CHRONIC MNCHER: Just as the cupcake and frozen yogurt madness begins to subside, a new wave of trendy chains is on the up and up. The fast & casual pizza. It’s what chipotle did with the burrito. It’s what subway did with the sandwich.
Blaze pizza, Mod Pizza, 800s degrees… If one of these isn’t in your town yet, it will be soon.
I entrusted the kid behind the counter with full creative control over my pie. Mozzarella, gorgonzola, BBQ chicken, red onions, pineapple and pepperonis. It was too much. Balance is needed – Simplicity is essential. My esteemed colleague, the space taco, had a clearer vision than myself. She went with a minimalistic approach and came out victorious. After the smoke cleared, it was just pizza. Corporate pizza. Staff was nice. Place was clean. But overall, nothing special here.
SPACE TACO: When it comes to the holiest of holies, pizza, I like to consider myself a devoted and loving priest. Here I was, rope tied to ankle, about to embark on a new taste adventure at Mod Pizza. The venue itself gave off an industrial, yet hip atmosphere accented with a brick interior and hat-turned-backward employee who provided friendly and jovial conversation. They succeeded in creating a new wave, laid back feel. This place has all the good stuff. The price was just right, the toppings suitable for any craving, and the pizza was cooked in a timely matter. They even had an assortment of classic glass bottle sodas and crisp beers or wines on tap to pair nicely with your red brick delicacy. My pie was simple, extra red sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola, italian sausage, and some chopped basil. Instantly, the pizza satisfied my usual insatiable pizza appetite because it had just the right level of quality. I was Goldy Locks and my pizza was just right. This place definitely exceeded my expectations as both visually and flavorfully appealing.
I give MOD an 8 out of 10.
Mod Pizza is located at 43965 Alton Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92604
You can follow them on Facebook HERE.
CHRONIC MNCHER: Lemonade is what quiet suburbanites would consider an ‘exciting change of pace.’ The restaurant’s playful interior and synthetic warmth welcomes ritzy customers with open arms. You grab a tray, walk the line, order food, and pay. If this sounds oddly familiar, it should. It’s called a cafeteria. However, instead of middle-school quality sloppy joes and cole slaw, Lemonade offers fancy white truffle mac n’ cheese, braised Moroccan chicken, and the like. I kept it simple. I got a turkey sandwich. And after the first bite, my eyes exploded and my lips gently whispered, “wow.” Behind the plastic aesthetic, puzzling menu, and bourgeois patrons, Lemonade’s food is actually unique and delicious.
When life gives you lemons, order the turkey bacon avocado.
SPACE TACO: Recently had an encounter with the mirage that is Lemonade. From enjoying the simplicity and warm colors of their interior design to their friendly wait staff, I had high hopes for the welcoming, albeit noisy, establishment. However, the Rubix cube that is their menu left me perplexed and hungry. I figured the saving grace would be the lemonade which fell flat. The beyond sugary beverage reminded me of the lemonade I would buy from my six year old neighbors. My salad and beef brisket were just alright and definitely not worth what was paid for them. Finally, the miniature red velvet cupcake was actually quite excellent, but I would not frequent Lemonade again for dinner, but opt for one of their tasty sandwiches to go instead.
I give Lemonade a 6.8
Lemonade is located at 401 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660 (inside Fashion Island next to the movie theater)
You can follow them on Facebook HERE.
CHRONIC MNCHER: I grew up in a time when Combat was spelt with a K, and Sgt Pepperoni’s Pizza is a portal back to that happy childhood. I got the BBQ chicken pizza. A heavenly slice of sunshine and cheeserays beaming onto my pallet. My mouth the altar, and Sgt Pepperoni’s the priest.
Food does more than merely sustain us; it evokes emotion. And Sgt Pepperoni’s made me nostalgic.
SPACE TACO: Pizza is one of life’s simple pleasures. It isn’t hard to find, but a good slice is like finding a parking spot in Newport on a Friday night. Sgt Pepperoni definitely taught me not to judge a pizza by its box. We were greated with a hearty hello and a free cannoli…we left the gun. The restaurant has a comfy hometown feeling. Various Beatles tribute art with a pizza twist clung to the red brick walls which were offset by the arcade machines and tvs playing a whole slough of sporting events. For me, feeling welcomed to a restaurant is a huge part of the experience, and Sgt Pepperoni’s definitely delivered.
I ordered a slice of meatball ricotta, and as a fan of the classics, pepperoni with a cold glass bottle of Coke. The pepperoni was perfection like they had it down to a science. The ricotta was fresh and the meatball well seasoned.
What sets Sgt Pepperoni’s apart from other venues were its peculiar attributes. Such as the man in the arcade who seemed to only be there to play pinball and not to eat, and the speakers and stage set up for what could only be a live band or karaoke.
Bottom line, Sgt Pepperoni’s delighted my tastebuds and warmed my heart. It clearly has the reputation as a place where you are welcome to spend some time enjoying the three p’s, pinball, people, and pizza.
Sgt. Pepperoni’s is located at 2300 SE Bristol St, Newport Beach, CA 92660
You can follow them on Facebook HERE.
CHRONIC MNCHER: The Burnt Truck is a treasure chest on wheels. I went in with under-inflated expectations, but was treated to delicious melted cheese, bursting through a beefy barricade of top-shelf angus. I wallowed in a state of absolute euphoria amid a fantastic mass of greasy goodness, with me, getting fatter and fatter with each bite. It was magical. In addition to the cheeseburger, I endeavored through the pastrami, meatball & pb&j sliders, all sensational in their own right.
Food does more than merely sustain us; it evokes emotion. And the Burnt Truck made me ecstatic.
SPACE TACO: My first encounter with the Burnt Truck was one of happenstance. I decided to take a dive one night and found this hamburger Holy Grail amongst a swarm of other food trucks. I started small, the cheeseburger and the pastrami. My first bite of the cheeseburger and I knew I had stumbled upon something magnificent. Just the right amount of cheese atop a generously sized angus beef patty. Not to mention the creamy mayo avocado spread that nearly destroyed all other burger dressings for me. I at first was nervous about the pastrami. I had just devoured the most perfect burger, what if this one doesn’t meet my expectations. It did not meet my expectations, it demolished them. Enough pastrami fit for a king and pickles on the cusp of cucumberdom atop a warm bun with just a hint of horseradish and I was floating in flavor. This shark was hooked.
Like a devoted disciple, I follow the Burnt Truck. Now half of the excitement is the adventure searching for the Burnt Truck, but each time I lay my eyes on the charcoal colored beacon of hope tucked away in a new location, I am filled with joy and anticipation like a child on Christmas. The Burnt Truck is my present under my Christmas tree, except it’s a grease wagon under the Hilton awning.
The Burnt Truck roams around Orange County and you can hunt them down here http://www.theburnttruck.com.
You can also follow them on Twitter @TheBurntTruck and on Facebook