I was invited to a pre-opening media event at Mendocino Farms in Marina Del Rey by Fiona of Gourmet Pigs and was extremely excited. Since I've heard such great things about their downtown location, I had high expectations. Expectations that were met! The food was great! It was a full house with high energy, everyone seemed excited about this grand opening. When you first arrive, you stand in line and are instructed to take a look at the massive menu plastered on the wall. A waitress waits while with clipboard in hand ready to write down your order as soon as your ready. Everything sounded so delicious, but I had my heart set on the pork belly banh mi. So you can imagine my disappointment when the first words out of the waitress's mouth was, "Just to let you know we are out of the pork belly banh mi." BLAST! (Please repeat in Stewie from Family Guy's voice.) I decided to get the braised lamb sandwich and then the fun began....
After you place your order, you mosey on down the line to a glass case full of some yummy sides. Ranging from beet salad to curried orzo, there was something for everyone.
blood orange lemonade
If you know me, you know I am a lemonade fanatic. If I weren't watching what I drank and ate, I would order lemonade everywhere I go. Only if water tasted as good as lemonade... The blood orange lemonade at Mendocino was quite delicious. It was sour and sweet with a hint of the blood orange flavor. I would have liked a bit more of the blood orange flavor, but still very good.
This is only a sample size of the curried orzo, which is definitely not enough. I would've gotten an actual pint size, but I didn't because I was eyeing the potato salad... In my attempt to be healthy, I just got a sample size of one while I got the regular "small" for the other. The curried orzo was fantastic. The curry wasn't overwhelming and the orzo texture was really nice. I'd defnitely order this again.
Potato salad is a nostalgic dish for me because it reminds me of all the fun BBQs my friends and I always have during the summer. It is one of my favorite side dishes, summertime or not. This one was quite good, not too mayo-y or too tangy.
braised lamb sandwich, mint pesto, Cypress Grove’s goat cheese spread, pickled red onions, arugula, toasted ciabatta
After I grabbed a seat I dove right into the lamb sandwich. The lamb meat was soft and flavorful, as expected. My favorite part of the sandwich was the tangy goat cheese and the pickled onions, strong flavors that stood up to the lamb.
bite-size Kurobuta pork belly banh mi, housemade pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos, chili aioli, panini grilled ciabatta
Since their best selling pork belly banh mi was all out and couldn't be ordered anymore, as a consolation these bite size versions were passed around for everyone. Man, this was one amazing bite! It made me wish for an entire sandwich. If this is available when you visit Mendocino Farms, I highly recommend it.
all white albacore tuna with citrus aioli, green apple, organic farmer’s market greens, tomato, red onion, buckwheat bread
Honestly, I was good after half of my lamb sandwich but if someone wants to try another sandwich and asks me if I want some I say YES. The tuna was good, not great. What do you expect? After following the lamb and the bahn mi, the tuna sandwich was just average for me. I liked the big chunks of tuna with the citrus aioli, but the stars of the night were the lamb sandwich and the bite-size banh mi.
This lovely dessert tray was being passed around after we were about halfway into our meal. We were told that Chef Judy bakes the cookies herself daily. Yum.
I recently discovered that I really love carrot cake. I've always liked it, but never had it enough to really love it. After eating J's mom's carrot cake, I realized how delicious they really are. So, naturally, I opted for the carrot cake out of all the tempting dessert items. The carrot cake was moist and just plain delicious. I would definitely get this again. I was told that the cookies were amazing as well.
I am rarely in Marina Del Rey. It's too south for me. Haha. However, I would definitely make the drive (like it's long *rolls eyes*) for my second visit to Mendocino Farms. I'm happy to report that they lived up to all the hype and I am so glad I got a chance to preview this place before their opening day (Thanks Fiona!). Some time has passed since they opened and I am still hearing great news and reviews for this Marina Del Rey location. I'll have to stop by for a very long lunch during the week sometime. Anyone care to join? ;)
4724 Admiralty Way,
Marina del Rey, CA 90292