O.C. Review: Meizhou Dongpo, Irvine

My skin is numb. Not just my lips and tongue but my lungs and toes, too. I have never been so uncomfortable as right now because I badly want to eat this stuff. It smells so nice. And it tastes so good for that millisecond before the electric surge…

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OC Review: Ootoro Sushi, Irvine

The chef reaches over the sushi counter and places a bowl in front of each of us. The bowls are filled with ice, topped with the live shrimp he has just dismantled. The shrimp are huge, like mutants. Their dismembered heads and bodies sit side by side, a couple of inches apart but still very much alive.

Best Thing I Ate This Week: Salade Nicoise

A lot has changed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach lately. For starters, it’s now just the Monarch Beach Resort, with a brand new, very beachy look throughout. The restaurant formerly known as Motif is now called Aveo, and that’s where I recently enjoyed one of the finest Nicoise salads I can recall.

O.C. Review: Sushi Hana re

The hostess sees me peeking through the window, so she opens the front door. “May I help you?” “Two for dinner?” I ask. I can see that almost every seat in the restaurant is already taken. “Just a moment,” she says. She walks across the very small room to whisper something to the chef. He …

OC Review: Old Crow Smokehouse, Huntington Beach

Old Crow is far and away the best restaurant to open thus far at Pacific City. The corporate chef is Tony Scruggs, a self-taught cook who competed on television’s “MasterChef” a few years back. Scruggs’ barbecue is probably best described as Chicago-style with influences ranging from Tennessee to Arkansas.

Best thing I ate this week: baby squid sushi

I told the chef “omakase,” meaning that I trust his judgement, I’m in his hands. And the first few courses were fairly predictable, as I’ve dined at the sushi counter at Shunka a dozen times before and knew more or less what to expect. But I also knew there would be a curveball at some point, and here it was: baby squid sushi.

OC’s Top 20 Pizzas. Period.

OC Review: Vaca, Costa Mesa

In Spain, the cow is important because that’s where cheese comes from, and it’s always nice to have some cheese when you’re eating ham. But in the hierarchy of the Spanish barnyard, the pig is king. The cow is just a cow, the maker of cheese.

This just in: IACP Finalist! NATJA Finalist!

2014 OC Press Club Awards!

The Orange County Press Club Awards were announced last night, and I am happy to report that I took home four awards: 1st Place: Best Restaurant Review (Blossom) 2nd Place: Best Restaurant Review (El Corazon de Costa Mesa) 3rd Place: Best Travel Article (Las Vegas Chinese) 3rd Place: David McQuay Award for Best Columnist (overall body …