Ethnic and Regional Cuisines

  • Food

    May 2, 2013

    Urban Seoul's Bulgogi Nation

    This Irvine restaurant is the latest Kogi knock-off, but it's a damn great one

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2013

    Eat This Now: Pambazo Ahi Crudo at Anepalco's Off Chapman

    So I know all of you go to Anepalco's off Main Street in Orange, the first branch of Danny Godinez's coming empire of alta cocina Mexican food. But not enough of you have yet made the trek to the second Anepalco's, the one off Chapman Avenue kitty-korner from UCI Medical Center. That one gets a good ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2013

    Mama Hong's, New Vietnamese Restaurant, Opens in Costa Mesa

    I've lost track of how many iterations of pho joint has occupied the space at 3013 Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa. A few years ago I ate at one called Pho 99, which at the time was part of a larger chain. That restaurant has since become a blip in the timeline, replaced by another pho restaurant. But w ... More >>

  • Food

    April 25, 2013

    Hue Oi: Boiling Down to the Basics

    This Hue-style joint is one of Little Saigon's best places for bánh bèo and bún bò hue

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2013

    Trader Joe's Now Has Its Own Sriracha

    See Also: *Five Signs You May Have A Sriracha Problem *Introducing Sriracha Lip Balm *INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things You Should Know About Sriracha Trader Joe's has tried its hand at packaged Asian cuisine with varying levels of success. Its Punjab choley? Tasty. Its beef pho? Why?!But its ballsiest creati ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 18, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Number Nine

    Sorry to all the animal-lovers out there, but "vegetarian pho" is definitely an oxymoron, so much so that the very association of it with Long Beach's Number Nine has left many avoiding the place despite its convenient location on Fourth Street's Retro Row. But a recent lunch with a vegetarian broug ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2013

    Meiji Seimen, New Noodle Shop, Opens in Costa Mesa

    Costa Mesa is OC's ramen country. We know this for a fact. But ramen isn't the only noodle game in town. There's also soba and udon, to name just a few other slurpable options. But so far, if I recall correctly, there's only one notable from-scratch udon maker in town: Sanukiseimen at the Mitsuwa Ma ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2013

    Rick Bayless Insults Yet Another California City's Mexican Food Traditions

    My lord, does Rick Bayless want all Mexicans in the United States to hate him or something? Back in 2010, the celebrity chef of Mexican food notoriously said Los Angeles didn't have much of a Mexican food tradition, then denied he ever said that while trashing Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Time ... More >>

  • Food

    April 11, 2013

    Taco Nazo: OC's LA Fish Taco Cousin

    This La Habra restaurant sells great fish tacos straight outta La Puente

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2013

    Banh Mi Che Cali Opens Gigantic Restaurant in Fullerton Next To Lee's Sandwiches; Let The Banh Mi Battle Begin!

    A banh mi turf war is brewing in Fullerton. Banh Mi Che Cali, which we've written about here on these blogs and featured on our Best Of lists, Favorite Dishes lists, and lists of other lists, has opened what has to be their biggest, most gigantic store yet...and this one also serves pho in an a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2013

    Eleven46, New Vietnamese Restaurant in Foothill Ranch, Offers Beignets!

    A new Vietnamese restaurant in isn't news, especially in South County, the new pho frontier. But a Vietnamese restaurant that serves beignets in South County? You don't see that everyday.

  • Blogs

    March 12, 2013

    Revolving Sushi Restaurant To Open in Fashion Island

    Up to now, the closest thing to a sushi bar you could get at Fashion Island was Hana Grill at the food court. Blue C Sushi will change this soon. It is a revolving sushi joint where the plates of sushi roll by on a conveyor belt, just as it does at all the other kaiten sushi restaurants in our count ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 6, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Sal's Gumbo Shack

    Despite the prevalence of Louisiana Fried Chicken locations in Long Beach (a fact that continues to baffle me, as most are also under the same roof as a "Chinese food to go" establishments), there are few places that actually serve Louisiana-style soul food. BBQed meats slathered in sweet and spicy ... More >>

  • Food

    February 14, 2013

    Thanh Ha's Crepe Expectations

    The Vietnamese crepes at this Westminster restaurant are a worthy challenger to those at the venerable Van's Restaurant

  • Food

    February 7, 2013

    Buns N Rice: The Chosun Ones

    [Hole In the Wall] This Costa Mesa deli is slowly introducing office drones to Korean cuisine

  • Blogs

    February 6, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Sushi Boy

    The only cool thing about slaving all day at a computer buried inside one of the many faceless Irvine office parks is that one hour of freedom where you get to drive to the nearest retail corner and get a plastic plate full of fast casual ethnic food at lunch-special prices. In my glory days of boun ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2013

    On the Auction Block: Letter From JFK's Mom Trashing Mexican Food

    While doing my research for Taco USA, I came across a fascinating sub-chapter: presidential encounters with Mexican food. Some of our commanders-in-chief lived for the stuff--Richard Nixon, LBJ, and Bill Clinton, especially. Others helped elevate it in status--Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama come to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 30, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Kabob Curry Indian and Pakistani Food

    India and Pakistan might be right next to each other on a map, but it's not often you see them listed together on a sign for a Long Beach restaurant, much less a small, Himilayan-salt obsessed one tucked away in a storefront just off Pine Avenue and Third Street. Originally lured into the Kabob Curr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 25, 2013

    10 Things You Must Eat in Little Saigon

    In creating this list, I asked myself this question: Where would I take out-of-town visitors to explore the wonders of our Little Saigon? And what would I have them eat? In all honesty, I came up with more than you see below. My notepad is filled with at least a dozen more tasty bits I didn't have r ... More >>

  • Food

    January 24, 2013

    Pho Song Hai's Drip In Time

    [Hole In the Wall] This Westminster pho shop sells a unique type of the legendary chicken soup

  • Food

    January 10, 2013

    Soy Tofu: Tofu or Not Tofu

    This La Palma Korean dive serves soft tofu soup to warm your bones

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2013

    Long Beach Lunch: Long Beach Marché in the New Long Beach Airport Concourse

    Attention: the future of airport food is here. And the best part is, it's exactly like food in the real world, down to the prices and all. I discovered it on a casual travel day a few weeks after the Long Beach Airport's new $45 million concourse began hosting passengers in early December. Hearing a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2013

    Tortilla Tuesdays: Nuño Brothers Tortilleria

    There some OC Mexican market dynasties--the Gonzalezes of Northgate, the Bonillas of El Toro, El Toro Bravo, and El Camino Real, the Rubalcavas of La Reina and Rubalcava's Bakery, the Zambranos behind Taco Mesa, La Reyna, and Soho Taco--whose imprint is all across Latino OC, whose product travels fa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2013

    On the Line: Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria, Part One

    Firsts happen all the time. Our interview with Carlos Salgado was the first time a chef brought someone to our meeting (who was lovely, by the way!). It was also the first time we heard of a subject experiencing car trouble on the way to their photo shoot. Actually, it was luxe lonchera trouble whil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2012

    New Izakaya Opens In Fullerton

    There's a new izakaya in Fullerton. No, not Honda Ya. That's old news. Izakaya Kopan is taking over the spot of Red Chopsticks, a pho purveyor located next to the popular sushi joint Chomp at 141 E. Commonwealth Ave.

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2012

    Make It Mexican With Roland: Tamales

    This is the first installment of Mexican food tutorials with the warm and inspiring Roland Rubalcava of Rubalcava's in Placentia. Roland has agreed to take us through his favorite dishes that he learned how to make from his mother--this way, you no longer have any excuses to eat at a gabacho-fied Me ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2012

    Tacos de Pescado Los Originales: Naked, Flaked, and Sacred

    It's time to take back the fish taco.Enough with the soft, mushy, grilled "healthy" fish tacos. Find a different name for it--tacos de guacareada come to mind--and leave the original tacos de pescado estilo Ensenada alone. A real fish taco is a piece of deep-fried fish--preferably shark, but any moi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 11, 2012

    Pascal Olhats Closes Pascal at Hutton Centre

    Pascal Olhats' seminal restaurant Traditions is all but a distant memory, and now the satellite location of Pascal at Hutton Centre has closed as well. I noticed it was dark and gutted this past weekend and shot an email to the man himself. Chef Olhats not only answered me within mere minutes v ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2012

    Where to Buy Tamales in Orange County This Christmas, 2012 Edition!

    This is hilarious. Every year around this time, I get asked where to buy the best tamales in Orange County. Really, the answers rarely change. Below is the article on the subject I did last year, which itself is mostly a retread of a story I did back in 2007. Other plugs I'll give right now are for ... More >>

  • Food

    November 29, 2012

    Phuong Restaurant's Viet Funk

    [Hole In the Wall] This Garden Grove classic serves messy, wonderful bowls of soup and noodles

  • Blogs

    November 28, 2012

    Long Beach Lunch: Maru Maki Sushi

    The restaurants near the corner of Broadway and Alamitos Avenue are an intriguing slice of Long Beach life. LGBT-catering Hamburger Mary's butts up against Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles while the dive-y Irish pub Clancy's stares at Maru Maki Sushi across the street. Unfortunately, the tiny Japane ... More >>

  • Food

    November 1, 2012

    Chaba Thai: Second

    [Hole In the Wall] This Stanton Thai joint will use any edge to lure you from Thai Nakorn

  • Blogs

    October 30, 2012

    On The Line: David Kesler of Bistro Bleu, Part One

    When the establishment you've worked at for so long changes their focus, do you stay? In David Kesler's case, the answer was clear. He took the opportunity to cultivate a CaliFrenchian space of his own. Between a calming color scheme and his charming wife monitoring the dining room, Bistro Bleu pres ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 25, 2012

    Who Invented The California Roll?

    For sushi novices, it's the gateway dish. The California roll can be found everywhere from grocery-store fresh-food aisles to cafeteria menus in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Typically packed with crab or imitation crab, avocado and cucumber, then rolled "inside out," the nonthreaten ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 24, 2012

    Diatribe with Dave: A Soliloquy on Salsa Roja, and Where to Find the Best in OC!

    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

    October 10, 2012

    Long Beach Lunch: Taste of India

    Taste of India seems to be a catch-all name for West Coast Indian restaurants, like what Ray's is to New York pizza. But unlike all the Ray's that finally came together to form one franchise chain, the Long Beach Taste of India--a tiny corner storefront across from the Willow Blue Line station--rema ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2012

    On The Line: Geeta Bansal Of Clay Oven, Part One

    Geeta Bansal doesn't sit still. Her travel plans to visit chefs Europe are around the corner, and they've just finalized plans for another dinner collaboration-- and that's just for October. Most recently, they served wild boar at Taste of Newport. Plans to prep their signature Thanksgiving turkeys ... More >>

  • Food

    August 23, 2012

    The Mein Event: OC's Best Noodles

    Noodles, noodles everywhere, from pho to pad Thai and everything else

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2012

    Tortilla Tuesday: Flour Tortillas at Rubalcava's Market AKA Best Flour Tortillas in Southern California

    In the borderlands, a flour tortilla is sacramental, holy, filling, the true daily bread: fluffy, filling, thick, pliable, toothsome love. In Southern California? Universally, shit.I've eaten tortillas my entire life, and the flour versions have only been consumed out of necessity for quesadillas (d ... More >>

  • Food

    August 9, 2012

    Van's Restaurant Is Off the Wall

    [Hole In the Wall] This Little Saigon classic makes the best bánh xeo around—just prepare to get messy

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2012

    Three New Vietnamese Restaurants Open

    They always seems to come in bunches don't they: Vietnamese restaurants. In the past couple of weeks I've observed not one, not two but three new Vietnamese restaurants opening in our fair county. And those are just the ones I know about. Who knows what brand spanking, new businesses have sproute ... More >>

  • Food

    July 26, 2012

    KoKo Chicken and BBQ Is a Better KFC

    [Hole In the Wall] This Buena Park Korean pub makes the best fried chicken in Orange County

  • Food

    July 12, 2012

    MaDee Thai Kitchen Is the Lou Gehrig of Thai Cooking

    [Hole In the Wall] This Costa Mesa restaurant stays with the safe to be great

  • Food

    July 5, 2012

    Potzol den Cano Has Querétaro Power

    [Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana restaurant is the first outpost of a Mexican chain devoted to pozole—but there's much more

  • Food

    June 28, 2012

    Al-Omda Lets You Eat Like an Egyptian

    [Hole In the Wall] This Garden Grove restaurant is just the second place in OC to serve Egyptian food

  • Food

    June 28, 2012

    Sit Like a Shogun at Honda-Ya

    The Tustin haunt brings its formidable brand and izakaya food to Fullerton

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2012

    A Long, Withering Takedown of Rick Bayless on Occasion of Him Receiving an Award from Mexico, or: Rick Bayless, the Michael Bolton of Mexican Food

    On June 6, Chef Rick Bayless received from the Mexican government the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Insignia class (lower ranking reserved for non-royals and non-politicians) for his work in promoting Mexican cuisine in general, and Mexican haute cuisine, specifically, in his PBS television series Mexic ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 6, 2012

    Five Signs You May Have a Sriracha Problem

    When it comes to Sriracha love, almost anything goes. Sriracha lollipops, Sriracha keychains, Sriracha spray bottles--all accepted and applauded. But beware, cock sauce fiends--there is a line. Crossing it may lead to disastrous consequences (usually in the bathroom).  We're here to help. Here ... More >>

  • Food

    May 31, 2012

    Bistro Bleu Comes Out of the Bleu

    David Kesler offers inexpensive French cuisine out of an Anaheim strip mall

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2012

    Five Tex-Mex Food Specialties That Should Go Nationwide--Or At Least to California

    From chili to the combo plate, fajitas to tacos al carbón, the frozen margarita machine to nachos, Texas has long dominated the national conversation on Mexican food in this country. But that's now irretrievably changed, as California and our onslaught of regional Mexican, Korean tacos, Mission bur ... More >>

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