Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wahoo! Score Dad a meal on Father's Day

Ever notice the fuss given to Mother's Day? Flowers. Brunches. Spa treatments. I agree, they deserve it all. Let's just remember to show the dads a little appreciation this weekend, too. And I'm talking more than a greeting card or phone call.

For years, I'd bounce between golf-related paraphernalia and ties. He didn't seem to mind - Dad was pleased I thought of him as I went shopping. These days, I've come to realize the importance of giving time. Although the catch was that there was never enough of it (and it had nothing to do with being free).When I visit the parentals in the Bay Area, the first question I tend to ask is, "When are you free to go out (to eat)?" Sometimes with both, occasionally with just my dad, it's our time to hang out and just be. This leads me to today's post.

So my acquaintance Lisa works for Wahoo's Fish Taco. Founded by a trio of brothers in 1988, Wahoo's took the American dream and ran full speed with it. Combining restaurant experience from the family business plus their love of surfing in Mexico, the first location opened in Orange County. Success and a penchant for sticker-based decor soon followed.

During this weekend dedicated to fathers, they've got a special. Head over to their website and print a coupon. Good for a free #1 combo just for dad, they get a choice of taco or enchilada, served with ahi rice and either black or spicy cajun white beans. Their filling options are comparable, if not better than Chipotle: carne asada, chicken, carnitas, mushrooms, banzai veggies, vegetarian or fish.

Throw in a bottle of beer, and it's the laid back way to thank him after his golf game. Or his nap.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My summer lovin' lunch - The Cabo Caesar at Sage Cafe, Costa Mesa

Hiding in the shadows of The Camp is a sit-down eatery so mini, you've probably passed it and never realized. Open since December, they call themselves Sage Cafe. Not to be confused with the one known simply as Sage, this is an anomaly in the Asian/hipster/upper echelon options within South Coast Plaza and SoBeCa's neighborhood. Normally, I have an aversion to soup, salad, and sandwich places. But something told me this would be different, so I met my co-worker there one spring morning as they were changing over from brekkie to lunch.

He couldn't help but inquire whether a breakfast sandwich was still available, which they happily obliged to. Mind you, they have one modest griddle back there, and if it weren't for our timing, they would've responded otherwise (which we know for a fact). I was in a 'healthy' mood, and settled on a salad.

Now for a salad, this was behemoth. Crunchy yellow/red bells, hints of slivered green onion and earthy pepitas won me over. The romaine and croutons were almost an afterthought alongside the other players. Grilled chicken kept it hearty, but not heavy. Their cilantro Caesar brought it all together. A dish of beauty, indeed it was.

I managed to get through half before admitting defeat and requesting a box. Fortunately, I knew all the components were sturdy enough to maintain both their texture and taste for another meal. Not your run-of-the-mill Caesar, the Cabo put a spring in my step. Being in good company and spotting a reality housewife didn't hurt, either.

If you decide to hunt them down, call ahead for their daily special. Their soup constantly changes as well, which makes the decision even more stressful for someone like myself who's a big fan of variety. Maybe it's the idea of supporting the underdog, but they fit right in to their surroundings. The anti-Panera, perhaps? *(Oh, and if you like them enough, get added to their daily text so you can debate specials right before lunch hour.)

Sage Cafe
735 West Baker Street
Costa Mesa, 92626