The Daily Dose Sport Lounge pairs casual dining and drinking with the glow of sporting events from flat-screen TVs. Like Henry Ford’s protein-powered motorcycle, meat lovers' pizzas harness the power of non-vegetables. Hands scoop up Jose's bacon-wrapped jalapeños and homemade pigs in a blanket, and sauce remnants from barbecue beef sliders help feed hungry napkins. Servers complement the savory sustenance with buckets of imported beer, each sporting five bottles protruding from a pile of ice.
Make lunch or dinner into a fun foodmersible with submarine-shaped appetizer rolls such as the seared ahi tuna variation with mango, mint, avocado, and wasabi-ginger soy sauce ($7), or yam-tempura-coated fish sticks ($7). Meat goes best with meat, which explains why bold dishes like the rau ram salad with chicken, cabbage, green mango, and apple ($11) and the braised anise shortrib ($22) stand out so well. Quietly confident plates such as the tofu with eggplant, mushrooms, and Thai basil ($12) or the lemongrass jalapeno wok (tofu, $13) are equally delicious, but are more susceptible to noogies.
Twenty-four wine bottles line the circumference of two stainless-steel cylinders, both of which add a futuristic flourish to the middle of the room. With the touch of a button, the machine dispenses a 1-ounce sample of any of the wines—red at room temperature, whites at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Praised on Foodbeast, this self-serve tasting bar, called the Enomatic wine system, lets guests sample an array of wines before committing to a long-term relationship with a single—or several—bottles. This method is just one of several ways OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar owner Julie Lim takes the intimidation out of wine buying.
At her boutique wine store, Julie fills the shelves with vintages from both well-known and under-the-radar vineyards, with some of her favorites including Silver Oak Cellars, Caymus Vineyards, and Cakebread Cellars. She and her team thrive on helping guests find the best bottle—whether they're hunting for wine, craft beer, or a fine liquor. Once guests feel confident in their selections, the staff can help them compile gift baskets for holiday parties or year-end performance reviews. Committed to green practices, the staff eschews foam packaging in favor of molded-pulp shippers, derived from 100% recycled materials. Such practices earned Julie a place on OC Metro's list of 20 Women to Watch, plus her boutique a place on Gayot's Top 10 Wine Bars in the United States.
While each Auld Dubliner storefront is lettered in the same size-300 Irish Gaelvetica font, it must also meet the stringent level of pub authenticity required by co-owner and Gaelic strongdrinker David Copley. A native of Limerick, Ireland, Copley might share a dirty poem if you ask nicely, but he's more likely to tell you that every part of his pub's polished wood and brass décor was designed and crafted in Ireland and transported piece-by-piece to its new American home. The Auld Dubliner's oaken ornamentation of barrels, bar counters, hefty wood tables, faux-oil lamps, and Guinness posters galore makes it easy to tuck right into a menu of toothsome Erin edibles like shepherd's pie with ground beef and lamb baked with mashed potatoes ($13) or the for-more-than-St.-Patty's-Day corned beef and cabbage ($13). Other fare that comes with a shamrock stamp of approval includes the traditional boxty (a potato pancake) stuffed with delights like Irish bacon and melted cheddar ($14) or Atlantic salmon with shallots and tarragon ($14). Slightly haute-seared classics strut their stuff as well, including Angus-beef pub burgers ($9.50), a seared tuna salad with Asian coleslaw ($13), and the mega-vegetarian ploughman's sandwich ($9) with grilled eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and pretty much everything else that grows from the ground on ciabatta with horseradish mayo. For a finish as sweet as a "yes" from Molly Bloom, the Irish-whiskey crème brulee adds a twist to a traditional dessert by turning it into crème brulee.