• Blogs

    July 11, 2014

    Coffeebar Byul: OC's Most OCD Coffee Shop

    Husband and wife Jae-Ho Synn and Jin Sun Ahn talk about coffee and tea as if they were the very nexus of art and science. Synn drops words like "manual agitation" and "calibration" when describing brew methods at Coffeebar Byul in Irvine, while Ahn refers to the shop's drinks as her art. But whether ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2014

    Liberation Brewing Company Is Long Beach's Newest Brewery-In-Planning

    A bright craft beer spotlight shined on the city of Long Beach last year when its newest brewpub, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, won the title of Best Mid-Sized Brewpub in the country (after only two years in business!) at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. And before the end of the year, another ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2014

    Stop Over-Distilling Tequila, Or Why Ambhar Is The Worst Tequila To Enter The Market Since Cuervo Gold

    Because I get so many pitches from public relations people whose approach to their career is to employ the steamroller approach to e-mail communication ("Dear Food Writer and/or Blogger"), it's hard to remember which clueless human megaphone sent me the e-mail about Ambhar tequila. I do know that, a ... More >>

  • Calendar

    May 1, 2014
  • Blogs

    April 25, 2014

    Sol Grande Casa Noble Reposado Margarita at SOL Cocina, Our Drink of the Week!

    While I like SOL Cocina in Newport Beach and respect the hell out of Chef Deborah Schneider for being able to nail great Mexican food without being a diva about it ala Rick Bayless, I always find her restaurant a work in progress. The off-menu chile de árbol salsa she has right now, for instance? N ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 27, 2014

    Four Loko Is (Spiritually) Dead

    Well, that's it. Nearly a decade after it was first introduced and four years after it removed caffeine (and two other stimulants) from its formula, the Four Loko that once was is finally dead. Chicago-based Phusion Projects came to a settlement Tuesday with 19 different state attorney generals and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 24, 2014

    Mexicali's Craft Brewer's Guild Wants to Judge Your American Beer

    Ever wanted to see how your homebrew stacks up against others in the growing Baja craft beer scene? Mexicali's Craft Brewer's Guild is finally giving you the chance by allowing--for the first time since cerveza artesanal from the northwestern Mexican state began capturing American tourists' attent ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 10, 2014

    Boulevardier at Bambú Lounge at the Fairmont Newport Beach, Our Drink of (Last) Week!

    I still maintain that Bambú Lounge at the Fairmont Newport Beach is the most underrated hotel bar in the county, a place where the food is good and affordable considering the surroundings, and the cocktails spectacular. The bar is smart--they even know how to make a great Man o' War, a Kentucky coc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2013

    The Better Sazerac at Memphis at the Santora, Our Drink of the Week!

    I have always had an affinity for the French. It runs in my family: There's French blood on my mom's side, I spoke with my grandfather better in French than Vietnamese, and my dad sang me French songs when I was a child, so it shouldn't be a surprise that when 14-year-old Charles Lam had to choose ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2013

    Five Ways to Drink Coffee When It's Burning Hot Outside

    Orange County gets the shit end of the stick when it comes to coffee culture. We have great roasters and beautiful coffee shops, but when it's time for a cuppa joe'? It's 105 degrees outside, and you could brew a pot by just setting it out in a parking lot. No wonder Seattle claims caffeinated bragg ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 20, 2013

    Ararat Armenian Brandy, Our Drink of the Week!

    Armenians have been making wine for so long that there's serious scholarly debate whether they were the first winemakers in the world. Let's put it this way: they were pressing and fermenting grapes while my northern European ancestors were still figuring out that pointy things kill animals and long ... More >>

  • Calendar

    August 29, 2013

    Humdinger Night

    Club Ripples

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2013

    Portola Coffee Lab Announces New Bottled Iced Coffee

    Legions of Portola Coffee Lab fans will no longer need to wait in line each morning for a cold brew. They can simply open their refrigerators. OC's temple of caffeine has announced it will offer bottled iced coffee, a move that will expand the Portola empire. Co-founder/owner Jeff Duggan talks to ... More >>

  • Calendar

    August 8, 2013
  • Blogs

    July 11, 2013

    Caffe Sospeso: Third-Wave Coffee Comes to Tijuana, No Sugar, No Milk

    As a general rule, coffee in Baja is a disappointment. I don't mean the actual plants or the seeds that come from them; there's some truly amazing coffee coming out of states from San Luis Potosí all the way south to Chiapas. No, I mean that by and large, finding a good cup of coffee in Baja is j ... More >>

  • Calendar

    July 11, 2013
  • Food

    June 27, 2013

    Portola Coffee Lab's Jeff and Christa Duggan Are the Deans of Caffeine

    With their Costa Mesa coffeeshop, plus a second location opening in Old Towne Orange, the Tustin couple are re-defining OC's coffee culture, one cup at a time

  • Film

    June 20, 2013
  • Blogs

    June 14, 2013

    The Bruery To Start Filling Blank Growlers

    It's a common conundrum for California craft beer drinkers: Too many growlers, not enough shelf space. The assumption has been that current law only permits breweries to refill the 64-ounce to-go jugs if they're from their own shop. But in February, the head of the California Department of Alcoholic ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 10, 2013

    Five Ways To Celebrate American Craft Beer Week In (Or Near) OC

    Next week is American Craft Beer Week, a celebration of brews made in the U.S. of A. Local breweries and restaurants are taking part in the national party. Here's where to go to grab a pint.

  • Blogs

    May 3, 2013

    The Santa Ana Daisy at Playground, Our Drink of the Week!

    Here's some cocktail history for you: pretty much every cocktail you've ever had can trace its lineage back to the Old Fashioned: spirit, sugar, water, bitters. Switch the bitters for citrus juice and you have a sour; switch the sugar for grenadine (or raspberry syrup) and add orange liqueur and you ... More >>

  • Calendar

    May 2, 2013
  • Blogs

    April 26, 2013

    Lineup for SoCal Restaurant Show THIS SATURDAY on KLAA-AM 830: TAPS, Wing Lam, Bruxie and More!

    As usual, we turn it over to the guys at KLAA-AM 830's SoCal Restaurant Show gives us the preview for their show tomorrow. Here you go, guys!

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2013

    Starbucks Testing Handcrafted Root Beer

    Once focused on, well, coffee, Starbucks has evolved into a one-stop beverage empire. Its latest offering may be handcrafted sodas: lemon ale, spiced root beer and ginger ale. Starbucks Melody, an unofficial Starbucks info site, reports that the company is testing the items, which are naturally br ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2013

    Diamond Knot Industrial IPA, Our Drink of the Week

    When a Total Wine & More store PR rep first contacted me about displaying things I like to drink in their adult beverage stores, I balked because, let's face it, who cares what a news and film blogger consumes? But when I discovered my old pal Greer Wylder of the Greer's OC dining, fashion and t ... More >>

  • Food

    January 31, 2013

    And a Special Shout-Out to Long Beach!

    The city may not officially be part of Orange County, but we love its craft beer all the same

  • Food

    January 31, 2013

    The Orange County Beer Trail

    A map to all of our fine craft breweries, liquor stores and pubs pouring the good stuff!

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2013

    Wendlandt Brewery, Ensenada B.C.- The Baja Craft Beer Scene Looks to the International Market

    There are a couple of problems with Mexican craft beer at the moment: 1) It's difficult to find bars that have a selection beyond a few brands. 2) Many are talking about how great the beer is without telling you much about the beers(how do they taste?), and there's a lack of discernment among the re ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 19, 2012

    Dave's Top 5 Drinks of 2012

    This year, we're going to publish our top drinks as well as our top restaurants, and I already know where the bone of contention will lie with my list; not all of these are cocktails. I don't want to put up something that may have rotated out of availability, since the best cocktails in Orange Count ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2012

    Five OC Breweries Win Big At The Great American Beer Festival

    Every year, thousands of brewers and beer enthusiasts convene in Denver for the Great American Beer Fest, which is basically the Olympics of beer. Breweries from across the country bring their best brews to be judged by panels consisting of 188 professionals from 11 countries. (By the way, how does ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2012

    5 Ways To Caffeinate For Free (Or Cheap) On National Coffee Day This Saturday

    As if we needed another reason to load up on caffeine, it's National Coffee Day this Saturday. (It just happens to come the day after National Drink Beer Day--thank you, calendar gods!) A handful of chains are offering coffee freebies (and cheepies). Here's where to go to score a cup of joe.   ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2012

    Diatribe With Dave: The Rise of Ryes

    Every second and fourth Wednesday night of the month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau hosts Dinner with Dave at Memphis at the Santora, where he treats drinkers to a free meal and live music as the evening progresses. To remind ustedes of this great night, Dave treats us ev ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2012

    Haven Gastropub Finally Debuts Its House-Crafted Beer In OC

    Back in May, Haven Gastropub released its first batches of house-crafted beer--a double IPA and a pale ale--but to our sadness, the restaurant was only pouring the brews at its Pasadena location, where the micro-production was taking place.   Finally, we'll get a taste. Haven Brewing will ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2012

    Wine In a Boat: Las Vendimias at Vena Cava

    How the Valle de Guadalupe has changed! Fifteen years ago, there were about a dozen wineries; now there are more than sixty, with more seemingly springing up every day. Ten years ago, what was being produced was quite frankly awful, sticky-sweet wine that couldn't have held a candle to Ernst and Jul ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2012

    Theorem: Portola's Specialty Concept Bar For The Ultimate Coffee Nerd

    For a little over a year, Portola Coffee Lab has been educating, surprising and inspiring the caffeine-deficient in OC and beyond, prompting java lovers to hang up their Starbucks mugs for good. The Costa Mesa shop has surely won us over with its specialty beans and unique brewing processes--check o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2012

    New Fiat Has An In-Car Espresso Machine

    In an age of multitasking and NEVER ENOUGH TIME! comes this new development from Fiat. The Italian car manufacturer announced that its 500L model will be "the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine." Who wants to wait in line at Starbucks with the commoner ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2012

    2011 Beaujolais Nouveau, Our Drink of the Week!

    Rack up enough time at enough newspapers in enough places and you rack up freebies. Dance clubs and live jazz bars (Manchester, England); tabloid groupies (South Florida); wine tastings, movie tickets, theater (Atlanta, Georgia); title fights (Las Vegas). But one thing you rarely find is free booze ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 14, 2012

    The Bruery Goes Global: Bottles Spotted In Netherlands--Ishn't Dat Vierd?

    We all know the Netherlands is the place in Europe to get great pot and decent-looking legal prostitutes, but bottles from Orange County's own craft beer creators (and subject of last year's cover story) The Bruery? Yup.

  • Blogs

    June 12, 2012

    On the Line: Alexandra LittleJohn of Green Bliss/Cafecito Organico, Part One

    We're doing our job when Alexandra LittleJohn tells a friend that our questionnaire, " worse than filling out the eHarmony dating website" [Awesome!]. Our Sunday morning is spent in a hidden outdoor seating area of Kean's Newport alongside Nacho, her pup with "big dog syndrome." While we have y ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 1, 2012

    Habanero-Mango Margarita at Memphis at the Santora, Our Drink of the Week

    When the temperature inches up above eighty degrees, heavy libations with lots of liquors give way to easier-to-drink summertime cocktails. Daiquiris, sours, and--this being Orange County--margaritas. Most margaritas are saccharine syrups, and most flavored margaritas are even worse, so it was with ... More >>

  • News

    May 24, 2012

    Barely Legal Summer!

    [Summer Guide 2012] Our guide to living this sultry season on the right (and wrong) side of the law

  • News

    May 24, 2012

    How to Make Real Absinthe

    [Summer Guide 2012] Make, then drink the real stuff!

  • Blogs

    May 17, 2012

    Haven Gastropub Celebrates American Craft Beer Week

    Wait, what? It's American Craft Beer Week? Here I thought it was Bike to Work Week, and I could have been sucking down beers instead of pedaling to the office, uphill and into a stiff headwind both ways. Wil Dee, the Beverage Director at Haven Gastropub and enthusiastic road cyclist, can celebrate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 23, 2012

    Sweet Basil Gin Rickey at Capital Grille, Our Drink of the Week!

    ​"Wow, I haven't made one of these in a long time," the cute, raven-haired waitress at Capital Grille confessed as she poured out my Sweet Basil Gin Rickey into a martini glass. I understand why: a Rickey is the Mr. Burns of classic cocktails--none of the Mad Men chic of an Old Fashioned or a Manh ... More >>

  • Food

    March 8, 2012

    The Orange County Bartenders Cabinet Shake It Up

    The group of county libation crafters is teaching you to drink as you've never drunk before

  • Blogs

    January 24, 2012

    How To Drink In a Craft Cocktail Bar: Five Tips

    ​You walk up to a bar to get a drink and you notice they've got six types of rye, one kind of vodka, a lineup of brown-glass medicine bottles with eyedroppers, infusing jars where the line of beers normally sits, and really freaking pretty ice. Congratulations: you've stumbled into a craft cocktai ... More >>

  • Calendar

    January 12, 2012
  • Blogs

    January 9, 2012

    Six Ways to Stop Being a Douchebag at Starbucks

    ​You probably don't know it, but every time you go to a Starbucks, 14 people behind you in line are shooting daggers at you and trying to kill you by modulating their alpha waves . . . and yes, it's your fault. You're the inconsiderate, self-absorbed douchebag, and you infest every coffee shop in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 2, 2011

    Ten Great OC Coffeeshops

    ​We're sometimes accused of being too North County-centric around here. We can't help it; even leaving aside the snark about Laguna Engabachada, the fact is the population's up here in the 714, and choice in restaurants tends to follow the population.Coffee, however, is a different story. There's ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 30, 2011

    Belgian Beers Shine At The Copper Door Tasting Event

    ​The Copper Door brought the creations of nearly 50 craft breweries to downtown Santa Ana when it opened in 2010. The (literally) underground beer bar has approximately six beers on tap at a time but dozens upon dozens bottled delights. Their simple menu is broken down into categories (beer connoi ... More >>

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