Restaurant Marin Redefines the Modern-Day Diner

I’m not afraid to drive far for good food, and when I live in between LA and OC good food isn’t hard to come by. However, there are too many places on my ever growing list, especially when it comes to newer openings. I am a huge fan of Arc in Costa Mesa, so when I heard that the owners were opening a modern-day diner right next door, I was counting down the days until they opened. I was lucky enough to try Restaurant Marin for an early Mother’s Day lunch with my parents a few weeks in to their opening. Read on for the many highlights:


First off, this place is teeny tiny in the best way possible. The decor is clean and modern while still evoking the cozy diner feel. Breakfast is served all day, but they also offer unique Lunch and Dinner menus. They have a no-tipping policy, but hospitality is included in their pricing, which is on the higher end. Don’t let that deter you. The service is personable and top-notch and the quality and portion sizes of the dishes won’t make you think twice when the bill comes. Now, for the most important part, THE FOOD.

c05ab65d-1316-467b-be6b-fbee2ecfe960First of all, you can order this breakfast sandwich at all hours (7AM-12AM) since breakfast is served all day. Appropriately names, The Muffin, this breakfast sandwich is a force to be reckoned with. A fried egg, aged cheddar, heaps of shaved bacon, and spinach are served in between a freshly baked muffin bun. If you are a follower of the blog, you know that I am a breakfast sandwich addict and aficionado, and I have to overwrite any previous statements that I have made about having had the perfect breakfast sandwich. This tops them all. Even better, you can remove the top muffin and ask for a side of fresh jam and save that for ‘dessert.’ Worth it.


I ordered the Fried Chicken sandwich filled with warm brie, peppers, red cabbage, and fried lemon. The chicken was perfectly crunchy, not overwhelming in size, and the juiciest chicken I have ever had. Seriously. It will be difficult not to order this again and again.


On the healthier side (since this picture doesn’t do the sizable portion justice), this Grilled Steak salad was heavenly. Served with farro, arugula, blue cheese, roasted sweet peppers, parmesan, and flavorful grilled steak, this dish was also a winner. They also have 4 other salads on their lunch menu, one of which is protein-less for any vegetarian friends you may have.


Did you really think we were going to leave without having dessert? Our table happened to be very close to the counter where they display some of the cakes and pies that they are serving that day, so it was inevitable that we were going to indulge. After careful consideration, we settled on the Apple Pie. It was served hot with fresh whipped cream and was packed with sweet apples and cinnamon. The crust to filling ratio was spot on. We were unable to finish the whole pie between the 3 of us.


Before we left, we made reservations for an early Father’s Day dinner in June, because their dinner menu looks just as amazing, if not better, than their lunch and breakfast options. Let me reiterate, for some, the prices come with a bit of sticker shock to those expecting a ‘diner’ experience, but if you are level-headed and appreciate UH-MAZING, fresh, carefully crafted dishes, you won’t bat an eyelash at the bill. Soon, this will be a difficult reservation to nail down, I feel it. Go now, before the masses discover the experience that Chef Noah Blom and his wife, Marin, have created.

For more information, visit

Sweet and Savory at The Waffle Affair

I’m moving further into Orange County because of my job, and to be honest, I’ve been dreading it. I’m currently right in the middle of all of the hotspots in Orange County and Los Angeles, and the thought of being far away from all of the summer food festivals is killing me. However, I’ve been lucky enough to spend more time exploring some OC favorites, and I’m liking what I’m seeing! I was delighted to be invited to an event last week in Newport Beach by a local blogger! The Waffle Affair was hosting a small media event complete with savory waffles, sweet bites, and most importantly, coffee!


Tucked away in a small strip mall off of Bayside Drive, this cafe is whimsically decorated with a black and white color scheme and classic glass chandeliers. It’s a small space, but there is also outside seating available, perfect for a summer morning or sunny afternoon. They can fulfill any sweet or savory craving that you may have.


First, we started off their Bits and Dips, waffle bites stuffed with hot dogs! Yes, you read this correctly, HOT DOGS. I’m not the biggest fan of hot dogs, but when it’s served inside a delicious waffle batter to offset the meaty mysteriousness that I usually have a hard time rationalizing, it’s a nice combo. These were a great option if you have wee ones that you want to please while you enjoy your afternoon latte.


Some of us got to this waffle before I had a chance to take the photo, and that ‘some of us’ may or may not have been me…but, that is besides the point. The one on the left was turkey and havarti and the one on the right was salami and fontina. If you’ve ever had a cheese plate in your life, you know that these are great flavor combinations. Basically, if I need lunch on the go and I’m near this place, I’m picking up the salami and fontina stat!


This photo is huge because the flavor was huge! This carrot cake waffle bite was topped with the most delicious dollop of their homemade cream cheese concoction! I could eat these all day! If you love carrot cake, these bites were absolutely awesome, and the cream cheese topping was a huge hit with everyone! We also enjoyed tastes of their chocolate chip, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and coconut waffles! Many of which were gone before I could get a bright enough photo. That is just a testament to their yumminess!


We were also lucky enough to take some sweets to-go! I also ordered their seasonal latte, Lavender and Honey! They exclusively serve illy’s Arabica beans, which I’ve grown fond of. They have a full range of caffeinated beverage options to pair without whatever waffle you choose!


I can’t wait to come back and try more of their specialty waffle flavors including Cafe au Lait, Earl Grey Tea, and many more! If you’re looking for a family-friendly spot for some savory and sweet options, this is the place to go!

For more information, visit!

Sundays at The Starling Diner

BREAKING NEWS: I found my new favorite Sunday brunch joint, and it was right in my backyard. The Starling Diner is in the middle of a neighborhood on 3rd Street in Long Beach, CA and has been around since 2007. Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal and The Starling Diner has plenty of options for everyone. When you walk in, you immediately feel as if you are dining in someone’s home. Between the size, decor, and service, you feel very comfortable right off the bat.
I love their mimosas. It takes a very good alternative beverage for me to forgo coffee during breakfast, but their mimosas are not only beautiful, but also quite delicious. My favorite so far is the pear mimosa with lavender garnish.
Their Breakfast Bruschetta is the perfect place to start. It is broiled baguette slices slathered with creamy mascarpone and topped with fresh berries. The first time I ordered it, I was pleasantly surprised to see honey on each slice of baguette which wasn’t in the description on the menu. It was the perfect natural sweetener to an already decadent dish. Similar to the mimosa and every other dish that I have had so far, everything is beautiful and delicious.
Speaking of sweet, the Broiled San Francisco Stuffed Toast is my favorite ‘dessert for breakfast’ item on the menu. They broil the French toast and stuff it with creamy mascarpone and creme fraiche and top it with various fruits including berries, peaches, caramelized apples, and other seasonal specials.
For savory, I chose the Blue Crab Cake Scramble upon a recommendation from a friend. He did not lead me astray. The blue crab cakes were the perfect consistency and went very well with the fluffy scrambled eggs. If you are an adventurous bruncher, I would definitely recommend this one.

The story behind The Starling Diner is quite an interesting one. The owner opened her first cafe in San Francisco in 1995 after graduating from Rutgers Law. Reverie Cafe was her first successful venture, and although she has since sold it, I couldn’t be happier that she decided to open her third venture, The Starling Diner, so close to my home. The Starling Diner has been around for 7 years and I hope that it stays open for 70 more! Be sure to check out their sister cafe, La Galette Creperie, if you are ever in San Clemente.
If you ever would like to meet me in person, chances are I am here drinking a mimosa or dirty chai latte on Sunday mornings! Also, they are open for dinner Thursday-Saturday from 5PM-9PM which I can’t wait to check out sometime soon!
For more information, see