• Mariah

Foodie Friday: Dinner Time

Aaron and I love to eat out. In fact, we budget a large amount each month to be able to explore all of the food options in Orange County! Today for Foodie Friday, I wanted to share our favorite food stops with you! Next week be on the lookout for our favorite Happy Hour spots!

Okay… so let's take some time to talk about Aaron and my food preferences: Aaron is adventurous. He loves seafood and sushi. He prefers dark meats and hidden veggies. I love steak - filet mignon topped with a gorgonzola cheese paired with a red wine reduction… ugh.. Yum! Give me beef and grilled veggies, I will be a happy girl! I also love chicken, pasta, comfort food and a good dessert. If you haven’t noticed - our favorite foods are a little different. Which makes finding places to keep both of us fed and happy can be tricky - or really adventurous. And now adding an opinionated toddler to the mix makes it more exciting!

Here are our top 5 favorite Dinner Restaurants and what we love to eat at them:

  1. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Anaheim, California. You will be transported to New Orleans with live Jazz Bands and Mardi Gra beads everywhere. We often will head here after a day in the parks. We start out with the Southern Garlic Cheese Bread. If you love Garlic - and you should - this is a must! I have two favorite dinner entrees here: the Black & Blue Filet Mignon with bacon-chive mashed potatoes, asparagus and a dreamy Gorgonzola compound butter. It is heavenly! My other favorite dish is the Asiago & Herb Crusted Chicken Breast. I sub out the sweet potato mash for their garlic mash!. The best part of this dish is the Creole mustard-bourbon cream sauce. If anyone can find the recipe for this sauce and send it to me… I will literally love you forever! Aaron loves their Seafood Menu from Blackened Salmon to BBQ Shrimp and Grits to their Mussels in a roasted garlic sauce. There is a seafood dish for everyone! We love going here with friends after a long day at the parks.

  2. HQ Gastropub in Huntington Beach and Woodland Hills. Bar food with a sophisticated twist! The HQ in HQ Gastropub stands for High Quality - that is what you will get here. While eating, you are able to look at beautiful vintage guitars and old vinyl album covers. If you are a sushi lover - this one's for you! With an extensive list of sushi options and Aaron’s favorite Ponzu Ahi Tacos, you are in for high quality sushi heaven! Don’t worry, for those of you who prefer your protein to walk on land, their Short Rib tacos topped with an Avocado lime salsa will fill your belly! HQ Gastropub has an extensive menu of food prepared fresh to quence everyone’s appetite. The problem here is deciding what to get. Literally, do not get me started on their pretzel with Beer Cheese.

  3. Reunion Kitchen + Drink in Anaheim Hills and Laguna Beach. Modern Comfort Food. Need I say more. Ugh! Their menu is overflowing with delicious options with a homemade twist. You must must MUST try their Parmesan Bruschetta. OH MY WORD! It is the best. Aaron and I can both agree that we love Rosemary’s Chicken & Biscuits. We often get this to share. It is large enough. Aaron also loves their Short Rib Stroganoff. I usually go for their Barbecued Chicken Cobb Salad. We have not had a bad dish here. We absolutely love their food.

  4. Smoqued California BBQ in Old Towne Orange. This is a BBQ lovers oasis. From the moment you walk in, you will smell the aroma of hickory, your nose will lead you in and your taste buds will praise you. First of all if you don’t eat meat, this is NOT the place for you. Secondly, come with an appetite. I get their Avocado Fries - yup! You read that correctly. A-v-o-c-a-d-o fries. This is enough to keep me coming back time and time again! Everything else is a carnivore's heaven. Slow smoked tritip, house smoked brisket, pork shoulder, St. Louis Ribs and Buttermilk Fried Chicken! You cannot go wrong with their Avocado fries and their 420 Mac n Cheese (no, there is not weed in it.) I obviously get the Avocado Fries and Aaron usually gets the TriTip.

  5. Simmzy’s Pub in Manhattan Beach, Long Beach, Burbank, Venice, Huntington Beach and El Segundo. Simmzy’s has several locations so there is no excuse not to go try their yummy food! Okay, the menu… So the Bacon Blue Deluxe Burger is incredible. The Shrimp Po’Boy will have you dreaming of the South. The Quinoa Veggie Bowl will leave you full and satisfied. Their Chicken Tortilla soup is one of the best out there. BUT the Blue Cheese Haystack will have you praising Jesus for the gift of garlic and Blue Cheese. This mound of Shoestring fries is covered in blue cheese dressing, garlic and Buffalo sauce. It is a shareable plate that I highly recommend you order the first time you go!

Aaron and I love good food. We love food that is made fresh and places that serve good beer! Be on the lookout next Friday for our favorite Happy Hour places in Orange County! Have a recommendation? Let us know below!

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