You Can Now Drink Margaritas in Outer Space, Thanks to Jose Cuervo

Categories: Mexi Meals

Thumbnail image for Mariano Margarita Machine.jpg
Courtesy of Mariano Martinez
Mariano Martinez, creator of the frozen margarita

I began my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America with the scene of astronauts making breakfast burritos in outer space. I pulled back to reveal that flour tortillas are actually a favored food of NASA, and that researchers had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a tortilla that wouldn't quickly spoil during shuttle missions--AMAZING!

Now, in further proof that the ultimate plan for America is to get us out of Earth and onto Mars, scientists have made a frozen margarita in space.

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Yogurtland Launches 'Flavor Quest' With 10 International Tastes

Mona Shah-Anderson
A perfect swirl

It's hard to imagine a time before Yogurtland. The inexpensive, self-serve, poppin' boba fro-yo giant knows their dessert market well. Their founder, Philip Chang, was also a previous On the Line subject. Yogurtland's dedication to introducing new flavors and joining forces with other brands (HELLO, Kitty!) keeps them relevant in a competitive industry.

To celebrate their third annual celebration of tastes known as Flavor Quest, we joined a mass quantity of fans to taste test some of them. You can say there was a whole lotta swirling going on-- and sugar highs! Here's a brief rundown of their flavors. Note: each flavor is brand-new to the family, and will only be dispensed for two to four weeks before being replaced by another.

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On the Line: Kai Robison of MRK|Public, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo courtesy of MRK|Public
Kai, Rayne and Moriah: Just hanging around

Kai was the designated spokesman this week, as he clued me in on all things MRK. Today we address the clicking and stress of being restauranteurs.

We started the conversation with Kai yesterday over here.
And we wrap things up below.

When you're not at work, what are you doing?
All three of us are surfers, so we are usually trying to get waves. Rayne and Moriah both have kids, so they have full-time jobs outside of the restaurant.

Do you have any skills that have nothing to do with food?
I've always been a creative type. I do a lot of drawing and mixed media artwork. Rayne is a good artist as well and the MacGyver of the group. He is always making things work that I would never have thought of. Moriah is an awesome athlete. The guy is good at whatever he tries.

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Pop-Up Sushi And Coffee At Break of Dawn And Little Sparrow

Anne Marie Panoringan
Mocha date

Privately-owned restaurants have the luxury of setting their own hours. They can be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or, in the case of Break of Dawn and Little Sparrow, limit their availability. For Dee Nguyen, his evenings are reserved for quality time with his family. Eric Samaniego's team takes advantage of extra prep time in the afternoon. Those closed hours create an opportunity for others to shine.

Formal dinner service is the norm at most pop-ups. The ones we've learned about in the last week are anything but. In the past, Nguyen offered his own occasional dinner. This time around, he's brought in Daniel "Doki" Kim. What makes his friend special? Sushi. Lots of it.

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On the Line: Kai Robison of MRK|Public, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo courtesy of MRK|Public
Three times the work ethic

Friends, co-workers, business owners. Brothers Kai and Moriah Robison and Rayne Frey collaborated to open MRK|Public last year. An approachable spot for locals, they have a fan in previousOn the Line subject Jeff Clinard. Kai fills us in on how things got started.

Please explain your concept, and how you chose it.
Well, originally we had started with the concept of doing a really small, hot sandwich shop with chef-inspired flavors. As we were looking for a location, we found that the old Love Burger (a divey, local favorite for 30 years) was available. We snatched it up and realized this space had potential to be a bigger concept. So we took everything we love: craft beer, good wine, flavor-forward food and casual/modern atmosphere to create a gastropub.

$5 craft beer-- What?!?!
The $5 beer thing was an idea that our cousin/beer buyer/Saint Archer rep, Nathan Squillace, had. Having the beer at an affordable price all the time encourages people to try a wider range of styles, and makes it so there is no need to have deals or happy hour at any time. It's a deal every day.

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Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana To Open Irvine Location

There are already a couple of handful of Naples-style pizzaiolis in OC. Along with Il Dolce and Fuoco, Dana Point's Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana can be counted among one of the best. Now it's opening a second store in a more central part of the county (well, more central than Dana Point, anyway): Irvine.

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This Week, You Can Get Dessert With a Side of Girl Scout Cookies

I want me one of these chocolate bowls from Pascal

So, this week is Orange County Restaurant Week, and if you missed it, Anne Marie posted some great picks a few days ago.This post isn't about those picks, no, it's about something else I'm really excited about: a bunch of the participating restaurants are doing special desserts using Girl Scout cookies.

My sweet tooth sings. Check after the jump for participating restaurants.

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The Five Stages of Accepting the Santa Anita Park's Turf Club Reboot

David C. Mau
The grand dame of horse racing.

Twice a month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau pops by to chime in about a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

Generally, I try to keep my writing OC-focused, but, once in awhile, an out-of-county topic jumps onto my radar. One of my very first pieces here at Weekly was about Laguna's Frank Panza, the beyond-legendary bartender at Santa Anita's Turf Club. That stately room was a bastion of old school charm and hosted the best of the best since the 1930's. Almost every Hollywood blueblood or great musician has walked its hallowed floors at one time or another. The track itself is beyond spectacular, with a gilded Prussian Blue facade, stunning view of the San Gabriel mountains and enough art-deco chic to keep ones gaze enthralled for months.

The exclusive Turf Club has been a favorite of mine for longer than I care to think about and opening day (always December 26) is one of my most beloved of holiday traditions. In 2014, I couldn't get in; there was a fishy cover story about "all the tables being reserved." I didn't get a straight answer, so I bagged the idea. "Next year," I thought.

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Recommendations for Orange County Restaurant Week

Yes, chef.

How we sum up OC Restaurant Week: An opportunity to check out places we normally wouldn't. You can also think of it as a week of tasting menus. While we can't guarantee an acceptable price-to-portion-size ratio, we are happy to report there are more selections than ever. When your 'chains' include the likes of The Winery, Slapfish, Tommy Bahama's and Slater's 50/50, it ain't bad at all. Plus, the range in price is vast; as little as $10 for lunch and upwards of $50 for dinner. Here is the all-important link to the complete list of restaurants. And we've attached some handy-dandy links along the way for your reading pleasure. By the way, restaurant week is going on from this Sunday to the following Saturday.

We opted for a different approach to last year's recommendations. With a couple of exceptions, we tried to avoid naming a place referenced last year. Only eateries we've dined at previously made the list. Oh, we also lumped them into three categories: "Shiny", "Mainstays" and "Yes, Chef!".

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Sweetee Thai Opens S. T. Noodle Bar in Long Beach

Categories: Now Open

This week, the Sweetee Thai family of restaurants, which includes the eateries in Cypress and Artesia, opened a new place in Long Beach they're dubbing S. T. Noodle Bar.

S. T. focuses on noodles. Khao soi, boat noodle, and rad nah are their specialties. But there's everything else you expect from a Thai joint, including rice, apps and a "Crying Tiger" salad.

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