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

School Milestone and Chocolate Soy Nut Butter Shake

Soy Butter and Chocolate Shake Recipe #StreamTeamMmmmm.  How yummy does that look? This is a chocolate soy nut butter shake. It may sound a little odd to you if you’ve never had soy nut butter (one of our fave pb alternatives). But for those of you who have tried it, you know that it is a great substitute when you are trying to get a peanut butter like taste or texture without it having any devil nuts. And I’m about to tell you why I made it.

netflix-logo-300

So I am happy to announce that I just became a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam! What that means is that, monthly,  I will be posting about my favorite movies and shows that can be found on Netflix. Let me give you a quick background on myself. I’m pretty obsessed with television. I graduated with a degree in Communications with an emphasis in TV and Film. It is my happy place. When I’m watching my favorite shows, it is my absolute escape and all is right with the world. I prefer sitcoms but also love reality, well written one hour shows (like Nashville and Revenge) and made for TV movies.

Netflix will be sending me prompts to help me round-up the shows and movies on their site that I want share with you. This month, they wanted us to talk about “firsts”. And there is one first that instantly jumped out at me and is totally relevant in my world right now. You guys, I joined the PTA. First time ever. Now, I don’t mean I joined by paying my $10 and getting a membership card. No. I mean, I joined and I’m involved. I’m making sh*t happen. I am the Recording Secretary and chairperson to two events as well as serving on several other committees. So far, it has been a bit crazy. A lot of us are new and learning as we go. But I am realizing just how important PTA can be to the students. That is not to say there hasn’t been any drama. Because there has. From what I am hearing though, that is par for the course. I’m excited to be part of this great group of parents, trying to give the kids the best school year ever.

parks-and-rec-on-netflix

 

That is not to say that there aren’t times when I feel like I am in an episode of Parks and Recreation. With the red tape Leslie faces to get anything done and the running of a city department full of big personalities, there are some parallels to what one may find in a PTA experience. But that kind of stuff makes me happy. I love people watching and schools are kind of one of the best places to do that. Not in an I’m totally making fun of these people and judging them kind of way. But schools are their own little communities with mini mayors like my youngest son who like to know and say hi to each and every kid we pass to the “graders” as my oldest calls the upper graders, who are trying to figure out their sense of style and where they fit in. And, of course, the parents are pretty fun to watch too. From an observation stand point, schools are ripe with story lines.

As close as you can get to a peanut butter chocolate shake without nuts. #StreamTeamAnd since I’m focused on school, I decided to make a treat that my nut allergic son could eat. You guys, some of the best gossip I hear from my oldest son comes straight from the nut free lunch table. And while he won’t be eating this shake at school, I thought it would be the perfect treat for eating while watching some movies about school. All you need is some vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and soy nut butter (or Sunbutter which is made with sunflower seeds and is super yummy) and some milk. I need to pause her for a moment and tell you that this Midnight Moo syrup from Trader Joe’s is crazy good. It is much thicker than normal chocolate syrup and more rich. It was perfect for this shake. And also perfect for squeezing straight in to your mouth hole.

Soy Nut Butter and Chocolate Shake Recipe. #StreamTeamI just made a single serving so to my small blender cup I added two scoops of vanilla ice cream and soy nut butter.

Nut free soy butter and chocolate shake. #StreamTeamThen I added the chocolate syrup and milk and blended away.

Soy nut butter and chocolate shake. #StreamTeamSo yum! I added some mini chocolate chips to the top to give it a little more visual interest and a little bit of crunch when you sip. The straw is really just for show. Straws are just a way to make you drink your shake slower and make your head feel like it is going to explode from all the work you are putting in just to get to the shake. My son loved it. And so did I. I’m hoping next month’s prompt is something about losing weight though…

Netflix picks for school themed movies. #StreamTeamThese first four movies are for the adults and older kids, if you think they are ready for them. I am probably going to hold off with Ferris Bueller’s Day off for a while because my kids would get too many ideas. But School of Rock would be awesome for them. While these don’t focus on the parliamentary process they are school focused and awesome. And you can totally celebrate some “firsts” with these movies as your guide.

School of Rock : First time on stage, first band, first time you really find what you are passionate about

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off : First time calling in sick to school while not really being sick (but having to deal with consequences, of course…)

The Breakfast Club : First detention, first time realizing that people sometimes aren’t what they appear

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School : Lots of firsts in this one, should only be shown to age 14 and older and probably with a parent to explain and talk about most of it…but it has the Ramones.  So thumbs up.

School picks for kids on Netflix. #StreamTeamFor the kids, there are awesome school movies for them too.

High School Musical : First love, first major life decision about where to go to college, lots of talking points in this one.

Spy School : First lesson in trust and telling tall tales and the consequences that come with it.

Casper’s Scare School : And since Halloween is next week, it just makes sense to go to scare school.

Which of these have you seen?

*I was provided compensation for being a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

OC Bloggers Networking Event

Pink, orange, black and white decor for our blogger party. #bloggersunpluggedI had been talking about doing it for a while and finally got a chance to throw an Orange County Blogger Networking event.  I teamed up with the fantastic, Naadine of Great Over Good, to host it in her great space. We called it Bloggers Unplugged because we wanted everyone to just come and meet up, mingle and really get to know each other. So often at events, you are tied to your phones and your obligations and it is hard to connect with your local blogging friends. So this was a way to do that. We didn’t get any sponsors so that we could focus only on each other. It was super fun!

We hosted a networking event for Orange County bloggers. #bloggersunpluggedWe invited all kinds of bloggers and had a really great turn out. It was a really great mix of fashion, mom, travel and lifestyle bloggers and I met tons of people I had never met before. There were bloggers in all stages of their careers and it was cool to be able to chat with them about what they were going through at the moment. If you are interested in being put on the info list for any future events, you can add your info here.

Love this chalkboard wall at @greatovergood  #bloggersunpluggedThe Great Over Good space is awesome and didn’t need hardly any decor. The lobby area has tons of great artwork and this great chalkboard wall. If you don’t know Great Over Good, you need to keep it in mind if you need a space to hold a meeting, set up a photo shoot or hold a workshop. This is the place for you!  It’s my favorite. There is a kitchen, a nice large room for larger gatherings and a great meeting space, with a long table in the back.

Andy Warhol soup cans were balloon weights. #bloggersunpluggedI had forgotten to get weights for the balloons but Naadine had these great Andy Warhol soup cans on hand that worked perfect. She has great little vignettes of cool items all throughout the space. This girl’s style is SO good!

DIY pink, orange, black and white yarn pom poms added color to our blogger event. #bloggersunpluggedSince the space is big and white, I wanted to find a simple way to add lots of color. I made a bunch of colorful pom poms for it and just hung them around the room. Some of the fashion bloggers decided they made better accessories. I don’t disagree.

Simple, graphic blogging quotes were the only decor added to the white walls. #bloggersunpluggedI searched online and found a bunch of quotes on blogging that I made in to simple, graphic posters. It added a nice touch to the all white room and didn’t take a ton of time to do.

Easy DIY yarn pom poms for decor added lots of color to the all white space. #bloggersunpluggedNaadine and I split food duty and served simple things like fruit, veggies, cookies, cheese and crackers.  And plopped some yarn poms on the buffet to add some color. You guys, yarn poms will never get old for me. I love them!

Rad balloons from The Flair Exchange. #bloggersunpluggedThe color scheme was inspired by these balloons from The Flair Exchange. These balloons were a total hit at the party. Everyone loved them and I highly recommend you get some for your next party.

The Flair Exchange balloons were a great favor for the local bloggers who attended our networking event. #bloggersupluggedWe set out some goodies for the bloggers to take home with them, including little packs of the balloons.

Adorable pencils from @melissacreates for our attending bloggers. #bloggersunpluggedAnd my friend Melissa of Melissa Creates, sent pencils with fun sayings on them. You can check them out in her shop! I met so many new people and was grateful for the support of some other gals that I already knew. And in keeping with the name, I didn’t do any social media-ing during the event. Luckily, some people did so you can see more images of the attendees:

Feast Fashion Faves

Living In Style OC – She calls me Shannon but whatevs, there were a lot of people there that night. :)

And the stinking cutest couple ever was there, who I incidentally, didn’t get a chance to chat with. Turns out they are competing on The Amazing Race and they have, what might be my favorite fashion blog ever, My Boyfriend’s Clothes.

Great Over Good is holding another fun event in a few weeks! Blogger Brunch! You should go!

HUGE thank you to Naadine for helping me to throw a great event. I hope you all get to meet her at some point. She’s awesome and I can’t wait to plan something with her again!

 

Quick and Easy Dinners

I haven't had much time to cook lately so I rounded up some of the quick meals I've been making for dinner. I’m pretty much ridiculously stressed out right now. And this totally affects how I feed myself and my family. So I’ve decided to share the recipes for the quick and easy dinners that I have been making that are still tasty but really easy to make. On the nights where we have extra activities like Cub Scouts, I stick to something super simple like pasta, which incidentally, is my kid’s favorite meal that I make. It’s store-bought sauce and meatballs, but they love it so why reinvent the wheel. But on the other days, I try to mix it up between crock and things that don’t take a ton of effort or prep work. There are go-to meals that we make but I try to add in some new things too. My kids are very picky so I try all different flavors to see if I can find something they are in to. And if they don’t like something, I take a break from it, but try it again a few months later.

Our regular favorites:

Salami and Peperoncini Pizza – This pizza was based on my favorite sandwiches and is super easy to make and SO tasty

Quick Teriyaki Stir fry – We are actually having this tonight. It is super simple to make and the boys LOVE it! Which is crazy because there are vegetables in it and it is pretty healthy. It is also great cold for lunch the next day!

Super Easy Chicken and Pasta – My husband requests this one and I am happy to oblige considering it uses store-bought chicken and has a ton of flavor. Did I mention it’s easy?

Tacos or Taco salad: Homemade tortilla chips with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese and hot sauce.

New things I’m trying:

Bacon Cheeseburger Sandwiches – Made these two nights ago and they were INSANE! I skipped her seasoning, but added about 3/4 of a packet of onion soup mix (you know, the powder with dried onions? That.) to the meat. Super yummy. The cheese is a must to sort of bind the meet together, but even if it turns in to a big old mess, it is still super tasty. LOVED it!

Slow Cooker Creamy Bacon Ranch Chicken  –  This is on the agenda for tomorrow. My fingers are crossed that the boys will like it. My oldest has been in to ranch dressing lately and they love spaghetti so fingers crossed! I thought it would be a good way to much up our standard pasta.

Sweet Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken – I am pretty sure my kids will like this one. They seem to like teriyaki (although their tastes literally change by the minute). This will be on our menu next week.

Crockpot Rustic Italian Beef Ragu – I love a good ragu. So much flavor! And this one is done in the crock pot so that means I can busy myself with life and not be stuck over a stove except for cooking noodles. Yeah!

Bacon and Brie Grilled Cheese – By Friday night I’m over cooking from the week, but we are trying to save money and not go out much. I’ve decided Friday nights are sandwich night. Not cold cuts (probably not cold cuts) but sandwiches that are a bit fancier then we send to school in lunches. My kids love bacon so I am going to do a bacon grilled cheese this week. Except I am going to sub the brie out for some extra aged gouda which is closer to parmesan in flavor which I know my boys really like, but will melt a little better. I’m REALLY looking forward to this…

Need more recipe ideas? Follow my “recipes” board on Pinterest. And remember that fluke when I was eating all clean? I still have that board too…

Now, would you be so kind as to share with me what you are eating?  What are your go-to meals?

Upcycled Milk Jug Planters

Advertisement
DIY milk jug planters. Every time my kids finish a container of milk my head spins. Those containers have got to be good for other things. I know they can be recycled but they can be so much more useful than that. So I decided to make some of the plastic milk jugs in to planters. And I decided to take my older son with me when I went to the master, his grandfather, to learn the best way to replant plants, since I have the blackest thumb possible. I figured we could keep at least a few of these containers out of a landfill and teach myself and my son something that could come in handy later. Both of my kids have expressed an interest in planting our own food, so this lesson will surely come in to play again. got milk? asked me if I could come up with a craft that would share how milk and healthy habits can be worked in to your everyday living. And I really think these planters do that.

Milk is full of things that growing bodies need to help them in the future. But first we needed a few empty milk jugs. Luckily, this kid LOVES his milk. If he could, he would drink milk for all of his meals instead of eat. I don’t hate that. Milk is full of good stuff that his body needs so he gets it for each meal and one snack a day. And before we knew it, we had 3 empty jugs for us to upcycle in to planters.

Making planters out of empty plastic milk jugs. Grandpa Al runs a nursery out of his back yard and sells cottage garden plants to mom and pop nurseries in and around Orange County (read this great article the Register wrote about him). So when it comes to anything with plants, he is the man. We brought over our plastic milk jugs and he and my son got to work turning what would have been trash in to something useful.  I had wanted to plant some herbs, as I really enjoy using them in cooking, but Grandpa Al doesn’t grow herbs. And while he used to grow heirloom vegetables, he has since changed his focus to cottage flowers. I decided that since I’m such a gardening novice, I would let him show us with his regular plants and then my son and I will be able to purchase some herbs and create an herb garden together. [Read more...]