Restaurant Reviews

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This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Your Summer Guard: Mil Jugos
, August 24, 2006
Mil Jugos would seem to have synthesized every bad Latino cliché in a single Santa Ana location. Loud yellow paint. Parrots hanging from the... More >>
Gustavo Arellano's 34 Favorite Desserts Gustavo Arellano's 34 Favorite Desserts
Amazing delectables from the Balboa Bar to the platano frito
, August 17, 2006
30. The place once known as Gustav's Jagerhaus switched owners last year and now goes by Anton Schwaiger's Jagerhaus, but the new guys knew... More >>
Just Desserts
Orange Countys best sweets, from alfajores to Cheerwine
, August 17, 2006
Chocolate. Ice cream. Pancakes. Indian carrot pudding. Armenian Fig Newtons. The Balboa Bar. Ho Hos. Orange County teems with desserts, and the... More >>
An Ode to Chocolate Cream Pie An Ode to Chocolate Cream Pie
Chocolate like Hezbollah
, August 17, 2006
Many moons ago, whilst working as a host at Coco's Bakery Restaurant, I developed my first of many addictions: chocolate cream pie. Times change,... More >>
An Ode to the Lava Cake An Ode to the Lava Cake
Death by lava
, August 17, 2006
There are times when a lobster and crab cake appetizer, a bloody hunk of filet mignon topped with crab and béarnaise, a bottle or two of wine,... More >>
An Ode to Lychees An Ode to Lychees
Translucent flesh
, August 17, 2006
I started eating lychees over ice when I was probably about 11, long before calories meant anything. (Canned, they're 100 calories to a serving.... More >>
An Ode to the Pastel de Tres Leches An Ode to the Pastel de Tres Leches
Platonic sloppy seconds
, August 17, 2006
As I write, I've just taken my third bite into the tres leches cake my friend Andrew made. (Actually, Andrew is my wife's dear friend from high... More >>
An Ode to Zingers An Ode to Zingers
Sweet-ass gunk
, August 17, 2006
Fucking Mexicans. Wherever high-octane pastries are sold—whether at 7-Elevens, gas station racks or supermarkets—their snacks continue to occupy... More >>
A Sweet Life's Work A Sweet Life's Work
The Ritzs Jean-Francois Lehuede leaves em wanting more
, August 17, 2006
Jean-Francois Lehuede—Jeff to his friends—has been pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Laguna Niguel since 2001, after stints in Malaysia,... More >>
Cock & Bull Cock & Bull
Eating bull penis at Pho Nguyen Hue
, August 10, 2006
The first time I put a bull's cock in my mouth was about four years ago in Shanghai. It was just one of many strange meats in our exotic hot pot... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Zorba the Geek lives at Greek Town Grill

, August 10, 2006
I sing the praises of Greek Town Grill in Costa Mesa's happening East 17th Street District for its sleek décor (ceiling-to-floor windows,... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Halal burgers at Al Wadee
, August 03, 2006
More than the deli, more than the sushi bar, more than your high school buffet line, the burger stand is America's true melting pot: a cheap,... More >>
Gelato to the Rescue! Gelato to the Rescue!
Cafe Lucca: Your summer oasis
, July 27, 2006
Thank God for the providential opening of Café Lucca, home to soothing gelati that will relieve your summer discomfort like a Crystal Cove sea... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Breadth of bread: Wholesome Choice
, July 27, 2006
Wholesome Choice is the most diverse supermarket in Orange County—maybe Southern California—a garden of produce delights where Armenian cherry... More >>
You Never Know What You're Going to Get You Never Know What You're Going to Get
Forrest Gump sucked, but damn it if the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant aint good
, July 20, 2006
The only movie I ever walked out on was 1994's Forrest Gump. Everything about it pissed me off, from the film's irritating opening line ("Life is... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Find man's perfect burger at Penguin Cafe
, July 20, 2006
Laguna Beach's Endless Summer is almost done. The Boom Boom Room—soon to be gone, just like the Pottery Shack. Steamrollers and tractors cut... More >>
Mexican Renaissance Mexican Renaissance
Wising up and finally enjoying Taleo
, July 13, 2006
I'm man enough to admit mistakes, so let me use this article to issue Nic Villarreal an apology. Villarreal is the founder and owner of Taléo, an... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Mucho Meat at Costa Azul
, July 13, 2006
Costa Azul is Orange County's latest Argentine joint, a small building on the outskirts of Old Towne Orange decorated with its mother country's... More >>
Buffalo Grill Buffalo Grill
Eating the New American West at Rendezvous
, July 06, 2006
I never wanted to eat my friend, the buffalo. I had the chance four years ago in San Francisco, when my cousins and I ducked into the famous... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Visits Without End: Tropika
, July 06, 2006
When I die—of something gastrointestinal, I bet—Tropika will likely be one of the fanciest places I ever dined. It's a hole-in-the-wall in terms... More >>
Real Men Lighten Up Real Men Lighten Up
Crepes and Tapatio at the Crema Cafe
, June 29, 2006
The Crema Café is a café in the time-honored Main Street USA way—with good and hearty food like that of the Sugar Shack or the Harbor House—but... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
O, Brilliant, Fatty Wonder! Bacon-wrapped hot dogs at the Santa Ana Farmers Market
, June 29, 2006
The finest summer cooks you'll meet this season set up shop every Wednesday afternoon at the Santa Ana Farmers' Market. Say hola to a gruff... More >>
The Night Merwin Barrientos Ate a 26x26 In-N-Out Hamburger The Night Merwin Barrientos Ate a 26x26 In-N-Out Hamburger
But he won't do it again . . .
, June 22, 2006
"Merwin won't do it anymore," my sister Alejandrina told me last week. "If he eats a 26x26 again, Merwin thinks he'll die." Earlier this year,... More >>
Flash in the Bowl Flash in the Bowl
Pavilion dazzles and fulfills
, June 15, 2006
We looked at her clam chowder, a lump of something in a large porcelain bowl, sans broth. It was pretty, to be sure, a work of food art befitting... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
An Ethnic Costco: HK Market in Tustin
, June 15, 2006
Like most ethnic grocery stores, the Korean-centric HK Market functions more like a Costco, a capitalist wonderland where jewelry stands abut... 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

California is America's burrito empire, from the Mission cylindrical god of San Francisco to San Diego's California burrito to the Inland Empire's garbage burrito, which I described to a friend… More >>

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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