2016 Dining Archive Stories

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  • Sweet on Cupid By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    BLK Earth Sea Spirits is known for two things: succulent Wagyu-grade steaks and resplendent views of Huntington Beach. I had promised dinner guests a sunset spectacle with shimmering hues, but Mother Nature intended something else that evening: As we curved along old Highway 1, the wind began whipping up and a layer of fog enveloped the car.
    Tue Feb 02, 2016
  • Fortunate Foods By: Jenn Tanaka
    While most of the world counted down the new year in December, February 8 is the time to celebrate for those from several Asian countries. Festivals, parades and vibrant red attire start the party, but the best part of the Lunar New Year is the eating. Freshen UpEat your way into an auspicious new year with a seasonal fruit.
    Tue Feb 02, 2016
  • Seafood Paella from Vaca By: Steve Bramucci | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    Step into the kitchen at Vaca – the most anticipated Orange County restaurant in years – and you’ll see that chef Amar Santana takes his stock very seriously. Two enormous pots boil side by side. One is filled with giant beef and veal femurs; the other is piled high with lobster bodies and fish bones. They simmer for hours &nda
    Tue Feb 02, 2016
  • Oysters on the Half Shell with Champagne Mignonette By: Steve Bramucci | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    People still get weird about oysters. “They’re too slimy!” “Too mucous-y!” “Too fishy!”At times, any of these complaints might indeed be true. But the secret, which oyster lovers know and oyster haters don’t, is that each of these complaints is only ever valid when referring to bad oysters.
    Thu Dec 24, 2015
  • The Day Spa cocktail - a healthy highball By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography Ralph Palumbo
    When I went looking for a cocktail to feature for January, I wanted something that went along with all our health and wellness resolutions. With that in mind, I tasted drinks infused with Buckthorn oil, a vinegary offering laced with Kombucha and enough skinny margaritas to make me wonder if I would ever remember what a real margarita tastes lik
    Thu Dec 24, 2015
  • Healing foods to ring in a healthier new year By: Jenn Tanaka
    Cup of MarrowWhen Claudia Stubin decided to open Farm and Culture Co., she knew that her goal was not just to feed people. What interested Stubin more was nourishing them. Her newly opened SoCo outpost serves nutrient-dense bone broth cooked slowly with mirepoix fortified with tomato paste and deglazed with apple cider vinegar. The
    Wed Dec 23, 2015
  • Locally made confections sugarcoat the season By: Jenn Tanaka
    Bellissima Chef Amy Jo Pedone’s two passions, Italian cooking and chocolate, led her to trade in her corporate day job for an apron as master chocolatier. Pedone, who is half Sicilian, traveled to Italy in 2013 to complete her École Chocolat Master Chocolatier certification. Now just a couple of years later, her award-w
    Mon Nov 30, 2015
  • The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point features the Spiced Chocolate Martini By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    In the 30-year history of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, the elegant resort has hosted countless celebrations, from fantastic flower-bedecked nuptials to glittering galas and, of course, New Year’s hurrahs aplenty. But why wait for January to toast the coming year? For the remaining days of December, start the countdown to 2
    Mon Nov 30, 2015
  • Chef's Style: Truffle and Pork Ziaolongbao at Din Tai Fung By: Steve Bramucci | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    When your friends hear that you’re going to Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza, they’ll urge you to order the pork xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). They’ll tell you this because it’s what they heard and now they’re passing along the advice. After all, the dish is the restaurant’s best-seller. But you&rsquo
    Mon Nov 30, 2015
  • Tea Time: 3 Great Spots for High Tea in OC By: Jenn Tanaka and Sam Dunn
    The first known cup of tea is thought to have been poured somewhere in China around the third century, and since then the world has joined in. Brews from the true tea plant, Camellia sinensis, didn’t reach the shores of Britain until the 1600s. Though they were late to the party, the British more than made up for it by weaving the taking o
    Mon Nov 30, 2015
  • Aqua Lounge's Seasonal Spice cocktail By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography Ralph Palumbo
    Pumpkin pie deconstructed. That’s the inspiration behind Aqua Lounge’s latest cocktail experiment. During the month of pumpkin spice madness, the bartenders at The Island Hotel decided to celebrate autumnal flavors with their take on a Thanksgiving favorite: pumpkin pie. The Seasonal Spice cocktail combines fresh pumpkin puree with v
    Fri Oct 30, 2015
  • Lobster Benedict at the Ritz Prime Seafood By: Steve Bramucci
    This column launched 30 months ago with one of the most iconic dishes in Orange County: the Ritz Egg. At that time, we knew that The Ritz was closing its Newport Beach location. The future looked uncertain for the Orange County culinary institution. This month, the Ritz is back … sort of. The property is now called The Ritz Prime
    Fri Oct 30, 2015
  • This Thanksgiving, leave the heavy lifting to local chefs By: Jenn Tanaka
    Comfort FoodChef/owner Ryan Adams and his team at Three Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink present a three-course prix fixe dinner served family style from 2 to 9 p.m. on November 26. The main dishes include traditional favorites such as a roasted free-range turkey with thyme gravy and sage sausage stuffing to more daring Thanksgiving o
    Fri Oct 30, 2015
  • 10 OC Happy Hours By: Bo McMillan, Joshua Suh and Jenn Tanaka
    Not every meal needs to be an occasion. Sometimes small bites and a stiff cocktail will do the trick, perhaps between work and an evening performance, or after a day of power shopping. Consider any of these happy hours fit for a mini feast: A Restaurant For “social hour” from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, g
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • Bar bites to remember By: Jenn Tanaka
    Bar BuddiesWatertable’s slow-roasted California almonds glisten with an olive oil sheen. Each savory bite is flaked with sea salt and dotted with green rosemary shards. The addicting crunch pairs well with a crisp cider or a pilsner on draft. Watertable’s bar jars – sharable small bites like those rosemary-salted a
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • Bloody Good Marys By: Brad A. Johnson
    There’s an unwritten rule somewhere that says you can’t drink a Bloody Mary after 5 p.m. It is meant to be a morning drink, a brunch refreshment. Once the sun goes down, only a rube or a bimbo would order a Bloody Mary. What a dumb rule. Consider me a rube and a bimbo because I think there’s never a bad time for a Bloody Mary.
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • The Flavor of Hong Kong By: Story and Photography By Brad A. Johnson
    The dining scene in Hong Kong – like the city itself – is the ultimate expression of East meets West. Driven by homegrown chefs and European-trained expats alike, restaurants here combine a potent mix of old and new, of roasted goose and barbecue pork, dry-aged steak and crab fried rice. The epicenter of all this deliciousness is the
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • The Riip Beer Company in Huntington Beach By: Bo McMillan
    Imagine a boozy equivalent to delivery pizza: a phone call, a wait and, suddenly, craft beer – award-winning craft beer, in fact – delivered right to your front door. In 2014 brothers-in-law Ryan Rasmussen and Ryan Hopkins started doing exactly this when their Riip Beer Co. began making its door-to-door deliveries in Huntington Beach
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • Tournedos Rossini sliders at Holsteins Shakes & Buns By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    Holsteins Shakes & Buns elevates the common mini burger into tournedos Rossini sliders with a bit of savoir faire. Would you expect anything less from South Coast Plaza’s most recent epicurean addition? “This is a play on the classic French tournedos Rossini dish – beef tenderloin with foie gras and Perigourdine [tr
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • A Taste of Montage By: Kedric Francis | Bear Flag Photography, Baldemar Fierro and Trinity Wheeler
    Ah, a sunny day spent at Montage Laguna Beach. Does it get any better than that? Well, yes, when that day includes wine, cocktails, music from the Kalama Brothers and tastes from some of the best chefs in SoCal. Even better, it’s all for the great cause of raising money for hungry kids. One in five children in the U.S. struggles with hunge
    Mon Aug 31, 2015
  • Substance meets Style at Sushi Roku Fashion Island By: Brad A. Johnson | Photography by Cindy Yamanaka
    “Irasshai!” shouts a hostess as she leads me to my table. The sushi chefs and waiters respond in kind. Most are cheerily enthusiastic, although I can’t help but notice one waiter rushing through the room with an armful of food who mumbles the greeting under his breath in a way that suggests the Japanese-to-English translation i
    Mon Aug 31, 2015
  • Humble Pies By: Jenn Tanaka
    Sweet SpotChef Alessandro Pirozzi works hard to channel the taste of simple, thin-crust pizza synonymous with his Southern Italian hometown. At Pirozzi’s in Corona del Mar, authentic Naples-style pizza cooks in mere seconds thanks to an imported oven built brick by brick just for the chef. While the pizza menu lists classics w
    Thu Aug 27, 2015
  • Fine and Dandy: The Apple Dandy at Pelican Hill Resort By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    While the rest of the country revels in fall’s flushes of amber, gold and rust, blue-gray ocean waves lapping tan  sand quietly mark our autumn. The exception can be found at Pelican Hill Resort, nestled up against Newport Coast Drive, where its Apple Dandy cocktail, served at the resort’s Social Lounge, channels a true harvest
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Shaka Spuds at Sessions West Coast Deli By: Steve Bramucci | Photography by Ralph Palumbo
    Ah, the poor potato chip. For years it has been relegated to the category of “junk food.” Our guilty-pleasure side dish, sliced paper thin and sprayed with artificial flavors, potato chips are one of those foods we hate ourselves for eating after a single handful. Not anymore. Sessions West Coast Deli’s new Huntington B
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Cedar-planked Skuna Bay Salmon By: Steve Bramucci
    The best chefs are entertainers. The craft of cooking may be a utilitarian one; but the art of being a chef is based on entertaining. We don’t obsess over food because it feeds us. Potatoes can feed us. The reason we Instagram our favorite dishes is because the chef has succeeded at making food fun. Julio Hawkins, executive chef at
    Fri Jul 31, 2015