Pretty much my perfect lunch. Chicken Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer, basmati, baked-to-order naan, and a mango lassi.
Rancho Santa Margarita is about to get an infusion of groovy eats and drinks.
Rancho Santa Margarita and Coto de Caza are woefully underserved in the area of high end dining. Dublin 4 in Mission Viejo is a shining beacon, but it is a bit far from RSM for a spontaneous night out. The Blind Pig owners originally wanted a coastal location for their restaurant, but after encountering some difficulty, they decided to bring it closer to home. The Blind Pig is opening in bustling Mercado del Lago shopping center, taking the place of a formerly well-known restaurant. It’s a primo spot, with a patio nearly the same size as the interior seating area and a view of beautiful RSM lake.
My excitement aside, the food was fantastic.
Before we ate, Chef Joshua Han had the opportunity to explain his concept: presenting known and established flavor profiles using unique ingredients and preparations. Progressive American without the cliché, he called it. For me, this dish was the one that best exemplified that concept. Some aspects of the flavor profile were very much like those of my parents’ beet salad (beets, walnuts, and bleu cheese)―the sweet vegetable flavor of the beets, the creaminess and sharpness of the cheese, and the toasty nuttiness of the pistachio granola. The compressed onion, watercress, and vinaigrette gave it an edge and an additional aromatic dimension.
This blew me away. The marrow was excellently cooked. The flavor profile of the cheese, fig, marmalade and marrow was sublime. I find myself having difficulty composing full sentences while thinking about this dish.
Orange County’s craft cocktail master Gabrielle Dion, of Broadway (of Laguna Beach) fame, is handling drinks. I was heading to work after this preview, so I could only try a couple of sips, but those were enough to enjoy the wonderful and exacting balance of the various ingredients in the various drinks. And of course, like any gastropub worth its salt, The Blind Pig will have a rotating selection of craft beer on tap, including selections from hyper-local brewery Cismontane Brewing Company.
The Blind Pig opens Wednesday, August 21st. I’m so there.