This weekend is the inaugural recurring brunch for Pizzeria Ortica. Typically offered only on a holiday whim, you can now look forward to such savory options such as oven-roasted skirt steak sandwich topped with an optional Chino Valley Ranchers' egg (see above) every Sunday. Executive Chef Justin Miller, Sous Chef Colleen Flynn and Beverage Manager Joel Caruso will be cranking out their interpretation of our favorite meal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We made a dent in Ortica's menu to provide Forkers with a few recommendations.
1. Fresh baked morning buns
This bite-sized, small plate is a favorite for a couple of reasons. At $3, it's the most affordable option. Although the unexpected bonus is that each table receives an order to start, compliments of the kitchen. These savory morsels taste of slow-roasted tomatoes, finished with Parmigiano. That leaves diners with more coin to invest in additional tastes, like braised pork belly or lemon ricotta stuffed squash blossoms.
2. P.O.G. Spritzer
Admittedly, we enjoyed our beverage so quickly we forgot to take a photo. Our version of upgraded mimosas, this blend of passion fruit, orange, guava and bubbly ($10) hits the spot. Sure, you can request a strong Bloody Mary or even their version of a White Russian, El Duderino. But our focus was on the food. Note: The beverage team put together a very accommodating selection of wine and beer as well.
3. Roasted asparagus
While most of our veg revolved around tomatoes, we found ourselves reaching for perfectly prepared spears. Fully loaded with poached eggs, just enough meaty speck, hazelnut breadcrumbs and a Fontina fonduta (say that fast five times), we could've ended our meal right here. Fortunately, we were sharing. Oh, and twice the yolk porn ($16)!
4. Housemade fennel sausage
With all the love for bacon everything, we believe sausage gets a bad rap. We immediately gravitated towards this bowl of goodness ($14). The inclusion of braised Tuscan black kale and Calabrian chile made our mouth water just thinking about it. And of course we couldn't turn down another optional eggy opportunity. . .
5. Shrimp and polenta
Most recently served as a Father's Day special, this stick-to-your-ribs entree ($15) won us over. Easily the best dish on Pizzeria Ortica's brunch menu, it stands up to all the bread, tomato and yes, egg-centric plates. Wood-grilled shellfish meets Anson Mills polenta and classic fried green tomatoes for a memorable threesome. You gotta eat it to believe it.
For reservations, call Pizzeria Ortica at (714) 445-4900.
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.