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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lemonade brings their modern cafeteria experience to Irvine, California


On July 24, 2015, Lemonade opened its second Orange County location at Park Place in Irvine, CA. This is the eighteenth location for Chef and Founder, Alan Jackson, and Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Ian Olsen. Lemonade is a Southern California culinary adventure that uses the freshest seasonal ingredients available. Alan likes to describe the Lemonade concept as a “choose-your-own adventure for lunch or dinner” with “a delicious and healthy change of pace” marrying “quality and convenience”. This philosophy matches perfectly with Park Place where you have people who are looking for lunch on the go, relaxed dinner, or just an intermission from shopping. The concept is very simple – grab a tray, choose from a selection of marketplace cold salads, hot and cold meats, sandwiches, pot roasts, braised pots, soups, stews, market tossed salads, desserts, and an array of lemonades. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but if you take it easy, it gives you an excuse to come back again another day.

Old Fashioned Lemonade tastes like homemade with the brightness of lemon. It is sweetened just right for a refreshing, tangy, ice cold drink. Rating: 5/5

Blood Orange Lemonade combines the old fashioned with the sweetness of blood orange. The beautiful ruby red color shines through with brilliance. Rating: 5/5

Moroccan Couscous, Cherries, French Feta, and Pistachio is a surprisingly light salad. The couscous are flavored by the salty, creamy feta, the sweet cherries, and rich, nutty flavor of the pistachios. Together, they make a harmonious bite. Quartering the cherries might be better to spread the flavor throughout. Rating: 4.5/5

Israeli Couscous, Wild Mushrooms, Parmesan, and Lemon Truffle is a beautiful salad. The pearls of couscous are perfectly cooked and have a wonderful mouthfeel. The earthiness and meaty texture of the mushroom, the saltiness of the parmesan, and tanginess of the lemon make a refreshing combination of flavors. Another addition to my favorites list! Rating: 5/5

Orecchiette, Tomato, Perline Mozzarella, and Chimichurri salad have the bright and attractive colors like the Italian flag. The fresh tomatoes and soft mozzarella work well together. The flavors were improved since 2013 and love the addition of chimichurri. It brightens the palate with herbaceous flavor and aroma. Rating: 4.5/5

Fig, Arugula, Bleu Cheese, and Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette is a wonderful play of sweet, bitter, creamy, and tangy flavors. The figs are ripe and have a refreshing sweetness. The bleu cheese is creamy and pungent. The arugula has a nice green flavor with a bitter bite. The sherry shallot vinaigrette adds a layer of tanginess without the harsh bite of raw onion. Rating: 4.5/5

Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Dates, Parmesan, and Capers is an interesting salad. As of late, brussels sprouts are making the rounds of being served in raw form versus cooked. The bitterness of the sprout is alleviated when cooked. In its raw form, it is a little too bitter for my taste. The dates made a good attempt on balancing the bitterness but it just wasn’t enough. The sprouts do have a nice crisp texture for a crunching bite. Rating: 3/5

Red Miso Beef Short Rib is another one of my favorites! Imagine braised short rib with an Asian flare from the red miso and black sesame seeds. With all of the sauce leftover, a side of sticky rice would have been perfect. Rating: 5/5

White Truffle Mac N Cheese is another one of my favorites! I have had a love affair with truffles since my first trip to Italy during truffle season. It has to be one of the best mac and cheese I have ever had – the cheese sauce actually tastes like cheese and is still gooey as you lifted the spoon from the bowl. The truffle was just enough to give you the flavor and aroma while not overpowering the cheese. The macaroni is cooked al dente with the sauce clinging lovingly to the outside. It actually makes its way inside the macaroni too. Rating: 5/5

Avocado Salmon Louie is such a pretty presentation. It will remind you of a dish served on a cruise ship with a luxurious and classic look. My only complaint again is that the avocado was not quite ripe enough making it was difficult to scoop out as you eat. This a great dish for summer as it is ice cold and very refreshing. Rating: 4/5

Ahi Tuna Poke, Mango, Macadamia Nut, and Coconut Orange Oil is enticing by the name. But if you are true lover of poke, this is not the dish for you. Being from Hawaii and eating poke since I was a toddler, this did not make the cut for me. If you like the California-style poke with the inclusion of avocados, fruits and nuts, you might like this. For me, it is overly sweet from the mango and the macadamia nuts add an unusual texture to the mix. Poke should really be more savory and really simple in flavor so the fish can shine through. Although, the presentation is visually stunning. Rating: 2/5

Coconut Cake is wonderful way to end your meal. The cake is light and spongy. The coconut along with the creamy frosting make the cake decadent and tropical. Another item to add to my favorites list! Rating: 5/5

Chocolate Buttercream is a Ding Dong in cake form. The ganache on the outside is beautifully shiny and glossy. The cake is rich in chocolate flavor. The buttercream inside is fluffy, creamy, and just sweet enough. Rating: 5/5

Next time you’re at Park Place in Irvine, make Lemonade your fuel stop! It’s healthy alternative and will give you energy whether your plan is to go back to work or shop.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
D├ęcor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Lemonade (at Park Place) 
2967 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612, United States
+1.949.396.1560
Hours: Daily from 11:00am to 9:05pm

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