Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hoping Our Trip to Minami Isn't Going to Go South

Soba Izakaya Minami
24391 Avenida De La Carlota Sutie A
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

I'll definitely admit that I was way out of my comfort zone. Before visiting Minami, I really did not know what the difference was between udon and soba. If it wasn't for the pictures on their four-page menu I'd be as lost as the Miami Dolphins on a football field (for you non-sports people the Dolphins are having one of the worst seasons in NFL history).

Needless to say, I'm not very well versed in Japanese cuisine. Yes, I occasionally get roped into having sushi or have to go to a teppanyaki place for someone's birthday, but other than those instances I stick with the foods that I know. It's not that I'm not an adventurous eater or anything, but my love for burgers, sandwiches, Mexican, Italian, and too many others to list here are always on my mind.

This visit to Minami was brought about by my fantastic aunt Hiroko. She and my uncle moved to the OC a few years back and they have been raving about this place since it opened just about a year ago. Our schedules finally lined up so we could meet up on a recent Saturday evening for dinner. Also joining us was my cousin Chris, who suddenly had a void in his schedule, due to the Angels not making the playoffs for their 5th consecutive year. Don't worry big guy, they will turn it around soon.

Minami is adjacent to the stagnant, partially torn down Laguna Hills Mall. They are in the same shopping plaza as El Torito, Woody's Diner, Trader Joes, and brunch favorite Break of Dawn. I tried to find out some info about Minami, but from what I can gather, they are not a chain, and this is their only location. They do not have a website, but you can find minimal info about them on their  Instagram account. The most information I've been able to get about them is a review from one of the best in the business, Edwin Goei in the OC Weekly. His review can be found here.

The inside of the restaurant is straight and to the point. Light-colored wooden tables and pretty uncomfortable chairs dot the space, which is pretty spartan, with little to no decorations adorning the walls. There are four separate laminated menu pages, one that highlights their soba offerings, another has rice bowls and mini bowls,  Udon is offered on the third, and the last page showcases their izakaya dishes, which I'd describe as Japanese appetizers. Let's see what we ended up ordering off of these pages, and see if the food here will make me a fan of Japanese cuisine.

My aunt wanted to start out our evening at Minami with these Spicy Cucumbers ($4.95). I'm not a big fan of cucumbers usually, but I was pretty hungry so I decided to give them a try. They were pickled and had a good crunch to them. I must have gotten all the spice on my piece because it was spicy enough to make me drink some water right away after consuming it. I actually liked these cucumbers and would get them again.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a pretty tough time deciding what to have at Minami. I finally decided I'd try their Soba with Pork Cutlet and Egg Bowl ($14.95). You can have your soba noodles either cold or hot, and you can choose the amount of the noodles that you want, 100, 200, or 300 grams of noodles for the same price. I got my soba noodles hot and opted for the 200-gram size. This was plenty for me. I did not know it at the time, but soba noodles are made from buckwheat, which is healthier than the udon option. Their menu lists all the health benefits of soba. I found the soba to be all right but expected a bit more flavor from the broth. I grew tired of the soba rather quickly and instead focused on the pork cutlet and egg. I liked this part of the meal much better. The cutlet had a nice and crunchy breading to it and the egg added a good amount of richness. The bowl was rounded out with some rice underneath, which made this a very filling meal.

Even though my uncle has been married to my aunt for over 30 years and they have taken numerous trips back to Japan, he is pretty conservative when it comes to Japanese food. On this visit, he opted for the Chicken Cutlet ($12.95) with no rice, but salad underneath. No complaints from the big guy with this. From across the table, this looked pretty tasty, and it's nice to know that they are accommodating with modifications.

Katie had her mind made up to try one of the items off of the Minami izakaya menu. The Gyoza ($4.95) would be what she ended up settling on. I'm glad she did. I often find gyoza to be too rubbery and not really filled with anything that tastes so great. These were the exact opposite of that. Not sure what they had in them, but it tasted good and the outer portion of this was nowhere near rubbery. One of the better gyozas I have had.

Last but not least, Katie got the Hot Soba with a Pork Cutlet and with Curry ($15.95) as her meal this evening. Just like with mine, the breading was nice and crisp on this, but a little more pronounced because hers was devoid of the egg. The pork was tender underneath and was a good compliment to the comforting curry. I was a little surprised that Katie described this meal as very clean, which is not something you often hear when something is deep-fried. She was a fan of the soba, which she called comforting, but understated. It was more of a subtle dish, not as flavorful as the pho she gets at our nearby Vietnamese place.

I ate a good amount of food at Minami but did not feel crazy full or bloated after leaving this evening. I liked everything, but due to the fact that I have never had this kind of food before, I'm not sure how it compares to others. I can tell you that I liked it well enough to come back again and maybe get what Katie had, as it was my favorite thing I tried. The prices seemed more than fair for the amount of food that you receive. Service was a little spotty, but they were very busy by the time we ended our meal, and they had a little bit of a wait as we walked out the door. Glad my aunt Hiroko got me a bit out of my comfort zone, and I look forward to trying other Japanese restaurants in the near future.

Out of five coral reefs, (because Minami means south in Japanese and the most southern spot of that country is Okinotorishima, a coral reef in the Philippine Sea), five being best to zero being worst, Soba Izakaya Minami gets 3 coral reefs.

As mentioned earlier, Soba Izakaya Minami does not have a website, but you can find out more info about them on their Yelp page here:

Monday, October 21, 2019

Terrific Tacos in Tustin?

Mezquite Tacos and Fuego
14075 Newport Ave. 
Tustin, CA 92780

There really is a never-ending parade of restaurants to eat at in OC. I know this should not be surprising to least of all me, who has an ever-growing list of restaurants that I want to try. For as long as I can remember when we are meeting my parents for dinner, we try to meet somewhere in the middle of the four of us, which usually means a restaurant in or around Tustin.

I'm usually apprehensive that I'm going to find a place that we haven't eaten at yet, but then I realize that there are over two hundred places to eat at listed on Yelp in the city of Tustin. After a moment of temporary relief, it hits me that even though there's an abundance of restaurants, I still have to find a place that my parents will actually want to go to. That's when the real digging starts. Luckily, Mexican food is one of their favorites, and I found Mezquite Tacos and Fuego not too far into my search.

Mezquite has been open since June of this year, so it is still relatively new. The founder of this eatery is pretty familiar with starting a successful Mexican restaurant. He's Javier Fregoso who was one of the guys behind the critically acclaimed Mexicali Taco and Company in Los Angeles. That place started in a parking lot alongside the 110 Freeway, just north of downtown. They moved to their brick and mortar spot on the outskirts of Chinatown where they gained notable media mentions from famed food critic Jonathan Gold, appearances on Food Network, and numerous recognition in different publications as one of the best tacos in Southern California.

He sold his stake in Mexicali Taco Company three years ago, got married, and opened Mezquite in the former Chronic Taco spot which used to be situated on Newport Avenue, just steps away from the 5 Freeway. According to the restaurant's website, Javier is very ambitious and has plans to bring his tacos not just to the people of Tustin, but to expand locally and nationwide in the future.

What makes Mezquite different from other taco spots? They cook all of their meats over mesquite wood, which they claim provides a smoky and savoriness that other taco spots do not have. They also make their organic tortillas in-house, along with their salsas and agua frescas. When exiting my car, I definitely caught the aroma of food being cooked over wood, just like you get in the better barbecue restaurants where they have smokers on the premises.

Ordering is done at the register, with the aid of the video menu boards hanging from the ceiling. The menu offers seven different tacos, nachos, a quesadilla, a stuffed baked potato, and an interesting tostada option called the volcan. There's also one burrito available, which is dubbed the main event. Guacamole and chips round out the rest of the food portion of the offerings. Much to my parent's chagrin, there's no iced tea available here, so they resorted to having fountain drinks. There is also bottled Mexican Coke, horchata, and other handcrafted juices to choose from. Enough with the build-up, let's check out the food we had at Mezquite.

As is her custom at Mexican restaurants, Katie always has to give the Guacamole and Chips ($3.50) a try. The chips were good, but I'm pretty sure they were not made here. The guacamole definitely was, and it had a great chunkiness to it, which is what I like. The flavor was fine, but I would have liked a little pop from maybe some pepper flakes or even better, some jalapenos to crank up the heat. .

Before the food came out, I took a few quick snaps of the salsa and condiments offered at Mezquite. They have red and green salsa, with the green being the spicier of the two. I'm usually partial to the red, which at Mezquite had undertones of smokiness to it. The green was the better of the two for me because it had a touch more heat to it. I would have liked it even more if it went up a heat level or two. The condiment bar was rounded out with lime wedges, radishes, and escabeche (pickled carrots, peppers, and onions).

My mom is a pretty light eater, so she'd only be having this one Chicken Taco ($2.75). The tacos here come dressed with cilantro, onion, red salsa, and guacamole. The guacamole seemed a little more liquified than what we had with our chips. Maybe they make it that way so it's easier to apply to the taco. This was a pretty good-sized taco. It had plenty of cubed chicken and stuff piled on the pliable corn tortilla. It was a little hard to eat because it was filled so much, but that's a good problem to have. My mom liked this taco a lot. The chicken was flavorful and it definitely filled her up.

My dad appeared to be a little overwhelmed with the menu at Mezquite. Not sure if he was having trouble reading the small print on the video menu boards, or if he was just indecisive. He ended up with an Al Pastor Taco ($2.75) and a Shrimp Quesataco ($4.50). He really enjoyed both, as they were gone within minutes of hitting the table. The shrimp quesataco was a favorite of his, as it contained plenty of shrimp, green salsa, guacamole, onion, and the big draw, melted Oaxacan cheese. The cheese in this added an extra dimension that brought it to a different level.  I'd definitely recommend getting the quesataco with your favorite choice of meat.

I can not recall seeing a baked potato on any Mexican restaurant menu, but here it was at Mezquite. The Mad Potato ($6.50) is a baked potato topped with Oaxacan cheese,  cilantro, onion, cilantro infused salsa, and your choice of meat. Katie got the chicken. She thought this was a pretty solid idea for people that did not want the heaviness that you can feel when eating Mexican food. You still got all the flavors of Mexcian food, but the tender potato made this somewhat lighter than expected. She'd get this again for sure.

For the first part of my meal, I had the Carne Asada House Taco ($2.75) and the Al Pastor Quesataco ($3.25). The trend of overfilled tacos continued with these two. The pork was good but did get a little overshadowed by the condiments on this taco. I'm always a little wary of getting carne asada because it's often dry and flavorless. This was not the case here, as the meat was tender and was given an added flavor boost from being grilled over wood. One thing worthy of note here, these are some pretty difficult tacos to eat. With the amount of stuff in them, they are very moist and you will need plenty of napkins during your meal. For all the liquid pouring out of them, these tortillas did a great job of keeping their integrity.

The two tacos might have been enough for an average eater, but I like to feel full after my meals, so I also tried the Quesadilla ($6.50) at Mezquite. I usually find quesadillas to be one of the biggest rip-offs when eating out. I love them, but why are they always about five more dollars than they should be? It's two tortillas and a handful of cheese and most places get close to $10 for something that costs about a dollar to make. Talk about a markup. This quesadilla was not like those others. With this one you get to choose your meat, I went with al pastor, guacamole,, onion, cilantro, and of course cheese. Just like the tacos, very loaded and I definitely felt this was well worth the price I paid. The tortilla could have spent a little more time on the flattop, but that would be my only complaint.

I left Mezquite pretty impressed. It's obvious that they have something pretty good going on here. Chef Javier also proves that the success of his first restaurant was no fluke with his concept here at Mezquite. I like that they are cooking over wood, but I wish they'd go a bit easier on the salsa and other toppings so you could experience the flavor that the flame imparts on the meat a bit more. I like the variety of their menu and feel that their price point is pretty good for the portion sizes that you receive. Hopefully, it stays that way as I still get the feeling that this is a new restaurant, and there will be some tweaking of things here and there. As for now, it's definitely worth a visit and might become one of the regular spots where we meet my parents for dinner.

Out of five cabinets, (because mesquite is one of the most expensive kinds of lumber you can get and it's used to make high-end furniture), five being best to zero being worst, Mezquite Tacos and Fuego gets 3 cabinets.

For more information about Mezquite Tacos and Fuego, head to their website here:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

One of These Nights at Fish Shop Hermosa Beach - CLOSED

The Fish Shop Hermosa Beach
719 Pier Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

I often think about how my life would have been different if Katie and I had not met online ten years ago. Not to be sappy, but I don't know where I'd be or what I'd be doing if she had not reached out on that dating site more than a decade ago. I do know that there's a one hundred percent chance that I would not have been in Hermosa Beach eating with her cousins after watching them perform in their Eagles tribute band, Dark Desert Highway. on the nearby Redondo Beach Pier on a recent Saturday evening.

We almost did not even end up here this evening. After the concert, I had a place all picked out, but the roads were closed due to Fiesta Hermosa, which is a community event that takes place every Memorial and Labor Day weekends. This caused us to drive around aimlessly through an area none of us were familiar with. We pulled off to the side of the road, and like a beacon calling our name, we all agreed to try the Fish Shop, which just happened to be located across from where we had pulled over. It must be destiny.

The Fish Shop has been open in Hermosa Beach since 2014. They have three sister restaurants, all located in San Diego County; Pacific Beach, Encinitas, and Point Loma. This Fish Shop is a few blocks away from the ocean, in the Plaza Hermosa Shopping Center, which is anchored by Von's supermarket, and fellow restaurants, Chipotle and Pick Up Sticks. Glad no one suggested eating at Chipotle, which is definitely not one of my favorites.

The Fish Shop prides itself as an elevated fast-casual seafood restaurant. They make all their seasonings and sauces by hand, while also cutting their fries and onion rings on the premises. Their soups and salads are made from scratch every day. One part of the menu at the Fish Shop is a three-step ordering process. You choose the kind of fish you want, a marinade, and then you pick a style, (taco, sandwich, plate, or as a salad). There's also another part of the menu that showcases some favorites and other seafood dishes for the indecisive that don't want to build their own meals. Count me among those people. Prices hover around the $15 mark, while the most expensive things on the menu are a plate of either shrimp or scallops, which goes for $25.

After much contemplation, we ordered at the register and found a seat on their back patio which overlooks Pier Avenue. Even though they were closing in an hour, we did not feel rushed at any time during our stay. The weather was perfect on this Labor Day weekend evening on the patio. What was not perfect was listening to Katie's cousin Yvette complaining about how hungry she was. Ugh, yeah we get it, Yvette, you hadn't eaten in over an hour. Lucky for us, our food came out rather quickly, and when Yvette's came out, it gave us a reprieve from listening to any of her boring work stories. Let's take a look at this unplanned visit to the Fish Shop.

Katie is a big fan of poke, so it was no surprise that she had this Poke Bowl ($16.50) as her entree. The ahi in this bowl was marinated with soy sauce, ginger, crushed red pepper, and sesame oil and then added to some sliced cucumber, diced avocado, wonton chips, and two sauces which I'm not sure what they were. Katie was surprised as to how fresh the ahi was here and she woofed down this bowl rather quickly. Not the best poke bowl she has ever had, but it did the trick on this evening and she would not hesitate to get this again.

To round out her meal, Katie also got a side of Mac Salad ($3.50). This was a fair version of one of her favorite salads. The elbow macaroni had some shredded carrot and green onion included with it and a good mayo-based dressing included. I thought they got the texture of this right on, but it was kind of bland to me flavorwise. To be honest, I'm much more of a potato salad guy.

For my meal, I started things off with a Cup of Clam Chowder ($5.50). Just like the mac salad above, it was fine but did not blow me away. This was easily one of the most buttery versions I have ever had. The amount of butter used here was evident in every spoonful. The chowder would have been improved by an increase in clams and maybe some cubed potatoes for texture. This was way too smooth to be called a chowder.

I have had a lingering craving for Fish and Chips ($14.00) for a long while and finally got my chance to quell that desire at the Fish Shop on this evening. At the Fish Shop, they use Alaskan cod for their fish, which is my preferred version. The breading had a nice crunch to it, with minimal greasiness. The fish underneath was flaky and moist, just as it should be. The breading also held together nicely while dipping, which is just what you want in your fish and chips. The only drawback was that I wish the breading had a bit more flavor to it, but the provided tarter sauce did its job of making up for that. I did not use the cocktail sauce. The fries were pretty solid but could have been a tad crisper. This definitely helped satisfy my fish and chips cravings.

Now on to the cousin's portion of the meal. Gabi, everyone's favorite lovesick teen tried to get over a recent breakup with one of her revolving parade of boyfriends with some Coconut Shrimp ($8.50). The shrimp come four to an order, are coated in a good shredded coconut batter, and fried nice and crisp. These shrimp reminded me of the ones my mom used to fry up for us when we were kids. They were pretty good sized and were made even better with the provided sweet chili sauce. A nice contrast to the brackish shrimp. This also came with a scoop of jasmine rice. A nice meal for lighter eaters. This shrimp appeared to have done the trick as Gabi was very interested in her future prom date who was eating at a nearby table. Go get him Gabster!

For as many times as we had to listen to Yvette say that she was famished, she inexplicably only got this TKO Taco ($5.50). Yes, it was a good-sized taco, made with grilled mahi-mahi, and topped with shredded cheese, cabbage, a tropical salsa, and white cilantro sauce, but the way she was whining at the concert and on the way over here you would have thought she hadn't eaten in years. Yvette ended up liking this taco well enough but thought there was nothing about it that made it that special. Exactly how her family describes her. Just kidding, or am I?.

Steve, aka the Don Henley of his Eagles tribute band, was experiencing that peaceful easy feeling when ordering the Diver Scallop Plate ($25.50) this evening. He must have been flush with that concert money because this is the most expensive item on the menu at Fish Shop. The five good-sized scallops were actually very fresh and cooked just right. Not too rubbery, like most tend to be. I did not get to try them with the provided teriyaki glaze, so they kind of tasted a little bland to me. With plates, you get to choose two sides and Steve went with jasmine rice and onion rings. The onion rings looked pretty solid from across the table, but since you only get two, I was not going to try to sneak one. I wasn't that Desperado to have one. See what  I did there? Okay, no more Eagle song puns. I promise.

The Fish Shop was good in a pinch, but nothing that we had here really blew any of us away, with maybe Katie's poke being the exception. Although if I lived in the area and wanted some seafood, this would be a restaurant I'd consider. Their prices were pretty affordable, they have a wide variety of seafood options, and they have a good looking happy hour menu offered on weekdays and dollar oyster night on Thursdays. Service was very cordial during our stay here, even though we were here a little later than I'm sure they would have liked. I'm glad Katie made that decision to reach out to me all those years ago online. There's no other place I'd rather be. Okay, maybe not at a place with Yvette, but anywhere else.

Out of five volleyballs, (because Hermosa Beach has hosted the AVP tour event since 1969 and it is also the site used to film the epic beach volleyball movie, Side-Out), five being best to zero being worst, The Fish Shop Hermosa Bach gets 2.5 volleyballs.

For more information about The Fish House Hermosa Beach, head to their website here:

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Changing of the Seasons at Hendrix

32431 Golden Lantern 
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

I've never really thought of it until recently, but for chefs at established restaurants, it's got to be a little repetitious making the same food over and over again, night after night. It's probably for this reason why they offer daily specials. Another way to keep things fresh and show off your creativity is to trot out new menu items when the seasons change. That's what the talented team at Hendrix has done, one of our favorite South OC restaurants.

We were lucky enough to get a chance to sample their new seasonal menu, which is a collaboration between Executive Chef Rainer Schwarz and new to the Hendrix team, Chef de Cuisine Allan Aguinaga. Chef Allan has previously done stints at Juliette Kitchen and Bar, Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens, and True Food Kitchen. This dynamic culinary duo has come up with a menu full of lighter than you'd expect fall dishes that highlight locally grown produce. We were definitely excited and intrigued to see what they had come up with.

We showed up at Hendrix at 6pm on a recent Tuesday and the place was filled with many customers enjoying cocktails at the bar in the center of the restaurant, and seated in the comfy booths with spectacular views of the rolling hills of Laguna Niguel. The decor at Hendrix has always brought a pleasing and relaxing feel to me. Beautiful natural light coming in through the skylights up above meld perfectly with the earthy tones and pop of blues from the booths and napkins. A beachy vibe, even though the waves are still a few more miles to the south.

On this evening we were seated with some of the best food writers in OC, most of whom I can call really great friends. I've known most of these people for the ten years that I have written this restaurant blog. It's always great catching up with them, gossiping about the restaurant industry, and finding out about where they have eaten recently. I was amazed to find out that we were one of the few that had actually been to Hendrix, which opened over two years ago. We all were eagerly anticipating the new menu items coming out of the kitchen for us. Let's take a look.

Our evening started out with a couple of seafood starters, the first of which was this Spanish Octopus Ceviche ($13). Katie, who is a little squeamish about octopus even gave this one a try. The octopus was sliced in thin pieces and added to garbanzo beans, fennel, some peppers, and finished with a refreshingly vibrant lime vinaigrette. It also had some spiced tortilla strips on top for crunch. Great textures with this, the octopus was prepared well, and all the ingredients stayed in their lane to provide an excellent first impression for all the newcomers to Hendrix.

Definitely the most colorful of dishes we were to have on this evening, the Hamachi Crudo ($15) was not only beautiful but tasted great as well. Diced fuji apples, cubed avocado, blood oranges, tangerine segments, and a yuzu dressing accompanied the raw yellowtail medallions here. I was afraid the citrus was going to steal the show, but it was way more subtle than I imagined. The fresh fish was amazing and there were some strings of pepper which gave this a surprising kick.

Every time I eat beets I always think to myself that they are very underused on restaurant menus. I love them and was happy to see this Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad ($10). The beets were presented on a bed of baby arugula with some nuts sprinkled on top for a textural element. The beets were delicious and the arugula worked well here, despite me not being the biggest fan. I do confess that I also think of The Office TV show when thinking about beets as well.

Cauliflower is a pretty versatile vegetable. It's not just for veggie trays anymore. At Hendrix, they serve it as Roasted Cauliflower Steaks ($9). It is placed on a tasty salsa verde and spiced with Morrocan seasonings for a Mediterranean vibe. No, you're not going to think your dining at Mastro's while eating this, but the cauliflower was tender, had great flavor from the spices, and was more substantial than any piece of cauliflower you've ever dipped into ranch dressing at a Superbowl party. 

I have never really had a bad association with brussels sprouts. It's probably because my parents never served them to us as kids, so I've only been exposed to them as an adult. I loved these Fried Brussels Sprouts ($11). The sprouts had a great crunchiness to them and were accented by dried cranberries and Marcona almonds which added to the earthiness of this bowl. It was finished with a dollop of mint yogurt which tied everything together wonderfully. A definite must-try when visiting Hendrix.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms ($12) is not something that I'd see on a menu and order most of the time, but I might have to rethink that based on this one. The breading had an excellent crunch and more substantial than others I've had in the past. This was stuffed with a ricotta cheese that was tinged with lemon and mint and placed in a tomato sauce which added just the right acidity to balance things out. A unique dish, but very well executed.

When I saw that this Tomatoes and Soft Mozzarella Salad ($12) was coming out next, I knew I'd probably skip this one. I have an aversion towards sliced tomato, (a textural thing for me), so I let my tablemates enjoy this salad which also came with plums and fresh basil. Katie enjoyed this oil and vinegar dressed salad very much and gave glowing praise to the creamy mozzarella.

Due to Katie's shrimp allergy, I do not get to partake in shrimp as much as I like. Oh, how I missed these little crustaceans. This Grilled Mexican Shrimp ($24) entree hit all the notes for me. Big succulent shrimp, a savory white butter bean puree, a garlic-infused nage, and crispy shallots made this plate a winner in my book. I've now made a vow to have shrimp more often. Sorry, Katie. 

Many of us at the table were not big fans of this Potato and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli ($17). My problem with this was that it was a bit on the dry side. Not enough of the brown butter sauce and the inside filling of the ravioli was kind of bland. Not my favorite item. 

I really liked the creativity of this Kale Pesto Spaghetti Carbonara ($18). Kale is not my favorite thing to see on a menu, but Chef Rainer and Chef Allan have made this leafy cabbage something I would not try to avoid. This is a carbonara you can feel good about eating with lots of greens included here, like the aforementioned kale, and cut up asparagus, broccolini, and of course the pesto. The inclusion of the parmesan on top is like the icing on the cake.

Hendrix is best known for their rotisserie proteins and you can try them all in one fell swoop with this Hendrix Rotisserie Meat Platter ($26 per person, with a 2 person minimum). This platter includes a Colorado leg of lamb, lemon garlic chicken, and a bone-in pork loin. You may also add some prime rib for an extra $8 per person. This is a great way to get a taste of Hendrix in just one visit. It also comes with fingerling drip potatoes, au jus, and pickled veggies. I was partial to the lamb, but the pork is also very good.  A must-try if you are a meat lover and this is your first visit to Hendrix.

As if we needed any more food, we were presented with a dessert sampler as a grand finale. All were good, but the Peanut Butter Cookie blew me away. One of the better ones I have had. It was so good I asked for an extra one for the road. I wish they had them all the time, but I did not see them on their dessert menu. Hopefully, more people will inquire about them and they will be more readily available.

This media dinner proves that even though Hendrix has now been around for two years, they are not resting on their laurels. These new menu items show that they are trying to keep things fresh at one of South OC's premier restaurants. Make sure to hurry in to try any of the above new items, as I'm sure next season they will switch things up again. Which I'm sure will be just as fantastic as this season's new items are.  Thanks to Chef Rainer and Chef Allan for the wonderful evening of food, and to our long-time foodie friends, it was great getting a chance to catch up with all of you. I can't wait to do it again very soon.

For more information about Hendrix, or to make a reservation, head to their website here: