OC Restaurant Week and Happy Hour: Great Maple

It was another rainy day in what is supposed to be Sunny Southern California. However, I wanted to have dinner with my dad and Christine anyways. Since it was OC Restaurant Week I recommended a few places that had both a special menu for dinner and a little Happy Hour before. 

 

Sign inside the restaurant

 

Sign above the Outdoor Covered Patio

 

From a list of all of the places, I recommended we all decided Great Maple was going to be our best bet. It had a $30 three-course meal for the OC Restaurant Week menu and their Happy Hour ended at 6:30. So we had a solid 30 minutes to get in a little Happy Hour before our dinner reservation was set to go.

 

Dining Area

 

The restaurant itself is gorgeous. With a place called the Great Maple, you are definitely expecting a place that has more natural colors. You can see the green couch to the right to represent the leaves of a maple tree. The green wall with the shelves as well gives off a calmer green to offset the dark green of the couch. Then you have the wooden floors to represent the bark of the mighty oak tree. However, for me, my eyes keep on getting drawn to the back mural with the golden oak tree and the name of the restaurant. In the background, you see a black and white forest filled with trees. Not sure why it speaks to me so much. Maybe it’s because I always love being in Nature, although it is not as often as I would like, it is always nice to breathe in that fresh air. The one thing that seems like it wouldn’t flow in the theme of the restaurant is the marble tabletops, but I think the black and white mural plays well with it. The yellow couch is just a tad bit obnoxious for me. Maybe if it was a milder yellow it would play out better.

 

Happy Hour Drinks

 

Happy Hour Food

 

The Happy Hour prices are definitely all over the place ranging anywhere from $4 to $12. For the drinks, at least for the cocktails, one is going to be spending $7 or $8. It is a little more on the pricier side just like Paul Martin’s. However, Great Maple offers a smaller menu, which makes deciding on what to get a whole lot easier.

 

Maple Bacon Old Fashioned

 

My dad actually beat me to the punch and was the first one to arrive at Great Maple. He went and ordered the Maple Bacon Old Fashioned. Which is what I would have ordered myself since it did sound the most unique. Luckily my dad still had a little bit left for me to give a try. The whiskey itself had a bit of a smokey taste and you can taste that little bit of bacon within it. This flavor profile comes because of the way they pour whiskey through the bacon and strain it. Another unique twist to this Old Fashioned is the fact that it uses maple syrup in place of sugar or simple syrup. It wasn’t as good as the Old Fashioned I had at Bosscat, but still a unique variation. Of course, I can’t skip over the spicy bacon that hovers above the drink. I did not get the opportunity to try the bacon, but my dad said it had those notes of sweet and spicy.

 

Great Mule

 

Since my dad ordered that drink the only other drink that sounded interesting to me was the Great Mule. As you can see the drink has a pink hue, which was given to it by the hibiscus and passionfruit infused vodka. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mule if it didn’t have the signature ginger beer to give those bright notes of ginger to the drink.

 

Great Mule with the Great Maple Sign

 

I really did enjoy the flavor profile of the drink. I loved the fruitiness and the ginger flavors coming together to bring about a different spin to a classic Moscow Mule. Plus there was another little piece of food hovering above this drink as well. A little piece of candied ginger to add a little more punch of ginger flavor.

 

Charred Cauliflower Hummus

 

I would have gotten the Southwestern Scotch Eggs, but since that was actually one of the appetizer options for the Restaurant Week Menu, we took a different route. The next unique sharable item on the list was the Charred Cauliflower Hummus. There were definitely many bright colors coming from the dish whether it be the yellow from the hummus, to the green of the green beans, to the unique purple and pinkish hue of the watermelon radish.

 

Charred Cauliflower Hummus with Veggies Galore

 

I was surprised by how good this dish turned out. Some hummus out there tends to be a bit bland. This hummus had a bit of curry flavor to it which really elevated it more, which was nice especially since I’ve never had hummus with curry. Hummus is typically just chickpeas but adding in charred cauliflower gave the hummus a chunkier consistency, unlike the typical smooth texture. To keep the dish healthy you also had those veggies I mentioned earlier along with some carrots hiding within. Honestly, the item you wanted to dip into this hummus was the toasted flatbread. I’m not sure how they made the flatbread so tasty but it really added a nice toasted wheat flavor.

 

Fountain in Newport Fashion Island

 

Great Maple is located in Newport Fashion Island, which is another great shopping area within Orange County. Unlike South Coast Plaza this is an outdoor shopping area, which makes this place perfect on a nice sunny day. Although when it was raining all day it really clears out the crowds in the area.
Kayla was both our server at the bar for our Happy Hour and for our actual dinner when we moved to the outdoor covered patio. Don’t worry though, this patio had heaters on every square inch of the ceiling which is perfect on a cold rainy day. When we moved out she was kind enough to bring out some fresh veggies from the hummus platter we had earlier. It was definitely very kind of her. She was also helpful in all the details of how each of the components of the drinks was made.
I know the main purpose we were here was for the OC Restaurant Week menu, be sure to check out the post on my Instagram. But I am glad we were able to fit in a little Happy Hour Adventure!
Website: Great Maple
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It’s always a nice little surprise when your drink comes with a food item with it. My question to you is what is one of the most unique food items that came with your drink? 
Let me know down below in the comments and be sure to share to friends that would enjoy this Happy Hour
May the adventures continue! Cheers!

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