I was looking forward to lunch today with good friends, Anita of MadHungryWoman & Priscilla of She’sCookin. We were originally going to enjoy Indonesian fast food in Garden Grove until Priscilla deflated that idea by informing us it was closed on Mondays. Curses!
A runner-up was now needed…and fast, it was 2 hours to lunch!
Priscilla knew of a place in Huntington Beach, newly opened, so we said “Bring It On”! Mama’s On 39 was the place.
Though Mama’s had had a two-week soft opening, today was the first official, full menu service. Priscilla had gotten there first and was awaiting (eagerly-I’ll pretend) our arrival with the ‘your tables ready’ buzzer in hand.
We were soon seated in the large, simply casual, mute toned and mildly industrial (due to high ceiling of exposed vent piping & supports), wide open dinning room. Our friendly server brought us menus & took our drink orders (tho only after the 4th pass by cuz we were talking so much). I ordered from the Coolers list, the Mama’s Pink Lemonade, made up of fresh lemonade, strawberries & raspberries, muddled, with Soju vodka. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not alone, I didn’t either. Soju Vodka is a 45% proof (they only have a beer&wine license) Korean distilled beverage likened to vodka. It was quite good straight up. I liked my lemonade very much. It was bright & tangy sweet.
Anita ordered out starter, Pabst Steamed Litteneck Clams (fresh Carlsbad Farms clams in olive oil, garlic ‘n Pabst Blue Ribbon beer). They were average and nothing special, tho we all thought the low-grade beer gave the broth a prominent bitter top AND after taste.
My lunch order was breakfast (my favorite meal for every meal) which is served all day. My very hot plated (hot enough to burn, which I discovered trying to turn the plate for a blog shot) Pulled Chicken’n Brie Scramble (eggs, pulled roasted chicken, wild mushrooms, sage, brie cheese). It looked beautiful enough. The brie was plenty & perfectly soft, just starting to ooze from the heat of the scramble. The mushrooms were nicely represented and flavorful, sharing scrambled time with grilled shallots. The pulled roasted chicken, tho plenty, was a mild let down. A bit dry, tough and flavorless, it’s as though they pulled the chicken first THEN roasted it. A nice surprise was the perfectly fried sage leaves garnish.
You would think from all that, it would be WOW in the mouth…but sadly wasn’t so. It ended up pretty much, bland. Weird, I know. I’m as surprised as you!
Anita, tho, came to the rescue!, with her trusty, always present, Spice Pouch of Wonder, with it numerous mini jars of Sea Salt, Sel Gris, Claes Salt and micro pepper grinder. After much tinkering, seasoning with Sea & Claes Salt and numerous twists of the pepper grinder, my scramble turned out quite palatable. So much so, I finished it!
So Priscilla ordered the Green Eggs’n Ham Skillet (eggs, smoked ham, spinach, griddled onions, avocado, pesto). After we all got a sample, Priscilla noticed they forgot a prime ingrediant…THE HAM! Can’t have Green Eggs’n Ham without the ham, Dr. Seuss would be turning over in his grave (along with the Fox in a Box, Mouse in a House and mostly Here or There). So a replacement skillet was ordered….
Anita would go on to order the Cowboy Sandwich (chargrilled steak, crispy onions, shishito peppers, sliced brie). The steak was ordered medium rare, tho came just about tartare. The tomato based slather overpowered all the other flavors on the overly stuffed sandwich. Even the Spice Pouch of Wonder couldn’t save it. The only silver lining was that it looked great.
Anita rather liked the homemade potato chips, sprinkled lightly with seasoning salt. I found them a bit too over cooked and dark, for my taste.
We are all a bit saddened by it all at this point. The table has been cleared and we are now waiting for Priscilla’s replacement skillet to arrive. Again, it looked great, but upon a jiggle, it well…jiggled! Anita takes a knife to its center for a taste and raw egg liquid comes-a-oozing out. It was extremely undercooked.
The staff was friendly and the assistant GM was apologetic. They do have a Thrifty’s Ice Cream counter inside with an outdoor order window for those who love Thrifty’s ice cream. I was willing to give Mama’s On 39 the benefit of the doubt as a new restaurant just finding it’s legs but after being informed they are owned/run by the same group that is responsible for the numerous Salt Creek Grilles, I just had to shake my head.
Oh well, regardless, I had a really nice time with my friends.
Mama’s On 39 21022 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA