Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Old Vine Cafe

Prepare to be wowed. the various tastes and sensations brought about by your imagination while viewing the following pictures, of course. Not my weak, uninspired writing.

Crispy Blue Salad
Organic Greens, Crispy Proscuitto, Fried Onions & Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing.

-Paired with a 2007 Reuscher-Haart Piesporter Riesling

Pairing this salad with a dry white wine is a very good idea if you intend to order it. The saltiness of the proscuitto and fried onions mandates it. Curiously enough, the dressing was not that heavy on the blue cheese taste. Thick, creamy dressing combined with all the fried goodies really kick-starts your appetite and wakes up your taste buds. It's a big bold salad. I dig it!

Veggie Quinoa Jambalaya
Cajun Quinoa & Seasonal Vegetables garnished with Fresh Cilantro

This was pretty interesting. My brother ordered it just for fun since we both wondered how a jambalaya could be tasty without meat. The usual jambalaya taste of spices is still there, but there's also quinoa's characteristic nuttiness. Even without the different meats you'd usually find in a jambalaya, this dish still holds its own and tastes "clean-n-simple". Solid alternative to a salad starter if you don't like to munch on rabbit food.

Sauteed Sea Scallops
Three Jumbo Scallops on a nest of Crispy Leeks finished with Tarragon Chardonnay Sauce

They were freakin' huge. Don't they look delicious? Beautifully seared...super juicy...these scallops are perfectly fine on their own but dipping each bite into the subtle tarragon chardonnay sauce somehow makes it even better. Order this.

Hand Made Ravioli
Filled with Smoked Duck, Goat Cheese & Porcini Mushrooms Sauteed in Brown Butter with Sage

This dish comes out as one giant 'roided up ravioli (use the cherry tomatoes as a scale). It kinda reminds me of the ravioli that came with my brother's duck at Pastis, but the flavors in this one is bolder and yells for your attention. Good dish to order as a starter if you are a light eater.

Beef Tenderloin Stroganoff
All Natural Beef Tenderloin Medallions & Shitake Mushrooms, served over Hand Made Fettuccini drizzled with Creamed Demi Glace

What can a restaurant do to make stroganoff taste 100x better than what we do at home? Oh I know: throw in the juiciest, meatiest beef tenderloins you can find and mix it up with the house's egg noodles and velvety sauce. G'damn this was so good. They make some damned fine pasta at Old Vine so make sure you give any one of them a try.

Lamb Meatloaf
Certified All Natural Lamb Meatloaf, on a bed of Caramelized Onions, garnished with Wilted Arugula & a Rich Syrah Demi
-Paired with a 2007 Tortoise Creek Shiraz, Languedoc France.

Very very fluffy meatloaf. I was surprised that they came as individual slices as opposed to a crumpled pile. No idea how it is being held together. These guys at Olive Tree are very skilled. Last two times I had restaurant 'loaf were at the Prado in Balboa Park and Hash House. Man they got nothing on Old Vine Cafe. The demi glace is made with the same syrah paired with the dish and adds more depth to an already smashin' meat loaf. Another must-order.

Fettuccini Pomodoro
Handmade Fettuccini Pomodoro garnished with Aged Pecorino Romano Cheese

Sure it looks just like spaghetti, but trust me on this one...the pomodoro sauce is mind-blowing. Pomodoro is pretty much a non-chunky marinara sauce but I am at a loss as to how a tomato sauce could taste so vibrant, bright, and alive on the palate. You gotta try this to see what I mean. The sauce is so light but packs so much great flavor.

Chocolate Cake
With Merlot–Port-Wine Dark Chocolate Sauce, garnished with Fresh Whipped Cream.
- Paired with a NV Ferreira Ruby Port.

This choco cake isn't a thick heavy beast like a fudge cake. It is a lot finer and delicate but still packs a good whollop of dark chocolate flavor. Bite of cake + the port made for a heavenly dessert experience. The two were so made for each other.

Grandma’s Cheesecake
Cream Cheesecake garnished with a Wild Berry Puree.
-Paired with a NV Ferreira Ruby Port.

Not your run-of-the-mill cheesecake. This rendition is sweeter, thicker, and for the lack of a better description, kinda has a honey/condensed milk taste to it. I like it a helluva lot better than the more traditional recipe.

Old Vine Cafe is one of the very few restaurants that make me go ":O wow..." and is very much worth the trip. I highly recommend you make reservations because it is a popular restaurant and there aren't many tables. Also, they currently offer "early bird" dinner specials at a phenominal price: $40 for three courses and three wine pairings on Tues/Wed/Thurs if you reserve a table between 5-5:30pm. This is now one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County.

Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol St. Suite A-102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


*note: the restaurant is hard to find. it is actually inside the CAMP retail center instead of in it's own building.


Anonymous said...

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D-Rex said...

Looks awfully tasty. I'm tempted to make the drive up from SD when I'm down there next weekend.

caninecologne said...

great photos - mouthwatering!

by the way, bought that youngs double chocolate stout. i also got rogue chocolate stout (it's from portland, or). my husband tried this concoction from pix patisserie in portland - a chocolate beer float. they used the rogue with chocolate ice cream. it's pretty good. we tried it with the young's, but the rogue had a better flavor....this is saying a lot for me because i don't even like beer.

Sharon said...

Hey Roger, really enjoyed your posts, especially the rants about TCF and Sushi Deli 2. Sheesh, don't get ME started. I've been wanting to try Hodad's but I'll save my $. Then again, any place that proclaims itself to be "[insert city name]'s Best [insert name of food]" always makes me instantly suspicious (although curious).

Also, your pictures are amazing. I feel as though I could almost pluck those scallops from the screen... *drool*

Roger said...

Oh Kasha flattery is great, but that was just too much!

D-Rex, it is so worth it. There's quite a few good restaurants in the area too.

CC, glad you guys enjoyed it. Yeah the Rogue Choco Stout is super delicious.

Thanks for the love, Sharon! I too feel the funny mix of suspicious & curious when it comes to these types of eateries.

Dazy said...

We don't go dine-in there regularly since it is not close to our place. I make it a point to come every time I'm in the neighborhood. We get filled up and usually have leftovers to take home. All the food keeps me pushing into the dining.