Restaurant Reviews

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This Hole-In-The-Wall Life
The Oldest Snack of the Americas: El Rey de el Elote Azado
, June 21, 2007
Few snacks in the Americas are older than elote asado—freshly shucked corn roasted over flames until the moist kernels blacken just so. The only... More >>
Going Global Going Global
Kimera chef Chris Grodach crisscrosses the continents
, June 14, 2007
Ah, youth. The smell of wet cement still lingers inside Kimera, the latest addition to the restaurant family that counts the much-revered... More >>
This Hole-In-The-Wall Life
Working-class Japanese Grub: Bentoss
, June 14, 2007
Prepackaged meals are always a dicey proposition—unless you're headed to Bentoss. This Japan-based chain offers nothing but bento boxes, the... More >>
The May Gray Blues The May Gray Blues
The Beachcombers fare doesnt live up to its spectacular, summery setting
, June 07, 2007
Funny thing: The most recognizable beach-dining destinations in Orange County aren't even on the beach—they're perched on the Newport Beach and... More >>
Big Easy Barbecue Big Easy Barbecue
Memphis chef Diego Velasco shares his secrets to the perfect backyard summer feast
, June 07, 2007
Diego Velasco may be the executive chef for one of Orange County's hippest restaurant companies, the Memphis Group, but he first learned the art... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Spoonfuls of Summery Hooray: Patbingsu at A.R. Supermarket
, June 07, 2007
Weird, this Korean delight called patbingsu, which will cool your summer like little else. It's usually served in Styrofoam cups, so the first... More >>
Sushi Revolution! Sushi Revolution!
The chefs at Kaisen are masters of all they convey
, May 31, 2007
Upon eating his first Kumamoto oyster, a friend of mine proclaimed, "This tastes like a mouthful of ocean." I nodded in agreement as I slurped my... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Italian-American Serenata: Main Street Pizza Pasta
, May 31, 2007
You want fresh when it comes to Italian food—pastas recently bent or rolled into shape, sauces served steaming and spilled onto meatballs that... More >>
Tuck  and Roll Tuck and Roll
Courting Brodard Chateaus spring rolls
, May 24, 2007
No secret in Little Saigon is more closely guarded than the recipe for Brodard's spring-roll sauce. Ask what's in it, and you will be met with an... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Mystery Meals On Main: El Pupusodromo
, May 24, 2007
So a Mexican and a Guatemalan walk into this Salvadoran restaurant . . . No, I'm not joking! There we were: Me, a Mexican, eating lunch with a... More >>
Sapphire Shines Sapphire Shines
This eclectic Laguna Beach eatery is a real gem
, May 17, 2007
I recently realized it's been at least a decade since I ventured to Laguna Beach—a city now forever ingrained in America's collective... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Critical Masa: Lucias Tacos y Mulitas
, May 17, 2007
Mexico is a country where the melding of disparate traditions to form bewildering wonders is the national religion, yet nothing is quite as... More >>
Out of the Ashes Out of the Ashes
The delectable saga of Thai Nakorn enters its third act
, May 10, 2007
Thai Nakorn has suffered more knocks against it than the recently ousted Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Years ago, a developer coup... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
The Adobe Way: Taco Adobe #2
, May 10, 2007
It's always great to see a good restaurant become so successful that it opens a second location, and that's what recently happened with Taco... More >>
Fountain Valley Flash
Despite a few tacky sins, Aysya proves great
, April 26, 2007
Okay, let's start with some constructive criticism: Aysya in Fountain Valley needs to fix a couple of things, and fast. First, the name: It... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Food Court Peruvian: LIMA CITY
, April 26, 2007
Food courts are refuges for the desperate, thepeople who work blocks away from edible lunch options and don't care about bland grub as long as... More >>
The Gentrifying Gourmet The Gentrifying Gourmet
Learning to like Ambrosia
, April 19, 2007
Even the devil deserves some sympathy,as Mick Jagger once famously sang, and that's why I patronize Ambrosia in Santa Ana. It's the shining jewel... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Mothering Your Meat at Ku Wol San
, April 19, 2007
Blame Spike Lee. In his 1989 classic Do the Right Thing, the mercurial director forever typecast Korean entrepreneurs as rude, aloof, even... More >>
Fishing for Quality
Skip the rolls at Takaraya and go straight for the good stuff
, April 12, 2007
I've developed a few simple rules over the years for gauging the desirability of a sushi place. The main one, with apologies to the late Johnnie... More >>
Mystery Bean
, April 12, 2007
"You can't have that!" exclaimed the waiter at KL MALAYSIAN when I asked for the sambal petai. The menu described the dish as "petai beans in... More >>
Corn Dog Royalty
Finally, a reason to visit Disneys California Adventure
, April 05, 2007
When forced to think about Disney's California Adventure, the old Disneyland parking lot comes to mind. That's because Disneyland's bastard... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Mexican for gabachos
, April 05, 2007
Never, ever in my life had I visited a Mexican restaurant devoid of Mexicans until I visited CELINDA'S MEXICAN DELI in Rancho Santa Margarita.... More >>
Pasta Pasts and Futures
Georgina and Tony keep the old guard alive at Rufinos Ristorante Italiano
, March 29, 2007
The corner of Euclid Avenue and Ball Road in Anaheim is a ghost of sorts. The buildings date from the 1960s and once housed grocery stores,... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Cinammon bun fun at Side Street Cafe
, March 29, 2007
Located on one of those annoying mini-streets that run parallel to Newport Avenue near the 55 Freeway exit, SIDE STREET CAFE is a welcome... More >>
Beware the Larb
Diho Siams incendiary salads
, March 22, 2007
In the milquetoast world of salads, nothing compares to the meat salad called larb. It seems innocuous enough—warmed ground beef, chicken, pork... 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

Il Barone, in that section of Newport Beach near John Wayne Airport that's basically a laid-back Irvine, is great old-school Italian, the kind of place you take the in-laws to… More >>

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 >>