Loving Orange County #4: What I Eat

23 Apr

I’m not even going to pretend that Orange County has better food than Oakland. It doesn’t. But there are some things that I am thrilled to have found. I won’t even talk about the homemade Chinese food I get from my mom once a week and my partner’s stepdad is the king of homemade desserts (apple caramel bunt cake topped with freshly whipped cream just last week) as well as makes great burgers, lasagna, and spaghetti with meatballs.

1. It’s no Arizmendi but I’ve found a new love. Her name is 85 Degrees. She lives in Irvine surrounded by all kinds of Asian. I will use any excuse to go. I will stand in line every time just to get inside the store. She gives me the yummiest sea salt iced coffee. She brings me Taiwanese pastries. Fluffy yellow sponge cake surrounding blueberry cream. A hearty whole grain baguette with cranberries that you think will be hard and chewy but is actually soft and wonderful. Soft white bread covered with a layer of cheese and topped with ham or stuffed with a hot dog. A bit savory, a bit sweet, they are all good.

2. I’m a fan of the spicy curly fries at Barney’s, but I would rather eat a large order of tater tots from Sonic any day. Crispy on all sides with tasty hot potato inside. Rumor has it you can get them topped with melted cheese and/or chili, although I haven’t tried it yet because I love the pure unadulterated tot. It is very dangerous that there is one down the street from my apartment.

3. I’m not a cake fan. I don’t remember ever wanting to eat cake in Oakland. But I’ve been to Nothing Bundt Cakes in Costa Mesa half a dozen times already. The red velvet chocolate chip cake for our birthday party. The delectable lemon mini-bundt I ate all by myself and wouldn’t let my partner touch, even though he bought it for me. The pumpkin spice bundt I chose for my sister’s autumn baby shower. Every free sample I’ve tried is divine (I eat two on every visit just to make sure) – moist, flavorful, the right balance between dense and airy. It’s a little pricey but I don’t care.

4. I love breakfast burritos but always found them lacking in Oakland. It’s the perfect thing to sustain me on a 5-hour plane flight. The best breakfast burrito ever is at Pipes Café in San Clemente. I’ve never finished a whole one myself, and that’s saying a lot. Chunks of avocado, tasty sausage, fluffy eggs, savory potatoes, and cheese wrapped in a decent tortilla. I love it. I wish they had one in the airport.

5. Move over, Fenton’s! If I want to gorge on dairy, I’m going to Harbor House in Dana Point. The best milkshakes ever. My personal favorite is the peanut butter shake – made with real ice cream and thick gobs of peanut butter, just a few bucks, they give it to you in the old school glass with the metal cup for overflow, and available 24 hours a day.

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3 Responses to “Loving Orange County #4: What I Eat”

  1. amsin April 23, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    the rumors are true about sonic’s tater tots…

  2. Samantha April 29, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Cil when your sweet tooth kicks in again consider checking out the Donuttery on Beach Blvd… light & fluffy blueberry or red velvet donuts….yummy!

    • cil1977 April 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

      so weird. i was visiting the donuttery for the first time at the exact moment you posted this! we went a little overboard: pumpkin, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, blueberry with lemon glaze, and peanut butter and jelly. nom nom nom

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