Restaurant Reviews

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This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Goodbye, yummy fish: Malibu Fish Grill
, November 30, 2006
If you're wondering why the world's fishing stocks are nearing extinction, look no further than Malibu Fish Grill. This small chain with... More >>
Lunch in One Act Lunch in One Act
Mascarpones, unscripted
, November 23, 2006
(Indecipherable garble.) Theo: That's why you need to have a gun. Steve: So where do we go? Nick: Get on the 55 [Freeway]. Steve: Cool. Theo:... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Dine like the Mayans at Conde Cakes
, November 23, 2006
The emptying of Mexico is almost complete, and Orange County is for the better. The past couple of years have seen these expats introduce... More >>
A Fiesta in Your Mouth A Fiesta in Your Mouth
The Offsprings Dexter Holland and his bueno Gringo Bandito hot sauce
, November 16, 2006
When a bottle of Gringo Bandito hot sauce landed on my desk, I ordered it deported to the dump. Created by Offspring vocalist Dexter Holland,... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
That's a-yummy: Barolo Cafe
, November 16, 2006
Barolo Cafe is probably the most expensive restaurant I'll ever review in this column, a place where dinner for two will set you back 50 bucks.... More >>
Big-House Volume, Small-House Mentality Big-House Volume, Small-House Mentality
Talking about the end of seafood while enjoying it at Blue Coral
, November 09, 2006
I never so much as look at a menu when I'm out to dinner with my girlfriend Lee. The publicist for your more obscene OC restaurants—I literally... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Curry Mash-up at Curry House
, November 09, 2006
A couple of weeks ago, Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez wrote about the popularity of tacos . . . in Sweden. Scandinavian tacos... More >>
Where the Boys Are Where the Boys Are
The yummy sandwiches and free coffee of Monkey Business Cafe
, November 02, 2006
The story behind Monkey Business Café seems too good and cute to be true: Dickens by way of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The large café near... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
The Beauty of Boerewors at the African Hut
, November 02, 2006
Lost in the midst of Orange County's Mexican, Vietnamese, Arab, Persian and Samoan hordes are our "white" immigrants—the Irish of Seal Beach,... More >>
Claes Is Class Claes Is Class
Great view, service, food, cocktailsand a stiff bill to match
, October 26, 2006
The uninitiated will be forgiven for assuming Claes is the Nordic word for class after entering this swank joint encased in the "world famous"... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Melts in Your Mouth and in Your Hand: Heaven on Spoon
, October 26, 2006
I've seen some bad restaurant locations over the years—behind decrepit hotels, in the middle of gang-infested neighborhoods, relegated to the... More >>
Drink, Eat, But Don't Pass Out Drink, Eat, But Don't Pass Out
Proof in seven shots
, October 12, 2006
SHOT ONE "Write drunk, edit sober," Mark Twain supposedly said, and it's something journalists keep close to our livers—stats frequently show... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Edible Pillows at Rivera Mexican Food

, October 12, 2006
You can't get more unassuming than Rivera Mexican Food. The only decoration so far at the new Garden Grove restaurant is a giant painting of a... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
It Takes a China Village
, October 05, 2006
Rule No. 39 of the food critic handbook states that the best ethnic restaurants are those crowded with native eaters, so I wasn't expecting much... More >>
Silly Ladies Silly Ladies
Enjoying the pairings at the HB Hyatt Regency
, September 28, 2006
When one is invited to an in-kitchen chef's preview for a local hotel's wine dinner, one clears one's schedule. And when that preview and dinner... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Remembrance of Tacos Past: Taqueria Guadalupana
, September 28, 2006
Growing up, my siblings and I loved thrift stores. We were too young to understand that our family patronized the shops because the only clothes... More >>
Grain of Truth Grain of Truth
Healthy Italian is not an oxymoron at Il Farro
, September 21, 2006
Il Farro welcomes you before you step inside with a sidewalk cafe exterior with a partial view of the bustling Newport Pier, a full view of the... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
That Golden Glow at Haveli
, September 21, 2006
"You have that Haveli glow!" my friend exclaimed as I sat down, satisfied and happily burdened with leftovers. He's been visiting the Tustin... More >>
Sweet, Sweet Goo Sweet, Sweet Goo
La Fondues epic epicureanism
, September 14, 2006
Stewart Lee Allen packs his 2002 book In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food with chapter after chapter of decadent meals. The... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
2The Curse of 688: Let's hope Ramen House Mentatsu doesn't fall victim
, September 14, 2006
Orange County's culinary black hole is 688 Baker St., Ste. 7, in Costa Mesa. This tiny space—a counter, a kitchen and a couple of tables—has... More >>
The Great Mexican Unifier The Great Mexican Unifier
Gabbis Mexican Kitchen and its spicy salsa
, September 07, 2006
If you've lived here longer than a few weeks, you already know the story of Richard M. Nixon's favorite Mexican restaurant: in San Clemente to... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Just Like Arkansas: Rick's Secret Spot
, September 07, 2006
Rick's Secret Spot, the best barbecue joint in Orange County, is in the unlikeliest of spots—on the San Clemente frontier east of the 5, up a... More >>
Snowflakes From the Sea Snowflakes From the Sea
The delicate, delicious treats of Sushi Wasabi
, August 31, 2006
"We do traditional sushi ONLY," proclaims a handwritten sign taped to the glass door at Sushi Wasabi. "We go to market every day, and buy BEST... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
This Golden Chicken: El Pollo de Oro
, August 31, 2006
Armenians are the masters of the rotisserie chicken; Midwesterners perfected broasted hens; Vietnamese practice the high art of chicken pho.... More >>
Make These Chickens Sing Make These Chickens Sing
Mangia Mangia chicken dishes battle for supremacy
, August 24, 2006
If you've sworn off beef and pork but still eat birds, Huntington Beach's venerable Mangia Mangia is your kinda place. For nearly 20 years,... More >>
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Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery Eureka! It's a Burger Discovery

If I told you that you can have a burger and beer at Eureka! (their exclamation point, not mine), the new restaurant in Huntington Beach's Bella Terra, that'd be enough,… More >>

Sahuayo Primo Offers Pig By the Pound

They sit there at Sahuayo Primo in SanTana all the time: golden sheets or strips of chicharrones, fried morning, noon and night, slowly baking under hot lamps. The stacks of… More >>

Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name Wei Shian: A Noodle By Any Other Name

If you happen to find yourself slurping braised beef noodle soup in Irvine, you're likely in a Taiwanese restaurant. The big names in town—A & J, Lao Dong, Chef Hung—are… More >>

Burrito Madness at Paul's Famous Burgers

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Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi Samurai Burrito: The Subway of Sushi

Do you turn up your nose at those sushi bar Know-Nothings who would make a thick, creamy sludge out of their soy sauce and wasabi? Do you know what brand… More >>

Ellie's Table At North Beach: A Line of Good

Don't mind the sign near the entrance of Ellie's Table At North Beach that says, "Line Starts Here." Actually, scratch that: If there is a line, follow it. But in… More >>

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