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  • The Anonymous Hungry Hippopotamus


Updated: Sep 25, 2023

In the U.S., brunch gets weekends, Easter and Mother's Day. Dinner gets date nights, special occasions, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And lunch? Lunch usually gets leftovers. After reading this article (, I have been intentionally celebrating lunch. Below are some of my recent lunch adventures.

Hiro Nori Craft Ramen

HiroNori is the creation of founders Hiro Igarashi and Nori Akasaka who partnered to create, what they say is, "the best ramen in California." HiroNori has 10 locations throughout the state. I ate at the Irvine location on Michelson Drive. The restaurant offers three kinds of ramen: tonkotsu, shoyu and vegan, which you can load up with all kinds of toppings. I highly recommend the garlic and house spicy sauce which are both offered at no extra charge.

Shoyu ramen (pork chasu, green onion, spinach, bamboo, kaiware sprouts, half egg) with garlic and house spicy sauce.


Cotogna, located in San Francisco's historic Jackson Square, is known for their hand made pastas, wood fired pizzas and spit roasted meats. 'Cotogna' is Italian for 'quince,' the name of their fine dining, sister restaurant next door. With a menu that changes daily based on what is farm fresh, you're always in for a delicious surprise.

Carbonara pizza.

This was not only delectable during lunch, but for breakfast the next morning as well. Bacon (guanciale) and eggs? It's all there on the hand tossed, wood fired dough.

Tagliatelle all'uovo "7" meat ragu.

The pasta was hand rolled to ideal thickness and perfectly cooked. The ragu, made from 7 meats and simmered for hours, melted in your mouth.

Oscar's Mexican Seafood

Oscar's Mexican Seafood's original location is in San Diego's Pacific Beach neighborhood. This hole in the wall restaurant is located near a smoke shop and a dive bar, just blocks from the beach. The portions are big, the prices are low and the food is creative and fresh.

With frequently long lines, you are lucky to get a seat at the counter. Getting the food to go is always an option, or you can visit Oscar's other San Diego locations which have larger dining areas. The ceviche, tortas and burritos all get glowing reviews but, tacos take center stage at Oscar's.

Smoked fish taco with cabbage, avocado, cheese and a drizzle of their exquisite salsa.

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