This is a time-sensitive Grub Guide edition. Craft beer and Top Chef pairings happen this evening. Vegan eats grand open tomorrow. And a sweet, sweet collaboration goes down all weekend. There’s no shortage of good news this week. We kick things off with the expansion of a local business.
Little Onion Plants New Roots Beyond Costa Mesa – Irvine
Now open seven days a week, the second branch of the Little Onion can be found off of Culver and the 5 freeway. Serving lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch, their kitchen is helmed by Chef Agustin Bruno in what is formerly the Bank of Hope structure. Maximum headroom is 150, factoring 30+ guests on their 738 square foot patio. This is ideal, because with their full bar we guarantee the place will be hopping when the weather cooperates. Catering options and a semi-private dining room mean you have no excuse to not give them a try. Owner Lori Reich Rowe purchased the Santa Ana location from her father in 2009, growing the brand and planning ahead for their eventual expansion. Dark woods and wrought iron chandeliers welcome you to their classic Mexican cuisine. 14429 Culver Dr., (949) 316-4600; www.littleonion.com.
Taste Test: Dunkin Donuts Beyond Sausage
When we’re sent emails about a new product, sometimes we want to go try it for ourselves. Dunkin understood our love of brekkie, and made that request possible. Our first visit inside a DD was more pleasant than we expected. The helpful cashier gave us advice on ordering an iced latte (It’s OK to order less syrup; she’d add more if we weren’t satisfied.) and even offered a sugar donut– which we paid forward at the next place we went to. Joined by a slice of American and fried egg, the flavors and texture of our Beyond Sausage meal reminded us of another chain’s signature morning sandwiches. If you overthink it, of course it won’t tasty as porky as you’d like it to. But as we chewed on our meal at a red light, we didn’t miss the meat. Now whether we should head back for the pumpkin lip balm shaped like munchkins remains to be decided. www.dunkindonuts.com.
Eat Love CA Grand Opening TOMORROW – Fountain Valley
Announcing themselves as the first fully vegan fried chick’n spot in the United States, Eat Love “heart-to-table” concept officially launches their brick and mortar this Friday. The first 50 in line will receive their very own vegan chick’n sandwich. Their operating hours will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. If you’re one who has difficulty embracing a meat-free lifestyle, consider this your crossover meal. Find them in the same plaza as Costco. 17870 Newhope St., #103, (714) 277-5403; www.eatlove.co.
Tackle Box x Gunwhale Ales Collaboration TONIGHT – South Coast Collection/Costa Mesa
Chef Brian Huskey has a very tasty evening planned for those who drop by the SoCo location of Tackle Box. He’s teamed up with the gang at Gunwhale to pour a quartet of beers that include a “pickle” saison (made with pickling brine and sorachi ace hops). Also on tap: Bang Straw, Orangewood and Shell Maker. Dig into some smoked pulled pork sliders, or go for the gusto with their early Thanksgiving turkey meal. They had us a black pepper gravy. 3321 Hyland Ave., Ste. E, (714) 486-3301; www.tackleboxoc.com.
Milk Box x Honey & Butter Collaboration Returns! – Irvine Spectrum
This weekend. All weekend. Get your milk tea and macaron on when the two great tastes that taste great together join forces once again for the sweetest meet up. Matcha milk, Earl Grey Lavender and Classic milk teas will all be served from noon until 9 p.m.– or until they run out. Please save us a cookie butter macaron while you’re there. Thanks! 633 Spectrum Center Dr., (949) 536-5556; www.honeynbutter.com.
Shout Out: Bourbon Steak’s R & B – Dana Point
We dined at our local Michael Mina concept over the weekend for their “one night only” Clink Different dinner specials. ‘Twas an opportunity to indulge in wine (Riesling & Bordeaux, a.k.a. R & B) paired with dishes you normally don’t see on Bourbon Steak’s menu. Wagyu corn dogs paired with A.J. Adam Kabinett Riesling ‘Dhroner Hofberger’ Mosel 2015 anyone? Its glorious meatiness, curated by Chef Bryan Brown, ruined us for all future corn dogs. And the decadent medium-rare chateaubriand for two came with a Lalande-de-Pomerol 2015 from Château Belles-Graves poured by Sommelier Michelle Morin.
This movement to educate diners on the ease of pairing and their origin backstories had been going on all year around the country at various tasting events. The U.S. average selling price for a bottle of Bordeaux is $20, so that means a quality bottle is within your reach! Next time you’re ordering a fruity dessert, consider a glass of Spätlese to complement your treat. Baby steps, folks. 1 Monarch Beach Resort, (949) 234-3900; www.michaelmina.net.
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.