ATTENTION!! On the left hand column, you will find links to search by cuisine or city. You will also find a restaurant index of all of the places I have written about on the column on the right. If you enjoy the site, please bookmark the site and tell a friend! You can also subscribe to be notified when the site updates by entering your e-mail address in the box on the left. Happy Eating!

Please visit our partner sites for info on OC restaurant openings and special culinary related events, Booze It Up OC for info on OC 21+ events and Brunch In OC for info and reviews on weekend brunches.

Griffin Eats OC's Fan Box

Monday, June 22, 2009

Who has the biggest pizza in Orange County?

I was down in Balboa the other day when I came across "New York Style Pizza." I remembered this little pizza shop, from when I was a little kid, as having the largest slices of pizza I had ever seen. The slices didn't look as big as I remembered, but they were still pretty big. The slices came from their extra large 28 inch pizza. I was going to buy one to take to the bonfire that I was on my way to, but they only took cash and the pie was $35. I didn't have the cash on me so I decided to move on.

As I walked away, I wondered to myself, "Was that the biggest pizza in OC?" I'm pretty sure I have seen 24 inch and 22 inch pizzas at other pizza parlors, but I think this is the first time I can remember seeing a 28 inch.

So my question to all of you out there is; what is the biggest pizza you have seen in OC and where did it come from? I'm talking about round pizzas too, not those big rectangle ones. Also, if you bought the giant pizza, how was it? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ajisen Ramen - Irvine-Diamond Jamboree

2700 Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 833-3288

I went down to Ajisen Ramen the other day because V had a craving for some really good ramen. Ajisen Ramen is a fairly new restaurant in the Diamond Jamboree center in Irvine. We headed down to the restaurant as a party of 5. The parking lot was so packed that it was crazy. There was no wait however, at Ajisen.

We were seated quickly at a nice comfortable table. We looked over the menu and tried to decide what to order. We were happy that most of the items on the menu had pictures so we could easily tell what looked good to us.

Since this was a Ramen house, I figured I'd order what they are known for. I decided to order the Ajisen Ramen ($7.50). I'm also a big fan of Japanese fried rice, so I ordered the Spicy Pork Fried Rice as well ($8.95). V ordered the Spicy Pork Ramen ($8.95), R and S both ordered the BBQ Pork Ramen ($8.50) and J ordered the Premium Pork Ramen ($9.75). S and V also decided to split an order of Gyoza (aka Japanese potstickers $5.50)

Our food arrived after a pretty short wait. I looked into the bowl of white murky broth and licked my lips in anticipation. I took a sip of the broth and I was immediately disappointed. Instead of steaming hot, the sip of broth was lukewarm. The flavor was pretty good. It was salty, but not too salty and had a nice pork flavor to it. It seemed to be a little extra oily though. The noodles didn't taste like anything special to me, but they didn't disappoint me as much as they disappointed V.

(Ajisen Ramen)

V's Spicy Pork Ramen looked like my basic Ajisen ramen with the addition of some ground pork that was flavored with spices. V stirred up her ramen to distribute the flavor and took a bite. She declared that the ramen wasn't very spicy and that the noodles were not ramen noodles. She said that she felt like she was eating Italian spaghetti noodles in ramen broth. She thought that the broth was ok but tasted overly fishy. She said she would not return to this restaurant due to the noodles.

(Spicy Pork Ramen)

R and S both seemed to enjoy their BBQ pork ramen. S was disappointed in the pork though and felt that it was too fatty. She thought that the noodles tasted fine and said that she'd be willing to eat there again.

(BBQ Pork Ramen)

J's opinion of the ramen here was very different than everyone else. J ordered the Premium Pork Ramen. It came with thin slices of leaner pork on top. J really enjoyed her ramen. She loved the noodles, the broth and everything else about it. She later declared that she liked Ajisen ramen better than Santoka and Khoryu. That's a pretty bold statement...

(Premium Pork Ramen)

After they brought out the ramen, they brought out my Spicy Pork Fried rice. I thought I had ordered a side dish, but apparently I ordered an entire meal. They brought the fried rice out with a bowl of miso soup and a bowl of pickled cucumbers. They put all the plates in front of me and I felt like such a pig. The fried rice was pretty bland. It barely had any flavor at all. The way they made the rice spicy was by dousing it with spicy sesame oil. This didn't make it any better. The rice was basically a bland, oily, greasy mound of bleh.

S and V thought that the gyoza here was just average. They both felt that there was nothing special about it.

Overall, I would classify Ajisen as a decent ramen place. The broth is pretty good but a little oily. I'd also like it if they served it a little bit hotter. If you're looking for a bowl of ramen in Irvine, Ajisen would probably be a pretty good place to go, if not your best option in the city. Granted I have not tried every restaurant that serves ramen in Irvine though. I have heard good things about Takaraya from Chubby Panda, so I will have to try them out soon. V also still believes that her ramen at Ajisen was quite possibly the worst ramen she has ever had. As I sit here writing this review, V is still ranting in the background. "There's something magical about the noodles in ramen! This place just threw spaghetti in there! They might as well toss some fettucini in there as well!"

Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My free breakfast at Marmalade Cafe

2667 Park Ave
Tustin, CA 92782
Tel: (714) 566-0100
Fax: (714) 566-0102

Also located in Santa Barbara, El Segundo, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, Malibu, Los Angeles, Calabasas, Sherman Oaks and Westlake Village.

Fresh off the high of my free breakfast at Mimi's Cafe, I received a coupon good for a buy one, get one free breakfast at Marmalade Cafe. Woo Hoo! I just love free breakfast. V and I decided to head down there to cash in our coupon. Marmalade Cafe is a fairly new restaurant in the The District at Tustin Legacy. It is in a stand-alone building near The Winery Restaurant. We walked in and were greeted by a friendly host that sat us at a nearby table. The interior of the restaurant is very nice and has a cozy feel.

We looked over them menu and were happy to see a lot of items that sounded very good to us. When the waiter came by to take our order, I asked him if the Corned Beef Hash ($8.50) or the Eggs Benedict($10.95) were more popular. He told me that the hash was more popular, so that is what I ordered. V decided to get the Cross Creek Breakfast ($8.95) with Blueberry Pancakes ($1.00 extra).

It didn't take long for our breakfast to arrive and it looked fantastic. My Corned Beef Hash came with 3 eggs, toast and breakfast potatoes. The dish was then covered in hollandaise sauce. I asked for an English muffin and soft poached eggs so it was almost like Eggs Benedict, with corned beef hash instead of ham. The hash was pretty good. It tasted very light, and not greasy at all. It basically tasted just like ground up, lean corned beef, potatoes, onions and green bell peppers.

V's Cross Creek breakfast came with 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and her choice of breakfast meat. She decided on ham. The pancakes that came with her breakfast were quite big, much bigger than I'm used to seeing at a restaurant. (The pancakes were actually bigger than they appear in the picture.) The pancakes were filled with plenty of blueberries. V also liked that the pancakes came with extra fresh blueberries on top. She liked the ham that came with her meal but commented that it tasted really lean, so it was a little dry.

Overall it seems that Marmalade Cafe serves hearty portions of great tasting food that isn't overly greasy or fattening. I also think that the prices are very reasonable for what you get. I definitely look forward to visiting Marmalade Cafe again.

Marmalade on Urbanspoon