Waterman's Harbor Is All About That Bass

Categories: Now Open

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Scallop lollipops

There's a dish being served right now at Waterman's Harbor in Dana Point that may be the best fried fish in all of OC. The entire creature--a whole black bass with its skin and tail intact, its head propped upright, mouth agape--is flash-fried under a barely there batter. Even though it's presented whole, the fish is also nearly all deboned, with the flesh butterflied and the spine collapsed flat from the load of artichoke hearts, tiny potatoes and white beans it carries on top.

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ST Patisserie Chocolat Now Open In Costa Mesa

Anne Marie Panoringan
Sugar, ahhh. Honey, honey

The holiday season just keeps getting sweeter, as another dessert spot unlocks its doors to the public. Found in our favorite neck of the woods, SoCo Collection, you can thank Master Pastry Chef Stephane Treand for gracing patrons with a high-end confectionery retailer and pastry school all rolled into one, multi-purpose space.

Previously located in San Clemente, his school has relocated to the accessible grounds off the 405 freeway. Classic and modern French pastries are also available for purchase at this sugary spot, which opened on November 19.

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On the Line: Victor Avila of Spaghettini, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Working his way to the top

There is something about each chef I interview that makes them special. In the case of Victor, I found two: The fact that I met another individual who prefers paper (over electronic) organizers. And that he will spend his Thanksgiving feeding those less fortunate.

Read the first part of my interview with Victor over at this link.
Then continue along below . . .

Did you always plan on becoming a chef?
I always knew I wanted to work with food.

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Poke Etc. Opens in Long Beach

Categories: Now Open

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Mary Pastrana
The poke from North Shore Poke Co.
Hurray! Another poke shop just opened. A new Hawaiian joint called Poke Etc. debuted in Long Beach last week and this on the heels of North Shore Poke Company opening its second store in OC-close Cerritos.

Poke Etc., from what I can tell from its website, looks to be the most authentically Hawaiian poke joint yet. The poke is served out of refrigerated troughs and sold by the pound like the do in the island state. And apparently they do a version with coconut milk by request, which is more like Tahitian poisson cru.

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On the Line: Victor Avila of Spaghettini, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
Showing us how it's done

Spaghettini is one of those places I've always driven by on the freeway, but never got around to visiting. Best known for a long-standing Sunday jazz brunch, they've collaborated with musician Dave Koz and Chef Scott Howard to launch a sister space in Beverly Hills in the not-so-distant future. However, my interest remains locally, and Victor Avila clues me in on what makes their kitchen run so smoothly.

Let's go over all the different responsibilities you held at Spaghettini.
I started as a dishwasher at 16, then worked as a prep cook, line cook, lead grill man, sous chef and eventually executive chef.

Why do you think so many managers, servers and kitchen staff remain with Spaghettini for so many years?
Spaghettini has always had an atmosphere of fun and family. The owners are very supportive, and we make it a priority to make every employee feel welcome.

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Watch a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd Compete in a Spaghetti-Eating Competition

You can already kind of tell..

All my life, I thought I ate spaghetti pretty quickly. I mean, I sort of eat like a duck -- light on the chew, heavy on the swallow and stomach-ache-time quickly afterward. If I really wanted, I could probably finish a plate in three minutes.

But man, I have nothing on these dogs. I didn't grow up with pets, so I didn't even think a golden and a german shepherd would be particularly down for pasta, but, well, you just have to watch I guess.

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Temakira, Sushi Hand Roll Shop, Opens in Costa Mesa

Categories: Now Open

Photo Courtesy of temakira's Facebook
Let's roll!
Recent years have brought on various sushi innovations in OC. Ten years ago it was the advent of revolving sushi, such as Kula, Kaisen, and Gatten. Then came the all-you-can-eat concept that places like Sake 2 Me seems to have mastered. This year, we've seen a sushi burrito joint (Samurai Burrito), and a poke joint (Pokinometry) come into the market.

Now there's a shop dedicated to just sushi hand rolls, those rice-and-fish-stuffed cones of nori that your itamae might serve you as part of an omakase meal.

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This Thanksgiving, Eat an Unwise Amount of Shin Sen Gumi Ramen

$10? ONLY $10?!

Do you love ramen? Do you hate your family? If the answer is yes, I've got the perfect way for you to avoid the house for a few hours this Thursday.

One of my favorite food challenges (we know I love my challenges) is back in town! It's time for Shin Sen Gumi's Extra Noodle Challenge!

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Battle Delivery Sushi: Ippo Sushi vs. DelSushi

Categories: Dueling Dishes

Photo by Courtney Hamilton
Who will be the winner? Del Sushi? Or..

For a while now, UC Irvine and its surrounding community has had but two food delivery options: pizza, the old standby, and sushi. That's right, sushi. And it's not even just one sushi delivery service. Two different sushi storefronts compete for hungry student money: DelSushi and Ippo Sushi. Both locations deliver into the wee hours of the night, offer a comparable menu at a similar price point, and serve the same area, though Ippo Sushi has a slightly larger delivery range. If you've got a hankering for sushi or have eaten all the pizza you can take, which sushi joint do you order from? Below, I evaluate the two on quality, taste, and delivery time.

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Turkey's a Horrible Bird (Or Why Thanksgiving Should Taste -- and Feel -- Different)

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Photo by Jeremy Noble
Does this really excite you?

A lot of people out there look forward to Thanksgiving, but not really for the right reasons. You quiz people excited about the holiday, and you're likely to hear Jim Gaffigan-esque monologues about eating until you're sick, diatribes for or against Black Friday, or, if you come from a household where people pretend to get along, a canned response about coming together as a family (excluding any black sheep, of course). But when it comes to all of the trappings and traditions that separate the holiday from any other meal, you don't always get a rousing response.

And you know why? Because for a lot of people, traditional Thanksgiving can be really, really shitty.

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