Restaurant Reviews

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The Riders Club Cafe Goes Back to Basics The Riders Club Cafe Goes Back to Basics
This San Clemente dive makes a damn-fine burger
, March 15, 2012
When I re-evaluate the best burgers I've eaten in my life, the most memorable are usually from dives, greasy spoons, places where I can see,... More >>
Namastey India Chaat Up the Haters
[Hole In the Wall] This Buena Park Indian restaurant is leading the city's subcontinental renaissance
, March 15, 2012
In 1999, Buena Park residents loudly protested when a group of Hindus proposed to build a massive temple in the city that Knott built. "I don't... More >>
THE RANCH Offers a Fistful of Dollars THE RANCH Offers a Fistful of Dollars
Extron owner Andrew Edwards has invested major coin into his restaurant and saloon
, March 08, 2012
It's said that Walt Disney created Disneyland because he wanted a place to spend time with his daughters. Andrew Edwards, the owner and president... More >>
Pho Binh Sells Vietnamese Taquitos?
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana restaurant sells pho, bun and other Vietnamese faves to a Latino clientele
, March 08, 2012
In the wild and wacky world of food translations, few have proven more good-natured-but-incongruous than what the owners of Pho Binh in Santa Ana... More >>
Orea Taverna's Greek Chic Orea Taverna's Greek Chic
Tony Ghosn updates his family's beloved Sophia's
, March 01, 2012
There are two things you must get at Orea Taverna: the saganaki and the pyato souvlaki. Both are table spectacles of the kind that make you turn... More >>
Taqueria La Poblanita Embraces the Nuevo
[Hole In the Wall] This Anaheim eatery sells quesadillas more deity than tortilla
, March 01, 2012
There was no such thing as regional Mexican restaurants in Anaheim while I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. There were tacos made similar... More >>
Ramen Yamadaya Offers Oink Noodle Ramen Yamadaya Offers Oink Noodle
The first OC restaurant of this LA titan simmers the piggiest soup in Costa Mesa
, February 23, 2012
Ramen Yamadaya's tonkotsu ramen is the closest thing to melting a whole pig into a bowl. The broth is so thick and so rich the viscosity is... More >>
The Chippy Is an Office Park Fish Fry
[Hole In the Wall] This Irvine food court gem makes Orange County's best fish and chips—and more
, February 23, 2012
The Palm Cafe Food Court in Irvine might be the ugliest place to eat in Orange County: a large hall with inexplicably high ceilings, rickety... More >>
Jason Quinn Will Meet You at the Playground Jason Quinn Will Meet You at the Playground
Inside the hyperkinetic career of the novice chef-turned-cooking star
, February 16, 2012
RULE NO. 1: NO KETCHUPJason Quinn loves ketchup, but he won't serve it because he can't make ketchup that is "not evil." Heinz and Hunt's, he... More >>
Mozambique Peri-Peri Does the Mazavaroo Mozambique Peri-Peri Does the Mazavaroo
This Newport Beach restaurant is the cheaper, fast-casual sister of the venerable Laguna Beach original
, February 16, 2012
The last time I ate the woefully underappreciated sausage called boerewors, it was at a now-shuttered South African bar in Long Beach. It's as... More >>
Huong Giang Is Hue Great
[Hole In the Wall] This Little Saigon standard excels with the dishes of Central Vietnam
, February 16, 2012
They sit at every table at Huong Giang in small glass bowls: long, smooth, fire-engine-red peppers pulsating with the promise of their alluring... More >>
Han Yang Has a Bone to Pick Han Yang Has a Bone to Pick
This Buena Park restaurant takes Korean food and its beef short rib soup beyond the borders of Little Seoul
, February 09, 2012
Have you noticed? Little Seoul, once constrained within the confines of Garden Grove, is slowly spilling into sections of Buena Park, spreading... More >>
[Hole In the Wall] A Santa Ana food cart makes bacon-wrapped hot dogs and other Mexican street treats
, February 09, 2012
Don't believe the hype about street food taking over Orange County in the past couple of years—there is no such scene outside of Santa Ana. Luxe... More >>
Bru Grill and Market Features Drunken Masters Bru Grill and Market Features Drunken Masters
This Lake Forest restaurant offers beer-can chicken and other delicious alcohol-laced oddities
, February 02, 2012
I'm willing to bet that most people have never met beer-can chicken in the flesh. You may have seen the dish on a recent episode of Top Chef:... More >>
Chow, Bella, at Ciao! Deli and Pizzeria
[Hole In the Wall] The Costa Mesa dive perfects Italian-American classics
, February 02, 2012
"I've turned into a food snob," managing editor Nick Schou told me as he watched me scarf down a bowl of caesar salad at Ciao! Deli & Pizzeria in... More >>
The Playground Is the Brotherhood of the Purple Pants The Playground Is the Brotherhood of the Purple Pants
'The Great Food Truck Race 2' co-winner Jason Quinn opens his long-awaited restaurant
, January 26, 2012
Complacent and apathetic aren't traits you want in a chef, and the words certainly don't describe Jason Quinn, who made waves last week for... More >>
Hoa Sen Serves Cheatin' Chicken
[Hole In the Wall] The Garden Grove Vietnamese dive sells fake meats even a Midwesterner could love
, January 26, 2012
The appearance of the vegetarian lemongrass chicken at Hoa Sen is limp, almost revolting: dun-colored lengths of soy shaved to the thinness of... More >>
Boiling Point Stinks Different Boiling Point Stinks Different
The Irvine Taiwanese joint offers roiling hot pots with the malodorous delicacy called stinky tofus
, January 19, 2012
If there is one last great culinary mountaintop most of us Westerners have yet dared to climb, it's the fermented delicacy known as stinky tofu.... More >>
Mariscos El Yaqui Is Badass Baja
[Hole In the Wall] The Santa Ana lonchera serves Sea of Cortez rarities like manta ray and cockles. Cockles!
, January 19, 2012
In the world of culinary truth in advertising in Orange County, few dishes ring truer than the tostada perrona from Mariscos El Yaqui. The Badass... More >>
Tamarind of London Offers Curry for the Cultured Tamarind of London Offers Curry for the Cultured
This Newport Coast eatery introduces great Indian cuisine to the rich folks
, January 12, 2012
If there's one constant among our county's handful of great Indian restaurants, it's that you don't just eat the food, you end up wearing the... More >>
Berkeley Dogs Hot-Dogs It
[Hole In the Wall] The East Bay transplant brings its luscious wieners as part of our wave of outside regional chains
, January 12, 2012
Even as the Great Recession decimated the restaurant industry these past couple of years, one surprising sector experienced rapid growth here:... More >>
Gen Korean BBQ Makes You Wait for Your Meat Gen Korean BBQ Makes You Wait for Your Meat
The wait is long, but the rewards are great at this Tustin hot spot
, January 05, 2012
An all-you-can-eat meal at Gen Korean BBQ will cost you about $20. Parties of two are the minimum. Two hours is how much time they allow you to... More >>
Jax Donut House Is Jax to the Max
[Hole In the Wall] This old-school doughnut shop weathers all trends, whether gentrifiying or foodie
, January 05, 2012
Orange County and food trends dance a strange polka. On some trends, we're far ahead of the hipsters—we've been eating at loncheras since... More >>
South County's Foodie Emergence, Steamed Hams and More! South County's Foodie Emergence, Steamed Hams and More!
What the Stick a Fork In It bloggers learned about food in Orange County in 2011
, December 29, 2011
It was another great year, food-wise, for Orange County, with the opening of new restaurants by talented youngsters putting us on the SoCal... More >>
Three Seventy Common Has a Common Denominator Three Seventy Common Has a Common Denominator
The former Sorrento Grill brings affordability to Laguna Beach with its Sunday meals
, December 22, 2011
Ever since Ryan Adams, the last chef to mind the stoves at Sorrento Grille, bought the restaurant and opened Three Seventy Common in its place,... More >>
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Little La Lune: Over the Moon Little La Lune: Over the Moon

Little La Lune is located on an unpretty part of Pacific Coast Highway, in a strip mall with less than 10 parking spots—and they're all taken. But stay in your… More >>

Il Barone Bottega: Third Wave Italian

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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 >>