Lobster Palace

  • 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 >>

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    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 >>

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    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 >>

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    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 >>

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    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 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 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 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 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 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 >>

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    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.

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    August 14, 2012

    No. 43: Cola Braised Pork at Haven Gastropub

    It might be fair to say that the chefs at Haven Gastropub have a hard-on for pork. Witness Haven's roasted whole-hog parties. Witness their participation in last weekend's Pig Out 1.0. Witness also their Cola-Braised Pork with Smoked Creamed Sweet Corn.

  • 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

    August 10, 2012

    No. 45: Any Sandwich from Paninoteca Maggio

    We are now more than halfway through our march toward our favorite dishes in Orange County. It's run the gamut from Japanese to Mexican, from American comfort food to post-Ramadan fast food. When we get to the end, you'll know it's time to go pick up your free copy of this year's Best Of issue i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2012

    No. 46: Any Vegetable Platter at Tana Ethiopian

    We are now more than halfway through our march toward our favorite dishes in Orange County. It's run the gamut from Japanese to Mexican, from American comfort food to post-Ramadan fast food. When we get to the end, you'll know it's time to go pick up your free copy of this year's Best Of issue i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 7, 2012

    No. 48: Comida Corrida at Lindo Michoacán No. 2

    We are now more than halfway through our march toward our favorite dishes in Orange County. It's run the gamut from Japanese to Mexican, from American comfort food to post-Ramadan fast food. When we get to the end, you'll know it's time to go pick up your free copy of this year's Best Of issue i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 6, 2012

    No. 49: Gordita de Tinga at El Rincón Chilango

    We are now more than halfway through our march toward our favorite dishes in Orange County. It's run the gamut from Japanese to Mexican, from American comfort food to post-Ramadan fast food. When we get to the end, you'll know it's time to go pick up your free copy of this year's Best Of issue in da ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 2, 2012

    No. 51: The Scone at Coffee, Tea and Tulips

    Whether you're at Coffee, Tea and Tulips for a fancy-ass tea service, or just regular ol' breakfast or lunch, "Moody Chef" Michael Samawi's lengthy menu can be difficult to navigate. American, British, French and Middle Eastern fare all appear, so once you think you know what to order, something els ... More >>

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    August 1, 2012

    No. 52: Huarache de Carnitas at El Paraiso

    A meal at El Paraiso feels as if you're a guest in someone's home. The same staff is always there and always hard at work in this Salvadorian kitchen no matter what time of day, forming pupusas, shredding cabbage for curtido and pouring steaming bowls of caldo. Hardly a lick of English is spoken in ... More >>

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    July 31, 2012

    No. 53, Chivito at Puerto Madero

    I struggled with which of my two favorite dishes at Puerto Madero to feature on this list first, though both undoubtedly deserve a place on this year's 100 Favorite Dishes. You'll have to wait a little longer to see what bested the remarkable Chivito, but for now, let's talk sandwiches. Of the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 27, 2012

    No. 55, French Toast at Starling Diner

    Our humble rag anointed Starling Diner's French toast as the "Best French Toast" a few years ago, but it was a category we created specifically for it--there were no other candidates. To see it for the first time will permanently alter your definition of French toast. First, it's broiled, not fried ... 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 >>

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    July 25, 2012

    No. 57, Gudeg at Indo Ranch

    If you're lucky enough to see gudeg at Indo Ranch, one of a handful of OC Indonesian restaurants (and I use that term very lightly here), it will be offered without rice. Indo Ranch's version is close to perfect despite missing the beef rinds in the sambal...that is if you even know what I'm talking ... More >>

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    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 >>

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    July 20, 2012

    No. 61, Olive Tree's Iftar

    Today marks the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month where the sons and daughters of Ishmael fast throughout the day, then stuff themselves silly on the iftar, the traditional meal that starts with the eating of a date and gets better from there. Most Little Arabia restaurants offer specials, but ... More >>

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    July 18, 2012

    No. 62, Sonoran Dog at Rubalcava's

    Roland Rubalcava has been doing great meals over at his family's market in Placentia, playing around with Mexican favorites while ensuring they do what Mexican food does best: comfort you like an abuelita while enticing you for more like a mujer from Los Altos de Jalisco. It's all great, but what re ... More >>

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    July 17, 2012

    No. 63, Sizzling Hiramasa Sashimi at The Catch

    If I'm at the Catch, I'm eating seafood and/or steaks--maybe a burger, if I don't need to impress anyone and want to pig out. But regardless of entree, my appetizer is always the same: the Sizzling Hiramasa Sashimi, a flowery title for a dish that skips across culture like the city in which it's mad ... 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 13, 2012

    No. 65, Crispy Pork Belly from Lucca Cafe

    If there are two tastes our team has trouble denying, it's foie and pork. Especially pork, in all its glorious forms. Lucca Cafe's Cathy Pavlos floats our boat with this meal teaser, which we featured back in February. We suggest sitting down before our pork belly play-by-play.Coddled more than any ... More >>

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    July 12, 2012

    No. 66, French Toast with Bacon at Flurries Shaved Snow Bar

    The pairing of certain items may be unnatural: peanut butter & jelly in a burger, pizza bagels, Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova, etc. Experimental dessert places take it to another level with what they're willing to try. Along the perimeter city of Cypress, one business wants to conjure up memo ... More >>

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    July 10, 2012

    No. 68, Okaki Asparagus at Hamamori

    With everyone's love of all foods with a face, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that good eats can be dug up from the veggie patch. So when we think of a mean, green snack worthy of our countdown, there's one obvious answer-- and it's even featured on a happy hour menu.Across the Bridge of Gard ... More >>

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    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

    July 5, 2012

    No. 71. Chicken Ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar

    Surprise, long-time readers! Ramen makes it in to my 100 favorites list again this year. But this time, it's from Costa Mesa newcomer Jinya Ramen Bar, and their chicken ramen is a phenomenal, left-field version.

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    July 3, 2012

    No. 73. Kale and Mushroom Flatbread at 320 Main

    Flatbreads became trendy at some point after gastropubs embedded themselves in the culinary zeitgeist. A old-school pub can proudly serve a cheeseburger and pizza, but a gastropub must raise the stakes with a grass-fed porterhouse burger and flatbread. Still, many high-concept gastropubs make a sod ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2012

    No. 74. Congee at King Lobster Palace

    Rice porridge is one of those breakfast foods Asian moms make when you're feeling under the weather. My mom did, anyway -- YAMMMV (your Asian mom mileage may vary). The best local version is served in Orange's King Lobster Palace.  Congee is what the Cantonese version is called, and you'll ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 9, 2011

    California Proposes to Ban Shark's Fin Soup--Is it Anti-Chinese?

    A Hong Kong ad calling for people to stop consuming shark's fin. Bus ads in San Francisco urge the same.​A bill recently introduced in the California Legislature may strip shark's fin soup from Chinese restaurant menus for good. The move shouldn't come as a shock--environmentalists have long fough ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 9, 2009

    I've Revealed A Secret; Now It's Your Turn

    Edwin Goei​If you've picked up the latest edition of The Weekly -- which is, by the way, our annual, and might I say, awesome Best of OC Issue (okay, I'm done with the shameless plug) -- you might have noticed my review of May Garden's secret menu in the usual Food section. During a chat wit ... More >>

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    December 31, 2008

    Edwin's Top Ten Dishes of 2008

    After seeing Gustavo's two wonderful lists, I've decided that I want to play, too!Here are ten of my favorite dishes of 2008, in no particular order: - Tuna danish at 85°C Bakery Café in Irvine.  - Rice and beans at Baja Fish Tacos in Santa Ana.  - Tau hu ky at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap in Fountain ... More >>

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    December 25, 2008

    Guess What Restaurants Will Be Open Today?

    Ask anyone of the Jewish faith what they're doing for Christmas and they'll tell you, "Chinese food and a movie." But Chinese restaurants are also the refuge of those who can't or don't want to cook on the 25th. It's common knowledge nowadays that they'll be open. Christmas Day is usually their b ... More >>

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