Sunday, October 31, 2010


PICTURED (top to bottom): Restaurant, Vietnamese Coffee, Cinnamon Bun, 3/3/3 Omelet, Eggs Benedict ( "Green Eggs and Ham"), Portuguese-Hawaiian Sausage, Meatloaf.

We enjoyed our first visit to Break of Dawn so much, that we just had to try it again. Of course, we started off again with those great Vietnamese Coffees- the ladies iced and mine hot. This time we decided to try the giant Cinnamon Bun we had seen last time, and it did not disappoint. It comes to the table in a Cast Iron Pan, still sizzling hot and topped with a Coffee and Almond Glaze and Whipped Cream. Big enough for sharing and great with the Coffee.

Sweetie Pie decided to stick with her 3 egg, 3 meat (ham, bacon and sausage) and 3 cheese (cheddar, mozzarella and feta) Omelet. It was bigger and even better than last time. Her mother also decided to repeat her last order, and got the Eggs Benedict with Asian Pesto Hollandaise and Smoked Ham. We also shared a side of Portuguese-Hawaiian sausage again. I was feeling adventuresome, and decided to try the Meatloaf- Vietnamese Style Meatloaf, Buttermilk-Cheddar Biscuit, Two Fried Eggs and Espresso Gravy. Wow, what a treat! This chef can really cook. We saw the "Skillet" go by to another table, and it looked so good, I think I might try it next time.

Break of Dawn has definitely earned a spot on our "A" list, and today's breakfast gets three thumbs up from the 3 Tubby Tummys!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


PICTURED (top to bottom): Restaurant,  Complimentary Bread Basket with Crushed Garlic in Olive Oil, Complimentary Cheese Ravioli, Kyle's Mozzarella Marinara, Stuffed Mushrooms, Chicken Ravioli in Pink Sauce, Chicken Ravioli in Spicy Pink Sauce, Little Jack's Chicken Marsala, Large Meatball Side Order, Veal Denni, Complimentary Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies.
(Photo Credits: Sweetie Pie)

We had heard that, in Newport Beach, Mama D's was truly "where the locals eat" for good Italian food. So we decided to check it out. It is family owned and family friendly. Hospitality runs rampant here, from the complimentary Cheese Ravioli on your first visit to the complimentary Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. Our server even gave us a card for a free appetizer on our next visit. The service is excellent. Our server was attentive, energetic and too nice for words.

After being seated ("sit anywhere you like"-nice touch), we were promptly served warm bread with garlic'd olive oil. Since it was our first visit, we were also served complimentary Cheese Ravioli, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We decided to share two appetizers. Kyle's Mozzarella Marinara- lightly breaded and fried Mozzarella sticks in Mama D's homemade Marinara. These were really good and Mama D's Marinara is one of the best around! Then we tried the Stuffed Mushrooms- stuffed with seasoned bread crumbs, fresh herbs and tiny mushroom pieces. These were "just ok".

For her entree, Sweetie Pie decided on the Chicken Ravioli- stuffed with Chicken and Light Ricotta. She decided to split the order and have half with Mama D's Original Pink Sauce, and the other half with the spicy version of the Pink Sauce. Both were delicious! Mama D's is known for their great Homemade Ravioli. Sweetie Pie preferred the Original Pink Sauce, but I liked the spicy version. Sweetie also ordered a Large Meatball Side Order with Marinara and Grated Parmesan. It was big, beautiful and delicious. Her mother tried Chicken Marsala with Angel Hair Pasta, which was "pretty good"; but the sauce was a little too bland and the pasta a little dry. I chose the Veal Denni-Lightly Breaded Cutlets with Eggplant, Marinara Sauce, Parmesan and Melted Mozzarella; served with Linguini Marinara. This was really a fantastic dish- tender meat, great eggplant, delicious sauce and loaded with melting cheese. I would definitely order it again. However, the table next to us was having Lasagna and Pizza; and those both looked very tempting.

Tonight's Mama D's dinner gets two and a half thumbs up from the 3 Tubby Tummys!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


PICTURED (top to bottom): Restaurant, Chips and Salsa, Tortilla Soup, Pozole, Carnitas, Prime Rib Chop (med/well), Prime Rib Chop (med/rare), Flan.

We hadn't been to Taleo Mexican Grill in several months, and decided it was time for a return visit. It has long been our favorite upscale Mexican restaurant. We were delighted to find that Chef Jose and his kitchen crew are still doing an excellent job preparing the authentic Mexican recipes. The staff is very friendly and the service excellent. The ambiance is warm and comfortable, making this a truly enjoyable dining experience.

Upon arriving, we were greeted by the hostess and promptly taken to our favorite table. After receiving the complimentary chips and salsa (wonderfully spicy), we decided to start off with soup. Sweetie Pie ordered her favorite, the Tortilla Soup. Her mother and I both ordered the Pozole, the Friday night special. Our server apologized for the rather skimpy portions, but it was the "last of the Pozole". Still darn good though, and filling.

For her entree, Sweetie Pie ordered the Carnitas. This is their signature dish, and we feel, the best Carnitas in town. The meat is tender and succulent on the inside, and crispy and sweetly caramelized on the outside. Her mother and I both ordered the off the menu special "Prime Rib Chop". The meat was tender and lean, and cooked to perfection. They often have steaks available off the menu, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the New York and Rib Eye specials in the past. They use a spice rub that gives the steaks an excellent flavor.
(Some of our favorite items on the menu include the Carne Asada, the Pork Ribs and the Smokey Apple Chipotle Chicken. From the appetizer menu, the Queso Fundido and the Guacamole are excellent.)

For dessert tonight, we decided to share the Flan. We love Taleo's Flan. During the holidays they also offer a Sweet Potato Flan that is not to be missed!

Tonight's Taleo dinner gets three thumbs up from the 3 Tubby Tummys!

Friday, October 22, 2010


PICTURED (top to bottom): Complimentary Bread Basket with Basil and Anchovy Dip, Frenchy's Onion Soup, Crab Cake over Wilted Spinach, Country Style Pate, Filet Mignon Medallions, Baby Farm Rack of Lamb, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Confit,  Warm Chocolate Dessert with Chocolate Ice Cream.

We hadn't been to Frenchy's Bistro for a couple of years, and decided it was time for a return visit. The restaurant, located in an unlikely part of town, was just as we remembered it-an intimate, romantic setting with a warm ambiance. The service is excellent, and tonight our waiter was superb. The food is just wonderful- authentic French recipes, cooked to perfection and the presentation beautiful.

We were started off with a Complimentary Bread Basket with Basil and Anchovy Dip. If you really like anchovies, you will love this dip. Sweetie Pie decided on Frenchy's Onion Soup to start- delicious, like only the French know how to make it. Her mother chose the Crab Cake appetizer, which was very good- quite large and served over wilted spinach with a great Tomato/Brandy Dressing. I decided on the Country Style Pate, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was, however, a little jealous of that Crab Cake.

We were then ready for our entrees. Sweetie choose the Filet Mignon Medallions with Potato Custard and Bordelaise Sauce. The meat was tender, yet firm, and cooked exactly as ordered; and the Bordelaise sauce was excellent. Her mother ordered the Rack of Lamb- served over mashed potatoes and vegetables. The dish was such a sight to behold, that a diner from a neighboring table came over to see what we were ooohing and ahhhing about. It was so good, and big enough to share, that I'm sure one of us will order it next time. I had the Duck Confit in Peppercorn Sauce. That duck was so tender and moist, and the sauce divine, that I would highly recommend it. The chef here really knows how to cook.

We decided to share one dessert. The one we chose was delicious. I can't remember the exact name, and I don't see it now on the menu, but it was a warm chocolate cake or pudding with raspberry sauce and chocolate ice cream.

Tonight's Frenchy's Bistro dinner easily gets three thumbs up from the 3 Tubby Tummys!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


PICTURED (top to bottom): Restaurant, Warm and Spicy Artichoke Dip, Global Sampler, Macadamia Nut Chicken Breast with Grilled Shrimp, New York Steak and Coconut Shrimp Combo, Sweet Potato Fries, Braised Lamb Shanks.

We had never been to the Elephant Bar, but had been thinking about trying it. We got a coupon for a free entree, the ad looked good and the prices reasonable, so we decided to give it a try. We headed down to the Laguna Hills Mall location, and found it to be a casual but nice restaurant.

The ladies both ordered iced tea, but it had an off taste, so they returned it and settled for water. I played it safe and had a coke. We ordered the Global Sampler to start. It included the "Warm and Spicy Artichoke Dip" which we found to be quite bland and rather "blah". The Chicken Tenders and Coconut Shrimp were good, as were the dipping sauces. The Bruschetta, however, was less than acceptable. It didn't even taste like Bruschetta.

On to the main course. Sweetie Pie ordered the Macadamia Nut Chicken Breast with Grilled Shrimp. It actually had grilled shrimp and sweet sauteed shrimp, both of which were quite good. The chicken breast came with a macadamia nut beurre blanc sauce, which was very, very good-but they skimped on the sauce. So Sweetie asked for more on the side, and our server brought us a large bowl of it. Nice! Her mother had the New York steak and Coconut shrimp Combo. It was a nice sized steak for the price, and the Coconut Shrimp and dipping sauce were great. She also ordered a side of Sweet Potato Fries, which were "pretty good". I ordered the Double Lamb Shanks, which were large, meaty and tender (and not too fatty). They were cooked in a great tasting sauce (and lots of it) and served over mashed potatoes. Definitely worth repeating!

The menu contained a blurb about their 20% Senior Discount Plan. "Just ask your server". Our server informed us that we could pick up our discount cards at the front desk, on our way out. The hostess at the desk informed us they were out of discount cards, but we could ask again after our next visit. Well, maybe there will be a "next visit", if we have another coupon.

Today's Elephant Bar lunch gets one and a half thumbs up from the 3 Tubby Tummys!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


PICTURED (top to bottom): Restaurant Sign, Restaurant, Republic of Tea- Ginger Peach, Republic of Tea- Pomegranate Green Tea, Crow Black Label Burger with Gruyere Cheese and Duck Fat Fries, Kitchen Sink Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing, Sweet Potato Fries with Aioli Dipping Sauce, Crow Black Label Burger with Havarti Cheese and Duck Fat Fries.

We had been to the Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar a couple of years ago and decided to try it again during Orange County Restaurant Week. We remembered it being a fun place to eat with good food and a very pleasant atmosphere. Our server was very attentive to start, but her shift ended mid-meal and we were left alone and part of our order lost in the shuffle.

When the ladies inquired about the kinds of tea they served, they were delighted to find Crow Bar carried their favorite, Republic of Tea. Sweetie Pie ordered the Ginger Peach and her mother the Pomegranate Green Tea. I opted for a Coke. My wife and I both ordered the signature Crow "Black Label" Burger made with 8oz. of ground prime rib eye, grilled onions and bone marrow butter. She added Gruyere cheese and I had mine with Havarti. We both added the Duck Fat Fries, with Aioli dipping sauce. Wow- these are probably the best fries in town! The burgers were quite large and very good. The meat was very flavorful and tender, and cooked just right. Overall the burger was a little dry, and needed something. We asked for a sauce to add and were offered a minute dollop of aioli (which added a dollar onto our $19 burgers).
Sweetie's mother ordered the "Kitchen Sink" salad with blue cheese dressing and asked to have a chicken breast added to it. She also ordered a side of Sweet Potato Fries, which were delicious (almost as good as our Duck Fat Fries). Well, she thoroughly enjoyed the salad. But it arrived without the chicken breast, because the server forgot to write it down. She left to put the order in, but never returned, as her shift had ended. Her replacement finally brought the chicken breast, freshly grilled, as we were almost ready to ask for the check. No apology was offered.

Overall, the food was good, but the service was not! Tonight's Crow Bar dinner gets one and a half thumbs up from the 3 Tubby Tummys.