Food Porn Friday | Cucina Enoteca | Irvine

Friday, May 10, 2013


I generally lead a very low-carb lifestyle. Not one to crave pasta or rice or even bread and potato fixin’s; (Now my sweet tooth is a whole ‘notha story entirely!) But when I do get a chance to sample some of the Cucinas that have been popping up all over SoCal, my natural inclination towards Italian food (having taste-tested my way through Florence-Venice-Milan back in the day) yields the usual blah/bland/bleh reaction knowing full well that you CANNOT beat Italian cuisine coming straight from the motherland. Ever. However upon hearing that every Orange Coaster I know has been stampeding to Cucina Enoteca in groves, I knew my dining fadventures were just about to begin my friends.

Here's what's on the menu today:

Wasi mini mason jars with Tuscan toast (above): Chicken liver pate and brown sugar shallot (front) Burrata and roasted garlic confit (back) - Pots o’ CRUNK is really what they should call these mini modules of pureed perfection! The pate is rich and smooth, the burrata mild and chunky, the perfect two teasers to start a plentiful meal. They never give enough bread to savor the pots down to the last scoop so make sure to order another basket on the side.


I can NEVER resist a meat and cheese platter, at the beginning, middle, and end of my meal. I’m all about drenching the cheeses with organic honey and calling that dessert for the night. IF the plate even lasts to the end of the meal, which it usually doesn’t so often times I’m DYING to order a second helping just for myself. I say to HELL with the puzzling looks of passer-bys, I’m a foodie who CLEARLY knows what I’m doin’ honey! Omigosh, such a gorgeous spread! Totally takes me back :D


Moscow mule (mine) and Caldo Dolce (his)- His cocktail was smokin’ hot and lit my tongue on fire with pineapple infused tequila, Serrano chili, Cointreau, and pineapple puree! So refreshing and just the kick I needed to temper the heavy salt found in pretty much every dish.


Every time I dine out (especially at new eateries) I make it a point to ALWAYS ask the server for the MOST unique dish on their menu. One I can’t find anywhere else. This tried-and-true method really makes the experience that much more memorable, whether the dish was good or bad. Isn’t that what eating out is all about? Trying new things?!? Here, the waiter suggested Bucatini all-amatriciana with guanciale, tomato, onion, calabrian chili, and pecorino. Bucatini is a very thick, round, homemade pasta, dense in texture yet mild in taste. Very reminiscent of the flour noodles in Bún Bò Hué if you eat Vietnamese. Guanciale is the Italian bacon made from pig’s cheeks, much stronger in flavor than traditional pancetta or American bacon. A little goes a looooong way in this dish as the fragrance breathes through every bite, even if you’re not getting any bits of meat at all. Very subtle, a solid B.


Dry rub “Brandt Farms” rib eye with salt crusted fingerling potatoes, romanesco, sunchoke puree, and porcini mustard. 2 perfectly petite cuts of steak dipped in that yummy mushroom mustard mix is sheer perfection. I’m not much of a red meat eater but when the cuts are juicy and tender, I can never resist. My only gripe would be that the dry rub never permeated enough for the flavor to soak through. A bit on the surface level, but tasty nonetheless.


Lasagna al forno with beef, pork, veal, marinara and besciamella. One of my new FAVE spots for lasagna. So dang delish since like mine dry and meaty, light on the sauce, and heavy on the cheese. I love that instead of a traditional marinara, they’ve added a creamy béchamel on top to lighten the load. It was even better nuked the day after if you can imagine. Friggin’ amaze!!


Oh yeahhhhhhhhh! Truffle parmesan fries. All day, every day dahlings!!!
I just can't get enough!


Spicy shrimp puttanesca with angel hair pasta, olives, capers, and tomato. Tastes like it looks: fresh and simple. Perfect for a light bite since the angel hair barely carries any weight to it. Love this for summer in lieu of salads. Although I found myself adding crushed pepper since the spice barely hit my top notes.

31 Fortune Drive @ Irvine Spectrum
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 861-2222

*Insider’s tip: Located behind Javier’s at the Irvine Spectrum, book a table on the patio EVERY.SINGLE.TIME you dine here. They’ve got the cutest little setup, like having dinner at your neighbor’s quaint cottage in Tuscany, except on a more massive scale as only outdoor marketplaces can hold. Fireside alfresco dining for 10 is really what SoCal is ALL about this time of year. Breeze in your hair, cocktail in your hand, and you’re ready for a midsummer’s night dream, the Italiano way. Bellissima baby!*

Finally spending my FIRST FULL weekend in the new LA pad so needless to say, I'll be eatin' my way through K-town this weekend!

How about you??? 
Any new restaurants you're DYING to try in your hood??
Do tell! Love learning about new hotspots!

Bon appétit mes amis!

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6 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, those drinks sound amazing! (And they look good too!)
    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

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  2. Oh my goodness those pastas just sound delectable and those spreads in the jars I'd dig into immediately! I've been eating a lot of japanese recently but have been keeping clipping of awesome niche places to eat at here with the hopes of visiting them sometime! I'm a fan of pastas and all the yummy carb fulled yums so this was a lovely post for me!

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  3. I worked in Irvine for a year, and I never even knew about this restaurant! I will need to check this out next time, I'm in the OC!

    xx Denysia Yu
    http://thatlaitgirl.com

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  4. omgggg THAT food tho!!! love cutesie little places like this!

    xo's

    -teeney
    http://christeeney.blogspot.com
    instagram: @christeeney

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  5. omg the food looks gorgeous and very yummy..wish there was smell vision hehe

    Mi_Mi
    x
    mi-miworld.blogspot.co.uk/

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  6. This looks like a lovely restaurant! I love Italian food as well. I haven't tried meat and cheese platter though. By the way if you know someone in MA, check out Catering in Beverly MA definitely one for my list!

    ReplyDelete

Give it to me...gimme that funk, that sweet, that gushy stuff

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