I am the worst kind of skeptic when it comes to dairy substitutes; I think non-dairy ice cream is one of the cruelest tricks ever played on a vulnerable public; I think that you'd have a tastier experience eating the box that tempeh bacon comes in than the contents; I think "nut cheese" ought to be ... More >>
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 >>
I'd always known that food in Mexico was both fantastic and cheap, but I'd never really thought about it until I added up all the costs for food that my friend Weston and I ate during a week in Jalisco last year, so we could square up before heading back to our respective cities. We spent more on on ... More >>
Of all the flags I see flying in the Valle de Guadalupe--the tricolor bandera nacional, the red, white and black emblem of the fútbol champion Xolos, and more political flags than I care to think about--the last one I expected ever to see was a gold Scandinavian cross on blue background, the Swedis ... More >>
The sun was in our eyes as Greer and I headed west toward Playas de Tijuana on the border-hugging Avenida Internacional; we'd skipped lunch, knowing that gastronomic wonders awaited us past the new El Chaparral border checkpoint."I know a great place for a seafood lunch," I said knowingly. Then--it ... More >>
Just after 3 p.m. in Anaheim, law enforcement officers knocked down an unarmed male protester in the street for an as yet known reason and police--some oddly wearing military combat equipment and camouflage--reacted with hostility to citizens who tried to film the event.While two officers handcuf ... More >>
We've got no shortage of places in Orange County that specialize in burgers and only burgers. They're not diners (not enough blue hair and orthopedic shoes on the waitstaff), they're not fast food (not at these prices), and they're not gastropubs (which have non-burger foods). The question is, are t ... More >>
One of my father's cardinal rules of life was that the police always eat where there's good food at a good price. New to town? Look to see where the uniforms are eating. It could be a luncheonette in New Jersey with the best Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a hard roll, a little shack in Iowa servi ... More >>
State College Boulevard in Anaheim has hosted something like a dozen Mexican seafood restaurants in the five years since I moved here. They all claim to be Sinaloa- or Nayarit-style restaurants, because those are the Pacific coast states with the strongest seafood traditions, but with the exception ... More >>
"And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you." Leviticus 11:7, King James VersionThere are many laws in Leviticus that I break on a regular basis, but after the fetishization of bacon in American food culture, I'm beginning to wo ... More >>
I hate driving past signs advertising New York pizza. With a couple of very rare exceptions, it's almost never any good, but people have this einredenish--this self-imposed delusion--that places advertising New York pizza will actually be able to produce the chewy, slightly sour crust, the tangy ... More >>
Dave LiebermanStanton: once a stretch of cheap motels catering to theme park tourists before the advent of the 5 freeway, then an industrial-looking, dingy gangland with no "there" there, and now increasingly a city on the vanguard of Orange County's gastronomic revolution. Hyperbole? Perhaps... ... More >>
I've been out for a while dealing with some family stuff on the East Coast--you know I'm not originally from Califas, right?--and while it was pretty draining stuff, I did still have to eat. While the town I grew up in has turned into a bougie commuter paradise (they've got a fancy Wegman's, for ... More >>
Dave LiebermanGood sausages take time to make, and apparently, so do good sausage shops. You may recall that we teased you about the prospect of the place two years ago. Now the second outlet of Sabatino's--the 20-year-old institution that has been supplying Newport Beach with its Sicil ... More >>
It's been about four months since Edwin reviewed the Ramsay-revamped Luigi's D'Italia in Anaheim and three months since the show aired on FOX. Gustavo went for the taping of the show itself; I went the following week, to see what they'd done to a restaurant that inspired one of two reactions in t ... More >>
Last week, Jason Quinn's response to a Yelper who wrote a negative review of his Santa Ana restaurant, Playground, caused quite a scene. Chefs respond negatively to negative reviews (shocking!) all the type, but they don't normally tell people to burn in hell.When the proverbial fit hit the shan, ... More >>
Ten years ago, so-called food "pundits" predicted the demise of bakeries at the hands of the Atkins and South Beach diets. We rolled our eyes then, and we were right, because there's never been a better time to get baked goods in Orange County. From Scandinavian to Vietnamese, from French to Mexi ... More >>
Stories of Joe Youkhan's arancini reached my ears long before his truck of many colors hit the road. I was invited to a couple of pre-launch events, but it was during a really busy period at work and I had my head buried in software design rather than in luxe lonchera launchesThe truck doesn't ke ... More >>
Dave LiebermanWhy is Bella Pizza & Calzones at the Irvine Spectrum lying about being kosher?
Courtesy of Santiago Creek Greenway AllianceClick for a larger image.See that map? It represents the new Santiago Creek Trail, which runs from the Orange County Water District Ponds near Cannon St. in Orange, all the way to the Santa Ana River--with one quarter-mile exception through Jack Fisher ... More >>
Dave LiebermanYep. It's a burger. Nothing escapes your eagle eyes, does it? Once upon a time, the presence of a fried egg atop a burger would have been the only clue you needed; while it's still not a common burger topping, I'll give you a hint: This is NOT at Slater's 50/50, but it's not far awa ... More >>
Dave LiebermanI've always wanted to run into a busy, buzzing newsroom and shriek, "STOP THE PRESSES!" The problem is that (a) I write for a food blog, hardly an incubator for urgent, breaking news, (b) 90 percent of what I write is online and shouting, "Stop the blog software!" just doesn't have ... More >>
Dave LiebermanOne of the best things about writing about food in Orange County is the discovery of something great in a really out-of-the-way place. If you'd asked me what there was to eat in Yorba Linda, I'd have stammered something about the Wild Artichoke and are you sure you can't get to Plac ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThere are a hell of a lot of salsas in Mexican cuisine; beyond the usual green salsa verde made with miltomates (tomatillos) and fresh chiles and the usual red salsa roja made with dried chiles, jitomates (tomatoes) and garlic, there's an array of smoky sauces and dips made from all ... More >>
Dave LiebermanAnaheim is continuing its reputation as the most multicultural city in Orange County; it's hard to think of another city that is home to so many ethnic enclaves, from Middle Eastern to Samoan, from Korean to Mexican.One of the growing communities in West Anaheim is what I'll call Ho ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThe closure of an obscure food court eatery might not garner much interest, but Si Roo was unique in that it provided a set of Korean foods not found elsewhere in Orange County.
Dave LiebermanQuick, what was the first cookie you ever made? If it wasn't a sugar cookie, I bet it was a Toll House chocolate-chip cookie. The famous recipe is printed on the back of the bags of chocolate chips and contains no weird ingredients or odd techniques.
Two hours. That was the wait the first time I tried to go to Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. The line stretched out the door, along the memorabilia, around the corner. All these people waiting for chicken? Even the takeout line was two dozen deep.And so it went. It'd be a huge line; it'd ... More >>
Dave LiebermanLast week, I talked about how easy it was to make panisses, and the photo (taken with my old iPhone, yeah, yeah, haters gonna hate) had some empanadas in the background. Empanadas are, with about $10 worth of equipment you might not already own, the easiest appetizer to make.
Dave LiebermanWe're awash in great Vietnamese; Mexican food improves with every opening of a regional Mexican place determined to lift OC out of its carne asada rut; Chinese food has made Irvine, sleepy Irvine, a destination.But English? N . . . n . . . no. A bastion of fine, rough-hewn, stick-to ... More >>
Dave LiebermanI love New Orleans for many things. Everybody's got music in their heads, Creole cooking is immediately welcoming and comforting, and they invented one of my favorite drinks ever, the Sazerac.They're also the spiritual home of the praline, a sweet candy that's like rough brittle. I ... More >>
Dave LiebermanIt seems not to be possible to have a reasoned discussion about raw milk. For such a minor part of people's everyday lives, it inspires bitter argument.Detractors of the raw milk movement, including pretty much every food safety organization you've ever heard of, say that food-borne ... More >>
Dave LiebermanIt looks like it's true. Cupcakes are dead. While cupcakes used to be the default--nay, the only--dessert option at the various clustertrucks that roam Orange County serving fancy food in low-brow settings, now it's getting harder to find mobile cupcakes.Whew.
Dave LiebermanPesto. The word conjures up the 1980s, when seemingly every Italian restaurant in the United States discovered that there was more to dressing pasta than "meat or marinara?" Like so many foodie obsessions, it started out being made the traditional way, only to be subsumed by America ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThis one might be a bit of a poseur. . . . These are flautas. Flautas aren't as common on menus as one would think they'd be, given they're pretty much Mexican egg rolls. Where'd I eat 'em?You all know the rules. First correct answer gets a prize; no Weeklings allowed to guess, and ... More >>
Dave LiebermanBlame the ugly photo on the photographer, not on the food.Oh, the biónico ("bee-OH-nee-koh"), the best dish from any Mexican fruit stand. It's assorted chopped fresh fruit, topped with a tangy sauce made from fresh crema agria (Mexican sour cream), shredded coconut, granola and rai ... More >>
Dave LiebermanCarlsbad Aquafarm is a new addition to the Orange Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings, and a great resource for Orange County. They sell oysters, clams and mussels, farmed responsibly, with as much information as someone interested in sustainable seafood could want.Their mussels ar ... More >>
Food NetworkDid you know there are two food people named Dave Lieberman? Only one looks like this... and it's not me.There's been somewhat of a rash of people lately asking me what happened in my career that I'm suddenly writing here. I was confused the first time or two, until I realized they th ... More >>
Dave LiebermanIt's hard to try to explain citrus cultivars. "Oh, it's a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo." So is a Cara Cara orange. Citrus varieties seem to have no upper limit on number, but as humans have cross-bred trees, fruits have gotten better and better.Tangelos, then, are a tanger ... More >>
Dave LiebermanJax Donuts in Anaheim has gotten more press than doughnut shops normally do because of Gustavo's writing about the coffee klatsch of men from his parents' home ranchos in Zacatecas who hang out there and sip and talk. They're very nice people, they tease my daughter and make her ... More >>
Dave LiebermanI've been to El Moctezuma many times. I'm slowly working my way through its menu of Oaxacan specialities such as memelas; tlayudas; huge, banana-leaf-wrapped tamales; and of course plenty of moles.Until we took a visiting Marylander for Oaxacan food last week, I had never had the co ... More >>
Flickr user stop_thatThe Anaheim outpost of OC Weekly's test kitchen is a tiny place, an apartment-style galley in which it's hard to fit even two people. To say that storage is at a premium is quite an understatement; tools are only permitted if there is no other way to accomplish a task.Origina ... More >>
Dave LiebermanBehold the torta. Bread with some heft, beans, milanesa de res, lettuce, tomatoes, panela . . .. . . but where's it from? The fact that it's reasonably authentic Mexican tells you at once that it's not from Aliso Viejo or Yorba Linda. One guess per comment, no Weeklings allowed, and ... More >>
Dave LiebermanA friend of mine gave me a jar of a product called "J&D's Bacon Salt." Initially, I had trouble figuring out what I was going to use it on. Eggs, certainly, and in gumbo or coq au vin.
Flickr user camknowsCheap, cheap facsimile: reject this if financial straits allow!It's difficult to write about ramen because the simple dish of yellow noodles in broth is fetishized by its partisans; ramen arguably inspires more heated discussions than any other element of Japanese cuisine. It' ... More >>
Dave LiebermanCannelloni are Italian crepes wrapped around savory fillings such as meat purée or spiced cheese, then laid in a pan and baked with sauce; lasagna is a casserole built like stacked enchiladas, with layers of meat and cheese.Combine them, and you have lasagna rolls, David Zinczenko ... More >>
Dave LiebermanSingaporean food is not exactly commonplace in Orange County; there are exactly zero Singaporean restaurants here, and even Los Angeles is not teeming with stalls dishing up chilli crab, Hainan chicken rice and popiah. So it was exciting to hear of the Chomp Chomp truck, a new, O ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThe pride of New York's soda fountains, the egg cream, contains neither egg nor cream (despite what a woefully uninformed cook at Jerry's Famous Deli in Westwood tried to tell me 10 years ago).It is a chocolate-milk soda, and it is one of the most addicting drinks in the world.You t ... More >>
Dave LiebermanI don't know why it never occurred to me that Filipino turo-turo ("point-point") food is a perfect fit for a mall food court. You almost never see Filipino food in malls, even though you see takes on Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian.
Dave LiebermanDave LiebermanDuring some culinary exploration in South County last week, I pulled in to a ghastly new-OC type plaza on El Toro Road and smelled . . . bagels. Real bagels. Good bagels. I thought I'd been hallucinating because OC's bagel scene is pretty dire.