Orange Coast Magazine

Taste of O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Wanting to continue our ongoing survey of nem nuong, the spring roll Katherine Nguyen wrote about in Orange Coast, I searched for the Vietnamese restaurant nearest Trabuco Canyon and turned up Eleven46 Kitchen in Foothill Ranch. Convenient! I love that Viet places are continuing to sprout outside of Little Saigon—especially when they come closer to me.

Eleven46’s nem nuong were excellent, with tender sausage and a different take on the necessary fried eggroll-wrapper element. Rather than a plain strip, the pastry sheet was coiled around a scallion and fried, making a crispy tube about the diameter of a boba tea straw that added a lot of interest rolled up in the rice paper with sausage and lettuce and herbs—and of course texture is a big part of the nem nuong story. Nem nuong, and a variety of other rolls including egg rolls with an especially good dipping sauce, are $4.95 for three.

Waiting for our rolls, a customer sipping Vietnamese coffee told us we had to get beignets—he was there that morning at his daughter’s request to take several orders home for her birthday sleepover guests. The young lady behind the counter said it’ll be just a minute: her Mom, owner Le Cao, was rolling them out. At least we knew they’d be fresh, right? Cao was inspired by the classic beignets of New Orleans, working on hers for three years to get the fluffiness she wanted.

It wasn’t long before we got our own light-gold, palm-sized pillows. Cao nailed the fluffiness—the squares were soft, but with structural integrity. Be warned that the menu is SO not exaggerating the “heavily dusted with powdered sugar”—drifting white clouds are a minor hazard of beignet eating. A three-piece order is $2.50.

In addition to its regular menu of Viet specialties, including banh mi on baked-there bread, 7-month-old Eleven46 serves pho on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Eleven46 Kitchen, 45 Auto Center Drive, Foothill Ranch, 949-215-1146

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

OC Guides


OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648,

    Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Vanilla

    Plain vanilla extract is fine for large-batch baking, but vanilla snobs like to play with other varieties, including the skinny, leathery beans. We won’t delve into the classic Mexican-versus-Tahitian debate, except to say we like Tahitian for creamy concoctions and the bolder Mexican in concert with dark chocolate. Find plump, vacuum-sealed beans of both varieties at Surfas Culinary District. Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Kouign Amann

    Butter worship is a birthright in Brittany—the French region that invented this transcendent caramelized pastry with the funny name (say Queen a-MAHN). Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Taps' Remy Beer

    Brewmaster Victor Novak and owner Joe Manzella fill a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel with Taps’ Imperial Russian Stout. After five months, the transformation of flavors is phenomenal, eliciting notes of coconut and marshmallow that flatter the inherent dark chocolate flavors of the stout. Read More
  • Best of 2014: Summer Cocktail

    Vivid, fizzy, and a tad nectarous, Druid Divination is bar boss Drew Tripp's nod to summery quenching with its shaken mix of Irish whiskey, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil, plus thyme muddles with sweet strawberries from star producer Harry's Berries. Order two - one for you, and one for you. $10
    227 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, 714-352-2225,

    Read More
wine blog

stuff we love

Charitable Events Calendar