When I was growing up in New Jersey I always knew I would end up in California. I had never been, but I just knew it was my destiny. I was convinced at an early age that I was meant for 12 months of sunshine. What I didn’t know is that after years of combing the globe that it truly would be the best place in the world. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else with the most amazing flavors imaginable.
Orange County is in the midst of a culinary renaissance and for this post we filled the tank and took a 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport cruise around Newport Beach in search of perfection. Our friends at Hyundai were kind enough to loan us this fully loaded “auto of awesomeness,” and all we had to do was set the tunes in to the 1st Wave station on SiriusXM and Richard Blade would take care of the rest.
A few of the best dishes in Newport Beach…
Tamarind of London
First stop? Crystal Cove, Newport Coast because I can’t go a day without dreaming about the Murgh Tikka Masala (Tandoor Grilled Chicken with Makhni sauce) and the Dakshini Jhinga – (Coconut Prawn Curry) Jumbo Prawns simmered in a ginger and coconut milk sauce. These Tamarind of London dishes are seriously the bomb. dot. com.
It’s safe to say that you have not lived until you’ve dined at Sushi Roku at Fashion Island. It’s simply impossible to pick just one favorite dish, but if we had to I think it would be the Hanabi Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice or Baked Lobster Roll with creamy miso sauce – both are to die for.
So about a year ago my family and I discovered Sunday brunch at SOL Cocina located on Newport Harbor and we’ve never been the same since. My husband and daughter have always had a deep appreciation for Mexican cuisine, but I was not well versed. It wasn’t until SOL Cocina that I formed an interest and became a believer. Let’s just say the Warmed Goat Cheese and Crab & Shrimp Cakes ‘Benedicto’ are the reason the sun shines.
FIG & OLIVE
Everything at FIG & OLIVE Newport Beach is wonderful, but the dishes that keep us coming back for more are the PAELLA DEL MAR with Black tiger shrimp, calamari, mussels, and saffron rice with chicken; and the FIG GORGONZOLA TARTLET “Spanish Pizza” with Prosciutto, fig, walnut, arugula, scallion, tomato on a thin puff pastry.
CUCINA enoteca very well might be the perfect restaurant. Perfect for family dinners, perfect for date night and perfect for a night out with the girls. I know this, because I’ve participated in all three and each visit has been memorable leaving us for wanting more. As a registered creature of habit, I’m not leaving until I’ve shared a popular Gorgonzola Walnut Mousse + Pear vasi appetizers and an order of Short Rib Pappardelle.
Now let’s discuss the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
I can’t deny the sleek design of the vehicle. She received many looks and drove just as beautifully as she looked with pep and a smooth ride. Don’t get me wrong, remember this is a smaller SUV, so we’re not talking light and breezy like a luxury model vehicle, but this Hyundai does ride much smoother than most. I also felt the car was good on gas considering the amount of “stop / go” driving we experienced in one week.
But Hyundai really won me over with a feature that will probably surprise you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the cargo space in the rear trunk area! Perfect for our foodie family who relies on take-out a few times a week. See, the contained area is great to place containers filled with sauces on the ride home. If they spill, no biggie! It’s a quick + easy clean up — basically, my OCD dream come true.