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Category Archives: Local Eateries Who Do It Right

Reviews when I come across a new joint with killer food, or one of my favorite places that I haven’t been to in a long time. When my dish of food is empty i’ll give it a quick review right here! This will focus on a great tasting plate of food that you can’t stop eating and want more of!

Mario’s Mexican Food-Huntington Beach

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Located in the Five star plaza 18603 Main St Huntington Beach, CA 92648

I’ve meant to write this review sooner since I last ate at Mario’s back in March, and I’m saddened to learn the Founder and owner Mario Valenzuela passed away on April 6, 2015.

In 1969 Mario established his first restaurant with his wife Consuelo and his four kids, and soon after went on to open six more locations in Orange County over the years with only two remaining today, The 5-Points Plaza at Main St, and Springdale site (Springdale is no longer owned by the Valenzuela family).

Salsa is made daily in five gallon buckets, they go through a lot of salsa each day.

Salsa made daily in five gallon buckets, they go through a lot of salsa each day.

Mario’s is one of my favorite places to dine at, the ambiance is always mellow, laid back and service top-notch, I’ve never left Mario’s hungry or dissatisfied. Experts will say a good restaurant will need updates both the decor and menu to keep up within the community, and that may be true in some instances but not in Mario’s case.

Seafood cocktail served in a goblet, chunks of avocado... YUM

Seafood cocktail served in a goblet, chunks of avocado… YUM

In over the fifteen years I’ve been a patron at Mario’s the food is always on point and delicious. The salsa I have tried to replicate for years to no avail and I consider myself very good at replicating a dish by taste. The Salsa its killer, not too hot and not too mild the perfect balance.

Mario's Signature Margarita. Two of these is my limit...lol

Mario’s Signature Margarita. Two of these is my limit…lol

Margarita lover? If so try Mario’s Signature Margarita, it’s really good and a pitcher is $12 more than enough for 2-4 people or two if you want to get hammered.. The shrimp cocktail served in a goblet cause they give you so much, same goes with the fajita platters and it won’t bust your wallet!

 

Everything is made to order and not sitting under a heat lamp.

Everything is made to order and not sitting under a heat lamp.

My favorite  ala cart items are the Seafood Cocktail and Beef Flautas

My favorite ala cart items are the Seafood Cocktail and Beef Flautas

So check out Mario’s Mexican Food the next time your near Huntington Beach, you wont be disappointed! 

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Woody’s Diner..A flashback to the 50’s

Woody’s Diner

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Back in 2001 my family and I discovered Woody’s Diner on Warner Ave in Huntington Beach, CA

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Upon entering this establishment it was like a flashback to the 50’s Surf theme with the wooden booths

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tabletop jukeboxes

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decor, and the nostalgia was lively, and we haven’t even been seated yet!

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Woody’s Diner was established in 1987 and has four locations from Sunset Beach to Newport Beach.
Every Thursday Night at 6pm at the Huntington Beach Location. Activities include a classic car show, raffles, prizes, and fun! 

The variety of food was beyond just your average burgers and fries, there is the “Ole` Burger loaded with jalapeno’s” to Double Cheese Burger, Bacon Cheese Burger with thick slices of bacon cooked extra crisp

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and my favorite the “Patty Melt”.

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They have thick onion rings

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Did I say thick onion rings???

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And served with ranch dressing

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chili cheese fries, chips and a homemade salsa that is out of this world.

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Those who know me know i love and appreciate good salsa!

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I love the variety of Fountain Drinks Woody’s offers like milk shakes and malts made with hand scooped ice cream Ice cream sundaes, floats, hand squeezed juice, banana split and ice cream soda’s….Y U M

Fast forward to Woody’s newest site in Huntington Beach on Adams and Brookhurst, is where we ate today and was my first time at this place.

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Instead of having my fountain drink; vanilla coke, I choose to go with
a 16oz Margarita during happy hour for $3.00!

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YES its was $3.00 and if it wasn’t a weekday and three o’clock, I would have slammed down a few more at that price!

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If you’re in Orange County, do yourself a favor and stop at Woody’s Diner you won’t be disappointed!!!

The food, service and prices are out of this world!

For a complete listing of location and events visit their website at http://www.woodysdiners.com/index.htm

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My Disclosure Policy

Togo’s Toasted Dip Sandwiches

 

Togos toasted dips 

 

Togo’s back in October rolled out two new sandwiches to their line up this fall with the Roast Beef Dip and the Triple Dip. Talk about a sandwich fit for a king.

The Roast Beef Dip features hot roast beef, melted provolone cheese, and a tangy horseradish mayo on fresh-baked Artisan bread. It’s priced at $6.25 for regular and $8.25 for a large.

My sons sandwich was packed with savory roast beef, he added red onion to his!
My sons sandwich was packed with savory roast beef, he added red onion to his!

The Triple Dip comes filled with a hefty amount, I’m talking roughly more than a half pound of turkey, roasted beef, and pastrami, with the provolone cheese and the tangy horseradish mayo. Just think you get all that delicious extra meat at a cost of $9.25 for a 6-inch regular and $12.25 for a 9-inch large.

The triple dip! Over eight ounces of meat! Heaven between provolone cheese and fresh baked bread!

The triple dip! Over eight ounces of meat! Heaven between provolone cheese and fresh-baked bread!

Both sandwiches are served with a side of au jus for dipping.

The new Roast Beef Dip replaces the French Dip Sandwich that consisted of roast beef and au jus, and Swiss cheese. Now if you still want the former French Dip, Togo’s will make it for you. But you must hurry as these two meaty sandwiches are only available through Jan. 7, 2014.

I am a true lover of Pastrami and roast beef, but i needed to bring a guy with a hearty appetite to try the triple dip so my son agreed to go with me to the Togo’s at 18225 Brookhurst St #8, Fountain Valley, CA ‎(714) 964-6464

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The staff is always very friendly, attentive fast and courteous, one of the reasons I don’t frequent other competitors.

My pastrami rocked, it always does.

No matter how many times I order a pastrami from Togo's it is always packed and juicy!

No matter how many times I order a pastrami from Togo’s it is always packed and juicy!

I like mine on either white or the Italian Parmesan bread with mustard, provolone cheese, red onion and both pepperchinis and pickles. You would think a combination of pickles and pepperchinis would clash, but they don’t in fact they add yet another layer of texture and flavor.

Yes be jealous!!

Yes be jealous!!

Moving onto the Triple Dip, this sandwich was packed with meat. My son ordered a large to match his 6’1 size and he polished it off and said it was a “damn good sandwich” I was able to get in just one bite, and he was correct it was delicious, moist with just enough of the horseradish mayo to wake your palate up!

Yes, you must take another look at this tasty monster of a sandwich!

Yes, you must take another look at this tasty monster of a sandwich!

We also went back a couple of days later to try the roast beef dip and again we both left satisfied and our stomachs ready to burst!

So if you are looking for a hearty sandwich with lots of flavor do not wait head over to one of your local Togo’s before January 7, 2014‎

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For more information, visit http://www.togos.com. Follow Togo’s on Twitter and on Facebook, and for all latest Togo’s news, coupons and special offers delivered straight to your inbox, join the Togo’s Sandwich Club.

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My Disclosure Policy

 

Yongs Donuts

Correction; croissants are $2.80 and not $2.25 as I posted on 11/22/2013

Dishing It Out With Clarissa

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Yongs Donuts is located next to Fountain Valley Auto Spa on Magnolia and Talbert Avenue. This family owned and operated business delivers tasty morning delights as well as prompt and attentive customer service.

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Yong’s Donuts is not a fancy coffee-house or morning bakery, there is no WiFi. However they do make the best donuts I have had since moving to Orange County 14 years ago. I’ve been a semi regular customer since I discovered this little treasure in the heart of Fountain Valley five years ago.

I am picky when it comes to donuts and I love old fashion buttermilk glazed, it’s not overly sweet or heavy, nor can you bounce it off the wall like the donuts from Adams & Magnolia.

Besides your garden variety of donuts, pastries and muffins are their croissants: Plain and then the following with cheese Turkey, Jalapeno and Ham, a super delicious guilty pleasure at $2.80 each and…

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Yongs Donuts

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Yongs Donuts is located next to Fountain Valley Auto Spa on Magnolia and Talbert Avenue. This family owned and operated business delivers tasty morning delights as well as prompt and attentive customer service.

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Yong’s Donuts is not a fancy coffee-house or morning bakery, there is no WiFi. However they do make the best donuts I have had since moving to Orange County 14 years ago. I’ve been a semi regular customer since I discovered this little treasure in the heart of Fountain Valley five years ago.

I am picky when it comes to donuts and I love old fashion buttermilk glazed, it’s not overly sweet or heavy, nor can you bounce it off the wall like the donuts from Adams & Magnolia.

My favorite!!!

My favorite!!!

Besides your garden variety of donuts, pastries and muffins are their croissants: Plain and then the following with cheese Turkey, Jalapeno and Ham, a super delicious guilty pleasure at $2.80 each and they are not small, in fact they are slightly bigger then the average mans hand. they will warm it for you or 20 seconds in your microwave at home.

That's my hand underneath the croissant...lol

That’s my hand underneath the croissant…lol

But what I love the most are their donut holes, these bite size delights literally melt in your mouth, light and fluffy and they sell out fast.

Look at all those air pockets, that means airy, light, fluffy delight!

Look at all those air pockets, that means airy, light, fluffy delight!

Open as early as 5am, this little corner shop is worth jumping off the 405 freeway at Magnolia, to grab a coffee, sweet treat and head into work.

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I am yet to be dissatisfied.

Yongs Donuts

18054 Magnolia St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 964-0249

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Togo’s and the return of its highly-acclaimed BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Togo’s and the return of its highly-acclaimed BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

It’s Pulled Pork Season At Togo’s

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I was recently approached by the Glass Agency on behalf of Togo’s Eateries, Inc and asked if I would be willing to try the “BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich” and write a review of the not only the sandwich, but the place, service and cleanliness  For those of you who have never heard of Togo’s it is a chain of fast casual sandwich restaurants owned by Mainsail Partners. Its headquarters are in San José, California.

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The first “Togo’s” was opened in downtown San José, California, in 1967. At that time the sandwich shack was so small that only 4 people at a time could be inside and the sign out front read “Sandwiches To Go” with To Go being on the second line. In 1971 the shop was purchased by a college student. In 1997, Togo’s was acquired by the Dunkin’ Brands portfolio of fast-food restaurants. By 2001, there were about 350 Togo’s sandwich shops, serving more than 25 different types of sandwiches.

 

I have been a regular customer of Togo’s for ten years. I for one do not mind venturing out to try new things, except for a few places that I just can’t help being a creäture of habit. I’m sure so many of you will order that same dish, burger or sandwich, cause you love it so much. For me I always order the pastrami on the onion-herb bread, with mustard, red onion, tomato and provolone cheese. It may seem that these ingredients would not work, but oh man do they ever. The pastrami is my go to guilty pleasure, and I can eat a foot long. Any other sandwich a six-inch will do just fine. But not my pastrami.

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But for now I need to redirect to the task at hand as Togo’s “West Coast Original” Brings Back Popular Sandwich for Limited-Time as the pulled pork sandwich is only available through the end of this month. Togo’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich features tender pulled pork dripping with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce and is topped with creamy, crunchy coleslaw piled high on freshly baked white bread.

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Togo’s BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich is available in both regular six-inch and large nine-inch sizes, starting at $6.25.

 

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I went to the Fountain Valley place at 18225 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708. Last Sunday to try the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, as I love a plate of good BBQ and a tangy, not too sweet or tart sauce. I get there around 2pm and it was quiet as this place is next to Orange Coast Memorial Hospital, so I imagine it must be hectic during the week. I was greeted when I walked in. ( I also brought my grandson and son) we placed our orders and took the food home.

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At Togo’s if you want to add lettuce or onion, tomato it’s never a problem or charge unless you add cheese or double meat. This sandwich had only three ingredients; bread, pulled pork and coleslaw. I enjoyed the bbq pulled pork a lot, especially the coleslaw it was hands down one of the best I’ve eaten, ever!

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The pulled pork was cooked and sauce had just the right amount of sweet vs tang. My only complaint is the portion size is way different then what is visually advertised . I feel more coleslaw and pulled pork could have been added or perhaps an entirely different bread could be used to proportion the sandwich better, making it more appealing to the eye of the consumer.

Maybe a bread similar to this?

Maybe a bread similar to this?

 

 

or this???

or this???

 

If you compare Togo’s pulled pork to the competitors, in my opinion the competitors do not measure up, or come close as you can see from the photo’s below.

 

Burger King's version of the pulled pork sandwich.

Burger King’s version of the pulled pork sandwich.

 

 

Quiznos version of the pulled pork sandwich.

Quiznos version of the pulled pork sandwich.

 

 

Subway's version of the pulled pork sandwich.

Subway’s version of the pulled pork sandwich.

 

Would I try the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich again?

Yes, I would and so should you. Just keep lots of napkins handy as this sandwich was not meant to meet light colored clothes…lol

 

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Overall, it was good, service was prompt, food was hot, place was clean, and I’ll be back again.

 

 

 

 

 

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Caffe` Caldo~Gourmet Espresso and Italian Cafe

This mini review is way over due, as i first found this cozy café with a larger than life personality several weeks ago.

Upon entering, i was greeted by Ginny and another older gentleman. First impression i got was a rustic feel from the decor. It looked like how i imagine a village outside of Tuscany would look and feel.

21070 Beach Blvd Huntington Beach, CA 92648 (714) 960-1100

21070 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 960-1100

I ordered a blended mocha with an extra shot of espresso, a Tiramisu, and my daughter ordered the Chocolate covered Cannoli, filled with a banana crème. Both of these decadent delights were topped with whipped crème and fresh sliced strawberries

Medium blended mocha with an extra shot of expresso.

Medium blended mocha with an extra shot of espresso.

Tiramisu, It doesn't get any more authentic then this!

Tiramisu, It doesn’t get any more authentic then this!

Caffe` Caldo is located on Atlanta Ave and Beach Blvd, less then a quarter mile from PCH in the same shopping center as “Sea Legs Wine Bar. (sorry I do not recall the shopping center name) Caffe` Caldo can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Chocolate covered canolli with fresh cream and strawberries.

Chocolate covered canolli with fresh cream and strawberries.

The ambiance, decor, breeze from the pacific ocean and especially the wonderful service we received will bring us back to Caffe Caldo again.

If I wasn't in public I would have licked my plate clean.

If I wasn’t in public I would have licked my plate clean. http://caffecaldoespresso.com

If you’re looking to break away from packed corporate owned coffee houses, give Caffe Caldo a try. They not only serve coffee and desserts, they also have a morning and lunch menu with more Italian style dishes.

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