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ASG Review ~ The Hobbit, Orange CA

All Streets Gourmand’s journey to The Hobbit in Orange, CA, took a lot of time. We have anticipated eating here for literal decades, but timing and humble roots didn’t simply allow us to walk in until very recently. Online reservation should be placed at least a few weeks in advance. When we stepped through its doors, we reminded ourselves of our earliest beginnings and reflected on the path that finally brought us to this culinary experience.

The Hobbit, a quaint converted farmhouse along Chapman Avenue in Orange, opened its doors in November 1972. The house was built in the early 1930s when Chapman was no more than a dirt road. Today, it stands as a beautiful reminder of OC’s intermittent culinary roots and the County’s storied history. I have seen both its highs and lows, and it’s great to see The Hobbit continue to stand firm and vibrant.

The experience is unique, with a single dining sitting a night starting promptly on time. Parking is free at their private lot. Guests are checked in, and you only get a hint of the dining areas as you are led down into the small basement wine cellar. There, you are greeted by an extensive and well-selected wine selection. We had cocktails to start, with a selection of wine to carry us through the night.

[Tip: come prepared with some ideas on the wine you’d like to go with, it’s a special night, so be prepared!]

And, for this review, we’ll talk more about the experience than the food, as the latter can change. A more extended review is always posted at our site,

They only have a well-curated prix fixe menu - in our case, in December 2023 had a winter-ish comfort food selection - appointed with excellent service. The Hobbit takes great pride in the experience, so everything is brought out in due course. Expect to get the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ collectively.

We sat in the small dining room for couples, to the side of the kitchen. Dining extends from the front living room to this small room we sat in, and upstairs to two large bedrooms. The personality and style of the old farmhouse make itself apparent - and, for those that grew up in OC, you’ll note this very distinctive California style - with its abundance of windows, hardwood floors, and nooks and crannies to get lost in.

Our meal consisted of:

Amuse Bouche - a selection of finger foods served for sharing, a great way to start off the meal

Seared Diver Scallops - a large scallop served alongside a hearty portion of mussels, fried potato, pickled apple, saffron, and chorizo broth.

Duck Confit Raviolo - a single, large ravioli on a bed of parsnip, melted leeks, pomegranate emulsion, and pecorino.

Sorbet - an elegant way to pause for the main course

At the intermezzo, we bee-lined to the kitchen. The kitchen staff were extremely welcoming to the extreme - graciously walking us through the construction of the main course to the small group of us that huddled by the door. I had a bit of a tear in my eyes - the staff was very committed and proud of the food they served, giving us color on the dishes for the evening. It is amazing, anywhere we’ve traveled when chefs and staff cook in such challenging spaces. They somehow make do!

Then, we wandered around the great house, from top to bottom, out into the small courtyard for a breath of fresh air. We were then called in for our mains, we selected one option each:

Cured Filet Mignon - with potatoes lyonnaise, heirloom carrots, and bone marrow bordelaise.

Butter Poached Monkfish ~ Israeli cous cous, cauliflower, lobster sauce Americaine.

For dessert? A Chocolate Ganache Tart ~ with hazelnut praline cinnamon ice cream, and brown butter crumble.

It was said leaving. We sat for a time with a coffee and realized we needed the team to start work on tomorrow night’s dinner and create some magic for them.

We took some last photos and said good night walking away actively wondering when we could come back again…

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