Went on a shopping expedition with a friend on Saturday. Started at Chef's Toy's in Santa Ana (not Irvine, thanks Russkar). What a find. Good prices and interesting selection of useful, mostly good quality, cooking implements from $1 "crumbers" to uber restaurant equipment. My friend has been pricing Global knives on the internet and found the best prices at Chef's Toy's. Called her mom and another friend from the store to report her find and walked away with about $275 worth of new knives. Really worth seeking out.
Russkar: Told Steve D you said "hi".
Chef's Toys 3001 S.Main, Santa Ana. 714 435-9222
We were so jazzed we continued our shopping excursion to Tustin for barstools (why are they so expensive!) and after working up an appetite with all the shopping decided to stop for lunch at Zov's Bistro. I haven't been there for about 8 years so it was like going for the first time. Found out the dining room is closed on Saturdays for parties so we ate outside adjacent to the bakery. Quite busy at 2PM for lunch but were seated rather promptly as the turn over was quick.
Immediately approached by our server for our drink order (Blackberry Iced Tea) which was OK. Then they placed the most aromatic, yeasty, warm rolls beside us. They were irresistable. The only thing that could make them better is if the butter they served along side was soft (cold foil cubes instead).
I ordered a BLT and a side of lentil soup. For basic lunch fare it was well executed. The lentil soup had a hint of cumin. The lentils were pured and there were large chunks of carrots. There was a smokey back note to it all, although I did not detect meat in the soup itself.
The BLT was served on a similarly delicious homemade roll. On it were chunks of fresh avocado and thickly sliced applewood smoked bacon along with the L&T. Really a quality, tasteful rendition of the classic. The sandwich was served with a cold rice salad of cucumbers, parsley and olive oil, almost like a taboulleh, but with rice, not couscous. I kept on remarking on the flavor of the olive oil. Really fruity and lively, it's quality elevated this simple salad.
My friend ordered a seared ahi salad and remarked repeatedly about the dressing, a basic balsamic vinaigrette made with that same delicous olive oil. Her salad had asparagus, roasted red peppers, red onion, tomato, and fresh mozz. There was a lot of seared ahi on the salad.
Once we looked at the pastry case it was impossible NOT to order desert. The pastries are beautiful, really artful and enticing. We ordered the warm walnut carmet tart and a cold peach and pistachio tart. The warm walnut carmel tart stood out. It was sweet and crunchy and gooey. The peach & pistachio tart lacked that fresh summer peachiness I had hoped for but it did have a flakey buttery tart crust that I enjoyed (can still enjoy I have the leftovers in my fridge!).
All in all I'd say Zov's delivered a quality lunch experience.