Inventive cocktails, playful pizza, and upscale teahouses are a few of the reasons we love Orange County’s food and beverage scene. We cover these and other brands making an impact in our current roundup.
You’ve Been Pronouncing Fogo de Chão All Wrong – Irvine
After attending last week’s preview and meeting the man behind the brand (who’s been told he’s saying it wrong as well. What?), we can say with confidence that the proper pronunciation is fo-go de-SHONE; it’s not “chow”. The Spectrum digs are pretty refined, even by Fogo standards. Agora and Texas de Brazil need to watch their backs. This AYCE chain is coming in hot . . . .especially with their pão de queijo! Those crispy polenta fries are perfectly addicting, but the simplicity of garlic mashed potatoes offsets the uber savory beef selections. Keep saving a bit of room for their fried bananas, too. Although their tres leches cake was mighty fine. 623 Spectrum Center Dr., (949) 398-1500; www.fogo.com
Grand Opening Specials at Hiccups – Santa Ana
Here’s the thing: we had no idea that the selection at this so-called teahouse was so extensive. Rice dishes, noodle dishes with three kinds of noodles to chew on, and non-tea beverages such as our lovely Vietnamese iced coffee made with hazelnut are menu mainstays. Like all of Hiccups’ chilly drinks, our coffee can also be served in a massive Mason jar– if you’re that thirsty. This location is adorned in dark woods and generous lighting, but our favorite feature was the decision to build their Churroholic brand under the same roof. For the grand opening this Saturday, the first 25 guests will get free pho, plus a regular Viet coffee. The next 25 will receive an order of popcorn chicken, plus Viet iced coffee in a Mason jar. Talk about getting fed. 3390 S. Bristol St. (714) 709-4023; www.hiccupsteahouse.com.
Princess Cruises Names Their Next Ship!
To many, cruises are all about 24-hour eating. So when the hometown cruise line wanted to promote their newest member of the fleet, we had to learn more. Welcome Discovery Princess! She’s the first of five ships that’ll be completed in the next six years. Currently under construction, this Royal class boat will be ready for its initial itinerary in the fall of 2021. Burning clean fossil fuels, the kickoff of 30 departures is already scheduled for November. We are envious of their newest eating space, World Fresh Marketplace, an international dining center with customizable options. Their in-house bartender, Rob Floyd, has been working on a series of cocktails to celebrate the many destinations planned. Our favorite is his Italian Sunset, an ode to the Mediterranean made with Aperol and gin. Here’s looking at you, Discovery. www.princess.com.
NORMS is Practically Giving Away Brekkie!
Next Wednesday, October 23, you can drop by your nearest NORMS for their 70-cent anniversary special: Two eggs, two hotcakes, and two bacon or sausage. This is only good between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m. if you’re dining in. There aren’t any substitutions, and only one deal per person, okay? Now scram already before we get hangry. www.norms.com.
Current Crush: The Flyin’ Hawaiian at Sgt. Pepperoni’s – Newport Beach
Highfalutin without being highfalutin, we are seriously crushing on this month’s featured pizza at Sgt. Pepp’s. Kai Olsen on their kitchen team and Manager Ben Seivert came up with this twist on a classic. Made with fried pineapple, marinated Spam, house made honey ginger teriyaki, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, more pineapple and green onion, the Flyin’ Hawaiian is worthy of your taste buds. Only around until Halloween, ask for it by the slice or whole pie. And be sure to swing by the 27th for an afternoon of live music, curated brews and a pizza eating contest! 2300 SE Bristol St., (949) 852-9500; www.sgtpepps.com.
We See You: Sherwood at Angelina’s Pizza Napoletana – Irvine
On a recent double date night, we found ourselves dining at Angelina’s. While pizza is in the name, we highly recommend browsing their updated cocktail menu, since one of the better bartenders we’ve encountered has relocated to this Italian concept. Photographed is the Garibaldi, made with Campari, fresh OJ and an orange cream citrate. Let Sherwood explain the simple brilliance of this and his other contributions. 8573 Irvine Center Dr., (949) 536-5200; www.angelinaspizzeria.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.