Restaurant Reviews

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This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Pizza for Pesos: Chicago Pizza
, March 15, 2007
This past January, officials with the Dallas-based Pizza Patron chain enraged the John & Ken Nation by announcing they would accept pesos in lieu... More >>
Remembrance of Things Pasta
Basilicos is unforgettable
, March 08, 2007
Often lost in the immediacy of eating is the transcendent connection between taste and memory. Like, every time I eat spice cake I remember how... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Death by hog
, March 08, 2007
Orange County foodies have raved about the carnitas at CARNITAS LOS REYES for years—about the sublime fattiness of this shredded pork dish, about... More >>
Let the Flirting Begin
Pastas, Sauces and a Lifelike Prosciutto at Ristorante Max
, March 01, 2007
If you care at all about food, your library should include a copy of Counter Intelligence, a collection of restaurant reviews by LA Weeklydining... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
KitKats for All!
, March 01, 2007
UNION JACK FISH & CHIPS is the name of two small restaurants in Fountain Valley and Costa Mesa that fry fillets to puffy, golden perfection.... More >>
Clandestine Camarones
Enriques Mexican Restaurant might be the worst-kept secret in Long Beach, but the garlic shrimp is not
, February 22, 2007
My frequent dining companion, Gustavo "¡Ask a Mexican!" Arellano, is an unrivaled expert on all aspects of la vidasouth of the border and, as the... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Ribbed No More
, February 22, 2007
RIBS ON THE RUN has everything working against it. It's the only West Coast outpost of a barbecue chain in New York, a city with no real 'cue... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Your moment of Zen: Zen Vegetarian Restaurant
, February 15, 2007
Satays are the Bert Blylevens of the meat world: consistently excellent but never quite good enough for widespread acclaim. That now changes (for... More >>
Restaurants for Cheating Lovers
Where to take your mistress to eat
, February 08, 2007
I've never cheated on a gal (mostly because of a lack of girlfriends), but if I was the Kobe Bryant type, I'd have one rule for dining out: eat... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
The Gospel of Ramen: Kairaku-tei Ramen House
, February 08, 2007
KAIRAKU-TEI RAMEN HOUSE, a softly lit Tustin jewel that seems plucked from a Kurosawa epic, has boiled noodles for a couple of years but always... More >>
I See Midwestern People
Disneys revamped steakhouse caters to tourists, boils things
, February 01, 2007
I know exactly why we went to the Disneyland Hotel's Steakhouse 55: I was lazy, and it was close by, and I'd stumbled on a press release, deep in... More >>
Fourth of July On a Plate
, February 01, 2007
Orange County is a bazaar of astounding dining bargains. Foot-long, two-dollar Vietnamese sandwiches. Ten-dollar Korean dinners for four. The... More >>
Phil Shane Slept Here Phil Shane Slept Here
Patsys Mission Viejo pub gives you crabs
, January 25, 2007
I come not to accuse Patsy's Irish Pub's patrons of spreading social diseases—though they are a shrieky lot, an odd Mission Viejo mix of doughy... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
OC's best buffet
, January 25, 2007
A food critic rarely writes twice about the same place, let alone in the span of six months. Yet here's a second plug for WHOLESOME CHOICE, the... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Big Burritos
, January 18, 2007
The law of the land has spoken—a burrito is not a sandwich. At least according to a Worcester County Superior Court ruling handed down in... More >>
Your belly buttons at 6 oclock Your belly buttons at 6 oclock
Doing shabu shabu right
, January 11, 2007
When they weren't lopping off people's heads or taking purification baths because—strangely—killing made them feel bad, Genghis Khan and his men... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Shrimp and Yam Get Married
, January 11, 2007
Some meals defy translation, and among these is banh cuon, a Vietnamese meal that's little more than stuffed, steamed layers of rice-flour... More >>
Masas of This Domain Masas of This Domain
Where to Get the Countys Best Mexican Tamales
, January 04, 2007
Every Christmas Eve, my mother and her sisters retire to their respective kitchens and create the annual Miranda batch of tamales. And, oh, what... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Masala Miracles
, January 04, 2007
"Ew!" gasped my friend. "I would never eat at a place with the word 'bowl' in it!" We were discussing MASALA BOWL, a newish restaurant on... More >>
Making Kimchi Chic Making Kimchi Chic
Hashigo Tofu makes Koreanfood cool. And delicious
, December 21, 2006
There is one reason why Korean food has never really taken off, and that reason is marketing. Being also from a land where dog is still a... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Bringing It All Back Casa at Varsity Burgers
, December 21, 2006
Every year, my parents return to their home state of Zacatecas in central Mexico for a week to celebrate the Christmas and Virgin of Guadalupe... More >>
Of Hummus and Hezbollah Of Hummus and Hezbollah
Good food trumps ugly Americanism at Meejana
, December 14, 2006
Think your birthday dinner conversation was all over the map? Check out the loud references at mine: Hezbollah, poor ol' USC Trojans, CAIR... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Curry, Pad Thai, Cream Cheese Won Tons and More at Bangkok Corner
, December 14, 2006
Life's intersections are strange indeed. Consider my visit last week to Bangkok Corner in Costa Mesa. Bangkok Corner doesn't feature the... More >>
Skunk As a Drunk Skunk As a Drunk
How to stay hammered until 2007
, December 07, 2006
Not so much "feeling" the holidays this year? Prefer to stay numb to all that hustle and bustle, that popcorn garland and choo-choo train... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Garlic Shrimp Galore! At Aloha Hawaiian Barbecue

, December 07, 2006
When someone tells me a new Hawaiian restaurant has opened in Orange County, I bet them a year's worth of dinners that I can name 90 percent of... More >>
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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 >>