We Found Your New Fave Secret Things about beloved OC Restaurants
There’s so much great food and drink in Orange County that sometimes you spend time searching for… that little something extra to make a difference. We found a few spots that have some exclusive experiences and off-menu specials that will pique your interest. Where should you stop first?
Citizen Kitchen is your newest 'Hotel Hideaway' in Orange County. No need to book a room at Hotel Fullerton (although, a weekend stay-cation is never a bad idea either), just get lost in the incredible dishes from Chef Zachary Geerson. Hotel Fullerton's Executive Chef Geerson is bringing Orange County a truly unique culinary experience. With a strong belief in simple flavors and high quality ingredients, he is always cooking something that he truly believes in, and describes the experience at Citizen Kitchen as casual fine dining. Stop by and you'll find yourself wondering how you're eating such exemplary food in your flip flops.
Hidden away within Hotel Fullerton, Citizen Kitchen is updating their menu consistently with seasonal ingredients. Dishes such as roasted octopus, chicken with housemade pistachio mole sauce, and more grace their menu. Their craft cocktail selection is unbeatable as well, providing a drink for every palate, and utilizing herbs and other fresh ingredients in an innovative fashion. It's safe to say that the best secret about Citizen Kitchen, is Citizen Kitchen itself, and the mastermind behind it, Chef Geerson.
THE BLIND RABBIT
The Blind Rabbit in the Anaheim Packing District has made a name for itself already with their great gourmet eats, specialty hand-crafted cocktails and a particular set of guest rules, but they’re taking it to the next level with Mahalo Mondays. On select Mondays, this 1920s prohibition-style bar is transformed into a tiki oasis. Each bartender gets to lead up their own tiki night and showcase their own skills! Past themes include Gilligan’s Island, The Love Boat, and a traditional tiki night. Which Mondays? Maybe they’ll tell you… if you can find the secret entrance to this hidden gem.
The Blind Rabbit also offers liquor lockers to exclusive guests who might not always want to share their booze. The program costs $230.00 for half the year, and allows 2 private bottles. All members receive a special TBR coin with their locker number on it, along with the ability to add up to 4 guests on the program. Just be there once a month to continue your status (why let that private bottle go to waste?) and also receive 10% off dining.
In addition, this speakeasy offers a batch of Herradura Reposado Tequila made especially for them. Try it this summer in their Oaxaca Old Fashioned, a tequila twist on a traditional whiskey cocktail. Want to share the joy of The Blind Rabbit with friends? You’re not giving them a piece of paper. Purchase a limited edition Gift Coin for $50 each. Each batch produced are unique, one-of-a-kind collector coins.
Reminiscent of a chic, sophisticated WeHo nightclub, Mesa Lounge in Costa Mesa is offering a heightened dining experience by combining food with film and/or music in a monthly themed dinner event. Each dinner has a specific artist theme, with dishes thoughtfully created by Executive Chef Niki Starr Weyler to pay homage to aspects of the musician or specific songs. These exciting and inspiring events occur the last Wednesday of every month. In May, Mesa celebrated the life and music of the legendary David Bowie, including a nod or two to his famous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. And June's dinner was as equally memorable, honoring the life and music of Prince. Expect Fall 2016's lineup to include Bob Marley and Misfits celebratory dining.
Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café de Provence is serving fresh-baked artisan breads and goods in the style of southern France by master bakers and pastry chefs. While you can find plenty on the menu to delight your taste buds (one word: carbs), Pandor offers a couple of secret off-menu items for real devotees.
The Dornut Club is Pandor’s savory sandwich, featuring their famous dornut (a beautiful cross between a buttery, flaky croissant and a sweet, cakey donut) filled with roasted turkey, bacon, tomatoes, onions, cheese, garlic mayo, and a sunny side up egg. Now that’s the way to hit all food groups.
But that’s not all. Test your limits by climbing the K2 Dornut, 6 layers of Pandor’s buttery croissant dornut filled with vanilla custard and chocolate custard, and whipping cream. Between each custard layer you’ll discover fresh strawberries and bananas drizzled with maple syrup and condensed milk. The entire K2 mountain is topped with fruity pebbles, mini marshmallows, and colorful sprinkles. Currently, these decadent treats are available at the Anaheim location, but are coming soon to Newport Beach and Belmont Shore.
Angelenos have been raving about the amazing breakfast and brunch offerings of KTCHN dtla, and Orange County is getting its turn with KTCHN dtsa located in Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market. Though they made their name with the breakfast-all-day concept, owner Felix Barron IV has also created a Friday night dinner concept entitled "It's What’s for Dinner" – a cheeky grab of the successful advertising term for the beef council in the 1980s.
Every Friday night, KTCHN is serving a special off-menu entrée in addition to their current menu. This one specialty entree is enough to usually serve two, and is served on real china with real silverware. The dish changes every week… just ask to find out what that Friday’s dish is, and ask nicely! You’ll find a wildly different dish each Friday; past Friday dinner specials include handmade pappardelle with a lamb ragu or Thai curry catfish.
All photos courtesy of 100eats and Anne Watson Photography, unless otherwise stated.