Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Best Restaurants of 2014

Another year has flown by way too fast. 2014 was a big year for me. I reviewed my 500th restaurant, I came closer to eating in all OC cities, (we now only have two left to hit, Seal Beach and La Palma, which we will do in the first part of the new year), I moved in with, and got engaged to Katie, something that I never would have expected to have happened ten years ago, and our numbers on social media have kept a steady climb.

It has not been all good news on the blog though. Because of all the wedding planning, and a lack of time management on my part, this is the second straight year that we visited fewer restaurants than the year before. Not something that I want to keep repeating. We reviewed 84 restaurants this year, which still works out to a new review coming out every four days or so, but I know we can do better. Of course it will be tough in the early part of next year, since we have our wedding in April, but I pledge to get our restaurant wish list down from four pages, and our reviews up.

As is my custom in these year end lists, I have a lot of thank yous to throw around. I would like to thank everyone that went out to eat with me this year. Not only did I enjoy your company, but I also like that you allowed me to pick some great, and not so great spots for us to eat in. A special shout out to my bride to be, Katie. You are always so supportive, and I can not imagine sharing this experience with anyone but you. Thanks for all you do Katie.

Of course I need to thank all of you that have taken some time throughout the year to read our blog. It's because of all of you that I do this. My quest to find the best food that OC has to offer is because of you readers. I hate seeing people eat and pay for mediocre or terrible food, when there are so many great places to eat all around us. Thank you all for all of the comments, tips, emails, and words of encouragement about our blog. I greatly appreciate it.

Usually we do a best and worst list of restaurants, but we had a pretty good year, and there were not too many restaurants that we would rate as awful. In fact we had no restaurants rate less than a two, and only four places receive only two stars. So let's focus on the positive, and check out our top five restaurants that we ate at in 2014.

#5 Sue Ann's Kitchen Unfortunately you won't be able to go to every restaurant on this list, because this one shuttered mid year. It wasn't because of the food though. We had some great American classic food at Sue Ann's, and we hope to hear that Gillian and Robin open up another place, in a higher traffic area than this place was. We still remember their great crab cakes fondly.

#4 We became aware of Vine Restaurant when we were invited to come here for a media dinner, but it makes this list because of our return visit a few months later. Owner Russ Bendel and Chef Jared Cook are always posting their specials on Facebook, and their Center Cut T-Bone Steak had me drooling over my computer keyboard, and it lived up to its billing that night when I devoured it.

#3 The only breakfast spot that made our list this year, and with good reason is Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills. We reviewed Break of Dawn pretty early in our blogs history, and even after a location change, it's our pleasure to report that it's just as good, if not better than ever. If you're looking for a traditional breakfast spot, you best try the Carrow's down the street. Each plate comes out here with a delicious twist that you will not see coming, but you will definitely come back for more. Just a fantastic way to start your day.

#2 Mastro's will always be a special place for me. Not only did we have a great dinner with friends here during Costa Mesa Restaurant Week, but it's also the restaurant where we did our 500th review. The steaks live up to all the hype, the service was first rate, but you definitely better save room for the butter cake, which is a thing of beauty. Such a great end to an awesome meal.

#1 The best meal we had all year was from Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach. This restaurant, which is co-owned by Ducks legend, Teemu Selanne blew us away with their great steaks, sides, and desserts. The ribeye was probably one of the best I have ever had, and the Monkey Bread dessert left a smile on our faces well into the next morning. We went back six months later, and found the restaurant to be even better than our first visit. Looking forward to having many more special occasions at Selanne's.

So there you have our top five restaurants of 2014. I wish you all a happy 2015. We look forward to sharing all that our great county has to offer food-wise with you in the coming year. Happy new year to you all.


  1. Love Selanne, Bod and Vine! Nice list!

  2. Anita - Thanks so much. I've enjoyed your lists as well. Great taste in restaurants. Hope to see you soon, happy new year!

  3. Hey thanks for sharing this list of best restaurants with us; it will help us to select a good one. I am looking for famous San Francisco restaurants that server traditional Mexican food. Have you any list for that?

  4. Lisa - Thanks for reaching out. It's been awhile since we have made it to SF, but a best of Mexican food list up there needs to start with El Farolito. You can see their website here: If you go, let me know how you like it. Happy new year.

  5. Thanks for continuing this blog. I love reading your great reviews and always look fwd to new entries. I haven't missed a review and don't plan on doing so anytime soon. I'm still hoping that you go to Brea's Best (obviously in Brea) and let me know what you think.

    Congrats on the engagement too and hopefully you two will continue eating at many more fine establishments

  6. Keep up the great reviews in 2015! and Happy New Year!


  7. Anonymous - Thanks for your comments. Yes, I'll hit up Brea's Best this year. I promise. Thanks also for the well wishes about the engagement. I have it in my vows that we get to continue our journey of finding the best food in OC. Have a great new year.

    Steve - Right back at ya. Hope you have a wonderful year. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog.