Herb Butter, Raspberry Jam and Apple Preserve
Maine Lobster Benedict
Sautéed Wild Spinach, Poached Eggs,
Lobster Hollandaise, Lobster Butter Toasted Bread, Arugula Salad
Steak and Eggs
Crispy Kennenbeck Potatoes, Pickled California Black Walnut, House Toast
I am always on the hunt to find interesting brunch places. I have known about Girasol Restaurant for a while and finally made it to Studio City to try their brunch. Lucky for us it was worth the drive. The Executive chef is C.J. Jacobson of the Top Chef fame. After reading about his apprenticeship at Restaurant Noma in Denmark I became more interested in trying his restaurant. He describe his food as ‘rustic-refined’ and uses local ingredients. They sure had spend a great deal of money on their décor and it looked very interesting. The service was cold to friendly. Their menu looked shorter than their online menu. We decided on Steak and Eggs and Maine Lobster Benedict. The steak was a strip cut and was cooked perfectly and tasted great. You could tell they used a high quality beef. What was so delicious was their Crispy Kennenbeck Potatoes. It tasted like the potatoes have been fried in Rosemary oil and we could have eaten a dozen of these beauties easily. This dish came with their delicious house bread, Herb butter, Raspberry Jam and Apple Preserve. When was the last time you were served such a spread with your bread? This dish was definitely worth the price tag of $22. Our Maine Lobster Benedict was delicious but the portion was small for the $28 price tag. The tender Maine Lobster was served on the top of a butter toasted bread and Sautéed Wild Spinach. The perfectly Poached Eggs and Lobster Hollandaise completed the dish. we just wish there was more of it. Overall a positive experience and a great brunch.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat recently came up with their Super Dark Collection. It combines their seventy-two percent cacao with super food ingredients. I sampled all of them in their Las Vegas store back in Dec and some were better than others. I recently tried the Acai & Golden Berry and Reishi Mushroom & Walnut. I preferred the former. I loved the combination of the dark chocolate with the tartness of the Acai and Golden Berries. The Reishi Mushroom & Walnut was earthy and you really couldn’t taste the Mushroom. The Walnut added richness to the bar with the added benefit of the omega-3 fatty acids.
Sidecar pays homage to the Girl Scout’s Samoa cookie… Pineapple Coconut Cake Doughnut with Pineapple glaze and toasted Coconut, finished with a drizzle of Dark Chocolate. It was a little sugary for me.
Banana Cake Doughnut with house made, creamy Nutella glaze topped with crushed Banana Chips. This one was very disappointing. It tasted very heavy and was not fried properly.
We haven’t been to Playground for a long time and since we have never tried their Sunday’s brunch we gave it a try. We were seated at their communal table. Our server was really pushy and that made me uneasy. My husband is a Hash lover so that was his pick. At $12 the portion was tiny and it had a little meat with some white potatoes and green pepper. I think you could have had a better hash at any diner. Very ordinary and unsatisfying. My Steak was better and it was cooked just right. I just wish they would have added a couple grains of Fleur de sel to the steak to enhance the flavor. The fries was pale and boring. No added garlic, herb or seasoning. It kind of looked like the McDonald’s fries. The odd thing is the Béarnaise was added on the top of the fries. At $26 it should have come with a little green. Since we were seated at their communal table we got to see almost all the brunch dishes and most of them didn’t look that appetizing. Also the noisy people next to us kept looking at us and even took a pick of our bill!! The nerve!! We will not return.
Lobster Jícama Tacos
Maine lobster, Heirloom Baby Tomatoes, Serrano Chile, Salt cured Nopales, Castelvetrano Olives, grilled Knob Onions, Micro Greens
Grilled Skirt Steak, Mazatlan White Shrimp and Mahi Mahi Tacos
We have been a big fan of Chef Rick Bayless for a long time and dined at his Chicago restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo before. We love his food in Chicago and have been to the LA location of Red O Restaurant before. When they opened the Newport Beach location we waited for a while for the dust to settle. Every time I made a reservation, I got a cold feet and canceled. Finally I decided it was time to give this place a chance. So we went there for lunch and it was a pleasant experience. Service was very friendly and we were seated in their patio area. We started with their tasty Lobster Jícama Tacos. It was a refreshing start and we liked the crunchy Jícama with the Castelvetrano Olives and Heirloom Baby Tomatoes. We then decided to try their Tacos. We picked Steak, Shrimp and Mahi Mahi. They were served with rice and beans, but I asked them for beans only. The beans was OK, but nothing like the beans they serve in their Chicago restaurants. Our favorite was the Shrimp Taco. It was cooked perfectly and the Mango Salsa gave it a sweetness and the Lime marinated Cabbage a nice crunch. Our second favorite was the Mahi Mahi. It was cooked on the medium side but tasted nice and smoky. It had a nice flavor from the Chipotle aioli, pickled red onion and the cabbage slaw and it was satisfying. Our least favorite was the Grilled Skirt Steak Taco. It came with crispy potato, Manchego and salsa rojo. The beef was overcooked and tasted just like any cheap steak taco out there. Nothing like our favorite steak Tacos at Taco Maria. We will return and try their other items. I wish we had a true Rick Bayless restaurant like his Chicago restaurants. He only consults at Red O.