Subject:

Huong Giang

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2013

    5 Great Vietnamese Soups That Aren't Pho

    When you think Vietnamese cuisine, it's no question that pho comes to mind, and it's completely reasonable that it does. However, it'd be a shame to miss out on other Vietnamese soups that, though blood brothers of California's favorite soup, play on completely different flavors, smells, and texture ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 9, 2012

    No. 5: Spontanaé Menu at Marché Moderne

    South Coast Plaza typically isn't a haven for bargain hunters, but for several years the prix-fixe lunch at Florent and Amelia Marneau's Marche Moderne has had one of the best lunch specials in the county.Dinner for two at Marche can easily top $100, but like Rachael Ray taught us on $40 a Day, expe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 5, 2012

    No. 6: Anything By Taco Maria

    I have been known to wait outside Taco Maria for 20 minutes, desperate to be the first in line before the masses come. I've been known to drunkenly tweet that if you don't know Taco Maria, you don't know Mexican food, and fight with people over said sentiments. I've plugged Taco Maria God-knows-how- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2012

    No. 8: Pot Pie Purse at the Crosby

    Aside from La Palma Chicken Pie Shop and a handful of chain restaurants (Claim Jumper, KFC, Marie Callender's), there just aren't enough places doing pot pie anymore. And if they are, it's certainly almost never beef pot pie.Comfort food in the wrong hands can be too much of a good thing--over-porti ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2012

    No. 7: Venison Filet Mignon at Mare Culinary Lounge

    Mare is supposed to be known for its seafood. But you should know by now that Alessandro Pirozzi of Cucina Alessa fame has the golden touch, even with game meats, as it turns out. The venison filet mignon he serves at his newest restaurant, two cubes the size of a baseball sitting on opposite side ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 28, 2012

    No. 11: Picadita at Alebrije's Grill

    You can join the thousands of non-wab Orange Countians who have visited Alebrije's on the corner of Main and Cubbon streets in SanTana, eat nothing but their legendary taco acorazado (which we named our favorite dish in Orange County in 2010 because it was), and you'd be in our good graces forever. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 27, 2012

    No. 12: Blowtorch-Seared Mackerel At Izakaya Ku

    The menu said the mackerel would be seared tableside; but I didn't expect the hand-held flamethrower. I admit it:I was nervous. I inched away in my seat a little when the waiter lit it and the thing whooshed like an acetylene torch. We were sitting in an all-wooden booth shrouded with noren, the tra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2012

    No. 13: Any Octopus Dish at Broadway By Amar Santana

    The first time I ever went to Broadway by Amar Santana was on a double date with Gustavo and his chica. I mostly wanted to drink, and I ordered something or other off the menu without really thinking too hard about it.Then the enormous, far-too-large-for-the-tiny-table plate was placed in front of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2012

    No. 14: Tri-Tip Benedict at Rocq Cafe

    Rocq Cafe has already established itself as the place in South County for intense, incredible macarons, but even the hungriest of cookie monsters (sorry! Had to go there!) needs a real meal sometimes.Much of Rocq's menu is on the lighter side--sandwiches, salads, housemade pastas--and those suffice ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2012

    No. 15: Porkabello At Bacon-A-Fair

    As we approach the home stretch of our favorites, we look back on one helluva fair season. Between our team's participation in culinary chowdowns (Go Dave!) to our interviews with Robert Irvine and Fabio Viviani, one thing is clear: It's all about the grub. Usually deep fried, and always incredible, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 20, 2012

    No. 17: Sashimi Sandwich at North Shore Poke Company

    The picture you see above is crappy, and it shows only a quarter cut. The sandwich isn't much to look at anyway. Its appearance isn't important. What's important is that it is possibly the best dish at North Shore Poke Company, which is little more than a cold station with the proprietor, Shawn Gole ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2012

    No. 18: Kotlety i Zrazy at Moscow Deli

    I'm sure I'm going to take some flak for this being as high in the list as it is, and I have my defense ready: I eat this at least once a month, and I don't work anywhere near Costa Mesa. It's because it's so perfectly done that I drive so far to get this Russian home-cooking standard. Is it som ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 14, 2012

    No. 20: The Karma Burger At Mick's Karma Bar

    Like how the Thompson Twins were neither related nor named Thompson, the "karma" is as ambiguous as the fact that they don't serve alcohol (and that they close by 10 p.m.). Mick's has a number of factors going against it, even before we try to explain where this is located on the ground floor of an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2012

    No. 21: Breakfast Hash And Eggs Waffle At Bruxie

    When folks ask us where our favorite place is for breakfast, we fail to mention Bruxie. Why? Partially because we forget (we're only look young). It's not like they're notorious for only the most important meal. But we're glad that we do, because one of our favorite bites is served on the weekends t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2012

    No. 24: Nemesis at The Viking Truck

    There was a time when we couldn't get enough of the luxe loncheras. Eventually, we got bored and took a break. Maybe five months passed before we even contemplated a truck stop. So in the last year, we've had our fair share of catch up with mobile meals. An entire menu devoted to sausages is enough ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2012

    No. 25: Tuna Empanada at Puerto Madero

    Even with fantastic sandwiches packed with charred Argentinian sausage, lengths of skirt steak, or a buffet of meats and cheeses, the star on the menu at Puerto Madero is a simple fish pastry. Tuna salads and sandwiches might be in other people's lunch bags, but one of the best ways to savor th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 6, 2012

    No. 27: Any Fried Spuds at Umami Burger

    The meticulously-crafted, flavor-formulated burgers at Umami are the main draw, but whether you love or hate the Japanese-influenced twist on classic Americana, it can't be argued that every great burger needs an equally great potato pairing to truly shine.Fortunately, the Umami cooks are skilled in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 5, 2012

    No. 28: Lunch at Playground

    You'd think there would be a lot of food choices in an area as concentrated with workers and residents as Downtown SanTana, but you'd be wrong. Good Mexican is out of the question, you can only eat so many arepas at Mil Jugos or Soul Burgers at Memphis before you're all doughy inside, and the Crosby ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 31, 2012

    No. 30: Four-Course $7 Lunch Special at Olé Spain Delishop

    It's been a SanTana-heavy list for me in this round of 100 faves, but we gotta speak the truth, and SanTana has really emerged in the past year as a destination not just for Mexican food but for ALL sorts of food--and it's only going to get better. That's why I love Olé Spain Delishop so much--not ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2012

    No. 32: Mac 'n' Cheese at Chapter One: The Modern Local

    Ladies and germs: it's okay to eat at Chapter One: The Modern Local again. Us Forkers had an unofficial ban against the place because one of its former partners trashed Mexican SanTana during a city council meeting last year. A terrible disappointment, because we did love Chapter One--Edwin gave it ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2012

    No. 31: Starving Artist Sandwich With the Fixins' at the Crosby

    Apologies for the crappy photo above, but the lighting at the Crosby is never bueno...We're all still waiting for the Crosby guys to open their much-anticipated Grilled Cheese Stop, so in the meanwhile we must content ourselves with the genius that sparked this restaurant: the Starving Artist at the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2012

    No. 33: Chocolate Dome Cake at AnQi

    The garlic noodles at AnQui? Of course. The tamarind crab? Legendary. Cocktails? Superb. The South Coast Plaza eatery can always be counted on for a great, inventive dinner--a recent addition is tongue tacos made from a wonton shell--take THAT, Glen Bell!They also have a molecular gastronomy section ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2012

    No. 34: Neff Ranch Orange Juice from That Guy at the Saturday Irvine University Center Farmer's Market

    You know that guy at the Saturday farmer's market in Irvine across the street from UC Irvine, the guy who sells orange and apple juices. You know...that guy! Kind of looks like Andrew Zimmern, except more soft-spoken? Only sells apple and orange juice? Near the northern entrance? Not the Cal Poly Po ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 24, 2012

    No. 35: Carlsbad Aquafarm Oysters at Slapfish

    If Slapfish only served these oysters and nothing else, it would already justify the restaurant's existence. And co-owners Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude know how special these babies are. Gruel--who was a program manager of the Aquarium of the Pacific's sustainable-seafood initiative--is an advocate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 23, 2012

    No. 36: Hu Tieu at Pho Crystal Noodle House

    The grime on the windows suggest that Pho Crystal Noodle House has been there on Bristol Street for quite a while--at least as another pho joint. The artifacts of its former life as Pho Bistro is still on an old marquee the landlords hadn't bothered to change. Apparently it recently changed hands be ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2012

    No. 37: Chocolate Soufflé at Bistro Bleu

    Just as at any place offering soufflé, you should order it at least a half-hour in advance at Bistro Blue. But at $6 (as of this writing), this soufflé automatically distinguishes itself as the most reasonably priced in the county. Thank owner-chef David Kesler for that. This ex-chef from The Ce ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2012

    No. 38: "15-Minute Wings" at Simmzy's

    I do not know why they are called "15-Minute Wings". Supposedly they take that long to prepare; but I got them in significantly less time than that. I am guessing that since so many people order them, the production of these wings is non-stop. The point of the name, I think, is to convey that they t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2012

    No. 39: Hot Pots at Boiling Point

    Boiling Point's hot pots are shabu shabu for the lazy. Everything you want and need--veggies, protein and a freshly cracked egg--is there already cooked to be picked off one-by-one in a simmering vessel heated by Sterno. All that needs to be done is to dip the still-steaming pieces into chile oil, g ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 17, 2012

    No. 40: California Burrito at Taco Pronto

    We have no shortage of burrito joints in our fair county, and yet one type famous in our neighboring county makes itself noticeably absent here: the California burrito.What's that? You've never heard of a California burrito? Let's just say it's not named that because it has a cornucopia of our state ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2012

    No. 41: Kohryu Ramen at Kohryu Ramen

    Japanese parents don't name their children after themselves. There are no men named Junior walking around Japan. Yet Japanese businesses have no problem calling their house specialty after the name of the shop. So it is with the Kohryu Ramen at Costa Mesa's Kohryu Ramen. With two new heavyweight ra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 15, 2012

    No. 42: Meyer Lemon Curd at Irvine's Lucca Cafe

    It was May, sometime during Meyer lemon season, when we happened by for dinner at Irvine's Lucca Cafe. Chef Cathy Pavlos had made a lemon curd dessert served in a glass Ball jar to celebrate the delicately tart fruit's ephemeral appearance.

  • Blogs

    August 13, 2012

    No. 44: Shao Shan Tsai at 101 Noodle Express

    The wonderful beef roll at Irvine's101 Noodle Express, or any other dish for that matter, is enhanced with the spicy-salty condiment of green pickled Chinese vegetables, cilantro, and fresh serrano chilis called shao shan tsai. It sits on your tabletop in a small clear container which will be nearl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2012

    No. 54, Brizio Combo at Brizio Chicago Style Pan Pizza

    My initial impression of Brizio in Lake Forest was good-but-not-great, though lately I've found myself straying away from established favorites for this tasty newbie. I'll be the first to admit: I was wrong. Their basic cheese pizza is satisfactory--any kid would take this zesty sauce and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 26, 2012

    No. 56, The $7 Three-Item Combo Plates at Yu's Garden

    This is not Panda Express. There is no Orange Chicken, no Kung Pao anything. Sweet and Sour? Forget about it. Instead there is chicken mousse wrapped in deep fried tofu skin; bone-in basil chicken in sauce-lacquered pieces; soy-simmered minced pork, the kind that you top rice with; and a mapo tofu t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2012

    No. 58, Salted Caramel Gelato at N'Ice Cream

    Most people congregate to OC Mart Mix for Portola Coffee Lab. Me? It's mostly for N'Ice Cream. This diminutive gelato counter makes one of the best flavors of ice cream ever: salted caramel. The color is of rust. You'll know it's the most popular flavor here, trumping even the Greek yogurt drizzled ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2012

    No. 64, Yakisoba Dog from Dogzilla

    This summer, the ad gals at the Weekly have been hosting Food Truck Fridays (I know, I know: clustertrucks are SO 2009). It's been a great way for me to catch up with luxe loncheras, and the one I keep visiting again and again is Dogzilla. I've long liked their Asian-inspired franks, but one I hadn' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 6, 2012

    No. 70. Nam Kao Tod at Vientiane Restaurant

    Vientiane is a Laotian restaurant that also serves Thai food in Little Saigon. Mostly, the fun and exotic dishes fall on the Lao side of their divide, but one Thai standout is the crispy fried rice dish called nam kao tod. It's a favorite dish of mine, and I'll invariably order it should I happen to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 14, 2012

    No. 86, Cookie Monster at Lola's Ice Cream and Deli

    What's your ice cream standard--vanilla? mint chip? We melt for cookies and cream. So it was an easy choice when we handed over the last of our tickets at OC Tastefest for dessert. Of course, our preconceived notions of how Lola's Cookie Monster would taste would be greatly exceeded by the end of ou ... More >>

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