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Monday, March 18, 2019

Eating with OCFoodieGirl...in Tustin!

Eating with OCFoodieGirl...in Tustin


So I get asked a lot by friends, family and people who find out I'm a food blogger where to eat. I figured I'd start a little series highlighting my favorite current picks in specific cities. Seeing as most of the requests I get are specific to certain occasions (i.e. family birthday, romantic dinner, GNO, etc.) I've broken 'em down by occasion. Since I live in Tustin I thought I'd do my little hometown the honor of being the first one I review. :) 

Best place for a night out with friendsBlack Marlin is where the food is consistently good, the music is loud and the people are happy and friendly. What more can you ask for? Tip: they also have some great nightly specials so make sure to ask!

Patio at Christakis

Best place to take a date: the patio at Christakis - romantic, live music on occasion, and delicious Greek food that's very shareable (hint hint) ;) 

Best place to find a dateSwinging Door - yes, it's a dive bar but the drinks are cheap, the pool is free, and there's absolutely NO pretentiousness here. This ain't Newport Beach folks! P.S. the burgers next door at sister restaurant American Grub really hit the spot with one of their beers. ;) 

Best place to feel like a localRutabegorz cuz everyone in town goes here and it's one of those places where the waitresses know your name, and on occasion your order too. A close second here is the bar area of 17th Street Grill - any night here you'll see folks walking over from the neighborhood. 

Best place to celebrate a birthday with an older relativeRoma D'Italia's - old school Italian in a family environment with reasonable prices. Everything your mom, dad, grandma or grandpa loves in one location.

Best place to grab some catering for an at-home gatheringClaro's Italian Market - an institution in OC with a great catering selection including their infamous ring sandwiches and heat-at-home pasta dishes. Be warned, they are VERY generous and the dishes always serve more than they say! 

Best place to take the BFF who loves the hole in the wallsNaan and Kebob and Laxmi Indian Market Lunch Buffet - you wouldn't think either of these are anything special by walking by (or even going inside) but the food at both is top notch! Laxmi is actually a small Indian market so make sure to walk to the back to see the deli. 

Best Breakfast to catch up with a friendSnooze at the Marketplace - you know how you hear about some places and there's so much hype, then you try them and you're like 'meh'. Yeah - that's NOT this place. Snooze is one of those rare places that lives up to the hype.  Tip: Use the Yelp app to help minimize the waiting pain or just put your name in, enjoy the free coffee and chat with your friend while you wait.

Best place to take a friend who thinks Tustin doesn't have any restaurants w great ambianceChaak - brought to old town Tustin by the owners of the much beloved Gabbi's in old towne Orange. Gorgeous open space with a retractable roof, lovely outdoor seating and that same delicious Yucatan inspired Mexican food that makes them stand out in a sea of Mexican restaurants in OC! 

Best Place to go with a friend of limited meansCostco (we have two in Tustin!) food court - anyone can eat there (no membership required!) and how can you beat $1.50 hot dogs w a soda and $2 pizza slices? You can't.

Best Place to satisfy your Burger craving that isn't a chain:  Yes, we are lucky to have not one but TWO In n Out's in Tustin, but when I'm looking for a unique burger - Peter's Gourmade Grill is it. Why are they so good? Well, first you have a classically trained Chef running a burger joint that started in a gas station (now in a stripmall) and second, the creative combinations of flavors are well put together and cooked perfectly! I also LOVE the Greek fries so make sure you try those as well cuz even though the burgers are the stars here, it's ALL good! 

Pan Roast from Kettle Bar
Best Place to eat on a rainy dayKettle Bar at the District - if you've never had a pan roast you're seriously missing out. It's like a big ole hug from your long lost southern Grandma served up in a bowl. Ahh... :)

Best Place to grab a cake or pastry for a celebration: Yes, I know the beloved Taiwanese chain 85C opened up on Irvine Blvd last year and yes, I know Cream Pan attracts strawberry croissant lovers from all over the land, BUT my pick is the fairly recently relocated from our neighbors to the north (a.k.a. Orange) Polish Bakery Poul's on Newport Blvd. Seriously some of the best baked goods around and the variety works for just about any occasion!

Best GNOCentro - small enough to actually catch up but big enough to feel like a night out!  Make sure to try the flatbread style pizzas and of course, the locally produced wine! 

Best GDOMorning Lavender - this somewhat new addition to old town Tustin has really taken the area by storm! Fronted by a chic clothing boutique, in the back you will find an adorably decorated tea room complete with an outdoor patio seating area and a stunning flower wall for all those 'girls day out' selfies that you know will inevitably happen! 

Spicy Wontons from
Szechuan Impression
Best Place to take your friends and brag that you found it first: Any of the Asian restaurants at the Redhill Plaza strip mall including O Shine Taiwanese (the green onion pancake & the sticky rice are TDF!), Szechuan Impression (the spicy wontons=#faint!) , OB Square (garlic soy wings are heaven here!) and a few others. They are nothing to look at from the outside but have authentic delicious food and attract a crowd of in-the-know folks who come from all over.

Best Place to curb that after dinner sweet cravingJoghurt - I know there are many more desserts that are more exciting than fro-yo, but Joghurt has stood the test of time and for good reason - great frozen yogurt flavors that rotate often and the toppings are always fresh and varied. Who has coconut jelly squares as a topping AND Pineapple Whip fro-yo? Joghurt, that's who!  P.S. A close second in this category is the relatively new Cinnaholic at The District - fresh warm cinnamon rolls with your choice of over 20+ toppings and glazes, everything is organic and made in house, and get this - vegan, although you'd NEVER know it. 


If you know of any places I should keep on my radar in Tustin please feel free to comment or email me at ocfoodiegirl@gmail.com  I'd love to check them out and possibly include them next time!

Note: I've linked up every place listed so just click on the name for more info and locations! 

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