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  • Article

    Seoul Kitchen - What, me cook?

    Photo by Jeanne RiceYou could say that Seoul Garden Korean Barbecue violates the First Commandment of Dining Out: Thou shall not cook. But you'd be missing the point if you bitched about this because grilling your own is a cool gimmick at this Kor...

    by TOM VASICH on March 2, 2000
  • Article

    Sonny's and Share - Monster sauce for all my friends

    Photo by Joy BastThere's a Italian-food rite of passage, beginning with Chef Boyardee when you're 4, progressing through pizza and spaghetti, and reaching its apex at the point where you can both pronounce and appreciate a good scaloppine ai funghi ...

    by TOM VASICH on February 24, 2000
  • Article

    Jamaica fares well at Irie

    Those Jamaicans--what a sense of humor. Their ganja is mellow, and the reggae is cool, but who knew about the hot little devil that lurks within the national psyche? How else can you explain their choice of ackee as the national fruit? The small, ...

    by TOM VASICH on February 17, 2000
  • Article

    Italian, the Hard Way - Zucchero fights the odds

    Photo by Jeanne RiceRunning an Italian restaurant in Newport Beach is like playing in the NBA's Pacific Division this season: you have to be really, really good to get noticed. The Italian eateries in this bayfront burg--where the salty dogs and t...

    by TOM VASICH on February 10, 2000
  • Article

    The Longest Yard - Wait the wait, and eat the steak

    There is ridiculous, and then there is the Yard House. I'd heard the new berbrewpub/restaurant with 180 taps in Triangle Square was popular, and since they don't take reservations, my wife and I thought about dropping by on a Thursday evening bef...

    by TOM VASICH on February 3, 2000
  • Article

    Veggie Logic - Lotus Cafe offers a healthy break for the fern-nibbling set

    Photo by Jeanne RicePretty much every restaurant--even those obviously disdainful of the Mediterranean diet--claims it features healthy menu items and works hard to cut out the excess fats and such so you won't have to worry about them. So why is ev...

    by TOM VASICH on January 27, 2000
  • Article

    Cool Thing - Opah adds life to Aliso Viejo

    Photo by Jeanne RiceBeing the best restaurant in Aliso Viejo is a little like being the richest man in Haiti, and for that reason, it's a pleasant surprise that the very best restaurant in this indistinguishable haven of masterplandom is very good i...

    by TOM VASICH on January 20, 2000
  • Article

    The Wronged Cobb - Its a great saladwhen its made right

    Photo by Jeanne RiceSouthern California's contribution to American cuisine should not be overlooked. Contemporary fast-food burger culture began in post-World War II Glendale when the McDonald brothers opened their first hamburger restaurant. SoCal ...

    by TOM VASICH on January 13, 2000
  • Article

    Old-school Pizza - Getting back to the pizzeria basics

    Photo by Jeanne RiceWe critics have a duty to reminisce at year's end, so I'm thinking about the significant events of the past 20 years of my eating life: the proliferation of ATM machines, homegrocer. com, the explosion of brewpubs and, most impor...

    by TOM VASICH on December 30, 1999
  • Article

    Peace Meal - The borderless delights of Pakistani and Indian food

    Photo by Jeanne RiceSo right after Pakistan's government melted down again--and democracy's friend, George W. Bush, publicly speculated that a coup might bring much-needed stability to the region--I began listing what I knew of the place. Very rea...

    by TOM VASICH on December 23, 1999
  • Article

    Bistro Chic - Fish so good, we got emotional

    Photo by Jeanne RiceI don't normally go for restaurants named after Yul Brynner movies, but I'll make an exception for Anastasia. At first glance, it's easy to dismiss this downtown Laguna Beach bistro/ boutique as being just a bit too Euro for ou...

    by TOM VASICH on December 16, 1999
  • Article

    Tortalicious! - Getting to the basics of ungodly Mexican food

    Photo by Jeanne RiceThere's working fast food. And then there's what Leopaldo does. Leopaldo Gonzalez makes tortas at El Gallo Giro, a takeout/market across the street from Mater Dei High School that sells the basic elements of unbelievably delici...

    by TOM VASICH on December 9, 1999
  • Article

    Theres a High in My Soup - Rutabegorzs soups are right-on

    Photo by Jeanne RiceI love food trivia, and few foods have a better story than, of all things, soup. The first evidence of soup dates back to 6,000 B.C., with the main ingredient being those tasty hippopotamus bones. And according to Chad's Deli in ...

    by TOM VASICH on December 2, 1999
  • Article

    Adios, Cliff - Rage, rage against the dying of the Cajun

    photo by Jeanne RiceThis year has sucked in so many profound ways I'd need a column three times this length just to list them all. So I'll just mention one. Cliff's Ragin' Cajun closes Nov. 30. Some mean old landlord is telling Cliff Huffstetler...

    by TOM VASICH on November 25, 1999
  • Article

    The Raw and the Cooked - Getting to the heart of Irvines Chinese subculture

    Photo by Jeanne RiceOutsiders would never guess it, but Irvine is a teeming hotbed of excellent Chinese and Japanese restaurants. The city's growing Asian subculture is erupting in the master-planned mainstream with some damn fine food. And all I ca...

    by TOM VASICH on November 18, 1999
  • Article

    Ungringo - Antojitos, where the sauce is so green

    Photo by Jeanne RiceHaving lived for the better part of the past year in Cleveland, I got to see how the other half eats. This I have learned: corned beef can be served with every meal, there's more than one way to cook a Buffalo wing (I stopped cou...

    by TOM VASICH on November 11, 1999
  • Article

    I Scream, You Scream - For Thrifty ice cream

    Photo by Joy BastNow that Indian summer's finally here, let me dispel some myths about ice cream, the only perfect food for hot times like these. First, jamoca almond fudge is not bad for you. In fact, as a dairy product, it's damned important you e...

    by TOM VASICH on November 4, 1999
  • Article

    The Land of the Rising Beer - And thats why were here

    Photo by Jeanne RiceAs a restaurant writer, I believe oversimplification is necessary to understand the world's food systems. As a case in point, there are two kinds of food in the world: beer cuisine and wine cuisine. German grub goes better with b...

    by TOM VASICH on October 21, 1999
  • Article

    Taps Dancing - Stop calling North County Ethiopiav

    Photo by Joy BastWe're told by our friendly server at Taps Fish House and Brewery that the place is not named for the traditional military dirge. But from where we sit--a spacious corner booth in Brea's newest eatery--it would be an unlikely connect...

    by TIM MELTREGER on October 14, 1999
  • Article

    Latin Soul - Rafis Cuban food for the people

    Photo by Joy BastAmong the many contributions to American cuisine, the assists of Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro and Ho are among the least appreciated. Consider this when you recall that some of our favorite foods are gifts of people who have come to the...

    by TOM VASICH on October 7, 1999
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From the Print Edition

O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne

"Would you like a mimosa or champagne?" the server asks as you're seated at O'Neill's Bar & Grill inside the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo. "A mimosa, please," you… More >>

Front Porch Pops: Just Lick 'Em

So . . . I'm getting married soon. I've picked some of my favorite businesses to help out with the catering—Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado and Roland Rubalcava to do aguachile… More >>

Santa Ana Revival at the North Left Santa Ana Revival at the North Left

The North Left is what replaced the Crosby, which closed abruptly earlier this year in the wake of a tragic beating death that occurred outside its doors. But for all… More >>

Tamarindo Truck: Maestro de Meats

Tamarindo Truck doesn't need this review. It's already a popular luxe lonchera, finding a loyal following with its twists on Mexican food using organic produce and meats. I've delayed reviewing… More >>

Mangia, Mangia Pirozzi's Meatballs Mangia, Mangia Pirozzi's Meatballs

I'm pretty sure I've not had a meatball as scrumptious or as soft as the ones Alessandro Pirozzi is serving at Pirozzi, his new restaurant in Corona del Mar. And… More >>

Fa-Sai's Dawn of Thai-Mex

Location, location, location! Restaurants live and die by where they set up shop. I wish someone had told that to the folks behind Fa-Sai Thai when they decided to open… More >>