Dinner and A Tango

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is not for the average "starving artist." However, if you have just sold one or two paintings- you may just about be able to indulge in an appetizer or three. The overall price is a bit steep, but if you've got the money, honey, and the time...you should definitely try as many flavorful tidbits as possible at this colorful, artsy and ambiance-packed restaurant, located at The Block at Orange.

I, myself have not sold many paintings as of late, but when someone says to me, "Leslie order whatever you want..." I will honor the offer. I would be a fool not to do so tonight, sitting across from saucier chef, Jeremy Weyland - one of the many culinary talents here at Tango's. This man is skilled in the fine art of cutlery, cooking and presentation. It's going to be a good time - picking at this guy's brain as well as the delicious food that has just been presented to us.

There's something about the color of food that really appeals to me - presentation is important and this place is great at it, "colors of deliciousness," as Jeremy calls it. The beauty began, appropriately, with their Mediterranean spinach dip - piled high with gorgeous gooey-ness - befriended with lovely roasted peppers and served with tall, proud and crunchy pita chips. This was only the beginning!

Next, the Cuban Grilled Steak Skewers melted in my mouth, exploding with spices - the squirts of lime juice over steak sauce was only leveled out by the roasted Poblano, mashed potato quesadilla. The sip of wine in my glass sealed the deal.

Although I'm no fan of sushi ( yeah I know ) and was reluctant to jump in and try the Tuna Sashimi, I did anyway. I was not disappointed. The sesame seeds crackled and danced around with the liberal dashes of pepper. The tuna was seared rare and sliced thin. Served with Wasabi Aoli, Oriental marinade and seaweed salad, cradled in a Wonton basket. Flip, fold, eat...sigh with delight.

I want to say both thank you and I'm sorry to the delicious little lamb I tried. Baby Lamb Chops (tear) marinated in an apple, garlic and rosemary marinade - served with a sweet onion compote and drizzled with a balsamic reduction and sweet ginger glaze - so delicious. Delicious and cute.

Finally, not to be outdone by the former, more "exotic" dishes - Barbecue Chicken Pizza! This came highly recommended so how could I deny Francisco Diaz, sous chef, the pleasure of trying out this favorite for one and all? This is definitely not like your traditional pizza- blackened chicken, chopped bacon, green onions and Cheddar cheese, melted on top of a layer of OG barbecue sauce (yes, it's that gangsta!) - served on a hand-tossed, brick oven-baked pizza crust. Check out where your pizza comes from, along with other shots from this gem of a restaurant - right here!

Don't forget - food and an exceptional wine make all the difference in the world as to a great dining experience - take full advantage of Tu Tu Tango's knowledge about what goes good with what. Also be sure to inquire about their wine tasting schedule. Mmmm yeah.

There is a world to be explored at Tu Tu Tango - live music, artists painting, fortune telling, wine tasting and delicious food - now that's a priceless good time for anyone's budget!

Café Tu Tu Tango at The Block. 20 City Blvd. West, Orange. 714-769-2222. Monday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 1 a.m. www.cafetututango.com


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