Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine

Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. Last Friday my husband and I were invited to Bacchus Bar and Bistro to taste some wines and delicious food from their Bistro menu. All opinions are mine and it is my opinion that you need to go and try this restaurant out for yourself.

Located in a quiet shopping center in Irvine (Sand Canyon and the 405 Fwy), Bacchus is a hidden gem that I am pleased to share with you. I’ve shopped in this center for years and thought this was a just a wine shop. And while that may be how it started out, it has evolved in to a full fledged bistro with great beers and wines and a fantastic menu that I can’t wait to eat my way through.

Wine everywhere at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. The interior was larger than I expected but still felt intimate. It was the perfect date night spot but also seems perfect for a girl’s night out situation. There is a tiny little patio out front which I am now dreaming about for sipping rose on a summer evening. From the moment my husband and I walked inside we asked ourselves how we had never been there before. And of course, started planning our return visits. I love how they have the wines displayed. It feels like you are in a wine cellar and it made it feel very warm and cozy.

The food is exceptional at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. I thought it was just a wine bar, but it is not. It's delicious! Along with a great list of beer and wines, Bacchus also has an awesome menu. There are plenty of plates to share and dishes that will appeal to all kinds of palettes. This is not a steakhouse kind of a place so if the men in your group are looking for a hearty steak, they aren’t going to find it here. But they will find a delicious looking burger (on my list of things to try on my next visit) and other hearty sandwiches (I’ve got my eye on you too, Lobster Grilled Cheese!) as well as some foodie favorites like a lamb quesadilla and veal and fontina meatballs. So instead of stopping here for a drink before or after dinner, this is where you should spend your night. And on the weekends, they feature live music. Such a great spot!

Great atmosphere and rad staff at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. The space is comfortable and the staff is crazy knowledgeable. The decor is simple and there are two televisions for viewing sports, which of course, my husband loved. The TVs didn’t make it feel masculine or like a sports bar at all, which I liked.  When we arrived for our 6 pm reservation there were only a few tables filled. But by the time we left, the place was full. Be sure to make a reservation to ensure your spot!

Build your own cheese board at Bacchus Bar and Bistro, Irvine.Who doesn’t love a good cheese plate? They make it super easy to order what you like by filling out their order form. I loved that there were some straight forward choices but then a few that sounded totally unusual like the Barely Buzzed Espresso and Lavender! I knew my husband wouldn’t be in to that so I saved that one for next time I go. But we did try the Chevre with Rose Preserves. The rose preserves were way more subtle than I was expecting and was absolutely delicious. We kept it simple by ordering the French Bread, but it came out warm and crusty and was ridiculously good as only warm bread can be.

A delicious Pinot Noir from a great date night spot in Irvine: Bacchus Bar and Bistro.Just as I was about to order my standard Sauvignon Blanc, our server, Julia, came by and offered us a glass of Pinto Noir. One of their best customers was in, who loves to share his wine. Since I am really enjoying trying new wines, I decided to go for it. It was delicious! I’m finding that people who love wine really love to share their passion with others and I think that is so cool. And I was totally right in my feeling that I would probably enjoy reds and just wasn’t tasting the right ones yet.

Micro brews on tap and beer samplers at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.My husband decided to go with a beer sampler. He listed off his preferences to Julia and she helped him pick 4 beers that he would enjoy. The staff here is well trained and are so helpful with navigating the beer and wines on the menu. One of his selections was a seasonal pumpkin ale, which at first he was unsure about, but ended up really liking it. This is absolutely one of those places that you and your husband or boyfriend would both be happy with. They have done an amazing job of being a well rounded bistro.

Fresh, warm French bread to eat with our amazing cheese plate. The chevre with rose preserves was amazing!  At Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.Our cheese plate arrived and we enjoyed every single second of it. Because, cheese.  The presentation was pretty and it was the perfect way to start off our food adventure.  Something to know before you go, though, is that the kitchen is closed on Sundays. But cheese plates are always available.

Lobster and Chorizo Fondue! Delicious Brussels Sprouts! LOVED the food at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. And then the other dishes started coming out. When you see a Lobster and Chorizo Fondue on the menu, you just have to try it. And it was so good. Real good. Look at how the cheese is all crusty around the edges! And I’ve never met a Brussels Sprout I didn’t like. The ones on the Bistro menu were mixed with Chinese sausage, shishito peppers and fried garlic in a light sesame ponzu dressing. I think my husband got to taste these but I pretty much ate that whole plate by myself. And I’d do it again without hesitation.

Pork Belly Tacos at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.And if I could hold hands with these Pork Belly Tacos, I totally would. The flavor was bold and smoky with a little tang from the kimchi salsa. This is one of those dishes that you immediately start thinking about how often you can get there to eat them. Like, I was trying to figure out if my kids could play out front while I ate them on the patio so I wouldn’t have to find a babysitter. That’s how amazing the flavor was. As if I hadn’t wanted to return before, these made me want to come back and try absolutely everything on the menu. The menu items are total comfort food but with a twist. They are not your run of the mill dishes but tweaked to make them interesting and memorable. And they nailed each and every one of them.

Then, when you find out the kitchen is about the size of your own tiny kitchen at home, you shake your head and marvel at how the chef puts out this amazing food.  The more we spoke with the staff, the more we fell in love with Bacchus. They are serious about running a great restaurant and are doing a fantastic job.

Butterscotch Pots de Creme! Yum! At Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. I barely had room for dessert but you don’t say no when there is a Butterscotch Pots de Creme on the menu. The menu has pairing suggestions but since I am pretty unfamiliar with port, I decided to stay closer to what I know I love. Julia suggested an albarino as something new to try (which I ended up taking a bottle of that home with me as well, it was the Marques de Caceres 2012 Albarino). The size of the dessert was perfect and it was just as creamy and dreamy as I hoped it would be.

The dessert pairing was SO good at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine.And because Julia is super awesome, she brought out a little of the port for me to try alongside the pots de creme. It was magical. To smell the port on its own was like smelling gasoline. It was harsh on my nose and burned from the alcohol. But when sipped following a bite of the dessert, it brought out these amazing caramel tones and almost a burnt sugar flavor. Magnificent! I loved that she went out of her way to teach me something and it really showed just how great the bistro is at putting together a well thought out food and beverage program. We all have our preferences and the things we love. But sometimes we really just need to put our trust in the hands of the professionals to truly be wowed.

Come to Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine for a yummy meal and sample some wines, then take a bottle home with you. Bacchus was delightful in every way. I highly recommend you go and check it out for yourself. I was blown away by what they are able to do in that small space. Now, who wants to meet me there?  Head to their site to see the full menu and hours!

Bacchus Bar and Bistro

6735 Quail Hill Parkway

Irvine, CA 92603

www.bacchusbarandbistro.com

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestStumbleUponShare

Things I Love : October, 2014

Dying over the colors on this Good Housekeeping magazine. Crap. October is over. That means that the holidays are right around the corner. Life is just moving way too fast. I’m going to make every effort to slow it down a little bit and actually enjoy the holidays this year. But for now, here is what I loved during the month of October:

Good Housekeeping NAILED it with their November cover. I never pick up this magazine but the colors really spoke to me. I’m not even a huge fan of Eva Longoria but I really loved the graphic design and so I bought it to check it out. I enjoyed the magazine and look forward to seeing what next month’s cover looks like. Maybe they are trying to young it up a bit? I love me some Erin Phraner and I know she works at the mag so…I’m going to just give her all the credit since it has a crisp clean look like her site :)

Ghostbusters Krispy Kreme donuts! When your oldest son loves Ghostbusters and Krispy Kreme puts out Ghostbusters themed donuts, you drive way far out of your way to pick up a few dozen. Not sure when they will stop selling these but I am guessing Halloween so RUN to your nearest store and buy some! They were so much fun. They also had ones that looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

I can't stop wearing this House Dress from Henry Mack. I can’t quit wearing this House Dress by Henry Mack! It’s super comfy, can be dressed up or dressed down and I love the pattern! I wore this dress 3 times in one week to all kinds of events. One to a nice dinner out sponsored by a local magazine, a fashion show and a blogger event where I paired it with comfy flats. So versatile. I’m hoping they get more prints in soon! This is def a staple in my wardrobe.  Do your kids live for a photo bomb opportunity?

He is finally out of a car seat! Look how happy that makes him! Look at that face!!! It’s pure joy because this was the day we realized that it was legal for him to ride without a car seat. He felt like a million bucks. I still have him ride with the bottom booster most of the time to ensure that he is the safest. But I now know that he can ride without one. They are growing up WAY too fast!

Just the Wine drops for neutralizing sulfites in wine which I have an intolerance to. YOU GUYS. A few years ago my doctor told me that with my allergies and history of headaches that I should probably not drink wine. My nose gets all stuffed up. I get headaches pretty much immediately and the next day can be pretty unbearable. And that can be after just one glass. I pretty much stopped drinking champagne or sparkling wine completely because of the instant headaches. But stop drinking wine altogether? Absurd. Recently, I’ve been feeling exceptionally miserable after drinking wine. So much so that one morning I woke up and decided I couldn’t drink it anymore. Luckily, a mere 5 minutes later, I was reading OC Metro and came across a story on Just the Wine. The symptoms listed in the story were pretty different from mine, but I decided to try them out anyway. I am still trying them out to see if they really help me with my wine consumption. And so far I think the answer is yes! My nose still gets stuffed up, but I’m not getting the headaches like I had been. I tried these drops in a mimosa the other day and had no headache at all! These do not prevent headaches the next day due to over consumption. You put 3 drops in your 6 ounce glass of wine and give it a stir for 20 seconds. This is basically food grade hydrogen peroxide and it neutralizes the sulfites. I even take them with me when I go out now. My husband says it looks pretty shady when I put them in my wine but I don’t care. You can read more about them here.

Self-serve Iced Coffee at Whole Foods.Somewhere along the way I started upping my daily coffee intake. But as the day goes on, I’m less inclined towards a hot cup of coffee, and turn instead to iced.  So I was super excited to see this Cold Brew set up at my local Whole Foods! I pretty much have no understanding about what the different brews are, but love that you can serve yourself. And it was delicious too! I feel like this might be the next big thing. They took out their juice bar. And while this doesn’t exactly replace that, it seems like this is where the focus has shifted. And I quite like it.

Finger Limes! I finally got to try finger limes. The inside is not like a normal lime but are like tiny little balls that are tart and crunchy and awesome. While at Whole Foods, I came across a package of Finger Limes! I had seen them in a food magazine last year and almost went so far as to order them online. I’m a lime fanatic and these sounded super interesting. But I thought it might be a little obsessive to buy limes online. When I came across the package, I FOR SURE had to try them! They smell just like a normal lime, but the insides are totally different. I took the tip of my knife and sort of scraped at the flesh and these little orbs came out. They are crunchy and tart with a limey flavor. These would be so awesome as a garnish for a cocktail or appetizer. I made my whole family try them because who knows when the next time I’m going to have finger limes again! The kids thought they were hysterical. LOVED them! If you see them, pick them up!

The first time he was able to dip his cookies in Cow's Milk! He's outgrown that allergy! This kid has had food allergies since he was one year old. This right here is the first time he has ever dipped Oreo‘s in to cow’s milk. We are so grateful that he has outgrown that allergy. He seems to be fine with eggs as well, but he still resists the foods that were harmful to him for so long. This was such a great moment for me to see him acting like a normal kid and not being afraid to try the milk. I know that over time he will learn to like eggs as well. So cool! And we’re keeping our fingers crossed about the nuts as well. Because Butterfinger.

*I’ve been making some changes to the back end of my blog and as a result I have lost my spell check! I read through this post to the best of my ability but there could very well be some errors…I don’t need to know about them. And I guess I shouldn’t rely so heavily on the spell checker, but I do! Fingers crossed I can figure out where it went!

DIY Etched Glass Vase and Bespoke Global Giveaway

Sea inspired girl's night in.I’m partnering with Bespoke Global for this post with entertaining inspiration, a glass etched vase DIY and giveaway. This sea inspired girl’s night set up was inspired by some of the fantastic entertaining items available on the Bespoke Global site. Listen and read on to see how I used their rad items to be the catalyst to create a cool night of hanging out with your friends.

Bespoke Global entertaining pieces and giveaway! Press play: This song fits perfectly for the feel and look of the party.


When I was perusing the Bespoke Global catalog several items jumped out at me and they all happened to be things that were modeled after things found in and around the ocean. Immediately I started creating a cool girl’s night in party in my head. I am in love with the gorgeous deep mints and blues in the centers of these dishes and the urchin inspired bowls are both quirky and awesome looking. I loved that these items don’t give off a girly vibe, per se, but are organic and natural in their design with just a touch of color. And these delicate glass tumblers inspired me to create a centerpiece for my get together, a DIY etched glass vase.

Items: Kimura Glass, Urchin Bowl, Nesting Bowls

 

Etched vase for an easy DIY centerpiece.This simple DIY can be used to create custom glassware, including drinking glasses, vases, candle holders, and mirrors. And because you can choose the pattern, you can match them to any look you want to.

Glass etching DIY.I grabbed an inexpensive glass vase from the craft store along with some glass etching solution. They sell stencils that you can use right along with the etching solution but I opted to do a custom pattern. I brought out my painter’s tape just in case, but didn’t end up needing to use it for my design.

Glass etching is super easy and fun!I used a small paint brush and dabbed the etching solution on to the vase in a pattern similar to the one found on the Kimura glass from the Bespoke Global website.

Sea inspired girl's night.I think the addition of the etching really added to the visual interest of the vase and reminds me of bubbles making their way to the ocean surface. It totally fits the look of the rest of my under water inspired girl’s night set up.

DIY etched vase.The etching solution was pretty easy to use and I can’t wait to make more things with it. While the instructions said to leave the solution on the glass for 15 minutes, I left it on for about an hour. I found with doing hand drawn patterns, where it isn’t possible to get a super thick layer of the goop, you need to leave it on for much longer. Also I had to go pick up my son and that added on a half an hour that was unavoidable, but was helpful in the long run.

DIY vase for sea inspired girl's night in party.So you should totally make this vase. But you should also enter my giveaway for a $200 gift card for Bespoke Global. Use it to buy Christmas gifts for yourself or others! They have tons of AMAZING entertaining pieces but also great gift ideas for the men in your life and lovers of fine things. Their selection is totally unique and are real works of art. While I can’t afford everything on the site, I still couldn’t help myself but browse every single section to see all the amazing finds they’ve curated.

Here are some of my other favorites from the site:
Kimura Glass with Stem, Wee Bit Candle Holder, Heather Knight Shell inspired art piece, Anna Karlin Decanter, Heather Knight Geode Bowl, Gold Zag Tray, Tiny Gold Lip Dish, Honeycomb Faceted Bottle with Gold,

Enter the giveaway here!

Contest ends November 12, 2014. Contest is open to legal residents of the lower 48 states and the District of Columbia who are 18 years old at the time of entry. One grand prize winner will be awarded a  $200 coupon code for redemption at BespokeGlobal.com. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. Items purchased in conjunction with this contest must be shipped to a valid physical address (no P.O. Boxes) in the lower 48 states or the District of Columbia.  For complete rules, visit the contest landing page and click on “Read the full rules.”

Lavender Sugar Recipe

Yum! Lavender sugar for your coffee.Lavender sugar. Make this. But only if you like lavender. If you don’t, you will hate this. And I don’t want you to make things you hate. I’m obsessed with lavender. I love the smell but I also love that you can use edible lavender to scent and flavor just about anything. When the weather starts to turn colder, I love to use enhanced sugars in my coffee.  So I decided to make lavender sugar instead of buying it at the spice shop. This lavender sugar recipe is super easy and your house will smell amazing.

Easy lavender sugarYou just need sugar and edible lavender. I found this lavender at Mother’s Market but kind of had to look around town for a minute before I finally found it there. Whole Foods didn’t have any (What the heck, Whole Foods?! I thought you carried all the hippie things.). But you can buy lavender sugar here.  This little box of lavender has about 2 TBSP in it. And you only need 1 TBSP for this so maybe use the rest to make this lavender lemonade…But if you are going to buy it, and you like lavender, I suggested buying more so you have it on hand.

Edible lavender for lavender sugar.I usually hate my tiny food processor but it worked perfectly for this recipe. First you add the lavender and give it a whir to break it down. Oh the smells that will waft through your kitchen!

Easy lavender sugar recipe.Next add 1 cup of sugar to the lavender and chop it up again.

Easy lavender sugar recipe.Finally, mix the remaining sugar and the lavender sugar from the food processor together with a whisk. Have I mentioned this smells really great? Because it does.  It will take all your strength but you should probably refrain from burying your face in the bowl of lavender sugar.

Lavender sugar makes a great gift idea.Lavender sugar can be used in your coffee, tea, baking, or just about any other way that you would use sugar.

Lavender sugar for .your fall coffee and bakingIt also would make a great holiday gift idea. Just add a little tag with some suggestions for uses and you’ve got yourself the easiest homemade gift ever. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. I’m going to go smell it right now. And maybe have a spoonful. But just one or two.

Lavender Sugar Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP edible lavender, dried
  • 2 cups sugar

Instructions

  1. Add lavender to a small food processor, grind for 10 - 15 seconds.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar to the food processor, grind with lavender for 10 - 15 seconds.
  3. Pour contents from food processor to a bowl.
  4. Add remaining cup of sugar and whisk with lavender sugar.
  5. Store in an air tight container.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/lavender-sugar-recipe/

 

Interactive Chocolate Tasting

It’s that time of year. There are about to be tons of holiday parties and get togethers over the course of the next 9 weekends, beginning with Halloween and going strong all the way through New Years. Many of these gatherings will be cocktail parties, where you make contact with a bunch of people but never really get to spend any quality time with any one person. Especially if you are hosting. So I really wanted to think of a way to connect with my guests should I choose to host something this year. And instead of serving a cocktail, which I know most of my regular readers are like, “Dude! That’s like your thing!” I’ve opted for a totally different beverage. Almond Milk.

Interactive chocolate tasting.Especially during the holidays, I crave time with my girlfriends. So I think a sit down dinner, for my closest pals, would be perfection. I’m not going to pretend that I would make all the food. No way, Jose. There are plenty of restaurants that put together a nice little spread that is super tasty. But my focus would really be on the dessert course. I’ve been wanting to host a really interactive dinner party for a while. You know, to get people off their phones and actually talking and working together? So I think an interactive chocolate tasting dessert course would be a wonderful idea. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate? And while there may be (there WOULD be) wine before and during dinner, dessert is going a different direction.

Set up a chocolate tasting for the dessert course of your next dinner party.To demonstrate how this chocolate tasting would work I picked up four different flavors of chocolate from Whole Foods (Hey chocolate lovers – Whole Foods has a ridiculous selection of chocolates. Just maybe refinance your house before you go…). Instead of making sure each person gets a piece of each flavor, each guest would have only one flavor of chocolate at their place setting. Then the guests would have to ask each other for their chocolate in order to taste them all. And only the host would know the flavors so the guests will have to talk to figure out what flavors are present. You guys, they make the weirdest flavors of chocolate bars now a days. This isn’t ground breaking, I realize, but sometimes we just need to be reminded to interact with people. Consider making a no-phones-at-the-table policy. And just think of how funny this could get. I mean, who would even guess that there were Pop Rocks in your chocolate bar?!

Silk Almond Milk for a dinner party. #sponThe perfect drink to serve with the chocolates is Silk Almond Milk. I went with the Unsweetened version but Vanilla would also work well. In fact, I know some people prefer the Vanilla over the Unsweetened because it adds a touch of sweetness to it. Since I don’t like sweet beverages (which us supes weird because I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, I prefer the Unsweetened. Over the summer I did this “cleanse” diet before my trip to Mexico. It wasn’t a typical cleanse, more of a really paired down diet of mostly roughage to clean out your system. And it allowed for some snacks and treats, totally my kind of cleanse. One of the treats was a glass of Almond Milk and some dark chocolate squares. YOU GUYS! It was so good and satisfying! I first tasted Almond Milk a long time ago and I was not a fan. But I’ve realized, over the years, each brand tastes a certain way and, by far, Silk is my favorite. Have you ever tried Almond Milk? You totally should. And if you have and you didn’t like it, try it again!

Interactive chocolate tasting to end a dinner party.The Silk Almond Milk acts sort of as a palette cleanser between chocolate flavors. And the unsweetened version is perfect for cutting the sweetness of the chocolate. Some of your guests might be expecting something a little more, fun, shall we say. And you can easily jazz their glass up with a splash of Kahlua or Bailey’s. I view this chocolate tasting as the gateway to being an Almond Milk convert. After trying it with the chocolate, I knew I could easily replace regular milk with Almond milk in just about every capacity. Except for my coffee. Give me the cream and nobody gets hurt.

Share chocolates with your friends and interact to find out what the flavors are. Put down your phones! #sponThe underlying point of this tasting is to try to remind our friends how much fun we could be having with each other, in real life. Not online and not on our phones. And there is lots to talk about with the chocolate. I mean, one of the chocolate flavors had cinnamon and bacon. That’s going to elicit some conversation for sure. And then the one filled with banana caramel and topped with pecans and pink salt? Yeah, there’s going to be some tasting notes about that one. And it’s always fun to surprise your guests with a little spicy chocolate which is my fave.

Dessert course with Silk Almond Milk. #sponI put out a centerpiece with pretty macaroons and macarons (because I think it’s funny to have both) along with a carafe of Silk Almond Milk for refills. Some people might not be as fond of chocolate as I am (but they are crazy and should probably not ever be invited again…) so it’s nice, as the hostess, to put out another option. And the colorful cookies add to the table decor. This might just be the easiest dessert course for a dinner party ever. But I love that the focus is on being with your friends and working together in the name of chocolate.

Pink and pretty dinner party.Want to try Silk Vanilla Almond Milk? Sign up for their eNewsletter and receive a coupon to try it for free. You’ll also be entered to win prizes each month, so you should probably go do it. I’ve been getting the newsletter for a few months now and I have to say, they do it right. Their newsletter always looks great, has tons of awesome info and they aren’t bombarding you with their product promotions all the time. I’m not kidding, try it with chocolate. So good! I love my Silk. And I think you will too.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.