With all that's been going on the last several months, my two speeds have been "run run run" (in a highly panicked preteen boy shriek of terror) or "lie comatose with a martini in my hand" slowly contemplating whether or not I really need to get up to get my hair done (hey, after so long, my hair color is becoming naturally ombre).
Finally took an afternoon yesterday (after farming the kidlet out on a day-long playdate) to try one of the restaurants at SOCO (South Coast Collection), and more specifically the OC Mart Mix, recently renamed the OC Mix (potato po-tah-to).
Walked into Arc, a restaurant that features cooking done only with a wood burning oven. The firewood lends a nice mellow rustic smell to the restaurant, described as "New American" by a server. I see bits of a New Orleans flair, with its black ceilings and old fashioned light fixtures. The long counter gives a great view of the wood fire pit, and the nifty cocktail station.
Both the drink menu and dining menu are surprisingly limited. Portions are on the smaller side, leading me to think several items should be ordered to share "Family Style". Dishes are brought from kitchen to table, meaning they're brought over hot in the containers they were cooked in. Loved that!
Flavors were simple yet surprisingly tasty. One of my favorites was the calamari cooked in a mini cast iron skillet with lemon, onion, roasted potatoes and peppers. The meatballs were soft, moist, and flavorful (75% ground beef 25% pork = 100% yum!), with a lovely tomato ragout and grilled bread from OC Baking Company. The Casserole was rich and delicious, an old recipe from the chef's mother. Chunks of chicken, broccoli, bechamel, and cheddar cheese was baked with a golden crust, and the only thing that could've made it better would've been some bread to scoop it up!
The one minor disappointment was the steak sandwich. They can make the meatballs, steak, or pork into a sandwich for you during lunch. The steak was tasty with a nice texture, but it was too distracting with the pickled vegetables and cheese/sauce/whatever added on. Keep it simple! I'd definitely just order it as an entree in the future.
|Steak sandwich. |
All ingredients great separately but together just meh...
One of the yummiest things I ordered was my cocktail, Entry #1, made of Cuban rum, herbsaint, pineapple and lime. You can't really see it in the picture but it had the niftiest silver spoon/straw with it that made eating /drinking the cocktail messy but fun. Reminded me of an ombre colored adult slushie! Stylish and delish!
What a great inspiration for taking some time off to slow down, relax, and grab a cocktail! Here's to more of these afternoons in the future!
3313 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, California 92626