Subject:

Lucca

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2014

    Provenance in Newport Beach Now Open; Q & A With Chef Cathy Pavlos

    Cathy Pavlos, chef/owner of LUCCA Cafe in Irvine, opened her second concept yesterday in the Eastbluff neighborhood of Newport Beach. There's much to say about Provenance, but I got Pavlos to discuss her sophomore effort, answering all those questions you're thinking. Take it away, Cathy! What is t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 5, 2014

    Eat This Now: Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich from Lucca Cafe

    According to Punxsutawney Phil, we can expect winter to be over any time now. Unless you're in Orange County, where it never quite started. Stores are already stocked with beach attire, despite recent Storm Watch 2014 reports. We are an anomaly to the rest of the country, but that doesn't prevent us ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 18, 2012

    Shuji's Top Five Restaurants for 2012

    We wrap up the waning weeks of every year with a list of our favorite restaurants. Normally, I pick a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a small menu and a narrow specialty where you can pick any random dish and come up a winner. Looking at my list for 2012, your odds are not as heavily stacked. The c ... 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 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 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 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 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

    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 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 >>

  • Blogs

    May 10, 2012

    Lots Of OC Chefs (And Fabio!) To Give Cooking Demos At The New Whole Foods Laguna Niguel

    A new Whole Foods is coming to Laguna Niguel on May 16, and it's a fancy one. It's one of those places where you can spend all afternoon (and definitely all your money.) There's a wine and beer bar (with 12 local brews on tap), a pizza station, a juice bar, a taco eatery and a huge outdoor patio wit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2012

    Eat This Now: Crispy Pork Belly At Lucca Cafe

    Mona Shah-Anderson​When one thinks about the phrases "small plates" or "bar snacks", we visualize some simplistic dishes, like mixed nuts or maybe yakitori skewers. But Lucca Cafee ain't your normal tapas.Located in a strip mall just off the 405, Lucca elevates the utilitarian Quail Hill plaza wit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 3, 2009

    UPDATED: Paellaphiles Take Note: Lucca's Going All Spanish This Sunday

    ​The cuisine of France may be dominating the culinary news this week, thanks to Julie & Julia, but those of us who love its neighboring country might want to make a beeline for Lucca in Irvine. On Sunday, August 9, the Italian restaurant/deli will be dishing up a four-course Spanish dinner (se ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2009

    "No Scrimping" for Lucca's Fourth Birthday Bash On Wednesday

    ​In a nation where restaurants shutter at an alarming rate, it's nice to see one thriving after four years. (The oft-quoted figure of 90 percent going under after 12 months is thought to be way too high, although the recession will no doubt have caused the more realistic 25 percent rate to go up.) ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 14, 2009

    On the Line: Cathy Pavlos of Lucca Café

    Enthusiasm and authenticity are the bywords at Lucca, the Quail Hill café/deli/wine bar run by Cathy and her husband Elliott. The couple both trained in architecture before turning to the restaurant trade--and we're glad they made the move. We grilled Cathy with our usual set of questions.1.  ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2009

    Recipe: Lucca café's Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

    This stunner, easy to make, is on Lucca's latest menu, served with a port wine reduction, caramelized onions in balsamic vinegar, a corn crème brûlée with sour cherries, and crispy leeks.  In keeping with the café's "all-natural" ethos, chef-owner Cathy Pavlos uses hormone-, antibiotic- and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2009

    A Trio of Treats for Dad This Sunday

    Father's Day is this coming Sunday, June 21, so get booking!The Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove is offering a "I'd Rather Have Beer" brunch, from 7:00am to 4:30pm, which includes a bottle of beer (or, alternatively, a glass of champagne, mimosa, bellini or orange juice, soda or coffee). The meal in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 28, 2009

    Chocolate-Covered Cheese? There Is A God

    I met Cathy and Elliott Pavlos, architects-turned-restaurateurs, and owners of Irvine's Lucca café and deli, during their Wine and Cheese Pairing 101 at Bloomingdales on Saturday. I had been envisaging a low-key gathering of shoppers and foodies (not that they're mutually exclusive, I hasten to add ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 7, 2009

    Reminder: Happy Hour Week Kicks Off This Sunday

    Eat, drink and be merry! Happy Hour Week runs from this Sunday, April 12, to Saturday, April 18, with more than 60 local restaurants, bars, breweries and pubs offering drinks and appetizers at "very happy" prices all day, as well as prix fixe happy hour menus. Teetotalers needn't miss out, however: ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 2, 2009

    Italy's Ban on Ethnic Food Called "Gastronomic Racism"

    I wished what this Times Online story had to say was a hoax -- that Italy didn't really start banning kebabs and other foreign food from its cities -- but it's too outrageous not to be true.The article states:The drive to make Italians eat Italian, which was described by the Left and leading chefs ... More >>

  • Features

    October 19, 2006

    Mark Axelrod

    The Chapman University English professor shares some of his favorite things

  • Food

    July 27, 2006

    Gelato to the Rescue!

    Cafe Lucca: Your summer oasis

  • More >>
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