While most Italian restaurants are composed of tables with red checkered clothes and jolly familial atmosphere, North Italia offers a modern take on classics while keeping the originality of quality and tastes that I find most admirable in Italian food.
Zucca Chip: the more mediocre appetizer reminiscent of kale chips, possibly with too many pinches of salt.
Calamari: a non-traditional, arugula-ridden plate of fried batter similar to onion rings, on squid that is surprisingly delicious.
Wild Mushroom Polenta: while I’ve very limited experience with polenta, this dish opened my mind to a world where chard could be awesome, after all.
Pizzas: the thin crust is wonderful, and I’ve always ordered the daily specials to find myself pleasantly surprised each time.
Daily soups: from my past visits I’ve come to a conclusion that their soups are typically of a puree quality drizzled with olive oil. It’s always very refreshing and soothing to the palate.
Address: 1421 W MacArthur Blvd F, Santa Ana, CA 92704
Best Times to Visit: avoid hours right after lunch (or really, hot days in general)
Comment: Cauldron is an ice cream store that recognizes that the fact that ice cream is the best thing in the world is not enough to draw customers, and thus innovated both aesthetically and gastronomically.
Not only are each liquid nitrogen serving of ice cream made to order, the way their cones fit snugly in their paper containers was almost too perfect, each circular puffle (which is something that you do have to pay extra for, though it is well worth it) a bite oozing with nostalgic cakes of my childhood, of vanilla, milky. If you are like me, you would pair it with the stumptown coffee they sell on the side, for the bitterness adds infinite complexity to the taste altogether.
This sun moon and stars flavor is a delicious mix of oolong, jasmine and green tea with an irrelevant blue color that clearly was leaning more towards the aesthetic, contrasting with the miniscule sparkle of stars.