Lucca Cafe – New Happy Hour Small Plates

The OC Weekly column, Stick a Fork in It, reports this week that Lucca Cafe in Irvine has a new small plate selection, and columnist Anne Marie Panoringan reports that the Cured & Braised Pork Belly is a standout.  It sounds incredible!  It is served on a dollop of kernel-mascarpone polenta, and finished with dried apricot chutney and a garnish of micro greens.

I can’t wait to try it.  I’ve always loved Lucca.  Chef Cathy is warm, friendly and a great chef of comfort food inspired by the Mediterranean area.  Her husband Elliott knows a lot about wine, and is always willing to chat about his latest finds.  I’ve yet to get to one of their monthly “Sunday Suppers” – served family style, but I’m hoping to do that one of these days (next one is February 12).  I’ve been there for every other type of meal: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner.  Discovered some great inexpensive wines there, and love the cheese and pastry case for take-home treats.

Oddly, we have found ourselves stopping there for dinner on the way to a show at the Verizon Amphitheater, or on the way to Laguna Beach.  The location, in a strip mall in Quail Hill in Irvine, is convenient on the way to both those locations.

The pork belly will pull me back in, and everything else Lucca does right will keep me coming back.

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