On the Line: Rashad Moumneh of Falasophy, Part Two

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Jennifer Fedrizzi
Shiny, happy lonchera owner

Falasophy owner Rashad Moumneh and I met years ago while working with the same personal trainer. We never discussed work, but knew the other was hardworking (at least when it came to our gym sessions). Our acquaintance is a perfect example of 'it's who you know', with his mobile meals gaining momentum and my ongoing search for subjects to interview. I've been fortunate enough to meet Rashad's loving wife and son on multiple occasions, making this week's On the Line less formal and more coffeehouse casual.

Our interview with luxe lonchera owner Rashad starts here,
but the rest of his interview can be read below . . .

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Going out for Sunday lunch (more like an all-day eating activity) with my extended family. We would go into the woods in the mountains of Lebanon and barbecue. We would bring our tables and chairs, charcoal, drinks. Everything, really. I remember very well sitting under these very high pine trees, and there would be a small stream flowing right by us. The stream was very cold, so we would put watermelons and drinks in there to cool them. It was surreal.

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Battle Bougey Cafeterias: Urban Plates vs. Tender Greens

Categories: Dueling Dishes

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Photo by Courtney Hamilton
Will Tender Greens be the winner?

Conceptually, Urban Plates and Tender Greens are the same place: your middle school cafeteria line meets farm-to-fork food. Their menus are nearly the same: entrees, salads, and sandwiches assembled around lean proteins or vegetable preparations. (Though Urban Plates does distinguish itself by offering braises and "pizzettes," or flatbread pizzas.) Each also offers a display case at the end of the food assembly line brimming with beautiful pastries and cakes--the vegan and gluten free options marked, of course. Pricey fresh fruit beverages, highbrow soda, teas, coffee, beer and wine account for the remaining refreshments.

Both eateries even attract the same patron mix: moneyed businessmen, ladies who lunch, and college foodies. They're even close to each other--the University Town Center Tender Greens and Urban Plates are a five-minute-drive apart. So, if you're lunching in Irvine and have a hankering for upscale, home-style food, which do you choose? We've pitted the two against each other in three categories: ambiance, price, and most importantly, food.

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24. Duck and Pork Cassoulet from Pinot Provence

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Anne Marie Panoringan
It doesn't get much better than this

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

When Chef Alfonso Ramirez transferred from one Patina Restaurant Group establishment to another, we had high expectations. Studying under Joachim Splichal is not a task to be taken lightly, and any chef selected to helm one of his kitchens is a reflection of the man himself. Being situated within a hotel, and across the street from the county's shopping mecca is another layer of pressure. Not only did Pinot Provence have to prove their worth, but they had to do so alongside players like Pizzeria Ortica and Charlie Palmer.


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Kingchops, Taiwanese Pork Chop Specialist, To Open in Irvine

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Photo by thatguy
Chop chop!
I think I've dubbed Irvine O.C.'s unofficial Taiwan Town before. But I'll say it again now, because along with the recent Taiwanese additions such as the second Class 302 at the Irvine Marketplace, Meet Fresh at Diamond Jamboree, and so many others I don't feel like listing because I'm actually under the weather as I write this, there's now a Kingchops planned for the city, next to Clay Oven at the corner of Irvine Center and Jeffrey.

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Get Free Krispy Kreme THIS FRIDAY (If You Talk Like a Pirate)

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Arrrr mateys, it be that time o' the year again. This Friday, Sept. 19, you can get a free Krispy Kreme donut if you show up to a store and talk like a pirate because, guess what, it's talk like a pirate day.

This is honestly one of the more fun free food promotions.

Better yet, if you show up in full pirate regalia (rules after the jump), you'll get an entire dozen donuts for free so you can be captain o' the cubicles, if just for one day.

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Surge, Legendary Cult Soda from the 90s, is BACK!

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Coca-Cola Company

From 1920 to 1933, America experienced the dark days of Prohibition. Apparently forgetting the lessons taught by those 13 grueling years, America endured a similar dry spell of the nation's lifeblood from 2001 until today, this most historic and glorious of days.

Surge is back, you guys.

The legendary super-soda with a cult following reigned supreme in the late 90s with it's "fully loaded" citrus taste that came with a buzz fit for a rabid monkey, much to the chagrin of parents everywhere.

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Museum of Ventura County Hosts Exhibit to Counter Chipotle's Cup-Essay Fiasco

Categories: Mexi Meals

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Submit, por favor!

I've spoken twice at the Museum of Ventura County, so I can easily say it's hipper than your usual ossified collection of crap. But I didn't know how hip until head curator Anna Bermudez let me know that they're hosting an exhibit that's a direct response to Chipotle's weak-salsa move earlier this summer to have essays on their soda cups by famous authors...none of which were Latinos.

Called "Cuento Cups: Because Our Stories Matter" and co-produced with chingona author Michelle Serros, it will not only feature the contributions of Latino authors and writers but YOU, if you are so inspired.


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On the Line: Rashad Moumneh of Falasophy, Part One

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Jennifer Fedrizzi
If you overthink Falasophy, you're missing the point

I thought luxe loncheras were starting to die down around here, until an acquaintance informed me he was about to launch one. Rashad's investment in Falasophy was a result of years of following a career path he wasn't particularly passionate about. His desire to provide a flavorful option to vegetarians (vegans, too!) leads us to this week's Q & A.

Why falafels and hummus?
I wanted to do a vegetarian concept because I felt that as a society, we eat too much meat. I also wanted to do something delicious that people would crave. Falafel and hummus were the perfect intersection of those two goals. Historically, falafel was invented more than a thousand years ago by the Copts of Egypt to eat during Lent. Falafel is now consumed all over the world, not necessarily because they are vegetarian, but because they taste amazing. It also helped that I knew these two items well, and honestly felt that we did not have good options for them in Southern California.

What is your beverage of choice?
Morning beverage: Turkish latte from Kean. Evenings: A good Belgian-style craft beer (which goes great with a falafel sandwich, by the way.)

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25. Hash Brown Cake at Zov's

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Anne Marie Panoringan
You say potato; we say brekkie

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

It's tougher to find a dining companion for breakfast than any other meal, because most folks would rather snooze longer than arise from their slumber. More often than not, we are forced to dine alone. We spent one morning revisiting an old standby. What we left with was a reminder of why Zov's continues to be a neighborhood favorite.

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In-N-Out Pop-Up Sells Out in Toronto Before They're Even Open

Categories: Really?!?!?

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Courtesy Ganzi Osteria
Sending some love up North

Here's to living in Southern California, where you can more or less walk to an In-N-Out from anywhere, because it's easy to forget some people aren't that lucky.

Take Toronto, for example: Last week, In-N-Out sent a team up north to give the Canadians a taste of our favorite cheap burger. The result? An hours-long line that had to be cut off before the restaurant even opened.


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