Gnocchi

Pasta Happy Hour: Prego

Before we dive into this Adventure I want to be fully transparent for you. As you know I’ve been trying to find places that allow for Happy Hours outside until I feel comfortable going inside. I contacted the restaurant before going to make sure that they did do it outside. They let me know that they did offer it outside so I ended up going. However, when I arrived, they let me know that Happy Hour is only served in the bar area. In the end, they did allow me to eat outside since I had a message from the restaurant saying I could. As a heads up to all my readers that do end up wanting to try this establishment, you may need to wait to go once you feel comfortable dining indoors. Now let’s get back to the Adventure!

Sign above Entrance

I ended up choosing Prego which is located at the Tustin District Legacy where I had my first cocktail to-go at Bar Louie. Walking into the area it did still look like a ghost town as if nothing had changed in a whole year. But I guess that is what happens when you go at 4:45 on a Tuesday.

Dining Area

I sadly did not get a picture of the outdoor patio but I did get a chance to take some pictures inside since that is how this Happy Hour will be experienced. The restaurant is giving me the same vibes as Spaghettini but with darker hues. If you are dining closer to the front of the restaurant where all the natural light flows in then it feels better.

Bar

Of course, the bar area. This is the setting where one can enjoy their Happy Hour. For the most part, it is your basic bar with seating all around the edges.

Kitchen

I do love it when they have a kitchen out inside the restaurant where one can see the action. Although given the times we are in I’m not sure if having diners up in the bar area looking in is the ideal situation. Luckily the diners and the staff are wearing masks at the time of this picture but I’m guessing the guests will have to take their masks to eat and drink eventually.

All the Wine

One unique thing about this restaurant is that they do have a little marketplace where you can buy wine, pasta sauce, and all kinds of Italian pantry essentials. For all of you wine lovers you may be in awe of their massive display of multitudes of wine to choose from.

Social Hour Menu

No matter what one is looking to spend $10 on each plate of food so there is no way around that. Drinks have some wiggle room when it comes to finding the right price. Although they range anywhere from 6 to 10 dollars.

Focaccia Bread

Why must there always be bread at Italian restaurants? I do love bread but if you aren’t too careful you may find yourself full before the meal even comes. The focaccia bread wasn’t the best I had, the flavor was there but the texture wasn’t ideal. The crust was a bit stale but underneath it was the soft fluffy bread. Luckily there is some olive oil and vinegar so you can moisten the bread with some extra flavor.

Venetian Spritz

I’m always looking for unique drink options and it does become difficult at times but in this case, there was one drink that I’ve never had before. The Venetian Spritz is a simple drink made with Aperol and Prosecco with an orange slice. For those of you unfamiliar with Aperol it is a bitter Italian aperitif made with gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. Gentian is a bitter flowering herb while cinchona is a tree in which the bark is taking from it as the ingredient. Based on all of these ingredients you know Aperol is going to give off a bitter taste. The drink was a tad bit bitter but the prosecco came in to sweeten things up. Luckily this prosecco was not as bubbly as the one I experienced at Spaghettini so that made it better. Although I would not order this drink again I’m glad I had the opportunity to try something new.

Moscow Mule

I did end up ordering a second drink and the one that sounded best to me was a classic Moscow Mule. I don’t know what it is about Moscow Mules but they are so refreshing. I think it’s a mix of that bright lime juice but most importantly the copper mug keeps things insanely cool. As with all Moscow Mules, you have that burst of warming ginger beer that helps bring on a nice dimension. There’s nothing really unique that makes this Moscow Mule better than others. Overall it is your standard Moscow Mule.

Gnocchi

My first impression of this dish is that it is very visually pleasing. Maybe it’s just me but I love the color green because it reminds me of a forest full of trees which makes me think of nature. The reason for this wonderful green color is the creamy pesto sauce that coats all of the potato gnocchi. Plus for some additional greens, you have microgreens around the edges of the bowl. Also for all the cheese lovers out there, you can see the specks of parmesan cheese topping the dish. I loved the bright herbaceous flavor of the pesto and each piece of gnocchi is a fluffy potato pillow. Although there was a couple of gnocchi that had a gummy texture which was unfortunate but overall the dish was great.

Lobster Ravioli

Next up are the Half-moon Raviolis stuffed with ricotta and lobster then coated in a lemon and lobster sauce. To add some additional color you can spot some green herbs sprinkled across the surface along with a bed of microgreens. The first bite you get is one of the most intense citrus flavors I’ve ever experienced. It almost tasted as if I was taking a bite out of a lemon slice so it was a bit overwhelming. Now onto the filling of ricotta and lobster which to me I felt I did not get a whole lot of ricotta. Since there wasn’t as much ricotta that means there was a whole lot more lobster filling. Although the lobster was minced up pretty finely which made the texture a bit odd.

So the next few pictures I’ll be sharing are the items my friend ordered which I did not get the chance to try. But I wanted to show you a couple of other items.

Margarita
Margherita Pizza

A Margarita and a Margherita Flatbread, Double Margarita! The Margarita drink looked like most margaritas although this one was served in a rocks glass instead of a margarita glass. When the Margherita flatbread came out I was in awe of the size of it. You can just see that some of the edges are falling off the side of the plate.

As I mentioned I had a friend tag along and it was the first time that we ever met in person since we had first started talking online during the pandemic. I’ve been wanting to expand my friend network so that’s when I decided to look into meeting friends online so that is how Dev and I first met. Once we were both fully vaccinated we decided our first outing would be a Happy Hour Adventure. Dev was a teacher but ended up wanting to change careers because he wanted to try something different. He did work for a travel company right before the pandemic hit and unfortunately, he was laid off like so many others during these stressful times. During these times though he has kept busy by streaming on Twitch with a variety of different video games. I actually had the chance to watch one of his streams and it was very entertaining. The same day that we ended up meeting for Happy Hour he had some great news. After months of job searching and interviewing he finally got a job offer. By the time this posts, he will have completed his first day. One of the things I miss about doing Happy Hours is enjoying a conversation with a friend and this was a great first outing with him. Hopefully, there will be more Happy Hours to come.

Website: Prego

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Since this was my first Happy Hour Adventure with a friend in a while I wanted to ask. Is there a friend you have been dying to meet up with again and what type of Happy Hour would you have with them?

Let me know down below in the comments and be sure to share with friends that would enjoy this Happy Hour.

May the adventures continue! Cheers!

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