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 >>
When we lived in Fullerton, our two favorite reasons to head into downtown were for The Reagan Years and Steamers. Our arcade may be long gone, but the independent coffeehouse breathes new life in the evening, thanks to Lucie Wood and Sean Schickling. For a brew more potent than espresso, this duo w ... More >>
What do you get when you take two gorgeous, talented, funny, free spirited and stylish gals and add in a few cocktails? OK...get your minds out the gutter people. The right answer (of course) is that you get Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia where two besties (Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark) go on s ... More >>
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 >>
Last month, Jason Schiffer of the fabulous 320 Main in Seal Beach invited me to be a judge at a cocktail competition held at the Varnish, the fabulous pseudo-speakeasy at the back of the venerable Cole's in downtown LA. The purpose of the competition was to get LA bartenders ready for the cocktail c ... More >>
This column usually highlights serious cocktails and manly drinks sipped and reviewed by Gustavo and Dave who can tell you what brand of rot gut went into it simply by sniffing. This isn't one of those articles. When I troll for drinks to feature, I'm looking for funny names or weird ingredients. An ... More >>
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 >>
"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 >>
UPDATE, MARCH 13, 9:30 a.M. TONIGHT TONIGHT TONIGHT! Samples of drinks for FREE FREE FREE! 7 p.m.! See you there!UPDATE, MARCH 7, 3:30 P.M. Reminder that this amazing event happens NEXT WEEK! See you there!UPDATE, FEB. 29, 1:30 P.M. No real update to report this week, other than it's ABSOLUTELY A ... More >>
Today is National Margarita Day, a made-up holiday so food critics like myself can do listicles like these and ensure more readers will click through our posts to read regurgitated facts like how the margarita is the nation's most popular cocktail (somewhat true) to that Emiliano Zapata invented ... More >>
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 >>
Gabbi Patrick and her namesake Mexican Kitchen in Old Towne Orange has rightfully earned praise for her meals, which skip across Mexico to offer different regional treats (go right now while they're offering her take on chiles en nogada, featuring fluffy picadillo and a walnut sauce so sweet it ... More >>
Flickr user shannonhurstlaneYou young whippersnappers! You think just because some glorified bartender figures out there's more to a cocktail than syrupy fruit liqueurs and vodkas shaken together with too much ice, you've invented more trendy cocktails. Well, we were drinking these cocktails back ... More >>
Jessica FordSome nights, I just want a cocktail delivered to me without having to leave the comfort of my apartment. I've come one step closer to making this a reality with VnC Cocktails--bottles of premixed, just chill-and-serve cocktails.VnC Cocktails include Strawberry Daiquiri, Banana Daiquir ... More >>
Courtesy of KDBKDB in Long Beach, your "neighborhood kitchen, den and bar," is a Dave and Buster's-esque fun zone for adults. It happens to trump its competitor, however, with two full bars, a bowling alley, karaoke, pool tables, a restaurant, and games that actually give you a decent amount of t ... More >>
From Twitter, from a gal whose name I can't remember, whose question I can't quote verbatim because it's buried under a pile of tweets, but which went like this:Where can I find a good mimosa near the beach?Actually, she first asked about a good mimosa, period. I recommended Memphis at the Santor ... More >>
Edwin Goei The Place: The Balcony Grill & Bar, 2710 Alton Pkwy. Ste 215, Irvine, (949) 387-0888; thebalconygrill.com. The Hours: Drink specials, all day Sunday through Thursday. Open till 2 a.m.
Tobin SharpThis week's adventure found me at the popular Seal Beach watering hole, 320 Main, a place where the mixologists take the creation of cocktails very seriously.
It's not fair to impose resolutions on OC diners when I myself have failings. Some of those failings will have to stand (I absolutely despise white chocolate, for example--if a bakery specializing in white chocolate ever opens, it will be down to Gustavo, Edwin or Shuji to review it), but some ar ... More >>
Edwin GoeiThe Place: Ecco, 2937 Bristol St., Ste. A103, Costa Mesa, (714) 444-Ecco (3226); http://www.eccocm.com The Hours: 5-7 p.m.The Deal: $4-$8 appetizers. $3 domestic beers. $4 import beers. $6 well martinis. $4 well drinks. $5 house red or white wines by the glass. $10 cocktails.
Yucatan Grill in Seal Beach is my go-to spot for tasty margaritas. This Caribbean-Mexican restaurant always makes their margaritas stiff (you have to get your money's worth in this recession!) and offers a variety of choices from a Suprema Yucatan (equivalent to a Cadillac Margarita) to a Pomerit ... More >>
After tasting the Mojito at Brea nightclub/bar Entourage last night, it occurred to me this concoction is slightly out of season. It's a clear drink made with mint leaves and evokes fond memories of summer.
Jessica Ford Strawberry Basil MargaritaIt's time to encourage double-fisting for our Drink of the Week. Tia Juana's in Irvine makes two specialty margaritas that stand out from the rest: the Strawberry Basil and the Kick-Ass. Of course you can choose to have just one, but if ... More >>
Tim SeidenMango MojitoIt's not every day you can sip on mojitos and munch on guava barbecue meatballs while watching a sunset--unless you are at The Rooftop Lounge in Laguna Beach, of course.
Where to go for the best deals and drinks
320 MainThe Place: 320 Main, 320 Main St., Seal Beach; (562) 799-6246.The Hours: 3-6 p.m. daily (including weekends); all day Sunday. Closed Monday.The Deal: $4 draft crafts, $4 house wine, $4 well drinks, $4 appetizers. $5 speciality cocktails Tuesdays.
Jessica FordSure, your parents always told you not to swallow your bubble gum because it would live in your stomach for the next 20-something years, but Tantalum in Long Beach has some bubble gum that breaks all the rules your parents gave you--and you'll like it.
Jessica FordOPAH's light-up bar top stretches around a whole side of the Irvine restaurant. The expansive indoor bar seating is exceeded in swanky-ness only by the heated outdoor patio; even during those colder nights, you can stay warm outside while sipping on a specialty Asian Pea ... More >>
Dave LiebermanOne day last week, our editor-in-chief came out of his Editors of the Roundtable discussion with a proclamation."Verily, go thou out into the shire and imbibe, that all may be shewn the way of the publican.""Um, what?""Go find happy hours, then write about them.""Did you just tell u ... More >>
Jessica FordSakura in Huntington Beach features shabu-shabu, a Japanese dish in which you to cook thinly sliced pieces of meat and vegetables in a personal pot of boiling water or broth. This restaurant caters to groups and has a large outdoor eating area as well as a full bar to begin t ... More >>
nostromoo @ flickr.com CC BY-NC 2.0The first time I had gin was at my local bar in the town in rural Iowa where I used to live. A friend ordered gin and tonic in a place called the Checkered Flag, a place that sold Budweiser for 70 cents a glass and Grain Belt "Primo", the world's most insipid be ... More >>
Jessica Ford The blur must be from those beer goggles...Kimera Restaurant Lounge, located near the Irvine Business Complex, attracts mostly young professionals looking for a place to unwind after work. The extensive drink menu here covers wines, beers and specialty cocktails, and the ki ... More >>
Elderflower Pear Rickey If heaven is a place on earth, I'm pretty sure it's Matador Cantina in downtown Fullerton. Attempting to pick one cocktail for our Drink of the Week turned into two, or three, or four--the drinks are that good. Luckily for my liver, I had a friend in tow. After loo ... More >>
Gustavo probably wouldn't have many kind things to say about the food at Ricardo's Place in San Juan Capistrano. It's one of those brightly-colored, family-friendly joints with big plates of just-ok-if-you-don't-know-any-better Mexican-American standards. For the record, I don't know any better, ... More >>
As a preview to the upcoming Happy Hour Week (which kicks off this Sunday, April 12--more on that later in the week), Bloomingdale's at South Coast Plaza is playing host to local mixologists (and a chef), who'll showcase some of the drinks and snacks that will be offered during the event. Non-alcoho ... More >>
Red Orchid Restaurant Grand Opening
Three new OC clubs to get intoxicated about
At Newport's El Ranchito, Margaritas come fast and blurrious.
Cest Si Bon: for those who love to drink with those who love to drink