I haven’t checked out South Orange County for a while, so scheduling lunch with a friend who now works in Laguna Niguel, was a perfect opportunity. Mangia Bene! Cucina is located in Plaza de La Paz. I lived in this area from 1987-1991. I hardly recognize it now.

This Italian restaurant has a very comprehensive menu with every dish described in detail. The entrees are numbered, so it makes ordering easy. #56 for me, which translates to “Risotto Toscana” – Arborio rice with shrimp, chopped clams, scallops, mushrooms, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Tammy’s #11 is “Cesare”- tossed greens with Caesar dressing, croutons and parmesan cheese, with a little grilled chicken added. No skimping on ingredients, large portions, served on brightly designed plates. Of course, everything was delicious. This included a plate of toasted cheese points served with our beverages.

The Other Thing – For the first time in the history of my blogging (I think), there was no dessert after our lunch. I would like to think that avoiding sweets is my New Year’s resolution. That would be no fun for you readers. I am only thinking of you!