North Italia Restaurant To Open In Irvine

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As California Pizza Kitchen is being built to replace El Cholo Cantina in one part of Irvine, North Italia Restaurant is being built to replace a California Pizza Kitchen in another.

North Italia is part of a chain based in Arizona with restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas. The Irvine location at Park Place at the corner of Michelson and Jamboree will be its second in California after the El Segundo location, which opened recently.

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Now Open: Sessions West Coast Deli In Huntington Beach

Categories: Now Open

Anne Marie Panoringan
Grilled cheese make out session

Debuting earlier than planned, Sessions Huntington Beach coincided with the Vans US Open of Surfing. What better place to conquer your hunger at the beach? Prime real estate has our second favorite restaurant facing Pacific Coast Highway, a crosswalk away from the pier.

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Finding Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Chips and Losing My Humanity

Categories: Taste Test

I am a great soft jelly thing

Three fat white guys walk into a Walgreens, and stumble upon the 2015 Lay's Do Us A Flavor ™ finalists. It's not a joke -- it's my life, and I guess I've come to accept that even when I'm off the goddamned clock, even when I'm not TRYING to stuff my face with Frankensteinian culinary abominations, these things manage to find me. Life imitates art. Dragons come looking for knights eventually. And even if I stop into a convenience store looking for, say, some Emergen-C and a bottle of water, I guess I'll wind up buying four bags of novelty potato chips and eating all of them -- and of course, bringing some friends along, because misery loves company.

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On the Line: Brent Omeste of CUCINA Enoteca, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
AKA really cool dad

Today's installment provides one of my favorite answers in a questionnaire. Before you wonder which response, it's the first one below. Learn a bit more about Brent outside of the kitchen.

CUCINA Enoteca takes care of their restaurant family, and Brent can attest to that. Hear what he has to say about this in part one.

Tell us about your daughter, and what it's like being a dad.
My daughter is amazing. Being a dad is amazing. That's coming from a guy who wasn't sure about having a child in the past. It gives a whole new meaning to life. It's incredible watching her grow into the toddler stage. She's becoming so aware; she has so much personality, just sweet as can be. Last week she reached out and gave me a hug and a kiss for the first time. I melted. She's going to be so spoiled.

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55. That Awesome Hot Sauce at Akropolis

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It looks just like this SOHO Taco beauty...

We're reaching the halfway point of 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!

Even months after I reviewed Akropolis on the Balboa Penninsula, I still can't get over the hot sauce that they have at each table. "In my nearly 15 years of reviewing restaurants," I wrote, "I've never come across the Greek hot sauce Akropolis in Newport Beach offers in ramekins on all of its tables. It reminds me of Chinese- and Mexican-style oil salsas, but it has nowhere near the heat: The Greek version tastes more like a dense, slightly spicy barbecue sauce. Red, muddy and wonderful, it's a traditional Greek condiment, the owners say, made from olive oil and peppers--but why don't other local Greek restaurants carry it?"

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On the Line: Brent Omeste of CUCINA Enoteca, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Keeping things afloat in Newport

Updating the restaurant scene at Fashion Island wasn't a task taken lightly. Management cleaned house of older brands, making way for modern concepts such as CUCINA Enoteca. Their second location in Orange County, I questioned Brent Omeste about his CUCINA past and present.

Ok, Brent. You left CUCINA Irvine to pursue other opportunities. Then you came back to helm Newport. What brought you back (when you could've continued working at different establishments)?
When I was invited to come back and helm Newport, I was flattered first, that I had even been considered for the position; then excited to get back to work in an environment where food, wine, culture, and creativity come together so harmoniously.

One food you can't live without:
Pasta. Fresh, dried, egg, extruded, filled. Any way, shape or form.

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Crazy Rock'N Sushi To Open in Irvine

We're gonna need a bigger boat.
Crazy Rock'N Sushi, which has branches in West Hollywood and La Puente among others, is coming to Irvine at Alton Square, which has been an unlikely hotbed of new restaurant activity in the past year. Both Mooyah Burgers and Pizza 90 opened there recently, and in a few months, the space vacated by El Cholo Cantina will become a California Pizza Kitchen.

Crazy Rock'N Sushi will be located next to Mooyah and takes over the space of Yen Sushi which closed in the last month.

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We Want in on Valerie Bertinelli's Home Cooking!

Food Network

Long before Valerie Bertinelli was stealing teenage boy's hearts on One Day at a Time, being a hot mama while living a rock and roll style, chilling our souls on Touched by an Angel, and making us laugh on Hot in Cleveland, she was honing her craft in the kitchen. And with years of experience whipping up delectable dishes for family and friends, she's now taking her passion to the tubes with her new show, "Valerie's Home Cooking" that starts August 8th on Food Network. Before the shows big debut, we chatted it up with this superwoman all about family inspiration and even swapped recipes teaching us the lesson that learning can be endless in the most fun of ways.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I'm so excited to talk to you because I feel like I grew up with you and also, my dad totally has the hots for you. So yeah, I just wanted to make it weird right off the bat.

Valerie Bertinelli: [Laughs.] Oh my god that's hysterical. I love it! Please tell your dad I said hi.

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Restaurant Roll Call For July 2015

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Anne Marie Panoringan
Del Taco's loss; our gain.

It's time for our monthly round-up of open-and-shut cases. But let's get down to brass tacks: this month was all about local food blogger Christian Ziebarth's relaunch of Naugles and the viral sensation it has since become. Yes, there were some new openings, and a few surprising closures, but Naugles was all that anyone really wanted to talk and read about. So without further ado, here's our list for the month, something you can peruse as you're waiting in line at Naugles.

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Coconut Rabbit, Our Winner For Best Thai 2014, Closes (Hopefully Temporarily)

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Photo by Edwin Goei
Let's hope this dish comes back when the restaurant does.
Coconut Rabbit, the Los Alamitos Thai restaurant that won Best Thai on our Best Of Issue last year along with countless of other accolades we bestowed upon it, has closed after two years. At least temporarily.

Their website has this phrase: "We will be closed as we are going through some exciting changes. Stay tuned!"

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