On August 19, 2013, Lemonade opened its first Orange County location at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA. This is the twelfth location for Chef and Founder, Alan Jackson, and Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Ian Olsen. Lemonade is a Southern California culinary adventure that uses the freshest seasonal ingredients. Alan likes to describe the Lemonade concept as a “choose-your-own adventure for lunch or dinner” with “a delicious and healthy change of pace” marrying “quality and convenience”. The philosophy matches perfectly with Fashion Island where you have people who are looking for lunch on the go, relaxed dinner before a movie, or just an intermission from shopping. The concept is very simple – grab a tray, choose from a selection of marketplace cold salads, hot and cold meats, sandwiches, pot roasts, braised pots, soups, stews, market tossed salads, desserts, and an array of lemonades. The Fashion Island location is the only one with a wood burning oven for roasting vegetables and flatbreads and a rotisserie for preparing whole roast rib-eye, leg of lamb, and chicken. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but if you take it easy, it gives you an excuse to come back again another day.
Tandoori Chicken, Jalapeno, Green Mango, Coconut, and Tamarind Marketplace salad was very different. It merged aromatic and spicy flavors of India with tropical flavors of mango and coconut. It was refreshing and wonderful for summer. The flavors held up well for a cold salad. Thumbs up, way up!
Watermelon Radish, Ahi Tuna, Snap Peas, Black Sesame, and Ginger Marketplace salad was gorgeous! The watermelon radish displayed beautiful dark pink and green colors when sliced. The natural crunch of the radish and crisp, sweet snap peas matched perfectly with the ahi tuna. The ginger and sesame gave it a distinct Asian flavor and worked well to bring all the ingredients together. Thumbs up, way up!
Orecchiette, Heirloom Tomato, Perlini Mozzarella Marketplace salad looked like the Italian flag. The colors were bright and attractive. The fresh tomatoes, basil, and soft mozzarella worked well together. I love orecchiette but felt it didn’t work well as a cold salad. I think hot pasta sauce penetrates this pasta better. The cold made it stiff and doughy.
Brussels Sprouts, Red Flame Grapes, Pistachio, Parmesan Marketplace salad wasn’t a very pretty but I love Brussels sprouts so I decided to order it. I think this would be better as a hot side versus a cold salad. Brussels sprouts have a bitter bite which seems to be accentuated by cold, making this very hard to eat. I found myself fishing for grapes to counteract the bitterness.
New Mexican Chili Roasted Butternut Squash, White Corn Marketplace salad was interesting from its description plus I love butternut squash. This salad was perfectly executed with the slightly spicy, smoky flavor of the New Mexican chili combining with the sweet butternut squash and creamy, sweet white corn. It was great for summer as a cold salad but I can also see this as a warm side for fall. Wow! Thumbs up, way up!
Avocado Salmon Louie was so pretty. It reminded me of a dish you would be served on a cruise ship. It has a luxurious and classic look to it. The salmon salad was perfectly seasoned and matched perfectly with the creamy avocado flavor. My only complaint was that the avocado was not quite ripe enough making it was difficult to scoop out as you eat. This a great dish for summer as it was ice cold and very refreshing. Thumbs up!
Fig and Bleu Cheese Flatbread (flatbread only available at the Fashion Island location) was absolutely amazing! The flatbread was golden brown on the outside and chewy on the inside. The fresh, sweet figs paired perfectly with the creamy, pungent bleu cheese for a perfectly balanced bite every time. This was my favorite dish of the day! Thumbs up, way up!
Red Miso Beef Short Rib is one of their braised pots and absolutely scrumptious! Imagine braised short rib with an Asian flare from the red miso and black sesame seeds. My best friend said it reminded her of something her dad used to make she was growing up in their Filipino household. She kept her eyes closed as she ate it, reminiscing about good times. Food & music have always been memory triggers for me too. With all of the sauce leftover, all we need was some sticky rice to finish it up. Thumbs up, way up!
White Truffle Mac ‘N Cheese was fantastic! If you have read my column, you know I’ve been in love with truffles ever since I came back from Milan last year. The pungent flavor alone makes me happy and actually seeing the word “truffle” makes me salivate. But, I’m also am not a fan of mac and cheese so I was really torn on whether I should order or not. But, the truffle word overpowered me and I got it. It has to be the best mac and cheese I have ever had – the cheese sauce actually tasted like cheese and was still gooey as you lifted the spoon from the bowl. The truffle was just enough to give you the flavor while not overpowering the cheese. The macaroni was cooked al dente with the sauce clinging lovingly to the outside. It actually made its way inside the tube too. Overall, the pasta was thoroughly encapsulated in the wonderful cheese sauce. I can’t wait to order it again as my second favorite dish! Thumbs up, way up!
Strawberry Lemonade Cake just looked fun with yellow frosting, pink cake, and sprinkling of vibrant colors. Unfortunately, it didn’t taste as good as it looked. The cake was mushy and way too sweet and lemony. I would cut back on some of the sugar and dial back the lemon flavor.
Salted Caramel Macaroon was the biggest macaroon I have ever seen. I looked more a like a whoopie pie. As you bite in, it definitely seems like a macaroon with the hard exterior and gooey, chewy interior. The salted caramel cream center was creamy and decadent. I thought it was a little too sweet, but once I got a piece of the salt on the outside, my palate balanced out. Thumbs up!
Blueberry Mint Lemonade was fantastic! They have a great lemonade base and adding the smooth and not too sweet blueberries to the mix put it over the top. Lemon and blueberries play well together where the blueberries cut the sourness of the lemon while the lemon enhances the flavor the blueberries. The mint was subtle but added a refreshing touch for a hot day. Thumbs up, way up!
Next time you stop at Fashion Island, make Lemonade your fuel stop! It’s healthy alternative and will give you energy whether your plan is to go back to work, continue shopping, or just relax and people/puppy watch.
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars
- Hours: Daily from 11:00am to 9:05pm
- They have 11 other locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Brentwood, Manhattan Beach, Westlake, Venice, Beverly Hills, MOCA, Pasadena, Larchmont, USC, and LAX (Terminal 5)