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One of the things I enjoy about going to visit friends and family down in Orange County, CA is getting to eat at some of my favorite places down there.  On the last few trips, a stop at Bigshots Billiards Bar & Grill has been at the top of the “must-do” list.  Ever since my buddy Geoff introduced me to this place some time back, I can’t get enough of their food.

I know.  You’re sitting there thinking, “What’s so special about another bar-and-grill place with a bunch of pool tables?”  To which I can only answer:  You haven’t tried the pizza.

Bigshots is a great place to hang out, eat lunch, and maybe enjoy the adult libation of your choice.

I consider myself something of an authority on pizza, having worked my way through college (and part of high school, too) at a local Italian restaurant.  I know a thing or two.  Really good pizza doesn’t just happen on its own.  Some work and love and top-notch fresh ingredients have to go into it, not to mention the magic that happens when the cook hand-throws the dough to get that perfect thickness and consistency before the toppings go on.  Skimp on any of that, and you’ve got something approximating Little Caesar’s, usually without the discount price tag.  A lot of places do profoundly mediocre pizza.  Bigshots?  They are definitely doing it right.  Oh, yes they are.

My first time eating there I deferred to Geoff’s prior experience and ordered their All Meat pizza.  Topped with pepperoni, salami, ham, sausage, and ground beef, it might just be a heart attack lying in wait on a plate…but it’s also a meat lover’s dream, and it made a true believer out of me.  It wasn’t overly greasy, the sauce was done just right, and the crust was just the way I like it.  As far as I’m concerned, you won’t find a better pizza anywhere in southern California, and that’s saying a lot.  Austin was with us that day, and he gave their bacon cheeseburger a rave review.  I’ve also tried their wings and chicken fingers, which were both excellent.  They do their wings with a sweeter hot sauce than most places use, which is fine with me since I don’t care much for the really strong vinegar taste you get in most “traditional” wings.  With Bigshots’ wings, the heat sneaks up behind the sweet and makes the world a truly wonderful place.  And if you’re one of those guys who like the other kind of sauce, they’ll do that for you too.  The chicken fingers are served up plain, with your choice of sauce on the side.  I asked for a half order of fingers with fries last time I ate there, and got six huge slabs of chicken and enough french fries to sink a small boat.  I was in heaven.  And everything is always cooked fresh to order.

Bigshots boasts a dozen pool tables, and you can play free when you order lunch weekdays from 11 am to 3 pm.

Of course, burgers, pizza and wings aren’t the only things to eat there.  Bigshots has quite an extensive menu, guaranteeing that whatever you’re hungry for, the experienced kitchen crew can provide.  Delivery and catering are available.  They also have an impressive selection of beers available from the fully-stocked bar, including my two favorites, Sam Adams Boston Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  A dozen pool tables and a healthy selection of video games provide ample entertainment opportunities, and between 11 am and 3 pm every weekday you can play pool for free if you buy lunch.  Every time I’ve been there, the staff have been friendly, helpful, and tolerant of guys like me who need “just a couple more minutes” to pore over the menu.

Bigshots is located conveniently close to Interstate 5, at 23512 El Toro Road in Lake Forest, CA.  They’re open from 11 am to 2 am daily.  Next time you’re in the area, stop in and grab a bite to eat.  You definitely won’t be sorry.

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