Wednesday, April 29, 2009

50 Forks

Here are some crappy pictures of my recent trip to 50 Forks in Santa Ana. Housed within the Art Institute of California, 50 Forks is almost entirely staffed by culinary students. The entrées run $9 to $11, and this for dishes like pork tenderloin, braised beef short ribs, and scallops using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

As we ordered, our server brought out lemonade appertifs in Pyrex test tubes to cleanse the palette. A little fancy, but who doesn't like drinking stuff out of test tubes?

I ordered the roast duck with blue cheese orecchiette ($9) and my friend George ordered the pork tenderloin entrée ($11). While we waited for our entrées, we enjoyed some strangely salty, yet tasty French bread and a scallop appetizer ($7). The scallops were breaded and baked with mushrooms in a delicious white wine cream sauce, topped again with breadcrumbs. This was my favorite dish of the meal, though I would not recommend it if you don't like wine as a prominent flavor.

My dish was a little more "mac and cheese" than "roast duck" but as a blue cheese fiend, I was fairly happy anyway. George's tender and flavorful pork tenderloin with tiny chive pancakes was, however, a little better. The portions are good for a fancy restaurant and perfect for a day when you want a light lunch.

We both ordered desserts but at $5 each, they were the least cost effective part of the meal.

George's panna cotta with berries and my chocolate cheesecake with espresso cream were both good but also fairly standard. The panna cotta was light and delicious, where the cheesecake was rich and creamy. However if you have an extra five dollars to spend, I'd recommend one of the appetizers over a dessert.

Even if you splurge for all three courses, 50 Forks is a great deal. It offers tasty dishes made with fresh ingredients, great service, and fancy-like beverages you drink out of test tubes(!!) for the same price you would pay at Olive Garden for a much less notable meal.

3601 Sunflower Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 429-0918

Open for Lunch
Monday thru Wednesday 11am-1pm

Open for Dinner Seasonally
Wednesday thru Friday 6:30pm-9pm

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

asiana airline from lax --> s. korea

This post isn't really going to be helpful to anyone, but it's still food-related and hopefully interesting? Anyway, I was on the plane from LAX to South Korea the other week and for lunch, they served Bibimbap.

For those not in the know, Bibimbap is an assortment of vegetables (as you can see up there) like mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, spinach and such. In addition, there is also chopped beef. It's cold. BUT, you add hot rice into the mix and it's a delicious assortment of flavors in your mouf. The one I ate on the plane also came with oil and hot chili paste.

I was really expecting really crappy blocks of meat and lukewarm rice. This was pretty much awesome forever.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A & J Restaurant

We decided to fill our bellies with some Taiwanese food at A & J Restaurant, a small-ish place bathed in florescent light and flanked with stark walls. None of the ladies working really spoke any English so I had to use my Cantonese to fake Mandarin...leading to awkward embarrassment. But hey, a little embarrassment is worth deliciousness, AMIRITE?

To share, we chose the bean curd with thousand-year-old egg. For those not in the know, the egg is not really a thousand years old ("That would take a lot of planning, har har har"-Andi). The process of "cooking" the egg does take a while though. The century egg (another name for it) is usually duck, chicken or quail (ours was chicken). It is preserved in a mixture of ash, clay, lime, rice straw, and salt for several weeks to several months.
The bean curd was just the right amount of saltyness, and for less than $3, was quite a steal.

Vivian: I ordered the spicy beef and tendon noodle soup, which also came with baby bok choy--but not enough. The noodles were tender and plentiful but some of the beef was a little too chewy for my taste. However, it was only $6.95 for a small, and it was still a lot of food. I think if I went back, I will order another noodle dish--just maybe not beef.

Andi: Not being familiar with Taiwanese food, I was really glad I asked for a recommendation before sitting down to order. The first page of the menu is filled with delicious sounding but somewhat indistinguishable noodle items. Based on a friend's recommendation, I ordered the noodle with hot and sour sauce and tried not to think about it too much. I can easily spend 15 minutes just second guessing myself when it comes to ordering food. It's serious business.

The dish was simple: a puddle of oil and seasoning at the bottom of the bowl with egg noodles and a handful of scallions heaped on top. Once mixed together, the result was very tasty if a little one note. The sauce was more sweet than hot, and certainly sour. I would definitely order this again, maybe adding a little soy sauce to cut the sweetness, but with so many other tasty-sounding noodle dishes at around 5 dollars a bowl, I may never quite get around to it.

14805 Jeffrey Rd

Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 786-3585

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taco Mesa (Costa Mesa)

Welcome to our first "official" Awkward Eats post. We know you've been waiting for an actual food post for awhile, instead of a HEY, LOOK AT US. WE ARE AWKWARD. WE LOVE FOOD. post.

OK, so I headed over to Costa Mesa for their Burrito Wednesday. Unlike their $1 tacos on Taco Tuesday (which always attracts A LOT of customers), Burrito Wednesday seemed a more casual least when I went. Drop $5 and you get a drink and one of three burritos: chicken, carne asada, and "Mesa" burrito. Since I know what both chicken and carne asada burritos taste like for the most part, I opted for the Mesa burrito, which is all vegetarian.

Now let me get something straight: I enjoy the meats. But after a few people recommended this vegetarian burrito, I knew I had to try it.

The Mesa Burrito came with rice, black beans, fresh spinach, mushrooms, guacamole, red onions, tomato, and a blend of cheeses. Then, it is drizzled with caldillo sauce. This was a burrito made for forks and knives, folks. But maybe I just have really weak upper body strength.

Surprisingly, I was really full after the burrito, which is a feat as I usually get hungry in a few hours because there is no meat in my system. I am writing this, 5 hours after I ate lunch, and I am still full. I mean, I'm still thinking of what to eat in an hour, but man. I am still stuffed.

The guacamole was really delicious and fresh. The spinich was a super nice touch in a burrito. I would never have thought of adding that, but it did add some oomph to the dish.

So what have we learned? Not all vegetarian food is: expensive, unappetizing, or makes you hungry in a few hours.

The service was quick and sitting outside on a nice spring day made it all the nicer.

To end this post, here I am in the outdoors patio, giving a thumbs up...because that is how I roll.

Taco Mesa
647 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 642-0629


Having been afflicted with Awkwardness my whole life, I recall so many moments where I thought "This description of a restaurant in Orange County is well-written, entertaining, and informative. But there seems to be a distinct lack of terrible jokes!" Or "This food photography is lovely and appealing. But why are there not people making awkward faces filling up the frame?"

I know that you too, awkward reader, have experienced that same feeling of emptiness, knowing that most food blogs are written for regular folk, with regular social skills. There was no place specifically for you. No longer!

We at awkwardeats understand your plight better than anyone. So sit tight, little ones. We'll be bringing the latest in awkward facial expressions, bad jokes, and cheap, delicious food in OC/LA right to your front door. Shipping and handling may apply.