Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Going Back in Time at Antonio's

Antonio's Pizzeria
13619 Ventura Blvd. 
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

When we drove up to Antonio's Pizzeria, I took one look at the green neon sign above and had a good feeling about this place. After walking inside this restaurant that is celebrating their 60th year in business, the good vibes continued to grow inside of me. We had just driven the two-hour trek up from Orange County and were ready for a good, sturdy Italian meal. Just being inside of Antonio's, a nostalgic feel washed over us, and we felt we were in for a real treat.

When I knew we were going to be up this way for a birthday party, I did quite a bit of research on where to eat on the way up to the valley. One of my favorite web resources for LA restaurants is Eater LA. They have many interactive restaurant maps, with many different genres. I have particularly become enamored with the 28 Classic LA Restaurants for 2017, which you should totally check out after finishing reading this review. I like this site because I'm not too familiar with all parts of Los Angeles, and it's easy to find restaurants near where we will be or driving by.

Antonio's was our pick on this trip, and man did they nail the old school feel of this place. Located on busy Ventura Boulevard, near its intersection with Woodman, Antonio's has been here since 1957. For the first year of its existence, it was known as Miceli's, but after a family rift, it has been known as Antonio's ever since. Antonio retired in 1988 and has been owned by siblings Steven and Alexandra Lunardon since then. They have made a few changes since then, mainly for their customer's tastes, but for the most part, this restaurant is just like the way it was when it opened 60 years ago. Their mantra is to keep things simple, real and tasty.

After finding the tiny parking lot in the back of the restaurant, we were lead to our small, red and white checkered clothed table in the corner of the restaurant. I was instantly charmed by the colorfully stained glass windows of Antonio's, the hanging Chianti bottles strewn around the dining room, and the charming murals depicting the Italian seaside lining the wall above our head. Antonio's really felt like a step back in time, but at present, we were pretty hungry, so let's see what we had in store for us at dinner.

With Katie's meal, she got her choice of soup or salad and went with this House Salad option. She was pretty excited by this dinner salad which included sliced cucumbers, kidney beans, garbanzos, a tomato wedge, beets, and mixed greens. The dressings are all made here, and she was impressed with their Italian dressing. Not a bad dinner salad at all.

Since we did not get an appetizer, I justified getting this Individual Sized One Topping Pizza ($10) to start off with. Yes, I did share some with Katie. At first, I was not in love with this pizza. It had something to do with the crust. It might have been a little too doughy for me, but as I ate it I kind of liked it more and more. They did not go overboard with the cheese, and the pepperoni was pretty solid. Not really as heavy of a pizza as I was expecting, maybe that's what threw me off at the start as well.

Part two of my dinner, and if you can not tell from the picture above, under all that sauce was the Lasagna ($15). The lasagna at Antonio's came highly recommended from the online reviews and our server. I liked it but was not in love with it. They have three kinds of lasagna here, chicken, veggie, and you all know I went with the beef selection. What threw this all out of whack for me was the sauce. It was a little too tangy for my taste and with the amount they poured over this it really overpowered the lasagna. I also like a more cheesy lasagna, and with all of that sauce, I did not notice too much cheese involved with this. Next time I'd definitely ask for light sauce, or maybe gets some bread or rolls to help sop up some of the sauce.

Last but not least was Katie's meal, the Chicken Romano ($20). This homey dish started with a boneless chicken breast as it base, which was blanketed with mozzarella cheese and surrounded with onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms in a marinara-wine sauce. This was the best entree of the evening. Very comforting, almost like a stew. The chicken and veggies were nice and tender, and the sauce worked well with this. Again, some rolls or bread would have been appreciated for sopping up the excess sauce, but I dipped some of my pizza crust in it. This dinner also came with a side of spaghetti with meat sauce, which Katie picked at sparingly.

Okay, I think my expectations might have been a tad too high for Antonio's based on the nostalgia of this restaurant. It was good but did not knock my socks off. Of course, this is just based on one visit, and maybe if we had gotten other things, we might have liked Antonio's better. Service was good, and they really did make us feel welcome. I thought the prices were pretty fair for the amount of food that you get, and we saw lots of people taking leftovers home. Lots of old-school charm here, and worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood.

Out of five railroad cars, (because Sherman Oaks is named after Moses Sherman, who made big money in the railroad business), five being best to zero being worst, Antonio's Pizzeria gets 3 railroad cars.

For more information about Antonio's Pizzeria, head to their website here:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Finally Listening to Mom

The Empanada Maker
26131 La Paz Road
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

I've never really understood why empanadas have not had their moment in the sun. Filipino food is the wildly trendy thing right now, and rainbow-colored foods, poke, avocado toast, cupcakes, bacon, and even the equally awful kale and quinoa have had their time to shine. So why not empanadas? They are versatile, they are relatively easy to eat while driving, and they are way better than their inferior, Hot Pocket cousins that you can find in the freezer section at your local grocery store.

Lucky for the people of South OC there's a chance to experience empanadas before they make it big. The Empanada Maker has been around for coming up on four years now. To be honest, my mom had eaten here about three years ago and had wanted me to try it out then. Being the son that I am, I, of course, put it off until now. I had their menu sitting on my desk for all those years, and decided that a recent Friday night I would finally make my mom happy and visit the Empanada Maker. She, of course, will never know this, as she has long ago stopped reading my blog, but that's a story for another day.

The Empanada Maker came to be when the Owner, Cameron Davis lived in Argentina during his late teens. He fell in love with the handheld empanada, and once he returned to the US, he made them for parties, and friends and family would tell him to make them for a living. After some time in real estate, he made his empanada dream a reality when he opened up this restaurant. Not only is he serving up traditional, South American empanadas, but the product line also includes more non-traditional empanada options which are derived from different areas of the world. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

We came here on a recent Friday evening, and they were doing a pretty steady takeout business. I was a little surprised that there were not more people eating here, as there was a football game going on over at Mission Viejo High School across the street. This small restaurant was very comforting, with its purple walls, red trim, and the warm glow of the empanada case, which houses their 12 varieties of empanadas available. The guy manning the register was very patient explaining the menu to us, and what some of the favorites of other customers happened to be. We observed him doing this over and over again with first timers like us. We made our selections and within a few minutes, our food was brought out to our table.

When Katie's Combo #2 ($7.99) was sat in front of her, I was kind of surprised at the size of these empanadas. They stretched from one side of the basket to the other. Way bigger than others I have had, by almost double the size. I did not snap pictures of the inside of Katie's empanadas, as I was trying to be respectful and wanted her to enjoy her meal. I know, first time for everything. She had the Chicken and the Chicken Florentine. She thought these were good, and she gave the nod to the chicken one as being her favorite. It was stuffed with tender chicken, peas, potatoes, onions, peppers, and a touch of garlic. It surprised her how filling these empanadas were. She also enjoyed the Deviled Egg Potato Salad which she picked as her side item. This was a different take on a potato salad, which pushed the egg to the forefront. The menu claims that this is better than grandmas recipe, and in my case that's true, but my grandma was not really that good of a cook.

I also went the combo route at the Empanada Maker, with this Combo #3 ($9.99). I had ordered the Spinach and Cheese, the Diablo, and the Philly Cheesesteak. I guess there was a mix up in the kitchen, as I got a Chicken Florentine instead of the Philly. As for my side item, I opted for the Chimichurri Rice. The chimichurri rice was a very good option, with its diced onions, peas, red peppers, and chimichurri sauce. Ths is going to sound like a backhanded compliment, but this kind of tasted like a more flavorful version of Rice A Roni, which I have no problem with. I grew up on the San Fransisco treat, and it always reminds me of my childhood, which for me is not a bad thing. Let's take a look at the insides of these empanadas.

Since you can't really judge an empanada by its outer shell, here's a few shots of the inside of each of the ones that I had. Yes, I ended up getting to try the Philly Cheesesteak when I went back and ordered one for myself and a ham and cheese one for Katie. I was pretty impressed with all of these, as they were all very flavorful, tasted like they were described, and had a good amount of fillings inside of them. The spinach and cheese version was better than I anticipated. It kind of had a creamed spinach feel to it, as the cheese was a nice binding agent for the leafy spinach. The chicken florentine was fine, but probably my least favorite out of the four that I consumed. It was kind of drab, and even though this one had the most ingredients included inside of it, this empanada was the only one I would not consider getting again. That can not be said for my favorite of the evening, the Diablo. This spicy pulled pork, cheddar cheese, onion, and cilantro concoction woke up my taste buds with a not overbearing, but slow burn which made me very happy. The cheesesteak version was dead on and probably my second favorite of the evening. They got the essence of the cheesesteak right, and this will be one of my go-to's on future visits to The Empanada Maker.

A word about the Sauces ($.49). I liked them but felt they were kind of secondary to the empanadas. They had five to offer, and we tried them all. There was the Chimichurri which was too oily and did not really add too much in the way of flavor. The Tomato Salsa was fine but it really did not seem to jive with any of the empanadas that I had. The Cilantro Avocado was a favorite of Katie's, and she used it generously with her two empanadas. My two favorites were the Salsa Verde and the Chipotle Ranch. I'm always a sucker for anything ranch, and this one had a nice tinge of spice at the end of each bite. The salsa verde was kind of the same, mellow at first and then you get a gentle burst of heat near the end. Again I did not feel the sauces were too necessary other than adding another flavor profile to the already very tasty empanadas. 

There's also dessert empanadas. We ordered the Coconut Cream Pie ($2.89) and the Cinnamon Apple ($2.89). The apple version reminded me too much of an upgraded McDonald's pie that we all had when we were kids. I enjoyed the chilled coconut cream version better, with its toasted shaved coconut and a generous amount of coconut tinged cream inside the outer casing of the empanada. Very good, and a definite must when craving dessert here. Next time I have the chocolate creme brulee empanada in my sights.

After leaving The Empanada Maker I kind of felt bad that we had not made the time to come here sooner. It's so close to our house, and I can see this restaurant becoming one of our usual haunts when we just want to stay close to home and don't want to drive anywhere to explore new restaurants. The menu is varied enough, with 12 kinds of empanadas, five dessert options, and they even offer breakfast versions until 11 am. Sides were fine, but I'll be trying the fries and the jalapeno black beans next time. Service was very cordial, and the kids behind the counter did an excellent job of explaining what empanadas are, what are some of the favorites are, and getting the food out quickly. We will be back, and with any luck, empanadas will be the next big thing. Of course, I'm usually pretty bad at predicting what will be the next big thing. I just hope kale and quinoa don't make a return to glory.

Out of five golden chalices, (because the empanada originated in Galicia, the northwest portion of Spain and that area's symbol is a golden chalice), five being best to zero being worst, The Empanada Maker gets 3 golden chalices.

For more information about The Empanada Maker, head to their website here:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Sabroso, It's All in the Name

13129 Harbor Blvd. 
Garden Grove, CA 92843

I almost had to do a double take. I kind of felt that I let this place slip through the cracks. Whenever we are going out of town I automatically check for restaurants that have been featured on TV. I guess I had not checked to see what places around our county had been featured on one of the numerous restaurant focused TV shows airing almost 24 hours a day. After checking out one of my favorite websites, TV Food Maps, I found out that I had overlooked Sabroso in Garden Grove.

This restaurant got the star treatment in July of 2014 when Guy Fieri and his crew came to their restaurant to film an episode of Diner's, Drive-In's, and Dives. On that particular day, Guy sampled the pork tamales and the Chamorro plate. Of course, we did not try either of these, as I asked our waitress for her suggestions, and she steered me a different way, which you will see in a bit.

Sabroso opened up in 2012 and is run by the Munoz family. After losing his job at Claim Jumper a few years ago, the patriarch, Tito Munoz and the rest of his family decided to pool their money together and achieve their lifelong dream of opening their own restaurant. Using their grandmother's recipes, the Munoz family have created a menu that is made up of fresh, quality ingredients. Nothing here is served from a can. Customers have taken note, as a lot of nights, there is a wait for a table.

We must have hit Sabroso at the right time, as we only had to wait a couple of minutes while they cleared a table for us on a recent Saturday night. Even with the tables pretty close together, and a very active restaurant with lots of servers, bussers, and management on the floor making sure their guests every need is met, this was a comfortable, unpretentious restaurant. The menu features tacos, burritos, and tortas, but there are also some intriguing house specialties like quail in a red sauce, an Italian inspired lemon chicken that comes with parmesan bread, and seven seafood options. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see what our experience would be at Sabroso.

As is usual in most Mexican restaurants, you are presented with Chips and Salsa to nosh on before your meal comes out.  Unlike other Mexican restaurants though, the salsas here were full of flavor, with the green salsa offering a lot in the way of spice. The red was a favorite of Katie, as it was a bit milder, but offered a depth of flavor that made it one of the better salsas that we have had in a restaurant. The chips were a good vessel for the salsa, but on their own, they were kind of off to me. A little boring, as I like a greasier tortilla chip.

As is her custom, Katie always orders a Guacamole Appetizer ($7.95) when we are having Mexican food. The guacamole here was one of the better ones I've had. A lot of that had to do with the chili flakes that studded the mashed avocado, which provided an excellent burst of heat in each bite. Sabroso also got the consistency right, as it was still a bit chunky, but able to be scooped with a tortilla chip.

Katie will start us off with the entree portion of our evening at Sabroso, with her selection, the Chicken Tamale Combo ($11.95). They offer pork or chicken tamales, and Katie went with the chicken. These tamales were leaf-wrapped and filled with plenty of moist and flavorful chicken, then topped with sour cream and queso fresco. My biggest pet peeve with tamales is that there's never enough meat inside of them, but that was not the case with these, as I got a bite of chicken in each forkful. The masa was not dried out either, which helped create one of the better tamale experiences we have had.

Not the most beautiful plate I've had set in front of me but after my first bite of this Chili Verde ($14.95), I felt like I was eating a masterpiece. These large, tender pork chunks were covered in a wonderful green tomatillo sauce, which I could not get enough of. I mixed it with the pork, I mixed it with the rice, and I did the same with the beans. I could not get enough. When I was taking the rest of my plate to go for the next day, I made sure to scrape my plate clean, as not to waste a drop of the sauce. The rice was nice and light, but the beans were where it was at. Not your normal refried beans, these were Peruano beans. Peruano beans are like the more common pinto, but provide a creamier texture when cooked. After a few bites, I wish the Peruanos would become a lot more common. They were excellent.

As excited as I was for the chili verde, the Carne Asada Taco ($3.50) I ordered was kind of uninspiring. The beef really did not pop with flavor like the chicken or the pork, and the overabundance of iceberg lettuce did not really help things out here. The best part of this taco was the handmade corn tortilla, which was soft and pliable, but kept everything together structurally. I'd get a taco again here, but probably just get one with pork, onion, and cilantro next time.

With the exception of the taco, I was over the moon excited with our visit to Sabroso. It's definitely in the upper echelon of Mexican restaurants we have tried during the 8 year run of our restaurant blog. Of course, this is just after one visit, so more trips to Sabroso are in order to try their carne asada fries, carnitas, tortas, and others. It's a tough job, but someones got to do it. Service was family friendly, and Lizet, our server, made a great call on the chili verde. I'm really glad we finally made it to Sabroso, but now I feel like we have to make up for lost time and eat here again very soon, and many times over.

Out of five chocolate dipped ice cream cones, (because sabroso means tasty in Spanish, and whenever I hear that word it reminds me of the Tastee Freez by my house when I was a kid and my favorite frozen treat at that time), five being best to zero being worst, Sabroso gets 4 chocolate dipped ice cream cones. 

For more information about Sabroso, head to their website here:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Cut Above the Rest?

The Cut
3831 Alton Parkway Suite C
Irvine, CA 92606

Irvine is quickly becoming the burger capital of Orange County. In a city that already touts G Burger, Burger Lounge, Mooyah, The Stand, Mick's Karma Bar, The Counter, Umami Burger, and others, Irvine has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ground beef sandwiched between two buns. Up until this point, the leaders in the clubhouse are The Counter and G Burger. I like the others, but these two spots are in my upper echelon of burger spots in OC. I always get a little giddy trying a new burger restaurant, as I hope it will be able to overtake my latest favorites. I had that same giddiness when we recently tried the latest kid on the block, The Cut.

I have to admit, I had no idea that this restaurant started out as a food truck. My food truck game is a little rusty I guess. The three business partners started up their food truck in 2014, and have won much praise and accolades for their burgers. In 2015 they won a critics choice award from the OC Register as Best Food Truck, and a year later they were nominated as Best Burger in OC. As is the case with most successful food trucks, they eventually achieved their goal of opening a restaurant, and that recently happened for the guys at The Cut, when they set up shop at the Westpark Plaza in Irvine three months ago.

They say on their website that they want to serve simple burgers without any gimmicks. They use free-range, humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free beef in their burgers, which is ground fresh daily in their restaurant. Don't feel like a burger?  Go somewhere else. Just kidding. The Cut also has four sandwiches, a good assortment of starters, and three salads for you to choose from. Prices range between $7 to $12 for starters and burgers run in the $9 to $16 range.

In its former life, this location was home to a Smashburger but is unrecognizable from those dark days. There's an eight-seat bar where I imagine the register might have been during the Smashburger era, an estimated 15 tables in the well-lit, white-bricked walled dining area, and a small patio out front separated from the dining room by a sliding glass door. Refreshingly, this is not a quick service restaurant, instead, you are seated by a host and then order through a server. A nice change for a burger spot at this price point. So now you have the lay of the land here, let's check out the food we consumed on this early evening.

I was a little skeptical when Katie ordered this Hummus ($7) at a burger restaurant, but I have to say I was blown away by this. The smashed chickpeas were surrounding a small pool of cilantro and roasted jalapeno pesto which actually gave off a wonderful burst of heat with each dip of a carrot, celery stick, or toast point. I was also a big fan of the slivered almonds which added a bit of unexpected texture to the smooth hummus. A wonderful start.

We might as well stay with Katie's selections, as she was on a roll. She decided to try the TBD Cutlet ($11). I'm not really sure what the TBD stands for with this sandwich, but it came with plenty of jidori chicken, aioli, fennel slaw, and shaved parmesan. The buns at The Cut are pretty stellar and kept everything together. The chicken was moist and tender, with a good flavor profile to it.  Katie loved that they did not over sauce this, which allowed the chicken to shine.

When I'm at a new burger spot, I usually do not shy away from my classic bacon cheeseburger love, but I decided to go a little bigger for my maiden burger at The Cut. I had the Sweet and Spicy ($12) which did have bacon and pepper jack cheese, along with aioli, arugula, and a honey sriracha sauce. They should have just called this the sweet burger, as there was no spiciness detected in any of the bites I had. The honey sriracha sauce really dominated this burger and neutralized everything else on this burger. Blindfolded I would not have even known that there was bacon, cheese, or anything else on this burger. I'll get one of their other seven burger options on my next visit.

It kind of gets on my nerves when a restaurant calls something poutine when it's really just loaded fries. Don't get me wrong, I love loaded fries as much as the next guy, but poutine is a whole different animal. Poutine is a traditional Canadian dish which uses fries as a base and then tops them with cheese curds and gravy. Something that is very seldom found in Southern California. This so-called poutine at The Cut had sliced brisket, mozzarella cheese, and a very good cilantro chimichurri topping the fries. Even though this was not technically a poutine, I still enjoyed it. The chimichurri was reminiscent of the good ones I've had in Argentine restaurants, but not as oily. I liked the cheese and brisket but had hoped it would have been layered a little better. Near the end of this plate, we were left with a plate of fries, and all the toppings had been consumed. Whatever they call this, it was still worth getting.

There are two dessert options at The Cut, a cookie ice cream sandwich and this one, a Tres Leches Bread Pudding ($6). This was not really what I had anticipated when we ordered this. It was more like a Pizookie than a bread pudding. It came out scalding hot in an iron skillet, with chocolate pieces, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with a salted caramel. The tres leche feel they were going for with this did not really come through, but it was good nonetheless. I would have liked the chocolate to have been more prominent, instead of just in half of the bites. Also a little more ice cream would have been preferred, but I say that with almost every dessert that features ice cream.

The Cut is a welcome addition to what is becoming the OC Capital City of Burgers, Irvine. Is it the best we have had in Irvine, no, but it was very solid. I might change my mind if I have a different burger on my next trip here, but for now, The Cut still ranks behind The Counter and G Burger in my opinion. The sides were impressive, especially the hummus, which I packaged up to go, and ate the next day. As I said earlier, I liked that this was a full-service restaurant, as it was a nice change of pace from how other burger spots are operating these days. Service was stellar, and our server gave us excellent recommendations and kept tabs on us all throughout our visit. Welcome to Burger Town USA. I think The Cut is going to fit right in. 

Out of five ribeyes, (which happens to be my favorite cut of beef), five being best to zero being worst, The Cut gets 3 ribeyes.

For more information about The Cut, head over to their website here:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Here's a Reunion You Won't Want to Miss

Reunion Kitchen ad Drink
610 North Coast Highway #102
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Yes, we had just been to this exact same shopping center recently to visit Asada. The Boat Canyon Shopping Center won the restaurant lottery when Mexican favorite, Asada, and one of our favorite spots from Anaheim Hills opened in this Pavillions anchored shopping plaza right around this time last year. For those of you that are not sure where the Boat Canyon Shopping Center is, it's in North Laguna, just a couple of blocks away from Downtown Laguna. There's plenty of parking, a much more relaxed feel, and now a great restaurant to visit.

If you happen to follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know my love for Reunion, and now we don't have to tackle the freeway traffic on the 55 to make it to Anaheim Hills. Since I introduced my parents to the Reunion up by their house, there has not been a family birthday, anniversary, or any other family celebration that they have had anywhere else other than Reunion. So, I was pretty stoked to get an invite to visit their Laguna outpost.

When I walked in this former Umami Burger spot, it felt like home. They recreated the vibe of the Anaheim Hills venue, but on a smaller scale. Exposed wooden beams, dangling light fixtures, and a picturesque wine display are highlights of this slightly more relaxed and laid back beach vibe restaurant. Even though it's situated in this often forgotten about shopping center, the restaurant filled up during our stay and remained that way until our last bite.

The reason for the crowd on a recent Wednesday evening is, of course, the food. You can thank the man behind this restaurant, Scott McIntosh, for that. Scott worked for years at Claim Jumper Restaurants, as well as at other spots around OC. It's his time at CJ that I feel is his inspiration for the American comfort food that is served here. The cuisine reminds me of a time before Claim Jumper was bought out by a large restaurant company that cared more about making money than serving delicious food. The portions at Reunion are not going to rival the king-sized plates that used to exist at CJ, but that just means that the quality will not dwindle like Scott's former employer. Speaking of the food, let's see what came out for us on this evening.

When coming to Reunion, I always have to start things off with their Loaded Potato Skins ($7.25). Not only because these skins are fried perfectly so the edges provide a nice crunch, while the center of the potato is light and fluffy, but they serve these wedges of tater with a sour cream chive dip that is exactly like the one they used to serve at Claim Jumper. It has just the right consistency to it, so it's not too thick, but not too watery. It goes well with the cheddar, bacon and, green onion topping the potatoes. Wonderfully done, and a must try when visiting here.

For the most part, Katie and I are pretty much alike. One aspect of our life where I think we will never agree on is veggie burgers. Predictably, you can probably guess that I'm not really a fan, while Katie likes to try them in almost every restaurant that we eat at. She gave this House Made Veggie Burger ($13.50) a try. I'm not really clear what the patty was made up of, but it came topped with avocado, Swiss cheese, tomato, crispy onion strings, and a smear of garlic aioli all sandwiched between a whole wheat bun. Katie really enjoyed this burger. She liked how all the parts of this worked so well with each other. I admit I tried this burger, but I don't think I'm quite ready to turn into a veggie burger lover anytime soon.

On a menu that just screams comfort food, this Rosemary's Chicken and Biscuits ($17.95) might be the most comforting and popular item at Reunion. I looked around all the nearby tables where we were seated and this dish was on nearly all of them. Two boneless chicken cutlets are pounded thin, hand battered, and fried, then served with a mound of mashed potatoes and sausage gravy, and one of the better biscuits that you will ever have. The chicken was fork tender and made even better after being dredged through the flavorful gravy. I made quick work of this plate, alternating between forkfuls of the chicken and the Yukon gold mashed potatoes. I saved the biscuit for last. It was slightly dense, and buttery on its own, but of course, I added the extra butter as well. Wouldn't want it to go to waste.

Speaking of butter, if you come to Reunion and don't get this Butter Cake ($8.95) you are really doing yourself a real disservice. There's a lot on the dessert menu that I would love to try, but I always find myself getting the butter cake here. It's right up there with some of the better ones I have had, and it comes with a very generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream, and a splash of raspberry puree streaked across the plate. For people that have never had a butter cake, I always describe it as a Twinkie on steroids, and this one definitely qualifies as that. A great end to our meal.

I was so happy that this Laguna Beach Reunion was just as good as the original up in Anaheim Hills. It's going to be way more convenient for us, and we will get the chance to share our love for this restaurant with some of Katie's family that does not like to travel more than ten miles from their homes. The food was just as good, and there were not the big wait times like when we have visited the Anaheim one without a reservation. Along with the chicken that I had on this evening, I can also recommend the Meatloaf, Prime Rib, and the Cafe Patty Melt as favorites of mine. Our server Alexa was amazing, and her great dedication to detail was appreciated. Thanks to everyone at Reunion Kitchen and Drink for this excellent opportunity to try this location. Everything was awesome, and we look forward to making many more return trips to the Boat Canyon Shopping Center in the very near future.

For more information about Reunion Kitchen and Drink, head to their website here: