The following are summaries of recent Times...
The following are summaries of recent Times restaurant reviews.
Mimi’s Cafe, five Orange County locations: 1240 N. Euclid, Anaheim, (714) 535-1552; 1835 E. Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 722-6722; 7935 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 898-5022; 17231 E. 17th St., Tustin, (714) 544-5522; 18342 Imperial Hwy., Yorba Linda, (714) 996-7650. Open daily 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Mimi’s Cafe has 10 Southland locations boasting identical menus and decor. There’s almost always a line to get in. The menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches and breakfasts along with such entrees as mesquite broiled fish and a host of (commercially) baked desserts. The kittenish and busy decor hints at France, though from the outside, the places looks like gingerbread houses. Food at Mimi’s tastes much like what the French think American food is; abundant sugar and salt, abundant period. A few things are good, like the burgers, muffins and egg dishes, but overall, it’s little more than a glorified coffee shop. It’s cheap, at least.
Orange Blossom, 3804 E. Chapman, Orange. (714) 633-1888. Open daily from 4:30 p.m. Beijing, 2940 E. Chapman, Orange . (714) 744-2491. Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Orange Blossom and Beijing are two radically different Chinese restaurants within shouting distance of one another on Chapman Avenue in the city of Orange. Orange Blossom is a dinner house that faces West in spirit, Beijing is primarily a lunch place with an Eastern bent. Orange Blossom has innovative dishes like butterfly eggplant with a cream cheese filling, and minced pigeon in lettuce cups. Beijing has terrific Mandarin chicken in a vinegary sauce, and twice cooked pork. Both restaurants are winners.
Dewi, 1762 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 637-1101, and 9606 Hamilton Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 962-4446. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Hurry over--while there is still time--to Dewi in Orange, a small Indonesian restaurant/grocery store hidden among commercial properties along a busy avenue. Nasi rames is a mixed rice plate with a whole cookbook full of Indonesian goodies, and the restaurant has fabulous barbecued chicken and hot stewed beef dishes. Owner Edith Vredevoogd is constantly preparing little snacks like lemper , a sticky rice roll filled with minced chicken. A second Dewi is run by Mrs. V’s brother in Huntington Beach. Exotica at its best.
The Wine Cellar at the Newporter Resort, 1107 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach . (714) 644-1700 . Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 6 to 10 p.m.
The Wine Cellar is Orange County’s newest temple of haute cuisine . Menus are rotated every week and consist of five courses, designed by Jean Banchet of Le Francais in Wheeling, Ill., one of the most famous chefs in the world. Menu VI--which begins with a cold pheasant pate with green chartreuse, continues with a stuffed filet of sole in a champagne sauce, and features grilled squab with green cabbage and natural juices--is one of six prie fixe menus presented by executive chef Ted Gray, and it’s a knockout. You won’t find better French cuisine in the state.
Capriccio Italiano Ristorante, 25830 Marguerite Parkway, Village Mall, Mission Viejo. (714) 855-6866. Open Mondays through Fridays 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4 to 9:30; weekends 4 to 9:30.
Capriccio may mean “whim” in Italian, but there is nothing whimsical about the food in this restaurant; it is polished and sophisticated. For my money, it is a real find. The kitchen is run by two brothers from Palermo, Sal and Franco Maniaci, but there is barely a trace of Sicilan influence in the dishes they serve. Appetizers like vitello tonnato and lumache del bosco are marvelous, and pastas are fresh and homemade. Many main dishes have French overtones, like a stylish lamb rack with truffles and foie gras , or a civet of hare called lepre salmi. Location and prices are modest, but class is obvious.