The McDonald brothers, Mark and Brandon, run Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa in a Manichean fashion: be nice, they treat you like gods. Be mean, they'll let the mick in them take over. I like them--otherwise, we wouldn't have named them the best restaurant in OC for 2009. And I'm glad to say they're still tweaking and expanding on their slow-food, organic menu. Now, the rote questions for chef Mark:
1. Dish you cook that most represents you. The vast majority of my dishes are inspired by everything from flavors from my childhood to recent world travels. Every dish has some element pulled from those things that are most important to me.
2. What was the last meal you had at home? Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup with Lamb Meatballs
3. Your favorite restaurant (other than yours): In Orange County it is between Marche Moderne, Pescadou Bistro, Cafe Hiro & Mariscos Puerto Esperanza in Orange.
4. Fast food guilty pleasure: Del Taco, Del Classic Chicken Burrito with extra secret sauce and occasionally McDonalds fries.
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5. Complete this sentence: I would like to [verb] [Food Network star] with [noun]. (for example: "I would like to BEAT BOBBY FLAY with A STALE BAGUETTE." or "I would like to SHOWER GIADA DE LAURENTIIS with FLOWERS"): I would like to butter Paula Deen like a biscuit. This is not meant to be taken literally.
6. Last meal of your life, what would it be? It would nice to never know when I was enjoying my last meal, but if I had to make a decision, Biscuits & Gravy with Cheese Grits.
7. Items you always have in your refrigerator: At home I have a Brita full of cold water and thats about it. I like to do my prep at the restaurant and finish the dishes at home.
8. Your most indispensable kitchen tool or appliance: Emersion blender