We bounce around the county in this week’s guide. From the beaches of Huntington to Lake RSM, we’ve scooped up the latest and greatest finds to share. Consider it your mini-guide to navigate through the summer heat.
Marugame Udon Grand Opening (and Mini Review) – Costa Mesa
Noodles, tempura, and rice made up our starchy dinner last night, as we stepped inside for a preview of South Coast Plaza’s newest eatery. Placed in the same wing as Uniqlo and Din Tai Fung, we can already imagine the lines that’ll wrap around its neighbors. A cafeteria-style format, you’ll want to decide what bowl of slurping goodness to order before moving forward. Once your bowl is prepared, slide down to the freshly fried tempura options. Warning: these items are billed separately, so that final bill will add up! Next is a handful of musubi and onigiri, all individually wrapped and time-stamped. If you have a hankering for rice, this is your fix. Grab a beverage from the display before being rung up, and find your tempura sauce and toppings bar a few steps away.
We loved how fresh everything was. The noodle station is right up against the window before entering, so you can watch the entire process from scratch. In fact, all cooking aspects are done in plain sight. Probably the only thing we dread is the limited seating capacity, since everyone from DTF will likely overflow downstairs for this once word gets out. Marugame Udon, please buy out one of your neighbors and double in size already! Grand opening is this Saturday starting at 11 a.m. Gift cards, a raffle for fancy prizes and discounts on all meals will occur throughout the day. 3333 Bristol St., #1073; www.marugameudon.com.
Summer Loving at Balboa Bay Resort – Newport Beach
Celebrating their recently finished pool bar, head bartender Travis Johnson has created a trio of refreshers to coincide with Balboa Bay Resort’s collaboration with Lily Pulitzer. Open through mid-September, the Viva La Lilly (pictured) is made up of Ketel One Grapefruit, Rosé Botanical, Sofia Brut Rosé, and soda. If you reserve a pool cabana, they’ll be decked out in Pulitzer decor. Even the staff will be outfitted in seasonal attire from Pulitzer’s recent collection. Take a staycation along the harbor, and look too cool for school while doing so. 1221 W. Coast Hwy. (949) 645-5000; www.balboabayresort.com.
Thank you, The Vox Kitchen – Fountain Valley
After learning that the sister restaurant to our favorite S’up Noodle Bar in Cerritos and Buena Park was Vox, I spent a recent dinner checking out the menu. And I’m glad I did, because that was by far some of the most efficient service I’ve seen in two decades. From calling our name before we even hit the top of the wait list, to providing updates on our food without inquiring, we were floored by the hospitality. Our date received refills before he could even think about asking. And the check came less than a minute after we requested it. It’s the small details usually overlooked that make the difference between a good restaurant and one we’d go back to without hesitation. 16161 Brookhurst St., (657) 231-6493; www.eatvox.com.
We See You, Il Sole – Rancho Santa Margarita
After a recent evening at The Blind Pig, we wandered over to the spot where Pizza y Vino used to occupy and noticed a new development. After some digging, we learned that Il Sole is from a familiar restaurant group. Per co-owner Jesus Galvez, “Coming soon, the Sol Agave team is proud to present their new concept by Fall 2019. Il Sole La Nuova Cucina will offer authentic, fresh pastas featuring buffalo mozzarella. Join us for wine at Mercado del Lago (the plaza they’re located in).” Looking forward to it. 31441 Santa Margarita Pkwy.
55 Days of Deals on the Del Taco App
What began on July 23 was a series of 55 specials available on the Lake Forest-based company’s app. BOGOs, freebies and sale items are part of the fun. We used ours the other day to get a free mini float, and had no shame in eating that before our tacos. Download or login to take advantage of the extra grub. www.deltaco.com.
Save the Date: Nood Beach by Foodbeast – Huntington Beach
Coming your way on Sunday, September 1, Foodbeast presents a festival dedicated to all the noodles out there. Competitive eating contests, mukbang viewing, local eateries and Snoop Dogg are more than enough reasons to show up. Factor in the venue of SeaLegs at the Beach, and you’ve got one hell of a fine time. Those on low-carb and keto diets will want to avoid this stretch of HB that day. Sorry, not sorry. For ticket information, follow this link. 17851 Pacific Coast Hwy., (714) 698-4188.
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.