Provenance, Newport Beach

Newport Beach has so many fabulous restaurants and Provenance tops my list. This is one I highly recommend.  If you live in the area or will be visiting over the summer, add this restaurant to your list of places to eat.

Provenance is a  cool restaurant is tucked into the corner of a typical strip style shopping center, Eastbluff Village Center.  There is nothing typical about Provenance, once you step through the doors.

Decorated in a bit of an industrial style, it also has a farmhouse cozy feel.  Dining indoors is nice and you will feel the outdoors coming inside. The glass doors that run the length of the restaurant are typically open, bringing in the fresh sea air.  The patio is a lovely spot and one of my favorites.  The patio showcases the restaurants garden.  Raised beds and wall boxes are filled with fresh herbs and vegetables, all of which make their way to the kitchen and ultimately onto your plate.

The concept of the restaurant is to deliver Napa Valley cuisine to coastal Southern California, and they do it perfectly.  The chef has made a commitment to use only humanely raised meats, free range chicken and turkey along with sustainable seafood.  Ingredients change by the season and the menu changes as well.

Current Provenance Menu

Current Provenance Menu

Having dined at the restaurant several times for lunch, the menu is a bit different for dinner.  The lunch offerings include beautifully fresh salads, an occasional homemade pasta, seafood, fresh soup and sandwiches.

Fresh Roasted Beet Salad

Fresh Roasted Beet Salad atop a fresh hummus with pesto and pea tendrils.

Homemade pasta

Housemade Fettuccine with a light cream sauce and mushrooms. Served with a side fresh green salad.

I recently went back for dinner and it was amazing.  The current dinner menu offers fresh made soup, crispy fresh salads, charcuterie plate, vegetable dishes such as roasted brussels sprouts, steak, seafood, a short rib dish, duck and chicken.

The short rib came recommended as well as the lamb dish.  My husband savored the lamb dish and I had to take a small bite, it was incredibly tender and full of flavor.  I ordered the short rib and just couldn’t stop eating the dish.  The short rib fell apart, the sauce was seasoned perfectly and the beautiful baby carrots added color and flavor to a perfect dish.

Short Rib with baby carrots.

Short Rib with baby carrots.


Lamb dish with risotto cakes and a beautiful slaw.

I love to find great restaurants and my favorites are the small chef owned cafe’s.  Provenance tops my list.

Eat Well and Travel Well,

Oak Grill at The Island Hotel

Oak Grill

The Oak Grill, located at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach, CA deserves your attention.  In the past I think hotel restaurants lacked a personality and ambiance.  Not the case with Oak Grill.

The hotel is right across the street from Fashion Island where there are some great restaurants, Red O by Rick Bayless, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion founded by Roy Yamaguchi and Fig and Olive, founded by Laurent Halaz featuring Chef Pascal Lorange.  Oak Grill is equally if not better than a few on the list above.

Chef Marc Johnson honed his skills working at the excellent Studio at The Montage in Laguna Beach and also Mastro’s Ocean Club.  Chef Johnson is sourcing and using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create innovative dishes with new takes on classics and classic preparations.

The restaurant has indoor seating and a bar which is very comfortable, but my favorite is the patio.  Sitting on the patio we were surrounded by beautiful plants and huge trees providing a canopy with lights dangling from the trees, creating a cozy spot to dine.  Honestly, we forgot we were in the city and across the street from a mall.

Oak Grill Menu

Oak Grill Menu for dinner.

The service was excellent.  Our server was passionate about the food, offering some recommendations, personal favorites along with some nice wines from the wine list.

We were staying at the hotel and had enjoyed a beautiful cheese plate prior to dinner, so we wanted something light, with a nice glass of wine.

The Pork Belly flatbread was recommended and we went for it.

Pork Belly Flatbread

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing this dish was.  The pork belly was full of flavor, cooked perfectly and  set on top of a thin crunchy crust with cheese and topped with crunchy onions and a creamy chipotle sauce.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the dish.  I’m so glad this restaurant is close by, so I can feed my addiction.  Add in a glass of Cherry Tart Red wine and have the perfect meal.

Kudos to Chef Marc Johnson and his staff, job well done!

On another quick note, I arrived at the hotel around lunch time to meet a colleague.  We happened to have lunch at Oak Grill as well.  We dined on salads, where she ordered the special, which was fresh greens, tomatoes and crab, the salad needs to be added to the menu.  I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad.  The greens were extremely fresh, the chicken tender and the salad has soft noodles and the perfect balance of textures, with the dressing light.  We decided to share the tomato, mozzarella and basil flatbread as a starter.  Which sounds much like a Caprese pizza, but trust me, this one had roasted tomatoes which added another level of depth and flavor that you don’t get with basic diced tomatoes.  It was scrumptious.

Roasted Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Flatbread.

Roasted Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Flatbread.

The lunch menu is different than the dinner menu, both with great options.  The patio is a great spot for a business lunch as well.

I can’t wait to go back, hope it is soon.

Sierra Mar, Post Ranch Inn

Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn  offers stunning, unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and the food exquisite and is art on a plate.

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Erna’s Elderberry House, Unexpected Excellence

Welcome to the Elderberry House

The Elderberry House is one of those restaurants that leaves a footprint on your foodie soul.

While staying at the Chateau du Sureau we took the opportunity to truly dine at the Elderberry House.  The experience was unexpected excellence.  Despite all of the rave reviews, it is located in the small community of Oakhurst California and you just don’t expect this level of dining right outside of Yosemite National Park.

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Juniper and Ivy, San Diego, CA

Juniper and Ivy

Juniper and Ivy in San Diego, Ca is Trendy, Fun and really Fantastic!

When I heard that Chef Richard Blais of Top Chef fame was opening a new hotspot in San Diego, I had to go and moved it to the top of my dining bucket list.

Juniper and Ivy sits on the edge of the Little Italy neighborhood in San Diego.  The restaurant is very cool and has an energetic heartbeat all its own.  The atmosphere is electric and everyone was enjoying themselves and the food.  Some reviews have said the restaurant is noisy, honestly it is, but in a fun way.  I knew going in that it wasn’t a quiet and romantic spot and that isn’t what we went for, we wanted fun and fabulous food.

The menu is eclectic, with very innovative and creative dishes.  We had a hard time deciding what to eat, so the decision was made that we would eat our way around the menu, sharing every dish.  It left us completely stuffed, but yet we wanted more. So join me as we take a trip around a chunk of the menu at Juniper and Ivy. Continue reading

Australian Eats Sail into Surf City, CA

Bondi Grill House

Australia’s Bondi Beach eatery sails into Surf City, CA.

Twenty years ago Hurricane’s opened an iconic restaurant in the Bondi beach area and have opened other restaurants across Australia.  Now, they are sailing into Huntington Beach, California with their first U.S. restaurant, Bondi Grill House.

The trendy, chic restaurant opened a few short weeks ago at the Bella Terra shopping area and I think they will be there for a very long time.

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