When I've got visitors who think Tijuana's only about street food, whose vision of Baja gastronomy is those stalls along the walk from the border to Avenida Revolución, I drive straight to Cebichería Erizo, chef and Baja wunderkind Javier Plascencia's fish market and ceviche stand in the upscale C ... More >>
If you like to go to Chinese restaurants but can't read a lick of Chinese, you'll probably appreciate a new Chinese character translating app called WayGo, which was designed with deciphering food phrases in mind. Using the free download, you point your iPhone's camera at a block of Chinese text, li ... More >>
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 >>
My in-laws make the best pozole in the world. This is not open for discussion; anyone who has ever had it at any Gutierrez family gathering knows the truth. Come Christmas time, certain houses from here to Lake Los Angeles smell like what my sister-in-law graciously refers to as "feet and butt s ... More >>
Dave LiebermanCalifornia olive oil was the laughingstock of the olive oil world for a long time; despite our climate being absolutely perfect for olives, the oils ended up being acidic and sour, and chefs ignored them in favor of expensive imports. Fortunately, the quality has taken a marked turn ... More >>
Martin Diedrich. The father of the coffee revolution in Orange County, owner of the first coffee shop to make an unapologetic, small, truly Italian cappuccino, as well as the first to introduce la naranja to the idea that coffee needn't be roasted to dust in order to taste like something.Jeff Dug ... More >>
Dave LiebermanI'd gone to Community in Little Arabia to get a massage at Yoga Stone one night last week, and when I stumbled floppily out of the complex, I was hungry. Across the street, Forn al-Hara, formerly known as Tripoli Pastry, beckoned.Vegetables. Vegetables are good. We like ve ... More >>
Dave LiebermanTwo weeks or so ago, Jeff Overley at the Orange County Register wrote a poll for their Food Frenzy blog about whether gourmet burger joints are a rip-off. Overley knows his stuff, and he's got his feet on the ground when it comes to value received for money paid. When something is e ... More >>
Dave LiebermanPho Kimmy's pho dac bietWelcome to OC Weekly's Final Pho. Sixteen pho shops chosen from the more than 100 in the county; four critics who know what the pho makes a good bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup. The chosen 16 will face off in each of our brackets, two by two. Today's match ... More >>
Dave LiebermanRob Eshman is the editor of and occasional food blogger for the Jewish Journal who raised the hackles of Los Angeles food bloggers earlier this year by posting 10 reasons Saveur's glowing review of LA's promise as a food destination was misguided.Well, dear readers, Eshman has done ... More >>
Dave LiebermanSometimes these battles aren't fair. Sometimes they're political in nature, meant to further an ax we as food snobs have to grind. This is one of those battles.
Dave LiebermanEggplant is a nutritional void; it's got precious few vitamins, it appears to be made mostly of cellulose, and it's slightly bitter, especially in older specimens. Why, then is it so popular?
Dave LiebermanI wanted to see whether the news reports were true; I missed Baja and the laid-back lifestyle it represents. When Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA offered a quick one-day tour, I jumped at the chance to see whether it was time to go back.I'm happy to report that it is. No soldiers ... More >>
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.
Dave LiebermanThe Place: The Cellar, 305 N. Harbor, Suite 001, Fullerton; (714) 525-5682.The Hours: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday nights (into Saturday morning, obviously)The Deal: 25% off drinks. The Scene: Who says happy hour has to be at 5 p.m.? For all those people who are stuck poring over spre ... More >>
Boy, that title should be a really big clue--not that you'll need one, because there are only two restaurants in the entire county that serve this food, and they're pretty well known. One guess per comment, one comment per person (until further notice), and no Weeklings allowed to guess. First corre ... More >>
Cuernavacan prideTaco acorazadoGet in mah belly.Dave LiebermanAlebrije's taco acorazado
The Place: Memphis at the Santora, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana; (714) 564-1064.The Hours: 3:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. Closed at that time Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.The Deal: Various drink specials (listed on the blackboard on the south wall); $5 appetizers.Dave Lieberman
Escarole doesn't get enough love. It looks like a giant head of slightly mutant butter lettuce, but it's got a bitter, iron-y tang that is powerful enough raw to let you know that this green is very good for you. Nevertheless, cooking it tames its bitterness; it goes well with a slightly sweet sauce ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThe Place: The Anthill Pub, C-215 Student Center, University of California--Irvine, 4200 Campus Dr., Irvine; (949) 824-3050.The Hours: 4-7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.The Deal: $1 off pints; $3 off pitchers.
Fava beans are a summer crop in much of the world; here in southern California they're definitely a spring crop. Known as broad beans to the British, habas to the Mexicans and horse beans to Italian grandmothers, they're popular the world over.Dave Lieberman
It'd be nice to be able to eat Bluefin or Shibucho every time the sushi urge strikes, but sometimes lunch is grabbed on the way between two meetings; sometimes dinner needs to be a quick pick-up before drinking the bulk of one's daily calories (other people do this, right?) and that precludes a real ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThis is dolsot bibimbap, or mixed rice, vegetables, an egg and bulgogi in a hot stone pot, and not a bad version of it; the only hint you're getting for right now is that it came with an unexpected tempura octopus tentacle as one of the panchan (side dishes).The first person to gues ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThe Place: McCormick and Schmick's, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim; (714) 535-9000.The Hours: 3:30-6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-close, Monday through Friday (but see note at end).The Deal: Drink specials (which change often), $2-$5 bar menu.
Ah, strawberries. We're blessed to have edible strawberries eleven months of the year here in Orange County, but we're headed full tilt into the very best of the berries. The problem is that they are, to quote Alton Brown, "ticking time bombs." Within a day they've withered; in three days they're mo ... More >>
Dave LiebermanWalk into any Williams-Sonoma and you'll see rows of absolutely stunning copper cookware, pinkish brown in its perfection and infarctingly high in its price. Eventually you give into the pan lust and drop several Benjamins on a set.You get it home, cook with it a few times, and it t ... More >>
Dave LiebermanForget about that offensive piece of garbage that passes for a Mexican pizza at Taco Bell. There's a much better "Mexican pizza" out there, and it's all thanks to the culinary geniuses in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca (say "wah-HAH-kah").
Flickr user Wordislandinfo.com / futuristmovies.comSo you've got a vendetta against chickenkind, but you're barred by restraining order from Zacky Farms? Get your revenge by torturing and murdering the popular Easter candy known as Peeps. We worked with Pepe the Peep to find which was the most ef ... More >>
Dave LiebermanIs there no end to the variety of Brassica plants we can eat as humans? Cabbage (domestic, Savoy and Napa), broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco, Brussels sprouts, all Brassica.Brassica of Brassicas, all is Brassica--including the odd-looking (but delicious) kohlrabi.
There's been a lot of foodie love lately for Russian Gourmet in the surprisingly food-rich city of Lake Forest. There have been some assertions that it is the only Russian store in Orange County. Eto nie pravda; this is a filthy, filthy lie. (What, you didn't know I spoke Russian, too?)While I need ... More >>
Dave LiebermanIt looks like pizza, but it isn't.Guess what it is and get some serious Mexican chow cred. (Oops, I guess that was a clue, wasn't it?) Guess where I got it and win a fantabulous prize from OC Weekly! One guess per person, please.If you guess any of the three locations, it's fine; th ... More >>
Proof BarThe Place: Proof, 215 N. Broadway, Santa Ana; (714) 953-2660.The Hours: 4-8 p.m., Monday through Friday.The Deal: $3 well drinks; $2 domestic beer (bottles only); $1 off everything else; $5 appetizers.
Dave LiebermanThree years ago, if you saw a cherimoya, it had almost certainly been flown in from Chile or Peru and had been languishing in the "exotic" produce bin at the supermarket, waiting for someone to recognize it and pay $5 for a tiny, withered fruit.Commercial production of cherimoyas ha ... More >>
If there's a Mexican food more soul-satisfying than milanesa, I want it shot, drawn and delivered to me. I mean, how can you not love it? It's beef that's been dipped in egg and breaded, then deep-fried. It's the Mexican equivalent of chicken-fried steak, but with enough garlic to repel vampires in ... More >>
Dave Lieberman"I made beer can chicken last night," said Guy #1. "I rammed the chicken down onto an open can of beer and threw that sucker on the grill. Best chicken ever.""No way, dude," said Guy #2. "I once made beef stew on the manifold while I drove from Des Moines to Minneapolis. Got there, ... More >>
Looking for a creative way to cook? All the burners on your stove taken up with preparations for tomorrow's gigantic dinner party? You can use your dishwasher to cook dinner. Dishwasher catfish to the rescue!Dave Lieberman
Taken at Mustard Café in Irvine. I'm not sure what's worse, the Jewish fail or the sandwich-construction fail. Click to embiggen the picture and see the problem.Dave Lieberman
Ugly.Murcott tangerines are ugly. They're bumpy, the skin is too loose for the size of the fruit within, they often have rough patches where the branches grew against the maturing fruit, and the overall effect is of something so far past its prime that it shouldn't be sold.Don't be fooled. The Murco ... More >>
Certain foods are obviously tasty just from the look; ripe strawberries, rice and rabbits all look delicious. Certain foods don't look delicious, but are close enough to delicious-looking food to understand how humankind got started eating it; bitter melon, cow's milk and Seville oranges fall into t ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThe food truck frenzy continues apace: this weekend saw the launch of the Barcelona On the Go truck at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa. When I arrived at 3:30, the line was about twelve people long; when I got to the front, the line had grown to about twenty, and when I left at a ... More >>
Spring comes a lot earlier to Southern California than it does to most of the country. While Philadelphia is about to be buried under two feet of snow and the few farmers' markets in Colorado are selling things like bread and honey, we're starting with the tiniest spring vegetables.One of those spri ... More >>
Dave LiebermanWhile there are a number of good bread vendors at the Irvine farmers' markets, lately I've been making more and more of my bakery stops at Picket Lane Bakery, a stand toward the middle of the market.The bakery has no retail storefront, since most of their trade is B2B, but they do s ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThis isn't the official recipe for the week--Willy will be along later today with more for your home-cooking delectation--but I made this tonight and couldn't resist sharing it with you all. My Aunt Clara, who was Danish and therefore knew her way around potatoes and butter, taught ... More >>
Dave LiebermanIt might be January, and it might not be time to think about spring yet, but it's been a warm year and the greenery is already out at the farmers' market, up to two months in advance of its normal appearance.Green garlic is the entire garlic plant while it is still young, before the ... More >>
Dave LiebermanThat Tana Ethiopian Restaurant is on a fairly short list of places I visit frequently is due to a serendipitous trip to Portillo's in Buena Park a few years ago. I saw a sign and pulled a quick U-turn in the road, earning me the ire of a bus driver and the first of many happy dining ... More >>
Dave LiebermanEmpanada isn't a very specific word in Spanish. It just means something enveloped in dough, something "em-breaded". It doesn't prescribe the filling, the shape or even the method of cookery. Beef Wellington would technically be an empanada, as would a deep-fried pig in a blanket.Usu ... More >>
Dave LiebermanShe likes her hair to be real orange; she uses ta-a-angerines...This week's national news was full of tales of woe from Florida: a long, hard freeze that is killing the legendarily-lush landscaping. The low temperatues may have wiped out the citrus crop, and more of the same is pred ... More >>
Dave LiebermanQuick, name a place in downtown Fullerton to get breakfast. Full English at the Olde Ship? The gut-busting buffet at Chomp? Granola and yogurt at Rutabegorz? Eggpatty McSysco at the Yellow M on Chapman?No, the best-kept breakfast secret in Fullerton is the Monkey Business Café, a w ... More >>
Dave LiebermanQuick, when was the last time you had a juicy, sweet, fragrant strawberry?Back in June and July?Well, there's some good news. While cool, dry weather in November makes the meteorologists and climate folks freak out, lovers of fruit can rejoice, because it means an extra crop of stra ... More >>
Dave LiebermanQuick, what's better than crème brûlée?How about crème brûlée in an edible bowl?The Catalans, those famously free-thinking denizens of northeastern Spain, Andorra and the adjacent part of France, claim to have pioneered crème brûlée. In a burst of national pride, they call ... More >>