingly!

4.  Orange County is hosting its own music festival this weekend.  The Pacific Festival is being held at the Dunes this Saturday.  If you didn't catch Holy Ghost at Outside Lands this past weekend, they will be finishing up the night.  Tickets are $75.

Hope the weather is great this weekend, because we have a lot of things to do!