El Nuevo Tecolote Tijuana: Mexicali-Style Carne Asada Culture Comes to Tijuana

Categories: Tijuana Sí!

Photo by Bill Esparza
An eruption of melted cheese, grilled chicken and steak at Tijuana's El Nuevo Tecolote

When it comes to northern Mexican carne asada, Baja California's tacos are standard when compared to the nearby prime cuts states of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Nuevo Leon--but that's okay for you and I. Compared to the nasty commercial grade meats cooked on a flat top plated on Guerrero tortillas and watery salsa we get a lot of up here in L.A. and O.C., the carne asada you can get in Tijuana will bring tears of joy--that is until you make it over to Sonora for the real deal.

The Baja peninsula likes their carne asada on corn tortillas, but the the beer guzzling city of Mexicali derives its tortilla tradition from the Sonorans, using flour tortillas for their carne asada. Mexicali serves a similar style of carne asada found in Sonora but adds its own regional touches like grilled chicken, making it the only place in the Republic to offer grilled chicken tacos. One of Mexicali's carne asada kings, El Nuevo Tecolote, has just opened a cart in Tijuana, which is fantastic news for carne asada lovers.

More »

Hakata Ikkousha in Costa Mesa Is a Temple for the Ramen Cult

Categories: Now Open

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Worship the bowl

I'm a noodle-soup agnostic. Pho. Niu rou mian. Thai boat noodle. I love all these warm bowls of instant comfort equally. So long as it comes out steaming-hot, has a good broth to sip and springy noodles to chew, I'm in my happy place. But ramen? Ramen is something else entirely. Ramen is not for casual worship. It's the noodle soup with cultish obsessives who'd be able to tell you what pH of alkalinity gives the noodles their characteristic golden hue or why the oil that floats on the surface of the soup is important (answer: it acts as insulation, keeping it hotter longer).

More »

Eat This Now: Daily Special at Rick's Atomic Cafe

Categories: Eat This Now

Photo by The Mexican

Every time I see the daily special tweeted out by Rick LeBlanc of Rick's Atomic Cafe, I smile. Scratch that: my faith in humanity is restored. His is the fabulous Costa Mesa office park deli that has made it, feeding office drones with his dizzyingly eclectic tastes for five years. And while you can do no wrong with his regular menu, streamlined to salads and sandwiches for workers on the go, it's the specials where LeBlanc always shines.

More »

Tincup American Whiskey, Our Drink of (Last) Week!

Photo by The Mexican
Hola, Colonel Sanders!

Back in 2013, when I sung the praises of Colorado's Stranahan Whiskey and complained that Hi-Time Wine Cellar didn't stock it, a kind soul sent me a bottle of Tincup American Whiskey. "Hi-Time sells it," he said, "and it's a great Colorado whiskey." I put it in my collection, and went on to other drinks.

Fast-forward to earlier this year, when Hi-Time let me know they now carry Stranahan's--HELL YA! In its honor, I finally cracked open the Tincup and found an able, cheaper companion.

More »

5 Great Sodas You've Probably Never Had Before

Categories: Five Great...

Photo by Antonio Oliveira
Surprise! None of these made it

Since my OC Weekly archive has pretty well established what a friggin' manchild I am, I really don't feel any shame admitting that, about once a month, I take a trip down to the Block at Irvine or up to Westwood -- not to navigate the bar or club scene, but instead to hit up the a candy store.

Granted, RocketFizz is no ordinary candy store. RocketFizz is essentially the most awesome candy store that has ever existed (outside of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, of course). It offers the widest array of novelty, hard-to-find, and just plain delicious sugary treats this side of Oompa Loompaland.

However, my favorite thing at Rocketfizz is the sodas. (I know, I know - look, I don't drink alcohol, okay? This is about the closest I get to beer tasting, and it's fun as heck.) This isn't the kind of crap your mom will find on the shelves of Cost Plus, people - the soft drink selection at any Rocketfizz location is downright INSANE, so I figured I'd share some of my favorites with you, dear reader, fine flavored beverages that you won't be able to find at your local 7-Eleven.

These are my top-five favorite alcohol-free beverages, worth the trek down the 405 or 57.

More »

On the Line: Manfred Lassahn Of Watertable, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings

Despite all the cool things I learned about Chef Lassahn, I admit that my favorite fact was learning we actually grew up less than 15 miles from each other. In our final segment, we also learn that his love of all things culinary began at an early age-- but you don't have to take our word for it.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
The hardest thing that I have had to learn is to do what you can in the time that you have. That is both personally and professionally.

More »

On the Line: Manfred Lassahn Of Watertable, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Keeping his cool

For this holiday edition, I dove up the coast for our interview. Located inside Huntington Beach's Hyatt Regency, Watertable offers a thoughtful, seasonal, even customizable menu to its patrons. Chef Lassahn runs an efficient kitchen, as I meet him on a day where he's balancing three major events throughout the property.

Most undervalued ingredient:
I would say it's not the ingredient, it's the condition of the ingredient. Anything fresh off the vine is precious, and its quality of flavor/nutrient density is commonly overlooked.

What would be your last meal on earth?
An Animal Style, In-n-Out Burger.

More »

Finding the Perfect Blizzard at the Huntington Beach Dairy Queen

Categories: Chain Reactions

Josh Chesler
It took almost an hour to finally get this thing, and it wasn't even good.

It's not that I'm a die-hard Dairy Queen fanatic, it's just that it reminds me of my childhood.

While no one has ever looked forward to eating real food at DQ, in every town and city I've lived in, Dairy Queen's ice cream has always been a staple. Whether it was a post-game celebratory Blizzard or an after school pick-me-up, DQ was always there when you needed it. It was the comforting grandparent that didn't judge you for only eating sweets when it has a kitchen full of perfectly fine food.

More »

New 'Phocumentary' Will Explore Origins of Pho and Vietnamese Culture

Categories: Viet Vittles

Freeman Lafleur and Curtis Bell

Pho enthusiasts: there's a new pho documentary in the works--a "phocumentary," if you will--and in it creators Freeman Lafleur and Curtis Bell will use pho as a means to explore Vietnamese culture and cuisine. The phocumentary will attempt to trace the origins of pho and highlight the resilience of the Vietnamese people, in which some started pho businesses to create a new life after escaping their homeland during the Vietnam War. Of course, Orange County's Little Saigon is featured, as well as other areas in California with large Vietnamese populations. Lafleur and Bell are currently hosting a Kickstarter to raise more funds for their film and, curious about where they're planning to take the project, we sat down with them to learn more.

More »

Lee's Sandwiches Recalls a Bunch of Meat Because It Wasn't Inspected Correctly

Categories: Viet Vittles

Photo by Evan G
RIP, this Lee's Sandwiches location that should be familiar with a bunch of you

How much faith do you have in your stomach? I hope it's a lot, because Lee's Sandwiches is recalling over 200,000 pounds of meat because it wasn't inspected correctly by the USDA.

More »