It is basically a restaurant passport. You make a list of 50 restaurants you have never gone to in your area but have always wanted to try. Then you have a list going when you are headed out for the night and can check them off one at a time. Let me tell you I hate the "where should we go tonight" back and forth discussion. Conversation avoided with this handy list!
For me, the first 20 restaurants I wanted to try came to me in a flash. The other 30 are going to be added when they cross my mind. Any suggestions?
On the top of my list was the restaurant East-Borough located at The Camp in Costa Mesa. The restaurant is a combination of Vietnamese and French style cooking. The seating is an open outdoor area with a great water feature in the center that cascades from a steel sheet boasting the restaurant's name. When I first walked up to order I was greeted with the smell of Thai Basil and knew this was going to be good. The girl at the counter made a suggestion, including telling my the correct pronunciation on a few menu items, and I took a seat next to the calming water feature.
I ordered the Grilled Pork & Green Papaya salad and a side order of baguette. The salad was a good size and very refreshing, especially with the warm weather we are having. In my salad was also the basil I had smelled and what tasted like a hint of tarragon leaves. Great flavor combinations and the texture of the meat and soft and crunching greens made the meal complete. I also liked that the dressing was on the side and you could decide how much you wanted to add the your own salad.
Did I mention the prices were also pretty good? Well they were. Check out the menu HERE. My sister ordered the Vermicelli Noodles which were served with a large salad made up of mixed lettuce and herbs accompanied with an egg roll. She seemed pretty happy with her choice.
I am already planning on coming back and ordering a Bánh Mì (Vietnamese sandwiches on baguettes).
I am glad this was the first restaurant to kick off my 50 restaurants to try. If you are in the LA / OC / SD area in Southern California I would love some suggestions!