Restaurant Reviews

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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 >>
Gooooooooooood! Gooooooooooood!
Where to eat during the FIFA World Cup
, June 08, 2006
So the FIFA World Cup returns this week, and will last all of June, and you won't care. Fine. But you like to eat—American obesity stats prove... More >>
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life This Hole-in-the-Wall Life
Soy Rico at Mother's Market
, June 08, 2006
My restaurant-reviewing modus operandi seeks the newest, tastiest or most bizarre eats in Orange County, which means I usually neglect the... More >>
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 >>
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From the Print Edition

Little La Lune: Over the Moon Little La Lune: Over the Moon

Little La Lune is located on an unpretty part of Pacific Coast Highway, in a strip mall with less than 10 parking spots—and they're all taken. But stay in your… More >>

Il Barone Bottega: Third Wave Italian

Il Barone, in that section of Newport Beach near John Wayne Airport that's basically a laid-back Irvine, is great old-school Italian, the kind of place you take the in-laws to… More >>

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 >>

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