2016 Food Archive Stories

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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Mon Aug 31, 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
    Mon Aug 31, 2015
  • Unexpected Pork Dishes By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography by Ed Olen
    These show stealers fuse heritage-bred swine with surprising ethnic flavors. Surf and turf The bocadillo de ostras is a fried oyster sandwich with thin slices of house-cured pork served with a vinegary kale slaw. It’s a smorgasbord of unlikely flavors. Ham with shellfish – a true ko
    Mon Aug 03, 2015
  • 3 yummy desserts for your inner child By: Jenn Tanaka
    Nostalgia for the whimsical desserts of childhood is the sweet inspiration for a few local chefs. While these dishes might channel your inner child, OC’s fine foodie creations are definitely not kid stuff.Cookie CrazyA take on the childhood classic, the Fluffernutter sundae at A Restaurant in Newport
    Fri Jun 26, 2015
  • Fried Green Tomatoes delight at the Vine in San Clemente By: Steve Bramucci
    Any gardener will tell you that growing your own tomatoes is the gateway to more gardening. Why? Nowhere else is the difference in flavor between homegrown and store-bought produce so starkly evident. A good tomato is a revelation; a bad one tastes like ketchup-flavored cardboard. At Vine in San Clemente, long rows of tomatoes grow right b
    Fri Jun 26, 2015
  • Big Hitters By: Brad A. Johnson
    The ClassicThe cheeseburger at Shock Top Brew Pub satisfies the meat lovers in the stands. The juicy, hand-formed burger, made with top-grade meat, cheddar cheese and a fluffy brioche bun, hits the spot. According to Johnson, “The biggest surprise at Angel Stadium comes early in the night at Shock Top Brew Pub, an indoor/outdo
    Fri May 29, 2015
  • The List: Let's Do Brunch By: Kedric Francis
    Big BuffetsFor the grand, much-more-than-you-could-ever-eat buffet experience, Motif at the St. Regis is the go-to place on the coast. The multiple food stations that include a variety of breakfast choices, as well as seafood,
    Sun May 03, 2015
  • Floral Foods By: Jenn Tanaka
    The VixenInspired by one hot mama – though admittedly not chef Alan Greeley’s mother – the seasonal lavender kumquat gelato graces the menu of The Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa. Seductive starlet Penélope Cruz was the muse behind Greeley’s newest dessert. It also helped that a client of h
    Sun May 03, 2015
  • Best Places to Eat, Coast-Style By: Brad A. Johnson
    Who doesn’t love a list, especially when it’s restaurant critic Brad A. Johnson’s 75 favorite restaurants in Orange Coun
    Fri Mar 27, 2015
  • Morsels: Market Watch By: Jenn Tanaka
    Off the CobSometimes simple is better. When visiting the Irvine Farmers Market, the comforting aroma of kettle corn lures you to an unassuming yellow tent. Inside, corn kernels transform into sweet and salty puffs with the heat of a large barrel kettle. No website or business cards can be found, just unassuming maize. While the kett
    Fri Mar 27, 2015