Fresh Toast Highlights With Bloody Battle Winners!

James Republic crab beignets
James Republic crab beignets
Photo by Brian Feinzimer

Saturday's Fresh Toast was all sorts of cray, and we enjoyed every minute of it. While we didn't get a chance to sample all the booze, we were tasked with judging the Bloody Mary Battle. We'll get to those results shortly. For now, let's recap some of our favorite stops.

Towards the top of our list: Those crab beignets from James Republic. We almost didn't try them, but our friends insisted it was worth our time. They were correct. The deep fried decadence didn't disappoint. Long Beach represented, thanks to Chef MacLennan. Honorable mention: Fig & Olive's quiche Lorraine plus truffle fontina scramble on rosemary toast. They were ideal bites to consume while we got in line for our next indulgence.

Recurring theme: It was all about the biscuits and gravy. We counted five restaurants bringing the goodness. From SOCIAL Costa Mesa to C4 Deli, things were flaky, smothered and served like it was nobody's business. We thought the team from Memphis gave a tasty interpretation with a sunny quail egg over cheddar-chive biscuits.

Memphis Cafe biscuits & gravy
Memphis Cafe biscuits & gravy
Photo by Brian Feinzimer

Best next-door neighbors: This was easy. Between the meaty tocino from Taco Maria and short rib crepes made fresh from The Crema Cafe, carnivores were covered. They also had secondary (read: meatless) dishes to satisfy your sweet tooth. That's four tastes in a single corner. Done and done! Honorable mention: Ways & Means across from Clay Oven. Serving fresh seafood with simple flavors, they were a refreshing contrast to the other options.

Also, did you spot all the Fresh French toast and other sweet goods? Anepalco's horchata French toast made us drool, while Haven Gastropub's doughnuts were our (strawberry) jam; it's no wonder they ran out. A selection of pastries from Pandor were also a treat! Those in VIP were treated to Gelato Paradiso scoops and cotton candy from Sugar Spin.

Kerala shrimp & forbidden rice from Clay Oven.
Kerala shrimp & forbidden rice from Clay Oven.
Photo by Brian Feinzimer

Shout out to our mystery guest, Dos Chinos, for dropping by with them tamales. And to the freaking Nauglesmobile for showing up and handing out swag while your electrical issues were worked on. You had the classiest setup. Honorable mentions to Zov's breakfast pies and CUCINA Enoteca's crispy mascarpone polenta for your savory delights. We wish we had room for seconds.

Horchata French toast from Anepalco's
Horchata French toast from Anepalco's
Photo by Brian Feinzimer

And now for those Bloody Mary winners! Missed the breeze and shade and seating out back? Well, that was where the Bloody Battle was held (and where we spent half our time). Eight competitors gave us a lot to ponder as we powered through our beverages. After much deliberation and texting with fellow judges Delilah and Gustavo, we present the following:

Best Bloody Mary: The Hub Kitchen & Taps
Most Unique: Long Beach Jerky Co.
Best Presentation: Memphis Cafe

The winners from attendee votes are as follows:

Best Bloody Mary: Backyard Mary
Runner up: Mama's on 39

Most Unique: The Hub Kitchen & Taps
Runner up: Memphis Cafe

Best Presentation: The Olive Pit
Runner up: Memphis Cafe

THANK YOU to all who participated! 

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Newport Dunes

Back Bay Drive and Jamboree
Newport Beach, CA 92660


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