[UPDATED] 2014 Hatch Chile Roasts in Southern California Begin August 2--Here are Locations!

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Dave Lieberman
"Green or red?" What kind of question is that? GREEN, of course!
It's that time of year again: Hatch chile season is right around the corner. And while expat New Mexicans have always lined up for green chile to assuage their homesickness, the peppers have started to worm their way into the hearts of non-New Mexican Californians. Here is a running list of this year's roasting dates. As always, these dates are subject to change if there's any kind of supply problem or if the season runs short or long in southern New Mexico.

[UPDATED 9:45 p.m., July 30:] Albertsons cancelled their roasts for Saturday, August 2 due to weather and chile quality problems in New Mexico. Northgate's Aug. 2 and 3 roasts are still on.

This list will be updated as we get information from our friends in the grocery industry. Orange County and Long Beach locations are bolded and at the top of each date's list. Northgate González and Albertsons run their own roasts, the roasts hosted at Ralphs are from Frieda's Produce, and everything else on the list is from Melissa's Produce.

In addition, El Rey Farms will have their usual setup at La Puente High School; order yours in advance at elreyfarms.com.

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OC Register Food Critic Brad A. Johnson is Obsessing About French Fries Again...at a Mexican Restaurant?!

Categories: Indigestion

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Tortas Sinaloa web page
Dem fries!

Okay, I have a million other stories I have to get to before I go on vacation next week, and I should REALLY concentrate on them. But I nearly choked on my morning bourbon this morning when I saw Orange County Register food critic Brad A. Johnson's review of Tortas Sinaloa in SanTana, a place I reviewed way back in November.

First off, Johnson reviewing an OC restaurant? A rarity nowadays, ever since his corporate overlords asked him to focus more on the Los Angeles Register--so much for caring about OC, eh Aaron Kushner? Johnson couldn't even be bothered to do a full review of Tortas Sinaloa, devoting one of his Short Orders. The place definitely deserves a write-up--but then Johnson let the darker angels of his soul take over.


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Taco Asylum Undergoes Menu Makeover

Categories: Mexi Meals

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Anne Marie Panoringan
Watch that spill

Who is well-spoken, has worked for both Thomas Keller in Napa and Brian Malarkey in San Diego and is changing things up in Costa Mesa? That would be one Carlos Anthony at Taco Asylum. If you didn't know that the asylum broke off from the Haven Collective (Haven Gastropub and Provisions Market in Old Towne Orange), now you do. Owner Ace Patel and his tight-knit team have reworked the menu and are ready to rock and roll, kicking off their newest creations last week.

The most obvious changes to the menu are price and selection. Six-inch tortillas, crammed with meaty classics like carnitas or vegetarian with roasted peppers and black beans start at $3.75. The most expensive bites are a shrimp duo, either pad thai or wasabi style for $6.75. Hover over your metal serving tray, since tasty morsels will spill out (or suffer the consequences, like my dress did).

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58. Leche Frita at Cafe Sevilla

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Edwin Goei
Leche Frita-ttaboy!
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!

Cronut-schmonut. Cafe Sevilla's leche frita is the fried dessert we should all be obsessed with. What is leche frita? Essentially, it's fried custard--a traditional Spanish dessert that's like the Ringo to flan's and crema Catalana's John and Paul. It's rather plain-looking, made by cooking flour, milk, and eggs together in a pot, letting it cool to set, cutting it up, breading it and then frying the pieces in oil. The unremarkable outward appearance masks its greatness.

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Burger King's Chicken Fries Might Be Making a Comeback

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..they're back?

I was never a big fan of chicken fries when they were at Burger King, but I know they were a pretty cult-y food, so this might be some good news for a few of you: Chicken fries might be coming back.. for a limited time.

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Where Your "Craft" Whiskey Is Distilled Is Essentially Unimportant: A Rebuttal to The Daily Beast's Eric Felten

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Colin Smith, geograph.org.uk.- CC-BY-SA 2.0
Stills at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland
Eric Felten, writing for the Daily Beast, has stumbled upon the worst-kept secret in the liquor industry: much of the craft whiskey, especially rye, that commands high prices comes from a giant, intensely ugly building ten miles west of the Cincinnati airport. Cue the clutching of pearls, the shattering of dropped tulip glasses, the rending of lapels, the wailing of women. How could we all fall for this?

He is correct on the facts: a former Seagram's distillery called MGP, located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, furnishes much of the American whiskey we see on our shelves. Bourbon and rye flow from the industrial stills. He is correct that when you see a whiskey older than the company selling it, those barrels were bought from elsewhere.

Here is the entire reason MGP exists, in ten words: Our thirst for whiskey has overwhelmed the number of distilleries.

Does it matter? Not really.

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On the Line: Justin Lopez of Stonefire Grill, Part Two

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Photo by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Justin's smiling because he's not sitting in traffic . . .yet.

A family guy in the non-traditional sense, Justin Lopez joined the restaurant business to make a good thing even better. His commitment to Stonefire translates to food-centric extracurricular time and travels that inspire new dishes. Here are a few more noteworthy facts about our subject.

We started our interview with Justin yesterday in part one.
And now, let's continue with part two . . .

What's your favorite childhood memory?
As a big family, we used to spend weeks of every summer and winter in June Lake, California. It's still one of my favorite places on the planet.

How do you incorporate your degrees in political science and communications to your work?
I'd like to think they come in handy every day. More than anything, both of them very simply taught me the importance of a consistent, relevant message. It's a concept that plays in my head over and over again when I'm at work.


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59. Happy Hour Sushi at Ginzaya

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Edwin Goei
Discounted sushi!
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!

Not too many sushi bars offer Happy Hour specials. Those that do emphasize the bar part more than the sushi part. Ginzaya, though, is different. It's a real sushi bar. Even better: the Happy Hour discount on the nigiri is substantial. They take 30% off the price before 7 p.m., which is significant for this kind of nigiri. These are serious cuts of fish that are sliced generously with proper technique. It's the kind of sushi whose weight, texture and silkiness feel exactly right in your mouth.

The squid chews like a forever-gum-drop; the salmon is satin smooth and full-flavored; and the amaebi comes with the heads and spindly legs deep fried and all delicious.


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This 'Trekking' Burger Is a War Crime Against Burgers

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Oh, thank you, Ashens

Camping food can be.. interesting. Sometimes, you can be out with an amazing camp cook and have a great meal. Sometimes, you'll be out with a bunch of journalism students, one of which who is vegan, and then accidentally throw all of the vegan chicken on the ground. Sometimes, you'll be so tired from hiking that even granola bars taste amazing.

But there will never be enough hiking in the world to make this "trekking burger" palatable.

It comes in the can, it's precooked, and everything between bread is an unidentifiable vomit texture.

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60. Red Beans and Rice at Disneyland's French Market

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Edwin Goei
Mmm...beany!

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!

Disneyland's New Orleans Square is as authentic to New Orleans as the Jungle Cruise is to Africa--which is to say, not very. But the red beans and rice I ate recently at the French Market couldn't have tasted more evocative of the balmy swamp city if Paul Prudhomme served it up himself.

In Louisiana, the dish is often made with Sunday night dinner's leftovers--a low-simmered, one pot meal that requires little effort but fills the gut for not much money. At Disneyland, it's served everyday at the French Market.

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