Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Have you taken advantage of Orange County Restaurant Week yet? If not, you’ve got today and tomorrow to do so. (Take a look at the participating restaurants here.) At Cucina Enoteca, I was impressed by the generous choice on the special restaurant-week $25 and $30 menus—an especially good thing due to my enforcement of the informal-yet-ironclad agreement that my family orders a variety of dishes for everybody to taste.

Even with my vigilance, I was lucky to get a microbite of my son’s roasted Jidori chicken and creamy polenta. (I loved the addition of what the menu calls a poached hen egg, really a cooked-in-shell oeuf mollet.)  Honey-roasted eggplant pizza with goat cheese, mere millimeters thin and extra-crisp as requested, was exactly what my husband wanted after his Bulleit rye Manhattan ($10.50), which bartender Chris Yee makes with Carpano Antica vermouth. My apéritif was the sparkling rosé wine director Ed Manetta was pouring, an absolutely delicious, absolutely dry, 100 percent pinot noir Bailly-LaPierrecrémant ($12.50), a perfect setup for the butternut squash ravioli with caponata I picked for my main. We blitzed our starters: farmer’s chopped salad, the very popular stuffed squash blossoms, and ricotta gnudi. All were fab. Dessert’s included—we shared zeppole and chocolate budino, the former with blueberry filling and a puddle of lemon curd, the latter chockablock with cocoa nibs.

Maybe restaurant week had something to do with the place being so bustling on an otherwise unremarkable Tuesday, but I think Manetta’s $20 Tuesday wine flights might also have had something to do with the buzz, judging by the happy people at the long tables in the bar and wine-shop area. I look forward to being one of them myself, on a Tuesday evening very soon.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Neighborhoods: Rancho Santa Margarita

    Rancho Santa Margarita’s Plaza El Paseo is a South County suburban mall with a twist. It’s the unexpected finds—a little gem of a florist, cozy spots to sample tea and wine, and a top-notch steakhouse across the street—that put it in a league of its own. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

    Get your vegetables and booze in one convenient—and delicious—serving with what’s been hailed as America’s murkiest and most complex cocktail. Traditionally made with tomato juice, vodka, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, its origins are widely debated. Here are five superb O.C. renditions of the world-famous drink.

    Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: East Side Costa Mesa

    This updated neighborhood doesn’t have to try hard to be interesting, original, surprising, and modern—it just is. Take the mile-long stretch of strip malls along 17th Street, between Newport Boulevard and Irvine Avenue, the heart of the renaissance. Foodies come for the Instagram-worthy Aussie-style meat pies at PieNot, coconut French toast at Plums Café, and braised pork panini at Pitfire Artisan Pizza. And that’s just the Ps. Other homegrown restaurants and shops tip toward lean-and-clean fare, such as the casual Jan’s Health Bar. Plus it’s the birthplace of Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: Downtown Anaheim

    With a focus on food and community, downtown’s fresh look gets inspiration from the city’s rural roots. It takes resourcefulness to restore and imaginatively reuse old buildings, qualities the city’s founding farming families had, too. The new energy is centered on the Packing District, a two-block stretch of Anaheim Boulevard between Santa Ana Street and East Broadway: the restored 1920s-era Packard Building, now home to Anaheim Brewery and Umami Burger, and the 1919 Anaheim Citrus Packing House, with a food hall of locally based food-and-beverage artisans. Read More
  • Neighborhoods: Costa Mesa

    Chain restaurants and stores dominate most of the strip malls on Costa Mesa’s east side. But at Santa Ana Avenue and 17th Street, look a little closer and you’ll find indie boutiques and cafes tucked in among the usual suspects Read More
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar