Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday (or "The day that revolved around food")

Started out with a morning of spin class. Called my acquaintance Jackie on the way home to see if she'd be interested in checking out the Irvine Global Village Festival. We planned on convening at the shiny new H-Mart in Diamond Jamboree about 1pm.

So at about 12:30 my cell rings. It is Kate Murphy with the New York Times. Chowhound emailed me about an article she is doing about chewing gum, and provided her contact info if I was interested in an interview. My only posting about Orbit Mint Mojito must have been enough for them. I shot an email to Ms. Murphy on Friday, but didn't think anything of it. Fifteen minutes and lots of gum talk later, we end on a pleasant note. Once I inform her of my current residence, she remarks, "Oh, there's a great farmer's market in Corona del Mar" to which I respond, "I've only visited the UCI one. Thanks for the tip." I'll be looking for that byline.

Finally get to DJ at 1:30 and apologize to Jackie, who has now completed some grocery shopping. We hoof past Guppy House (can't get why you name a Taiwanese eatery this, but they weren't hurting for business) and I notice the unusual water containers - which I know for a fact are food storage bins from IKEA. We decide on BBQ Chicken, where the notion of eating fried food is cancelled out by the fact it's being cooked in olive oil. What?

We order the half and half special, which is five pieces of their infamous chicken, and 12 servings of these 'mutant' chicken balls coated in our choice of sauce. So they forget to provide the complimentary slaw and daikon, and we deal with it. The menu isn't close enough to their website, so I am generally perplexed by our meal. At least we are satiated as we head back to my rock star parking spot.

Arriving at the festival, I quickly realize parking is one hell of an issue. I think we end up a quarter mile away or more at San Mateo apartments in their cul de sac. The better to walk off lunch. For a free event, it was nice. I've never been to Bill Barber park, and I must say it exceeded my expectations. Overall food selection was slim, except for the two vendors who were obviously afterthoughts in the refreshment layout. Once was Smooth Operator, offering smoothies, funnel cake, and other delights. The other was a BBQ joint (no relation to lunch) cooking up hot dogs and similar fare. Many food providers are a no-show, like Formosa Cafe. I pick a trio of marshmallows made from scratch plus a small bag of cookies from Blackmarket Bakery, located by John Wayne Airport. Jackie ends up with some sweets, iced tea from It's A Grind, and a few veggie samosas from Masala Bowl. A productive afternoon indeed.

I am home and 180 out the door for the second time 30 minutes later. After a few errands at South Coast Plaza (Note: Next Vintage Wine Bar at Charlie Palmer's has two steals. Take a peek at their display outside if you don't believe me.) we cruise up the 405 to Garden Grove.

He wanted Boiling Crab, but I wanted something a bit better in selection. We ended up at Claws, only a couple of miles down the road (if that). Spacious parking and no wait for a table. Very solid service from both girls working. Refills before we could flag anyone down. Napkins, handiwipes, and limes without even asking. Liked how I could get my choice of rice, bread, or potatoes with our seafood. Crab cakes and clam chowder were good. Mild spice is still pretty hot, but it didn't matter after a while. It totaled $40 before a well-deserved tip. We moved on.

We make a spontaneous play to drive up to Anaheim and indulge in dessert at Morton's. Validated parking, cozy seats in the bar, and a fully executed Grand Marnier chocolate souffle later, I'm ready to head back South. While the steakhouse satisfied one of us, I was meant for simpler sweets. He pulls up to Koo's Catering Truck in the Freshia Market lot in Tustin, and I offer $3 to pay for the best inexpensive treats in the county. Doughy goodness is piping hot and ready for consumption. We finally arrive home to collapse from all the dining.

This marathon of dining is just another Saturday eating our way though OC. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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