Chelsea Madren aka OC Food Diva: Johnsonville's The Sausage Dome Champion, World Food Championships E.A.T. Certified Food Judge, KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, Brand Ambassador, Culinary Researcher, Food & Travel Critic, Food Competitor, and Recipe Developer
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Have a D’Vine Mediterranean experience in Fullerton, California
Walid Alarja was born to
cook. As a child, he apprenticed as a cook. He started his career helping with
preparation of daily meals and special events at his family’s restaurants and
esteemed hotel. Educated at the French Culinary Institute in Alexandria, Egypt
and with over 30 years of experience in the culinary arts, Walid is a Master
Chef who specializes in the preparation of authentic Mediterranean cuisine.
The Fullerton location,
which opened on August 1, 2015, is hidden among the college town bars and
eateries in the downtown area. The exterior is made from the historic red brick
like many other buildings in Downtown Fullerton. The entrance is a tell-tale
sign that this place is something different with the shapes and designs
reminiscent of North Africa.
The interior is beautiful
from the long marble countertop bar to the woven wooden chairs and stools.
The dining room is softly
lit with lighting fixtures you might find in Egypt or Morocco.
dining experience starts with bread service of crispy pita bread chips paired
with extra virgin olive oil and herbs for dipping.
with Shawarma ($9) is hummus topped with chicken or beef shawarma, pine nuts,
and olive oil. The hummus is smooth, creamy, and not too lemony. The chicken
shawarma is fabulous! It is one of the best chicken shawarmas I have ever had.
It is super flavorful and pairs perfectly with the hummus. The pine nuts add a
nutty flavor and crunchy texture. I am definitely going to order this as an entrée
next time. Rating: 5/5
Fatayer ($7) is lightly fried dough stuffed with Mediterranean cheeses. These
remind me of cheese turnovers or spanakopita. The dough is more like a hand pie
crust. The cheese inside is gooey and hot (be careful on your first bite). Very
simple yet delicious! Rating: 4.9/5
($4) is a Mediterranean drink made from a fruit syrup which contains dates,
grape molasses, and rose water. The floral rose aroma hits your olfactory
senses first – sweet roses. Then rose water, dates, and grape molasses sweeten
the palate. The color is a beauty to behold. Rating: 4.5/5
Chop ($15) is marinated and grilled lamb chops served with your choice of one
cold mezza, rice, and pita bread. The hubby chose tabbouleh as his cold mezza.
The lamb is juicy, tender, and succulent. It is grilled to perfection,
well-seasoned, and flavorful. Rice was also flavorful and a good starch choice.
The tabbouleh has a good flavor but a little heavy on the lemon. Otherwise,
this is an excellent dish. Rating: 4.8/5
($12) is grilled ground beef and lamb mixed with finely chopped onions,
parsley, and house spices on a skewer and served with your choice of one cold
mezza, rice, and pita bread. Kefta is one of my favorite dishes in
Mediterranean cuisine. D’Vine’s version did not disappoint. I chose labneh as
my cold mezza. The blend of meats, onions, herbs, and spices are perfect with a
chargrilled color on the outside and medium rare in the middle. The labneh adds
a tangy creamy flavor to the lamb like a yogurt sauce. It is also great mixed
into the rice. The garlic sauce is amazing and goes with everything. Rating:
($4) is a pastry made with light, flaky layers of filo dough lined with crushed
walnuts and drizzled with pistachios and syrup. I have an immense appreciation
for this dessert after making it this past summer. It is a very time-consuming
preparation but well worth it. This has to be one of the best baklavas I have
ever had. It is light, flaky, and crispy and tastes of molasses and brown
sugar. The pistachios add the perfect nuttiness and richness. Rating: 5/5
Lubnan ($6) is an aromatic dessert made with semolina pudding, topped with
whipped cream, fresh ground pistachios and sugar syrup. The best way for me to
describe it is that it reminds me of haupia, which is a Hawaiian coconut
pudding. It has the same texture, but instead of coconut, it has a sweet floral
flavor from the rose water on the front end of the palate and custardy taste on
the back of the palate. It is a very unique dessert and a must-try! Rating:
you on the lookout for authentic Mediterranean food, look no further. D’Vine has
everything you are craving!