According to Punxsutawney Phil, we can expect winter to be over any time now. Unless you're in Orange County, where it never quite started. Stores are already stocked with beach attire, despite recent Storm Watch 2014 reports. We are an anomaly to the rest of the country, but that doesn't prevent us from enjoying creature comforts like stews and casseroles. My entree of choice is meatloaf.
How can you beat a loaf of meat? It's jammed with savory goodness. And the leftovers, let me tell you, taste better the next day– even the day after. I've converted mine into breakfast hash and a nacho bar. It's the meal that keeps on giving. So when I found one on the Orange County Restaurant Week menu last month, it had to be ordered.
Made from a free range gobbler plucked locally from Shelton Farms, don't let Cathy Pavlos' choice of turkey fool you into thinking this is a light meal. Flanked by OC Baking Company francese (a ciabatta/baguette hybrid), our meat slice rests on crisp romaine heart and sweet pepper jelly. To shake things up, she includes cipoline in agrodolce, a.k.a sour and sweet onions. I love the sharp, Fiscalini cheddar melted over. It's finished with chunky tomato marmalade and a slice of house-made bacon that'll bring you back for brunch.
While this hearty meal was offered on Lucca's OCRW lunch selections, Cathy's upcoming restaurant, Provenance, will feature it on their opening menu. Scheduled to launch later this month in Newport Beach's Eastbluff neighborhood, the opportunity to seize this bite of comfort will last a little longer.
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.