Posts Tagged ‘Rancho Santa Margarita’

 “Coto Voice” – Food Finds – March 2011 Issue

  I must admit, living here in the foothills of a remote area of Southern California has its benefits.  Our beloved Rancho Santa Margarita just started a Farmers Market in the Lowe’s shopping center parking lot on Fridays from 1:00-6:00.  Local growers of various fruits and vegetables are there along with plants and flowers from Laguna Hills Nursery. 

There are also local restaurants who are selling their best items.  For example, San Giovanni’s Restaurant (in Dove Canyon; 949-589-1900), is selling their famous, home-made sausage, as well as individually-packed frozen Italian meals – great to serve for dinner Friday night, or pack up to work on Monday!

In addition, there are a variety of other vendors, to which the city is putting limits on.  It is a “farmers” market, not a “flea” market, so maybe that is best. 

From these vendors, I’ve made amazing fresh guacamole and salads, the juiciest lemonade from Meyer lemons, and have started drought-tolerant, succulent gardens in my yard.  Friday, I plan on getting some fresh herbs and nuts and to be further inspired to prepare healthy, tasty, organic meals for my family and friends (see Recipes in 

The weather, since they started in December, has been so chilly, so I say to the vendors, “Be patient and dress warmly.”  I say to our readers, “Grab a jacket and go visit and support them this Friday!” 

If you would like to participate in the Rancho Santa Margarita Farmers Market, please contact Verge at 949-648-1033.

See you Friday!

Christie Lynch

Q:  When is it again? 

A:  F-R-I-D-A-Y-S !!!!

Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria

“We’ll Save You a Trip to Chicago”

We had so much fun last night!  Date Night lead us to our local Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria to check out their new Tap Room.  Ken, Andrew, Cindy and I have enjoyed Selma’s since it arrived in Rancho Santa Margarita in 2003, and they just seem to be getting better.  Honestly, we’ve been in the habit of ordering their pizza to go.  Old habits are meant to be changed up and I highly encourage you to come visit Selma’s new additional kids’ game room and grown up Tap Room.  The story behind the conception of the Tap Room reads something like this:

The Story of Our Berriphany

     “We were brainstorming in an intense meeting with a few cold beers one summer morning trying to come up with a great add-on to our successful restaurant. 

     What would complement Selma’s?  Donuts?  No, we like to sleep more than that.  Sushi?  Seemed a bit odd.  Coffee shop?  No, the triple mocha latte with 2 shots, sub soy, no whip, non-fat and add two ¼ pumps butterscotch flavoring seemed too confusing for us.  After throwing back a few more, we continued to praise the outstanding flavors of the local brewed beers we were drinking.  Hoppy, full-bodies, rich in aromas, yet smooth on the lips.  Then it came…an epiphany like no other…a beer epiphany!

     Hey, let’s open up a Tap Room!  A room filled with handles of small batch beers from local to abroad to allow other thirsty folks a chance to experience beer as we were that fateful summer morning.  A place of cheer, a place of flavor, a place of beer! 

     We then had the arduous task of sampling as much beer as we could to determine what beers would best represent this beer-iphany.  After hours and hours of “research” our work was completed.  (We have one hell-of-a-beer pong game now too!).  So, with that said, we hope you enjoy our vision to bring to you…Selma’s Tap Room.



Mike & Eric

Food Finds

Carmelita’s, Rancho Santa Margarita – January, 2010

Carmelita’s – Tequila, Cocina y Mexico.  Carmelita’s Restaurant has been serving authentic, Mexican cuisine in the Sacramento area since 1962 and are now open in Rancho Santa Margarita in a beautiful patio setting overlooking the lake.  Their menu features old family recipes from the Heredia family that come primarily from the state of Puebla, Mexico.  Carmelita’s claims that “Food isn’t just a meal.  It’s an experience.  It’s a chance to break bread with people you may not even know.”  The restaurant continues all the family tradition and is now owned by their son, Clemente Heredia —  and don’t be surprised to find Clemente greeting you at the door!

Cindy, Andrew, Ken and I began our date night playing Mexican music in the car, gearing ourselves up for a Mexican cuisine adventure!  We were greeted by Clemente, and were invited into a truly artistic, colorful and tasteful world of Mexico.  Being an artist and designer, I was drawn to the décor right away – warm wall color, great tile designs, beautiful oversized painting of the agave plant (which I learned is where tequila comes from), another colorful and beautiful, oversized painting depicting life in Mexico and a great bar, defined by it’s unique iron designs.  The patio furniture is very cool, and the setting, overlooking the lake, is soothing and relaxing.

Clemene took such good care of us and our waiter, John, was as warm and friendly (someone who truly loved his job – how refreshing!).  We started out with their house margarita – “Carmelita’s Top Shelf “ — made with three ingredients:  100% agave tequila (they make their own tequila!), hand-squeezed lime juice, and agave nectar – we were warned they were strong.  Well, they were strong and made me feel good, just like my husband (did I just say that?  It must be the tequila talking! Ooo la la!).  For every guest, they serve warm black beans and salsa with chips – nice and different and so good!  Next, we ask Clemente to surprise us with his most well known menu items.  We were brought four of thee most flavorful, and enjoyable dishes:

1) Enchiladas De Camaron – green tomatillo enchiladas filled with shrimp, sautéed with salsa fresca, served with freshly sliced avocado and sour cream (I’m salivating just writing about it);

2) Chili Rellenos (which I never have had and was pleasantly surprised!) – they were stuffed poblano chiles served with salsa and tortillas;

3)  Carnitas – their most popular dish.  Crispy and juicy pork, slow roasted to perfection.  The dish included sides of chile de arbol salsa, salsa fresca, lime, guacamole and tortillas (OMG!  Heaven!)

4)  Espada – Swordfish Tacos served with an amazing sauce (my signature order, and I must say I would order it again and again.  Next time I might try their shrimp or lobster taco).

For dessert, we had warm, petite Churros with Mexican carmel (cajeta), served warm with vanilla ice cream (muy, muy bueno!).  It was as warm and comforting as the service and environment.

It is so nice to report that EVERYTHING was sooo enjoyable, tasteful, and, as my husband wants you to know, “the food was truly GREAT!”.  In today’s society, both food and service can be a lost art and Clemente provides the perfect balance of both.  Speaking for all of us, we look forward to coming back to Carmelita’s!  We hope to see you there!

Christie Lynch & Cindy Shapiro

Pad Thai

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Restaurant Reviews
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Pad Thai Taste of Thailand, is a great taste of Thai right her in Rancho Santa Margarita.  Believe it or not I have never truly had Thai food.  Well, I have had Thai spring rolls, but that’s it!  So when Christie and I decided to visit Pad Thai for our next write up I was a little nervous, but changed my thoughts very quickly arriving to a full house at this hidden gem! (You know the foods gotta be good when there isn’t an available table!)

Ok, now I am totally on board with Thai food!  Pad Thai was such an incredible experience for my first official taste of Thai.  We started our meal with the Won Ton Soup, whch has the most delicious chicken won tons, roasted pork and the just the right amount of vegetables.  Next up, Yum Nuea, the name says it all, YUM! The Yum Nuea is a salad prepared with tender beef, lime sauce, roasted chili, lettuce and Thai basil.  This dish was amazing with the infusion of lime and spicy chili.  Then we had the Pik Khing Stir Fry, which was my husband’s favorite of the night.  It is served with Stir-fried fresh snow peas, peppers and chicken with the chef’s special ginger and dried chili paste-the combination was intriguing and delicious.  You can order any of the dishes at Pad Thai with just the right amount of heat according to your spice buds.  The levels are 1-10 with 10 being the hottest!  My husband loves his food EXTRA spicy, but he was kind to us not so spicy food lovers and we ordered our food on a normal spice level.  However, if you are like Andrew, you are in luck because upon your meal being served they bring to each table a spice bar.  The spice bar comes with the chef’s special dried chili peppers (VERY HOT), jalapeno sauce and Nam Plah sauce (which is made from fish water, chilies and lime sauce). Andrew loved the heat from the Nam Plah the best! To end our meal we ordered the Pad Thai Chicken (The Chef’s Specialty).  Which comes with the Thai rice noodles, very tender chicken, egg, tofu, ground peanuts, bean sprouts and carrots with the chef’s delectable special sauce.  This was my favorite dish of the night.  The multitude of flavors upon my first bite is when it happened…  I fell in love with Thai food!!

I had been told from friends of mine that the Fried Banana and Coconut Ice Cream is out of this world and was looking forward to trying it but after consuming the many delicious dishes at Pad Thai we were way too full to enjoy this amazing sounding dessert. Next visit we will all try not to order too much so that we can save room for dessert.   It’s not going to be easy…

It was refreshing to see Chris, the chef and owner coming up to each customer’s table to greet and make sure that they were happy with their meals.  Chris is very attentive as well as an amazing chef and obviously won the hearts of his many loyal customers.  Customer service is key in these times and at Pad Thai you will get the best quality food as well as receive excellent service and value!

Pad Thai is located at:

30486 Avenida De Las Banderas, #C, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA  92688