Restaurant Reviews

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Veggie Vexing Veggie Vexing
Missing and loving Thuyen Vien
, June 01, 2006
You know that clichéd koan about whether a tree falling in the woods makes a sound if no one is around to hear it? A similar thing has happened... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Tamale Time at Chicago's Best
, June 01, 2006
"What's a Chicago-style tamale?" I asked the nice gent who manned Chicago's Best, a counter in an Irvine food court. "It's a . . . tamale," he... More >>
Something So Good Something So Good
Say thank you and mean it at East Winds Asian Cuisine
, May 25, 2006
As someone who has eaten everything up to and including two Thanksgiving dinners out of a Styrofoam grease box and/or off the tailgate of a... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Paradise in a Taco Truck: Tacos el Charito

, May 25, 2006
Whenever people ask me to describe the best meal of my life, I rave not about the high-end restaurants of South County, one-dollar Vietnamese... More >>
No Katakana Necessary No Katakana Necessary
Drop your culinary bigotry at Ami Sushi
, May 18, 2006
I want my ethnic restaurants as ethnic as possible—Grandma in the kitchen, the owner's kid working on math homework between carrying trays and... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Brains! Brains! At Nizams Nihari House!
, May 18, 2006
We all experience happy surprises—a $100 bill found on the ground, for instance, or flower petals spread across a bed by a lover, or your "lover"... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Crab Cracking at Cajun Corner
, May 11, 2006
Crickets, tripe, the occasional brain burrito: I'll devour most anything, damn the grossness factor. But nothing will ever again simultaneously... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Death by Burrito at Imperial Burgers

, May 04, 2006
I'm a Mexican food purist—I don't appreciate it when chefs let gabacho elements like blackened ahi anything invade my cuisine. But I'll forever... More >>
'Every Tamale Is Love' 'Every Tamale Is Love'
Josefina Bay helps cure the blind with her tamales
, April 27, 2006
In 1994, during a diabetes education class in Santa Ana, a woman went blind. Her cure was a tamale. The woman couldn't afford eye surgery (simple... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Noodling Around On Noodle Avenue!

, April 27, 2006
Noodles. Lots of 'em. Thin. Thick. Stir-fried. In soup. Yellow. White. Thai. Vietnamese. Japanese. Welcome to NOODLE AVENUE, a hectic fast-food... More >>
Persian Paradise Persian Paradise
Enjoying Darband with the Farsi fanatic
, April 20, 2006
Heard of the Asian persuasion, the impulse that drives some guys toward hot Asian women? My buddy is a Farsi fanatic—can't get enough of the... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Greek Chili Billies: Athens West
, April 20, 2006
ATHENS WEST, an Orange County-only mini-chain with gleaming outposts in Huntington Beach and Seal Beach, prepares pita sandwiches fat with... More >>
No Man Is an Elvis No Man Is an Elvis
Stuffed on stuffed French toast at Two Umbrellas
, April 13, 2006
The British were wondering (in their fastidious British way) why it was that rich Elvis—whose material desires were limited only by how clearly... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Goodbye, Ramen. Hello, Thai and Laos Market
, April 13, 2006
Rejoice, starving hipsters: your days of instant ramen are over. Cast your eyes toward the Thai instant noodles at the THAI AND LAOS MARKET in... More >>
What the Pho? What the Pho?
Vietnam Pearl serves just what the doctor ordered
, April 06, 2006
Who says you can't eat Vietnamese for breakfast? Certainly not the Vietnamese, many of whom probably look down their noses at what you... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Cute cue
, April 06, 2006
I've lived by a set of rules where barbecue joints are concerned. Eschew those that sell "official" T-shirts and mount fake guns, animal heads... More >>
Hot-hate Special Hot-hate Special
Mirna Burciaga takes on the Minutemen with tacos and pupusas at El Chinaco
, March 30, 2006
Never has a counteroffensive against ethnic cleansing disguised as border control tasted so delicious: on March 23, about 40 Costa Mesa... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Oh Yes, Oh Yes

, March 30, 2006
I remember shrugging when the Hawaiian restaurant ONO ONO opened about three years ago in Tustin. The food was good but unmemorable, mostly... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
To Go
, March 23, 2006
PETITE CAFE is so new that its marquee is a plastic banner. It's so new that a public notice for a liquor license competes for window space with... More >>
He Fights for Your Right to Pate He Fights for Your Right to Pate
Michael Mina leads St. Regis through the resort wars with Stonehill Tavern
, March 16, 2006
There's a war raging along Orange County's southern coast, and it's delicious. For the past couple of years, the Montage in Laguna Beach, the... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Mondu Madness
, March 16, 2006
I occasionally receive complaints from readers upset that the restaurants I recommend are inaccessible: gruff, English-free holes in the wall.... More >>
A Gut Feeling A Gut Feeling
Menudo will cure your hangover but can do so much more
, March 09, 2006
When we first discussed our drinking issue, everyone looked toward me with the word “menudo.” I agreed to extol its hangover-curing virtues—and... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

The Glory of It Thali

, March 09, 2006
The subcontinental meal known as a thali is the original Hungry-Man Meal: a metal tray that houses thimbles, cups and bowls heaped with... More >>
Some Like It Raw Some Like It Raw
Dan Lauriano repeats his North County success with Riptide
, March 02, 2006
After four years of seeing his Chomp Rockin' Sushi and Teppan Grills draw massive crowds to downtown Fullerton, Dan Lauriano wondered: Could he... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Sumptuous Syncretism
, March 02, 2006
Why is there a historic division between Mexicans and Salvadorans? I can't differentiate between the two cultures as I drive through MacArthur... More >>
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From the Print Edition

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 >>

Go Dutch to the Dutch Club AVIO Go Dutch to the Dutch Club AVIO

We were just a block from Disneyland, about to enter a squat-looking building on Katella Avenue out of a Van de Kamp's bakery ad campaign. This was the Dutch Club… More >>

Ramen Zetton: Japanese Quesadillas!

Let me start this review with something unprecedented: a correction and an apology. In our March 14 OC People issue, we misidentified the author of the cover piece on La… More >>

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