The Blind Rabbit is located in the Packing District; a new kind of gentrified food court.
There are twenty artisan eateries, in a restored packing house. Sunkist used to pack oranges there, now the public packs the unique space for hand crafted gelato bars, local beer, waffles and more.
To find The Blind Rabbit, look for the Rolling Boil. That's a hot pot restaurant, owned by the people behind the speakeasy. There's a wall of sake barrels and among them, a tiny brass rabbit. That's you're way in. But only if you have a reservation, more on that later.
Inside, you'll find a room with period furniture, dim lighting and friendly bartenders. The Blind Rabbit has a menu of 34 hand-crafted cocktails. The craft cocktail craze is new to Orange County. Head bartender Robert Adamson figured offering a wide selection of choices would encourage patrons to try something new. Yes, vodka lovers, plenty for you here; like the lovely Berry Peachy Tea, made with a custom blend of teas, fresh fruit juices and muddled strawberries. This is easy to drink and refreshing. But Adamson hopes you'll want to try something a little more challenging; like the Bacon Old Fashioned. The bourbon drink is smoky, almost meaty and rich.
If you like to pair your cocktails with food, the Old Fashioned is a winner with the most popular item on The Blind Rabbit's food menu. The Duck Confit Mac and Cheese is ooey, gooey, rich and delicious. Chef Andrew Singh makes each one to order. Duck lovers, this is just heaven in a bowl. The duck and al dente cavatappi are mixed with generous ladles full of a three cheese bechamel, warmed on the stove, then topped with shaved Parmesan and crunchy, fried garlic bits. Umai, umai.
Also, worth the carbs and the calories, the mini Corn Dogs. This is a Berkshire pork sausage that snaps when you bite into the crisp but still fluffy outside and right into the hot dog. It's served with sweet banana ketchup and a whole grain mustard. Chef Andrew suggests one of the craft beers for this one.
This space is so tiny, you'll start to wonder where all this deliciousness is prepared. Turns out that The Blind Rabbit shares a kitchen with the Iron Press upstairs.
A dumb waiter connects the kitchen to the bar and a red light signals the wait staff downstairs to collect the food from behind a cabinet door.
The Iron Press is another restaurant that came from the mind of Leonard Chan, the man some call the OC's youngest restaurant mogul. Chan told me a lot of research went into make The Blind Rabbit really feel like a speakeasy. He and his staff scoured thrift stores to find period furniture and glassware for the bar.
We shared a skillet full of spicy chorizo meatballs. The dish looks like traditional Italian meatballs, served with a fresh tasting house made tomato sauce, but the chorizo gave the dish a firmer bite with a spicy finish. Chan, along with his partners wanted the food to compliment the cocktails, wine and beer menu. It's bar food, but elevated. The food menu may be limited but you can still eat well, from starter to main to dessert.
Click here to find out more on the The Blind Rabbit or send an email to hushhush@TheBlindRabbit.com
Tell them Susan sent you. ;)
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