Favorite music to cook by:
To be honest, I love cooking to Taylor Swift. I enjoy her music and recently saw her in concert. Best damn concert I've ever been to.
Best food city in America:
New York City. They offer so many different cuisines and you can get them at any hour of the day.
Favorite restaurant in America:
Max Brenner's Chocolate and the Bald Man in New York City. It's such a unique restaurant. It's chocolate heaven. It's like eating at Willy Wonka's factory. They have pipes of chocolate running over your heads and they offer so many cool chocolate dishes. I wish there was a location here in SoCal.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
More late-night offerings. I feel like the only thing open past 10 p.m. is Alberto's, Rigoberto's and Alejandro's. Don't get me wrong, I do love eating their burritos.
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Less franchises and more unique small business spots.
New Tastes in Green Tea by Mutsuko Tokunaga. 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly.
What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
I had to write a paper on this same question in college. I would have to say something in the lines of kids being able to cook a meal with their favorite celebrity.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
It's a Filipino dish called dinuguan. It basically a pig's blood stew with pig intestines in it. Us Filipinos refer to it as “chocolate meat”. Most people may think it's weird, but I love it.
You're making an omelet. What's in it?
Avocado, basil, sundried tomato, red onion, shrimp, garlic, shredded fontina cheese.
You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Two rotisserrie chickens from Costco. So cheap and sooo good.
Weirdest customer request:
I had a couple guests ask me to try to hand pick out some ingredients they did not want in our blended teas.
Favorite OC restaurant(s) other than your own:
Felix's Cuban Restaurant in Downtown Orange. The have the best tres leches cake I've ever had. El Camino Real in Fullerton–best carnitas, tacos and burritos. Pepe's–best breakfast burrito. Angelo's and Vinci's–best pizza.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
To negotiate better with the landlords when signing a lease.
What would the last meal on Earth be?
To start, chili cheese fries from Pepe's. Then, a stuffed crust pizza from Angelo's and Vinci's topped with garlic, mushroom and sausage along with a carne asada burrito, an al pastor taco and a carnitas taco from El Camino Real with a large horchata. For dessert, a tres leches cake from Felix's.
Who's your hero? Culinary or otherwise?
I would have to say my grandma on my mom's side from a culinary standpoint. She always had food to offer me when ever I would visit her and it always tasted sooooo good, even if it was the simplest of dishes.
What cuisine that you are unfamiliar with would you want to learn more about and why?
I am familiar with Americanized Japanese food, but I would love to learn more about traditional/authentic Japanese food with some of the crazy ingredients they use there. I've seen some crazy stuff on Bizarre Foods. I would love to learn more about different exotic fish and experiment making various sushi. I think sushi making is a good skill to have in your culinary tool box.
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.