Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Come As You Are

OC Restaurant Week is here again!

Thank goodness for my friends, otherwise OC Restaurant Week would have passed me by! Starlily, 10YT, and Fitty met me for brunch at the Nirvana Grille in Laguna Beach, where they were doing two course prix fixe menus for $15 and three courses for $20!

We opted to start the meal with some mimosas, but not just plain old mimosas - mimosas with yummy AND pretty purees!

White peach, pomegranate, and blood orange waiting for the bubbles!

The blood orange was the best of the bunch IMO.

You can see the hunger on 10YT's face! Thank goodness for champagne! And our starter course came soon after:

Fitty and Starlily had the Smoked Salmon Toasts with Chopped Egg, Red Onion, Tomato, Micro Greens & Dijon Vinaigrette. I was able to trade for one, and even though I am not a smoked salmon fan, these were very good. I particularly liked the tang of the dijon vinaigrette and how it accented the richness of the salmon and egg.

10YT and I both ordered the Chicken Wontons with Pine Nuts, Corn, Manchego Cheese & Cilantro in a crisp Wonton, served with a Chipotle Cream Sauce. These were good with a flaky crust and a creamy flavorful filling.

Next up was our main courses!

Starlily ordered the Nirvana Poached Benedict: Brioche Bread Topped with Avocado, Caramelized Onion, Tomato, Poached Egg, & Beurre Blanc Served with House Potatoes.

Fitty ordered the Nirvana Rancheros: Chili Cheese Corn Bread Topped with Pinto Beans, Eggs Over Easy, Avocado, Tomato Sour Cream, Cilantro and Salsa Verde. This looked so good, and honestly was a close second for me.

10YT and I both ordered the Heirloom Tomato Sandwich: Fresh Baked Sourdough Baguette with Organic Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Smoked Bacon, Arugula & Basil Aioli with Thyme Paprika Fries. This was a good, solid caprese style sandwich. The bacon, of course, gave it a little extra oomph. However, it wasn't write home amazing, you know? The fries were also good, but not orgasmic or anything. I was happy, but not really elated.

Dessert was up next, and Starlily and I planned ahead by ordering some bacon to put on ours. ::grin::

This is the dish that made my brunch. Grand Marnier Glazed Figs with House Made Goat Cheese Maple Ice Cream. Now, if you're not a goat cheese person, this will probably gross you out. See, the maple ice cream was not simply made with goat cheese - I had envisioned an ice cream where they melted the goat cheese into the cream. No, this was maple ice cream with CHUNKS of goat cheese! Kind of a weird thing, but it grew on me quickly. The figs were delicious, the maple ice cream sweet and creamy, and the goat cheese added just a touch of savory to keep it from being too cloying, not to mention some texture. Again, you need to be a goat cheese lover to appreciate it. Otherwise, it's probably just gross. I have to say though, that crumbling a piece of bacon over it took it to a whole 'nother level. I don't think it would have been even half as good without that bacon (hear that Nirvana Grille??).

10YT got the House Baked Fuji Apple Pie, with a Flaky Butter Crust, Spiced Apples with Fresh Whipped Cream. It was good and true to the description, had a very flaky, tender crust.

Fitty got the Molten Chocolate Bundt Cake, which was rich and filling!

Overall, it was a good meal, but I can't say the Nirvana Grille is a new favorite. One thing that left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth was our server. He was great throughout the meal, and we left him a tip that was somewhere in the range of 18 - 20%. Starlily went to the restroom, and we waited for her outside. Apparently he approached her when she exited the restroom and asked her why we left such a small tip! She gave him an extra $10, and then came out and told us. I was shocked, so I went back in and worked the numbers with him until he realized HE made an accounting error! He gave me the $10 back without me having to ask, and all was good. However, I am shocked that he would even ask in the first place!!! Having a mother who worked in the service industry, and being in the service industry myself, I was brought up to tip well, but approaching a customer is NEVER acceptable in my mind. I say I would if I could, but I wouldn't.

Anyway, we decided we would toodle around Laguna (and walk off some of the champagne).

We wandered into LF. This place was a JOKE. In fact, we could barely talk, we were laughing so hard. Obviously, this place doesn't sell a lot, because 90% of the store was 60-80% off.

Can you believe someone would pay $150 for a cardigan with holes cut in it? Me neither.

These "recycled" t-shirts were somewhere in the range of $75. I swear they just went to goodwill, and cut out the sweaty armpits.

These were some hot ass boots Starlily found!

As you can see, 10YT couldn't even keep her face straight while she was sporting the cropped jean vest.

Rocking the skirt AND the vest!

Well, at some point, we were going to get kicked out of there since all we did was laugh at stuff and take pictures. So we moved on.

I did find these books at another store. I could certainly enjoy the Porn for Women now, and if I ever have my own spawn, How to Con Your Kid will come in handy. I'm evil, I know.

We headed down to the beach, since Fitty had been beach deprived all summer.

What an awesomely huge Great Dane!

Fitty got attacked by a wave while she was letting her toes enjoy the last moments of summer.

It was a fun brunch and a great day, and of course would not have been nearly as enjoyable without good friends. xxxooo


  1. I swear to God I am crying right now at the memory of that ridiculous clothing store. That holey cardigan will not be forgotten.

  2. Looks like a fabulous meal!! I can't believe the waiter approached you all like that. I would seriously have talked to the manager. That's totally out of line.

  3. You got the BEST pictures of that god awful store!!

  4. What a good time!

    Nice food pics. Don't be afraid to get even closer!


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