McVean’s and PdM: fantastic Orange County restaurants

If your travels take you to Orange County in Southern California, you must try McVean’s American Grill and its sister restaurants and coffee houses/bakeries, PdM Cafe (Pain du Monde). I can't praise them enough. 

I've been frustrated trying to find restaurants that serve delicious and healthy food. Often, the two aren't linked. Or the restaurant will ignore good nutrition and health in the name of the latest culinary fad. Most of the time, restaurant kitchens just pour on the butter, oil, fat and salt without any regard to what the consequences might be for their customers.

McVean's goes the opposite direction. And the results are out of this world. 

McVean's is the new restaurant of owner Scott McVean, who also owns the wonderful PdM (formerly Pain du Monde) restaurants and coffee houses in Orange County. Everything they serve is fresh - the only thing in their kitchen's freezer is ice cream. McVean's use top quality ingredients, like organic, farm-to-table non-GMO vegetables, Montana raised Angus beef and free-range chicken, and the best salmon I've enjoyed anywhere in Southern California. 

Restaurateur Scott McVean was interested in cooking and baking from a young age. He moved to Newport Beach from Texas when he was 24, and opened the first Pain du Monde (“breads of the world”) in a small Balboa Island storefront. Using family recipes and a pizza oven, he baked bread for local residents, tourists and four-star hotels, and later introduced pastries and muffins.

Long before “farm to table” became a dining trend, the menu at PdM Café featured farm fresh eggs, locally sourced produce, bacon sustainably raised by Niman Ranch, and Mary’s organic free range chicken. 

Passionate about sustainability and using the highest quality, hormone-free products, McVean wanted to live the lifestyle he was sharing with his guests. With that in mind, he moved his family to Bozeman, Montana 10 years ago to learn more about ranching and being self-sufficient. He now raises cattle, pigs, goats, and free range chickens that produce organic eggs.

 A typical brunch entree at McVean's. Epic yummage. 

A typical brunch entree at McVean's. Epic yummage. 

Everything is made to order. The ingredients are fresh each day. At Scott’s direction, their kitchen avoids drowning everything in salt and oil, letting you enjoy the health and flavor as it was meant to be. And their dishes show the flair of their chiefs. 

You can tell that quality matters at McVean’s. Their chicken is vegetarian fed and chilled with air instead of being bathed in water, to reduce bacterial spread and maintain the natural flavor. Their beef is 100% free range Angus from the Creekstone Ranch. Their organic greens are grown in California’s Carmel Valley by Earthbound Farms.

Just a few examples of what’s on the menu include wild grilled salmon, tender flank steak, or an amazing mango salad, with red and green cabbage, jicama, mint leaves, Thai peanut dressing and sesame seeds. For brunch, you can enjoy a dazzling array of dishes including eggs Benedict, amazing omelets and fresh granola with fruit.

 McVean's Dawn Salad (shown with grilled salmon). It's a symphony of healthy culinary happiness. 

McVean's Dawn Salad (shown with grilled salmon). It's a symphony of healthy culinary happiness. 

My personal favorite, their Dawn Salad, is perfect example of the fusion of healthy fare and incredible taste: 

  • Organic mixed greens
  • Arugula
  • Red and gold beets
  • Quinoa
  • Dried cherries
  • Sliced grapefruit
  • Almonds 
  • Goat cheese
  • Kiwi citrus vinaigrette
  • Optional: Mesquite grilled chicken, flank steak or salmon

Hungry yet?

From outrageous brunches to mind-alteringly good steak and more, there is something wonderful waiting for you at McVean’s Fresh Grill and PdM Cafes. And their service is as good as their food: welcoming, friendly and eager to please.

 Fresh espresso at PdM in Newport Beach, California. Absolutely outstanding.

Fresh espresso at PdM in Newport Beach, California. Absolutely outstanding.

 PdM Cafes throughout Orange County feature freshly baked breads and breakfast pastries. It's fun to watch their baker expertly making delicious fresh breads as you enjoy your coffee or tea in the mornings. 

PdM Cafes throughout Orange County feature freshly baked breads and breakfast pastries. It's fun to watch their baker expertly making delicious fresh breads as you enjoy your coffee or tea in the mornings. 

Located in Irvine, California at Alton Parkway and Jeffrey Boulevard just off the I-405 freeway, McVean's is definitely worth the trek. Their PdM locations in South Orange County California offer fantastic coffee, tea and espresso, and a wonderful variety of both breakfasts and entrees throughout the day. And if you’re there in the mornings, you can enjoy fresh baked breakfast pastries, rolls and breads baked on the spot as you enter. Their food is a great value, a wonderful place to enjoy healthy and amazing cuisine at a reasonable price. Trust me when I say you'll keep coming back. And you'll tell your friends to do the same.

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