Restaurant Reviews

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The Dog House Rules The Dog House Rules
From kielbasa to hot links to Habanero Tequila Chicken, this Long Beach sausage shack puts the hot in hot dog
, April 29, 2010
I liked the Dog House before I even bit into a single sausage there. It’s the location. I can’t picture a more apt spot for this eatery than at... More >>
Long Live Nick's Pizza
[Hole in the Wall] Costa Mesa's little slice of Southern Italy
, April 29, 2010
Nick’s occupies the middle echelon of Orange County’s Italian restaurants: not the magisterial dining experiences offered by Pizzeria Ortica or... More >>
Mizuki's Openly Flamed Ramen Mizuki's Openly Flamed Ramen
Is the Irvine noodle restaurant as overpriced and underwhelming as the Yelpers and Chowhounds make it out to be?
, April 22, 2010
“Are you on Yelp?” the waitress at Mizuki asked when she noticed my camera on the table. “No,” I replied. “We’re getting pounded on there,” she... More >>
Taqueria Morelos: Thy Name Is True
[Hole in the Wall] This Garden Grove eatery actually does serve Morelian specialties
, April 22, 2010
One of the great frauds perpetrated by local Mexican restaurants is that of naming themselves after the home city or state of the owners, but not... More >>
Trieu Chau vs. New Trieu Chau? Trieu Chau vs. New Trieu Chau?
These two noodle joints are separated at broth
, April 15, 2010
When it comes to cross-town food rivalries, OC isn’t anywhere near as rough-and-tumble as Philly or New York City. It seems even nearly identical... More >>
Finding Heaven at B & C Burgers
[Hole In the Wall] Placentia burger dive mashes Mexican with American
, April 15, 2010
Little, forgotten Placentia is one of the stranger cities in Orange County’s immigration wars: a place where the descendants of orange pickers... More >>
Park Avenue: Still a Reason to Go to Stanton Park Avenue: Still a Reason to Go to Stanton
Despite some recent inconsistency, the New American fare here still satisfies
, April 08, 2010
It used to be kind of a rule: Whenever you reviewed Park Avenue, you needed to talk about the seedy-looking motel across the street. And all the... More >>
Chago Ahogadas: Drown Your Taste Buds
The saucy tortas ahogadas from Guadalajara have landed in Santa Ana
, April 08, 2010
Is this column prophetic? Just a couple of weeks ago, in a dispatch praising a Mexico City-style restaurant, I closed the review with a swipe at... More >>
Tranquil's Bodacious Tea Tranquil's Bodacious Tea
The proprietors of Tranquil Tea Lounge in Fullerton do it all for the love of the leaf
, April 01, 2010
I drink lots of tea. I’ve sipped countless cups at Hong Kong-style dim sum houses, stuck my pinky finger aloft at Ritz Carlton’s exorbitant... More >>
Hen House Grill's Chicken, Persian-Style
[Hole-in-the-Wall] This spot is no longer a Charo Chicken, but they've kept the love of the bird
, April 01, 2010
It’s a bold move to open an Iranian restaurant in Irvine next to Wholesome Choice, the garden of grocery delights whose buffet beats most of the... More >>
Double Dosa Double Dosa
At the second Dosa Place location in Tustin, bigger is bigger and, in some ways, better
, March 25, 2010
No hyperbole I can muster will ever quite capture how large Dosa Place’s paper dosa is. But I’ll try. It is the size and shape of a telescope... More >>
Choose Chilango!
[Hole In the Wall] Los Chilangos in Anaheim is anything but 'defectivo'
, March 25, 2010
Something amazing happened in Mexico over the past decade: Its capital became cool. Long-derided as a Dickensian nightmare, its citizens... More >>
Deep-Fried Fellowship at Lenten Fish Fries Deep-Fried Fellowship at Lenten Fish Fries
Smiles and piles of food at OC's meatless meet-and-greets
, March 18, 2010
Since we are about four weeks into Lent, I’m sure that many Catholics reading this have already consumed their fair share of Filet-O-Fish as... More >>
Tasty Teriyaki at Teriyami
[Hole in the Wall] The Tustin eatery offers some south-of-the-border touches with its basic bowls
, March 18, 2010
The “Grand Opening” banner outside Teriyami is beginning to decay, which is what happens when plastic is left to face the elements for more than... More >>
SideDoor Is Gastro-Sensational SideDoor Is Gastro-Sensational
May all of OC's many, many gastropubs-to-be follow this Corona del Mar highlight's lead
, March 11, 2010
Here’s an easy prediction: OC will see more gastropubs. The Crow Bar and Kitchen got the ball rolling a little more than two years ago in Corona... More >>
Pasta Connection Reconnects
[Hole In the Wall] The return of the native pasta-native to Argentina, that is
, March 11, 2010
If you’ve spent any time in Costa Mesa during the past three decades, you know Pasta Connection—the hilarious logo of a young boy screaming, head... More >>
At Sophy's Thai and Cambodian, Choose the Latter At Sophy's Thai and Cambodian, Choose the Latter
Sure, you could order the pad Thai, but why would you?
, March 04, 2010
Long Beach’s Anaheim Street is to Cambodians what OC’s Bolsa Avenue is to Vietnamese. And for close to eight years, one of the most successful... More >>
Go Laotian at Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant
[Hole In the Wall] The country's only culinary representative in OC lives up to bloggers' hype
, March 04, 2010
First, a plug: Join me as I welcome food blogger and Fullerton native Eddie Lin to Orange County this Saturday. The writer behind Deep End... More >>
Hebaragi's Cheeky Barbecue Hebaragi's Cheeky Barbecue
From pig jowls to beef stomach to plain old steak, it all tastes amazing at this Korean eatery
, February 25, 2010
Did you know pigs have jowls? And that you can eat them? Well, they do, and you can. The Italians cure them into a bacon-like product called... More >>
Chelo's Bakery Is Bullish on Bread
[Hole in the Wall] The Santa Ana panadería has all your favorites, plus a big ol' bull's head
, February 25, 2010
This Santa Ana panadería has easily the best adornment of any Orange County restaurant: a massive bull’s head, complete with neck, mounted on a... More >>
OltreMare's Triumphs and Tribulations OltreMare's Triumphs and Tribulations
Many of the dishes at this San Clemente Italian eatery are indeed winners, but others come up short
, February 18, 2010
A pasta pot pie. That’s the most accurate description I can offer for what OltreMare calls Trionfo de OltreMare, or “The Triumph,” a dish that,... More >>
George's Hamburgers' Breakfast Burrito Connection
[Hole in the Wall] The Fullerton eatery deepens the mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a flour tortilla
, February 18, 2010
Like Cambodians owning doughnut shops and Cubans starting Mexican-produce empires, one of Southern California’s great anthropological culinary... More >>
Sex and Romance at Six OC Restaurants Sex and Romance at Six OC Restaurants
[Sex Issue] Take Your Lover to One of These Dining Hot Spots, Then Have Each Other for Dessert
, February 11, 2010
There are restaurants designed to be overtly sexy, and there are those geared toward romance. Depending on who you are and whom you are with, one... More >>
Savoring the Orange Coast College Swap Meet's Food Vendors
[Hole In the Wall] Discover anew la naranja at its best
, February 11, 2010
Sorry to break the flow of this issue, folks: There’s nothing particularly sexy about the Orange Coast College Swap Meet, unless you enjoy the... More >>
Haley Nguyen's X Factor Haley Nguyen's X Factor
Thanks to the chef's personal touch, you can believe the hype about Xanh Bistro
, February 04, 2010
When H.L. Mencken coined that oft-quoted aphorism “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” he obviously hadn’t met chef Haley Nguyen. The... More >>
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From the Print Edition

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 >>