Zov’s Bistro Home of the Eggplant Recipe Contest

If you live in the Orange County area chances are you already know about Zov’s Bistro.

Zovs has always been one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County. The original location is located in Tustin, Ca. off the 55 fwy (17th Street exit). Zovs Bistro features a cafe side & bakery where you will find the MOST INCREDIBLE pastry case .


My favorite (when in season) is the Chocolate Strawberry Tart and if I go there in the morning I will treat myself to a mouth watering zucchini cocount muffin (heaven). Pssst you can’t see the HUGE bite missing on the other side. I was weak.

The patio dining on the cafe side is my secret hangout. I love to grab the mixed greens salad (the BEST feta in the world) with a piece of grilled salmon thrown on top and I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest you grab a pastry on your way out the door, they are by far the best I have found in OC (and trust me I am a baker and my bar is very high) and well worth the extra $. My son’s favorite are the chocolate dipped rice krispy treats.

In the last few months I have been to several different events hosted at ZOVs including a cooking demonstration by Chef Dave Martin (Bravo’s Top Chef Season One), he served up his famous mac n’cheese and the tenderest pork roast… oh and the pumpkin panna cotta. I die.

Mother’s Day Brunch

and recently The Lowly and Lovely Eggplant Recipe Contest.

Featuring 4 local finalists and their eggplant dishes judged by well know locals.

Teri Williams of Great Taste Magazine, “Fast Food Maven” Nancy Luna, Zov and Greer Wylder of Daily Dose of OC and Greer’s OC.

from Zov Karamardian’s blog:

“Tustin resident Jihan Assi of Tustin edged out three other contenders in the Eggplant Recipe Contest held today at the Bistro.  Assi’s stuffed eggplant took top honors over other dishes prepared by Yuko Graham of Orange, Huntington Beach resident Priscilla Willis of She’s Cookin and Costa Mesa resident Mirna Bard.

All of the finalists’ dishes were tasty, and it was so hard for me to choose a winner!  But Jihan’s stuffed eggplant really captured all of the criteria that we were looking for – taste, texture, presentation and originality.

Here is her winning recipe which will also be featured as the “Special of the Day” at Zov’s Cafe in Tustin on Friday, May 28th. Come and try her award-winning eggplant dish!”

Zov took a moment to explain a little background on the eggplant and how it all started with her famous eggplant sandwich (that is still on the menu today) how to choose an eggplant and simple tips that included, always cook it thoroughly, never al dente.

I am anxious to try some of these recipes, I actually favored Pricillas’ Eggplant Parmesean and Mirna’s Eggplant Salad, it was like eggplant meets guacamole, very refreashing!

the winner Jihan Assi

I had the pleasure of being seated at the event with a few of my favorite OC Bloggers (Kathleen Enge, Marcie Taylor, Suz Broughton and Kelly Von Hemert) we were treated to this spicy little pasta number for lunch

and of course dessert..yum!

I’m loving food photography lately, can you tell? Special thanks to Todd and Diane of The White on Rice Couple for the food styling help!

Here are all the finalists recipes for you to try. If you want to try something simple with eggplant click here to see how easy it is to grill on the BBQ.

Zov’s Eggplant Recipe Contest

For more information about Zov’s Bistro or to be come a fan of Zovs visit the fan facebook page or tweet with them @zovs.

disclosure: this post was not sponsored by Zovs I was invited to the recipe event for which I was not compensated (unless you consider being paid in cupcakes is compensation) I have been a long time patron of Zovs (over 10 years) <– I think that speaks for itself.


  1. Kelly von Hemert says

    Likewise, fellow fave! Lovely, thorough post and thanks for the mention! Looking forward to more good times pronto!
    .-= Kelly von Hemert´s last blog ..Shady Vegetables at Zov’s =-.

  2. says

    Great photos! How did the snapshots of Emma turn out, to bad she didn’t bring her gloves. Love the recipe and Sugar and Spice Link. What a great Friday post. Now, where can I find a cupcake. Oh yes, I must stop by Zov’s after perschool drop off.
    .-= Kathleen Enge´s last blog ..Family Field Trip to OC Animal Care. Promoting Life, Promoting Adoption =-.

    • modchik says

      Kathleen – I’m saving that shot for a “special” post that will work much better after tonight (wink wink).

    • modchik says

      Thanks Pricilla!

      Yes I used SCRIBD online – I created the Word Doc – converted to a PDF (but I think you can upload just a word doc too) and uploaded – super easy!

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