Easy, Breezy, Beautiful: Spring has Sprung at Lazy Dog

The first days of spring are the most beautiful of the year, in my opinion. Soft light, warm air, daffodils poking through damp soil. Living in sunny southern California means we lean into microseasons – minute shifts in nature’s timekeeping to let us know when longer days are on the horizon. As a fledgling foodie, one of the most exciting parts of spring are the seasonal options to boost a culinary experience.

Lazy Dog Restaurants, now a SoCal staple, grew out of founder Chris Simms’ experience as a kid in a mountain town: lots of from scratch ingredients, local flavor, and the warmth you might expect from a spot where everyone knows what’s on the harvest list. In Simms’ case, flavors from his native Wyoming – such as wild, sweet huckleberries – have woven their way into the elevated dishes and specialty drinks on co-founder Chef Gabriel Caliendo’s inventive menu.

Perfect for a celebratory night out, a family meal or an after-work trip to the bar to unwind, Lazy Dog has launched new spring menu items to its already extensive offerings (think seafood delights, steak classics, a flavorful salad, a Roadtrip™ Bowl that is a modern twist on chicken and waffles, plus a celebratory treat and a creative, innovative take on a cocktail using an iconic squeeze bottle).

Lazy Dog TV Dinner

Full disclosure: I am a longtime fan of Lazy Dog, dating back to the days of its original location in Huntington Beach in 2003. I started HB Magazine in the same month and the restaurant served as the site of the publication launch party.

Three years later, when I introduced Orange Magazine the same month that the leadership team opened their second location it seemed only natural to host another launch party at Lazy Dog. It became a running joke to see where we’d both end up next.

With 48 locations across the country and more on the way, Lazy Dog has clearly far outpaced my growth, but I’ve happily indulged over years in their establishments close to home (Orange, Irvine/Tustin, Brea). So I was particularly excited to catch up with Chef Caliendo in his Brea tasting kitchen to sample the latest of his popular culinary offerings.

Do you prefer sweet, savory or spicy? Seafood or chicken and waffles? Butter Cake or Apple-Huckleberry Open Face Pie? Whatever your preference, Lazy Dog has it all. I love seafood and sampled the spicy tuna… Partial to seafood, I loved sampling the new spicy tuna crispy rice which starts with sashimi grade tuna poke tossed with spicy garlic crunch atop crispy sushi rice + guacamole, then finished with a housemade umami sauce drizzle, fresh jalapeño and furikake.

My husband and son already fancy themselves aficionados of the sweet + spicy St. Louis style ribs, flash-fried until crispy, brushed with sweet + spicy Korean gochugaru sauce, served with peanut sesame slaw + umami fries. My sweet-tooth daughter, on the other hand, went straight for the confetti cake, with its rich buttercream frosting, rainbow sprinkles, and vanilla bean ice cream.

Inspired by the convenient frozen meals that became a mainstay in busy American households in the 1950s, Lazy Dog’s TV Dinners are perfect for this busy mom whose culinary repertoire is limited to the same five rotating dishes. With eight different abundant dinners priced at just $10 (feeds 1-2), it’s a win-win. All I have to do is pop the trays in the oven and my family gets to enjoy a delicious, restaurant-quality meal (entree, side and dessert) at home. A recent example is the Shepherd’s Pie – slow-cooked savory beef + vegetable stew topped with red skin mashers and melted jack + cheddar cheeses, served with garlic butter broccoli and a chocolate chip brownie. As a special offer, guests can order five TV dinners and get one free.

So, if all you want to do is roll the windows down and head outside for a picnic, or just take an early spring weekend off of cooking, look no further than your local Lazy Dog.

Irvine/Tustin
13290 Jamboree Rd.
(714) 731-9700

Orange
1623 W. Katella Ave
(714) 769-7020

Brea
240 S. State College Blvd.
(714) 529-9300

CERRITOS
278 Los Cerritos Center
(562)402-6644

www.LazyDogRestaurants.com

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