Restaurant Reviews

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Pho Quyen: Absolutely Sweet Little Saigon
[Hole In the Wall] This Westminster spot makes good pho, but go for the to-go specials
, May 16, 2013
We're now reaching a point in Little Saigon's history where the old-school places are slowly but surely changing. Some are closing shop; others... More >>
For a Hot Time In Old Huntington, Go to the Black Trumpet Bistro For a Hot Time In Old Huntington, Go to the Black Trumpet Bistro
Dino Ferraro's French/Italian/Spanish/Moroccan menu would be oddball anywhere but Beach Boulevard
, May 09, 2013
The eateries you'll see on the 5-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard as it extends from the 405 down to Pacific Coast Highway can have the randomness... More >>
Chixy Natural: Twirl-a-Bird
[Hole In the Wall] This Costa Mesa spot makes awesome rotisserie chicken
, May 09, 2013
"Hey, man, you still going to use that?" the surfer-ish type guy asked as I scarfed down my meal at Chixy Natural. Oh, my lack of manners! This... More >>
Urban Seoul's Bulgogi Nation Urban Seoul's Bulgogi Nation
This Irvine restaurant is the latest Kogi knock-off, but it's a damn great one
, May 02, 2013
It's impossible to talk about Urban Seoul without mentioning Roy Choi, the creator of Kogi, the pioneer of luxe loncheras, America's unofficial... More >>
Delicias Peruanas' Great Chicken Salad?
[Hole In the Wall] This Lake Forest spot wows with a simple-yet-potent Peruvian menu
, May 02, 2013
You know what is the most overlooked city in Orange County? Lake Forest. It's a seeming no-man's-land between North and South County, a place... More >>
Hue Oi: Boiling Down to the Basics Hue Oi: Boiling Down to the Basics
This Hue-style joint is one of Little Saigon's best places for bánh bèo and bún bò hue
, April 25, 2013
During my third visit to Hue Oi, the block around Fountain Valley's Mile Square Park experienced a blackout. Stoplights weren't functioning. The... More >>
La Rocco's: A San Clemente Slice
[Hole In the Wall] This pizzeria wows with its New York-style thin crust and selection of whites
, April 25, 2013
"Thank God you're still here!" the teenage girl exclaimed to the young man behind the counter at La Rocco's in San Clemente. "We went to where... More >>
Crave Restaurant: The Sweet Smell of Sourdough Crave Restaurant: The Sweet Smell of Sourdough
Judy Fleenor returns to Santa Ana with her new restaurant
, April 18, 2013
There was once a place in Santa Ana called Café Chiarini. It was fabled for its soups, salads, giant cookies and, most of all, enormous tri-tip... More >>
Full Moon Sushi: New Order
[Hole In the Wall] This mini-chain has grown without sacrificing its excellence
, April 18, 2013
As much as I want our local mom-and-pops to succeed, I worry once they start expanding because growing an empire almost always comes at the cost... More >>
Pocket Burger: Phuket By PCH Pocket Burger: Phuket By PCH
The Sunset Beach shack is tiny but makes a damn fine burger and Thai roti dessert
, April 11, 2013
I counted exactly two parking spots outside the Pocket Burger Shack, and I'm pretty sure one of them is actually for the tattoo parlor next door.... More >>
Taco Nazo: OC's LA Fish Taco Cousin
This La Habra restaurant sells great fish tacos straight outta La Puente
, April 11, 2013
It's fitting that Taco Nazo is all the way up in La Habra, off the second-to-last intersection in Orange County before we turn into Whittier,... More >>
LinX Is Frankly Great LinX Is Frankly Great
There's much to love about the Old Towne Orange restaurant's sausage sandwiches
, April 04, 2013
Is it wrong to look forward to eating the bread at a hot-dog joint? I knew before I went to the new LinX in Orange that whatever sausage I... More >>
Knafeh Cafe's 99 Ways of Sweet
[Hole In the Wall] This Anaheim bakery sells the best Middle Eastern pastries in Orange County
, April 04, 2013
When you bite into the soft knafeh at Knafeh Cafe in Anaheim, you're going to see stars, unicorns and rainbows in your eyes, and you'll probably... More >>
Michael's Pizzeria Bar Exam Michael's Pizzeria Bar Exam
Sit at the bar to watch your pizzas being made at its new location in downtown Long Beach
, March 28, 2013
When given the option at these everything old-is-new-again pizzerias, always sit at the bar. It's equivalent to sitting in the front row at a... More >>
Yeh Won Is for Lonely Stomachs
[Hole In the Wall] This Garden Grove restaurant serves Korean food for the masses
, March 28, 2013
If you go alone to Yeh Won during the lunch or dinner rush hour, expect everyone inside to stare. Your ethnicity isn't the reason for the raised... More >>
Four Sea's Wake-Up Call Four Sea's Wake-Up Call
This Irvine restaurant serves Chinese early-morning staples—like, really early
, March 21, 2013
Have you ever bitten into pickled mustard greens at 6:30 in the morning? Let me tell you: It's exhilarating. Orange juice has nothing on the... More >>
Usmania's Crazy for Kahari
[Hole In the Wall] This Westminster spot brings Pakistani food to a county sorely needing it
, March 21, 2013
The low-slung building on the corner of Olive and Westminster streets in Westminster has been a graveyard for restaurants over the past decade.... More >>
Two 40 South's Wine-a-Whirl Two 40 South's Wine-a-Whirl
How fun are the vino-vending machines at the Brea bistro? Very!
, March 14, 2013
Two 40 South's cellar reportedly has more than 12,000 bottles of wine stacked floor-to-ceiling and at least a few barrels from which 10-cent... More >>
Bella Cuba's Mojo Rising
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana spot makes fabulous Cuban cuisine
, March 14, 2013
Bella Cuba is just like its mojo sauce: the longer it sits, the stronger it becomes; the more alluring it gets, the more irresistible it is. It... More >>
ARC Restaurant Is Smmmmokin' ARC Restaurant Is Smmmmokin'
Noah Blom's latest restaurant, in Costa Mesa's OC Mix, is a throwback to a time when cooks used firewood and only firewood
, March 07, 2013
I'm pretty sure that at some point in his life, Noah Blom has fried an egg on an electric stove or microwaved a frozen burrito. But walking into... More >>
Tony's Deli Sits at the Crossroads of Anaheim
[Hole In the Wall] This sandwich spots makes old-school sandwiches
, March 07, 2013
As my culinary bucket list for Anaheim is quickly getting checked off. Earlier this year, I talked about how I had finally visited Ararat... More >>
Xa Sweet & Savory Café Brought the Chicken First Xa Sweet & Savory Café Brought the Chicken First
The 2-month-old Orange restaurant gets awesomer by the day
, February 28, 2013
For the first five weeks after it opened directly across from CHOC, Xa Sweet & Savory Café offered only one kind of protein: chicken breast. But... More >>
Restaurant Mary: Proud Maria
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana favorite makes homestyle Mexican food for abuelitas and families
, February 28, 2013
When I first arrived in SanTana as an adult a decade ago, all of my pals said I had to go visit Restaurant Mary. There was no urgency to their... More >>
Taverna Blu Brings Opa! Taverna Blu Brings Opa!
The Greek restaurant proves Irvine Spectrum's dining scene is not what it used to be
, February 21, 2013
With all due respect to the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's, the past few years have seen a renaissance for Irvine Spectrum's food scene. Don... More >>
Fu Wing Low: Young At Heart
[Hole In the Wall] This Fountain Valley restaurant is a Chinese-American classic
, February 21, 2013
"I'll have what I always get," said the middle-aged man upon entering Fu Wing Low, sounding as satisfied as Mike Trout flying across the outfield... More >>
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Little La Lune: Over the Moon Little La Lune: Over the Moon

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Il Barone Bottega: Third Wave Italian

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O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne

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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 >>