O.C. Day Trip - Urban Seoul 2.0, Harmony Tea Bar, MRP Market
Here's our new slogan: "Will bike for food." Just kidding, that's only Dennis... During Memorial Day weekend, the guys decided to bike to Irvine while I happily drove my car. I hit the Irvine Spectrum Center a few minutes after they arrived which had to be the most PERFECT timing ever, if only I hadn't missed that one turn hehe...
We were hungry of course and this korean fusion restaurant called Urban Seoul 2.0 popped into my radar. We took a short walk through the mall and turned the corner to find it.
The first thing I noticed was their special mango peach pineapple drink which we immediately ordered. This drink turned out to be super refreshing too, fruity and sweetened to a perfect level. Also it came in a hefty sized to-go cup to share between Dennis and me. *sip* ahhhhh.
Gogi Gravy Fries ($9.50)
As for food, I was immediately drawn to their poutine options. It was either spicy pork or bulgogi so I chose the non-spicy as our appetizer. Within a few minutes it was delivered, hot and fresh to our table. The crumbled beef had the sweet and savory bulgogi flavor I was looking for. The criss cross fries were crispy and supportive except where overtaken by the mushroom gravy. Dennis thought of cream of mushroom, maybe because our recent outing to Pomegranate. The sprinkling of queso fresco/cotija cheese on top completed this party of yum.
P.B.L.T. Sliders ($9.95)
I couldn't turn down the chance to have the pork belly lettuce tomato slider (P.B.L.T). Since I was in a fluffy bread mood, I picked the brioche buns over the more popular but denser steamed buns. These sandwiches had a rich and fatty flavor on the tender meat but the sauce made it a bit messy. Dennis thought the sauce added to the juiciness of the whole slider. Our friend had bulgogi sliders which were similar except for the meat. He was famished so I didn't ask for a sample, at least not this time.
Chorizo Kimchi Fried Rice Skillet (13.95)
Dennis ordered a dish that sounded quite scrumptious and was one of the most popular items on the menu. It looked somewhat plain at first sight but after we began mixing up the ingredients, I was really loving every bite. Imagine savory fried rice, popped egg, some crispy pork belly plus... fantastic pickled onions! I'm not much into pickled things or raw onions but this pink version was legit. I think every bite needed some of this vinegar punch! Our favorite dish of the day!
Urban Seoul 2.0 was a cool spot to hit up with its street style artwork and homey brick wall sections. Their original location was within a few minutes driving distance as well. We left with bulging bellies and I'd come back for that kimchi skillet! I hope I find a good one locally!
Urban Seoul 2.0 714 Spectrum Center Dr Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 727-1900
The guys wanted some boba so we made a quick gas stop at Costco then drove to our next destination, Harmony Tea Bar, conveniently on the way home.
You can't see the entrance from the parking lot so just look for the snow ice place and circle behind it.
Here they have multiple tea stations for seeping customer's tea. The guys then realized this place was more "tea" than "boba" so it didn't have the huge selection or more heavily sweetened drinks they were craving. Nonetheless the tea sounded worth a try.
Dennis decided on strawberry jasmine green tea with real strawberry bits while our friend ordered a milk tea drink. Both got some boba chew in their drink. Looks slurptastic right? They also have five star so get your points while you're at it!
In the back, we found games and played Connect 4, where I lost my first game within a few moves. I did better the next round! I also found a Mensa puzzle book filled with word problems and got my thinking cap on for a bit! Harmony Tea Bar seems like a nice stop for tea, studying and whatnot.
Harmony Tea Bar 25380 Marguerite Pkwy Mission Viejo, CA 92692 (949) 272-0202
I remember reading a O.C. Chicken Wings article by Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman so had been wanting to stop by MRK Public ever since.
And now it was time to fulfill that destiny. Lucky for us, MRK Public was also conveniently along the route back.
I'm always a fan of chalk board menus with artsy writing! Goodness, what should we order?!
Vietnamese Sticky Wings ($13)
First off, we excitedly ordered the wings, which were just as sticky as promised but way more pungent than expected. It's a very strong taste and fish sauce smell and overall was not really my style. Dennis said they were nicely fried underneath the sauce and meaty enough. It was a bit expensive for chicken wings though, especially since this version wasn't to our tastes!
Fried Chicken ($12)
Being the glutton that I am, I couldn't just stop there. The fried chicken sandwich had caught my eye too and was ordered at the same time. Time for round two of food haha! We cut this bad boy in half and noticed how they used several chicken strips for the "patty." With each bite, you can taste all the ingredients, especially the crispy fried chicken batter surrounding the moist chicken pieces. The buttermilk dressing made this a bit saucy but it was still yummy in my tummy. The side salad was simple. I wouldn't mind coming back again to try other menu items, but not as a second lunch!
MRK Public 1402 S El Camino Real San Clemente, CA 92672 (949) 441-7621
Our food daze lasted all the way to San Diego but believe it or not, there was one stop left... Tea Station! There's no picture but the guys finally got the boba drinks that they initially wanted. Well, that's our all day trip to the O.C. Until the next adventure!