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Monday, March 23, 2009

Empanada's Place

3011 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 825-0100

I was out running errands in Costa Mesa the other day and decided to stop for lunch at Empanada's Place. Either they put an apostrophe somewhere it doesn't belong, or this place belongs to someone named Empanada.

Empanadas are pretty much the only thing on the menu here. There are about 20 different varieties, half of them vegetarian. The empanadas are $2.99 each or $29.99 for a dozen. They also offer "cocktail size" empanadas for $19.99 a dozen, but they must all be the same flavor.

Since neither J nor I had been here before, we decided to order small to try them out. J ordered a classic Criolla empanada. This is the most typical type of Argentine empanada with ground beef, raisins, hard boiled egg and green onions inside. J thought that the empanada was ok, but lacked flavor.

I decided to order a Spicy Cheesy Beef and a Arabe empanada. The empanadas here are deep fried instead of baked like they are at Empanada Man in Lake Forest. This makes them a lot tastier, but a lot more fattening as well. The outer crust was hot, crispy and a little flaky. The filling inside the Spicy Cheesy Beef empanada was also a little bland. It was in no way spicy. I asked if they had any hot sauce and they brought me out a small cup of a watery sauce that resembled watered down Tabasco. It wasn't great, but it did improve the empanada. The Arabe empanada (the triangle shaped one) was filled with ground beef, onions and tomatoes and was seasoned with lemon juice. The flavor in this empanada was much stronger and I enjoyed the tangy beef mixture a lot more.

Overall the emapanadas here are pretty good, but a little bland. I also thought they were a little pricey ($2.99 each). Two of these empanadas were definitely not enough to fill me up at lunch. I'd probably have to order at least 3 or 4 to fill me up. I do however think that these empanadas are a little tastier than Empanada Man because they are fried instead of baked. If I were craving an Argentine emapnada, I would probably choose Empanada's Place unless I was on a diet.

Empanada's Place on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2009

California Fish Grill - Foothill Ranch, Irvine

41 Auto Center Drive, Suite 113
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
Phone: 949-470-9600
Fax: 949-470-9610

3988 Barranca Parkway #B
Irvine, California 92606
Phone: 949-654-3838
Fax: 949-654-3858

Also located in Anaheim, Cypress and Gardena

Whenever I am in the mood for seafood, but don't feel like shelling out a ton of money, I head down to the California Fish Grill. I usually dine at the Irvine location, but I most recently met a buddy and his friend for lunch at the Foothill Ranch location. The California Fish Grill is a fast, casual dine-in restaurant where you order at the counter and then wait at your table for your food to be delivered.

I have dined at the California Fish Grill more than a dozen times. I have never been disappointed with my food. I have tried a few things on the menu, but my favorite is the Cajun Seared Ahi Tuna. For a measley $9.49, you are served a gigantic slab of ahi tuna that has been seared perfectly and served rare. It comes standard with Cajun butter, but they can also serve it with garlic butter upon request. I like it with both. The dish is also served with rice and coleslaw. I'm not a big fan of coleslaw, but their rice is divine. Perfectly cooked, fluffy and tasty every time. It is the perfect complement to the fish.

My buddy ordered the Fried Catfish ($7.99). He had ordered this before and liked it both this time and last. He received two very large pieces of catfish that were perfectly fried to a golden brown. It was served with french fries and coleslaw which he also liked.

My buddy's friend ordered the Fried Fish Plate ($7.45). This is the meal that is closest to fish and chips. He received three large pieces of fried fish, fries and coleslaw. He enjoyed his meal a lot and was impressed with the amount of food he got for $7.45.

My wife was not with us but she has dined at the California Fish Grill many times. I believe that the Mahi Mahi fish tacos ($2.49 each) are one of her favorite menu items at any restaurant. She raves about how good they are every time she has them. I have never actually tried them myself though because I am so in love with the Cajun Seared Ahi.

If you are looking to get some great seafood, but don't want to pay the overinflated prices of many restaurants, then look no further. California Fish Grill is the real deal.

California Fish Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 6, 2009

Burger King - Burger Shots and Angry Whopper - I ate at Burger King, so you don't have to!

I have been seeing these commercials for Burger Shots and Angry Whoppers all over for a while now. Advertising works on me, so I decided I had to have them. As I drove over to my local Burger King, I wondered to myself, "Why don't I go to Burger King more often?" In fact, I couldn't even remember the last time I went to a Burger King.

I walked into Burger King around 12:30 PM on a Monday. I was the only person inside. I looked at the menu board and saw posters advertising both the Burger Shots for $1.39 and the Angry Whopper. I ordered one 2-pack of Burger Shots ($1.39) and an Angry Whopper ($3.99). She asked if I wanted cheese on my Burger Shots and I said yes. I decided to order a side dish as well and saw that two orders of $1.00 value onion rings was cheaper than buying one small order, so I ordered two of the value size. I handed the cashier my credit card and she rang up my order. She handed me my receipt and I was kind of shocked at how high it was. $9.03 for lunch from Burger King and I didn't even order a drink! One of the reasons for the high price was that they had charged me 50 cents extra for EACH Burger Shot for the cheese. This brought the price of my "2-pack" to $2.39. I thought about it for a second and realized that Burger King just conned me into paying $2.39 for two teeny tiny burgers when I could have gotten a double cheeseburger for $1.00. Stupid commercials.....always hypnotizing me into thinking I need whatever they are advertising...... My wife calls me a sucker.......I guess she's right. (Shhhhh don't tell her!)

I unwrapped my Burger Shots and saw that they were even smaller than I thought they would be. The burger patties for the Burger Shots was actually a single patty that was sort of "figure 8" shaped. You had to break the buns and the patties apart to separate the two burgers. There was a smidgen of cheese and a little bit of ketchup, mustard and a pickle on each bun. They weren't bad. They were just basically mini versions of a standard cheeseburger from Burger King. The only difference is that you pay three times the price for less than half the amount of food. What a deal!

The Angry Whopper was a burger with "Angry Sauce," "Angry Onion Strings," jalapenos and pepperjack cheese. The burger was pretty bland and not spicy AT ALL. The jalapenos they put inside actually just tasted like pickles. The supposed spicy "Angry Sauce" tasted more like a sweet barbecue sauce. I didn't even want to eat the whole burger because it made me so angry. Maybe that's why they call it the Angry Whopper!

I've always loved the onion rings at Burger King. I know they must be mostly artificial because they are all the same tiny shape. They must be made with some kind of pressed, formed onion mixture. I never really cared though because they were always so tasty. This time was different though. They had almost no flavor at all. Maybe all the flavor came from the trans fat that they used to be fried in.

As I threw away the remainder of my meal I said to myself, "Oh yeah......That's why I hardly ever go to Burger King...."

I know you guys always like when I include the nutritional info for new fast food restaurant items, so here you go.

Calories 220
Fat Grams 11
Saturated Fat Grams 4.5
Trans Fat Grams 0.5

Angry Whopper
Calories 880
Fat Grams 55
Saturated Fat Grams 18
Trans Fat Grams 2

Burger King on Urbanspoon