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  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Thai and Thai Again

    This column celebrates the best of Orange County cuisine, so I won't burden you gentle readers with my past month of terrible Thai restaurants in the quest for a good one. Instead, let me regale ustedes with the best Siamese restaurant outside Anahe...

    on January 10, 2008
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Persian Parmesan Pugilism Party!

    *This article was updated on Feb. 6, 2008. Don't let your eyes deceive you when entering PAUL'S DELI in Westminster. Yes, most of the half-sized submarine sandwiches cost $6.50. Yes, many of the whole heroes cost a whopping $11. No, these prices...

    on January 3, 2008
  • Old Home Week - Zena's evokes the kindness of strangers

    Article

    Old Home Week - Zena's evokes the kindness of strangers

    Come off the street, and they'll greet you like they've known you for years. Everyone I know who call themselves loyal customers to Zena's speaks of the Masri family like old friends. And once you've been welcomed into the fold of their smiling broo...

    by Edwin Goei on January 3, 2008
  • Slight Turbulence - Flight Bistro does protein like the pros (as for those scallops . . .)

    Article

    Slight Turbulence - Flight Bistro does protein like the pros (as for those scallops . . .)

    When you eat out as often as my friendsand I do, you inevitably revert into a set routine. Someone always opts for the salmon, another zooms in on the scallops, while I gravitate to whatever red meat is on the menu, usually the steak (even better if...

    by Edwin Goei on December 27, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-In-the-Wall Life - There Goes the Neighborhood

    "There are no fucking Cubans in Anaheim!" I yelled when someone told me about CAF CONTIGO, a just-opened Cuban coffeehouse right down the street from the shack where I grew up. It's the latest development in Anaheim's rapidly gentrifying original d...

    on December 27, 2007
  • Counter Intelligence - The quest for the perfect burger ends in Irvine

    Article

    Counter Intelligence - The quest for the perfect burger ends in Irvine

    When the Counter announced their first OC franchise would debut in Irvine, the anticipation was thicker than the beef patties I had already heard so much about. To the burger aficionado, its fame was widespread long before the ink dried on the Irvin...

    by Edwin Goei on December 20, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-In-the-Wall Life - Love Letters In the Brand

    Greatest restaurant name in history: PIZZA AND CHICKEN LOVE LETTER, the Garden Grove outpost of a Korean fried-chicken empire. The moniker is apt, as this pub devotes itself to the art of drunken, messy, affordable grub. Love Letter only sells fried...

    on December 20, 2007
  • Santa Ana Savoring - Quick--Discover Jason's, before everyone else does

    Article

    Santa Ana Savoring - Quick--Discover Jason's, before everyone else does

    Jason Kordas has cooked for President Bill Clinton and catered events at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, but you wouldn't know it from sitting in his new restaurant. On a recent Friday night, the place was deserted. The jazz band just arrive...

    by Edwin Goei on November 29, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Sllllllllllllurp!

    For years, Costa Mesa residents knew that the best non-supermarket ramen shop in town was Mitae Ramen, a dive just across the street from the LAB where the Japanese soup came in canteens and at insanely affordable prices. But Mitae closed shop about...

    on November 29, 2007
  • Flavors of Flavio - Italy to Tustin by way of Mexico City

    Article

    Flavors of Flavio - Italy to Tustin by way of Mexico City

    For close to 20 years, Flavio Renteria was the dishwasher at Angie's, which later became Vineyard Terrace Trattoria, a neighborhood Italian joint in Tustin. In the intervening years, the Mexico City immigrant learned all he could about the cuisine, ...

    by Edwin Goei on November 22, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Caroline, Yes!

    Orange County boasts a few excellent Italian trattorias (see Edwin Goei's review of Flavio's Italian Kitchen at left), but its Italian-American restaurants usually are no different from the Olive Garden or Buca di Beppo: frighteningly large quantiti...

    on November 22, 2007
  • French Disconnection - David Wilhelm gets crazy with the re-branding

    Article

    French Disconnection - David Wilhelm gets crazy with the re-branding

    You can't blame David Wilhelm for being proactive. With OC's once-meteoric housing market in a slump and its citizenry mired in rising debt, the restaurant mogul--the closest we get to Wolfgang Puck--had to make some changes quickly. His repertoire ...

    by Edwin Goei on November 15, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - The Hue of Things

    A couple of weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times published a story about how 1.5- and second-generation Vietnamese were modernizing Little Saigon's restaurant scene by introducing friendly customer service, better-quality food, and higher prices. Report...

    on November 15, 2007
  • Sucking in the '70s - The grub at Wong's is sublime, if you don't mind dangly tassels

    Article

    Sucking in the '70s - The grub at Wong's is sublime, if you don't mind dangly tassels

    Quentin Tarantino, take note. The setting for your next '70s chop-socky kung-fu film homage isn't in the Valley or a studio back lot. It's in Garden Grove, at a place called Wong's. Although they started cooking back in 1952 in LA, Wong's has been...

    by Edwin Goei on November 8, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Show Me the Mole!

    Orange County's richest dish: the amarillo at CASA OAXACA, a brightly decorated Oaxacan restaurant near the Santa Ana River. Typically, an amarillo ("yellow" en espaol, but here referring to one of the seven moles native to the southern Mexican sta...

    on November 8, 2007
  • Finger Food - Dining at Tana will make your dry cleaner happy

    Article

    Finger Food - Dining at Tana will make your dry cleaner happy

    Admitting your ignorance of Ethiopian cuisine at Tana only makes its smiling proprietress even more enthusiastic. And that's just what we did when we wandered into her six-month-old eatery, located deep in a part of Anaheim where tourists fear to tr...

    by Edwin Goei on November 1, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Pirated Pollo

    Finally, a Salvadoran restaurant where pupusas aren't the focus: UN RINCN CENTROAMERICANO, a diner-cum-record store-cum-grocery in Garden Grove, just off the 22. Don't get me wrong: Un Rincn Centroamericano (A Central American Corner) does prepare...

    on November 1, 2007
  • Sashimi Surrender - Let Ikko Kobayashi have his way with you

    Article

    Sashimi Surrender - Let Ikko Kobayashi have his way with you

    Ikko Kobayashi has been called a sushi magician, but I regard the man as a mad scientist, grafting disparate ingredients into creations that come alive in your mouth. Whatever you do, do not ask for soy sauce or wasabi--his experiments are already c...

    by Edwin Goei on October 25, 2007
  • Article

    This Hole-in-the-Wall Life - Comfort Curry

    Apologies for the recent spate of Japanese restaurant reviews in the Weekly, but those goldfish farmers do know how to make great grub. They can also down-home it with the best of them, despite the cuisine's sophisticated reputation. Each nationalit...

    by Gustavo Arellano on October 25, 2007
  • Appeasing the Tiki-philes - 
Sam's Seafood is back, and this time, the food's edible

    Article

    Appeasing the Tiki-philes - Sam's Seafood is back, and this time, the food's edible

    While bemoaning the impending demise of Sam's Seafood last summer, its fans waxed nostalgic about their beloved OC landmark. They chatted on Internet discussion boards and blogs, writing fondly about what they would miss most about the octogenarian....

    by Edwin Goei on October 18, 2007
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Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery

If I told you that you can have a burger and beer at Eureka! (their exclamation point, not mine), the new restaurant in Huntington Beach's Bella Terra, that'd be enough,… More >>

Sahuayo Primo Offers Pig By the Pound

They sit there at Sahuayo Primo in SanTana all the time: golden sheets or strips of chicharrones, fried morning, noon and night, slowly baking under hot lamps. The stacks of… More >>

Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name

If you happen to find yourself slurping braised beef noodle soup in Irvine, you're likely in a Taiwanese restaurant. The big names in town—A & J, Lao Dong, Chef Hung—are… More >>

Burrito Madness at Paul's Famous Burgers

California is America's burrito empire, from the Mission cylindrical god of San Francisco to San Diego's California burrito to the Inland Empire's garbage burrito, which I described to a friend… More >>

Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi

Do you turn up your nose at those sushi bar Know-Nothings who would make a thick, creamy sludge out of their soy sauce and wasabi? Do you know what brand… More >>

Ellie's Table At North Beach: A Line of Good

Don't mind the sign near the entrance of Ellie's Table At North Beach that says, "Line Starts Here." Actually, scratch that: If there is a line, follow it. But in… More >>

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