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Food Tripping in SoCal–Feb 2012

I was supposed to attend a conference in Seattle, but due to a business opportunity the cropped up in Southern California (SoCal), I changed my plans and few south from San Francisco. My stay wasn’t for tour purposes, so I didn’t really visit anything of tourist, cultural, or recreational value. But as the expression goes… “you gotta eat.” So I found myself dining out here and there in the brief time I was in SoCal.

When I arrived at Orange County (John Wayne Airport – SNA), my friend Chris picks me up and we are off to have lunch. Chris consulted Yelp (a service I take with a grain of salt) and we found an interesting Italian Restaurant called Mama Cozza’s (http://www.mamacozzas.com/). The place had negative comments on Yelp about bad service, rude waiters, and having to wait a while for the food, but everyone raved about the food.

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However, when we got there, even if it was 11:30am, the parking lot empty. We got down, and despite an OPEN sign the front door was locked. And the other doors in front as well. We went round to the back and the back parking was also empty. Sigh… looks like a candidate for Kitchen Nightmares.

Chris wanted to refer to Yelp again. I suggested that we dispense with Yelp and just head for a mall and choose an available restaurant. I thought that was more of a sure thing than doing hit or miss on Yelp.

We ended up at the Spectrum at Irvine and spotted Wood Ranch.

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I had one request from Chris before arriving. I said I wanted to have beef for lunch. No pretentious healthy food or seafood. I wanted red meat! Hence, after a quick look at the separate menu flyer… I quickly opted for the Perfect Prime Rib… how can I go wrong di ba?

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And here it is… I should have taken the picture from the side. The slab was 1.5 inches thick! YUM!!! The beef was cooked just right.

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Their Garlic Bread was really good too!

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For dinner, we ate at this really great little restaurant called “Mama D’s Itallian Kitchen” in Newport Beach.  It was a cozy little place and all of the servers were super friendly. The place is packed, and apparently it always is. But we were able to get in with just around a 15 min wait time.’

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As which sometimes happens, I was so engrossed on the food that I forgot to take a picture of the food! Anyway, they are apparently known for a “pink sauce” which is basically a tomato sauce-based sauce with cream. Of course for me, it was more orange than pink. Anyway, the food was awesome!

The next day, Ramil brought me for lunch at… of all places… Jollibee in Anaheim.

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In dollars syempre…

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This is my second time ever to try a Jollibee in America so I decided to see how Chickenjoy tastes like in America.

Have you ever had Jollibee with Mashed Potato? Hehe. The verdict… masarap siya. But in my opinion. It did not taste like Chickenjoy. I know my chickenjoy and my chicken-loving palette said… it is different. It wasn’t bad…. it was quite good… but still different.

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For Dinner we ate at The Cheesecake Factory.

For my main course, I ordered a hefty MeatLoaf. Yum… nice and classic. That Mashed Potato was great too.

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The next day… due to the business meetings. We only had time for drive thru at Taco Bell. No pictures here.

That evening we had dinner at Ajisen Ramen in Irvine.

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I ordered the Seafood Ramen. This was sooo good. And the broth was simply awesome. We also ordered this shrimp gyoza which also amazing!

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In the same area we dropped by a an Asian bakery called 85C Bakery Café which was had awesome desserts!

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For my last dinner in SoCal… we ate at Whole Foods. When Ramil brought me here, I was somewhat hesitant because Whole Foods is a grocery… known for healthy, organic, green produce and products. Ok, so I thought there was like a food court! Not quite. There are food stations everywhere. You can get a box, fill them up with food, then pay at the counter as you would for take home. But within the grocery itself there are tables, spoon and forks, etc. so you can eat what you just got in the store itself. Interesting concept, but it was unusual for me.

I ended up with an amazing Black Pepper Steak which grilled to order, these fantastically spiced thin French Fries and the most delicious serving of Baked Beans ever! All for just $9.99 (plus tax).  So… so…. GOOD!!!

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So I thought my whole SoCal dining experience was done. While waiting for my flight at SNA, I chanced upon this airport stall called Jerry’s Dogs.

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I had simply the most amazing hotdog with Swiss cheese and grilled mushrooms. Simple meal, but great flavor!!!

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Not sure if I gained weight yet. But if just for the eating (and the company), my SoCal Lakwatsa was so worth it!