Restaurant Reviews

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Good Enough to Eat Off Your Pants Good Enough to Eat Off Your Pants
Veggie Grills fine meat-mocking
, November 30, 2006
There comes a time in every man's life when he enjoys a hamburger only to have its contents slop onto his pants: an inglorious, embarrassing... More >>
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 >>
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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 >>

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