10 Great Places to Eat Poke in Orange County

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Mary Pastrana

By now, you've probably heard of poke--the raw ahi bowl with soy sauce and limu. A delicacy of Hawaii, it's made its way across the Pacific Ocean and right into the belly of Orange County. Thank God! Because poke is one of the best ways to eat fish ever, we've gathered the best places to eat it. Now, for fifty shades of pink...

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10 Essential Fish Dishes in OC and Long Beach

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Dustin Ames
Here fishy fishy fishy!

Yes, it's the obligatory Lenten fish post. We kinda did one last year, and probably the year before that. But this is a new list, a roster of ten of the best fish dishes your humble food scribe discovered since I did that last list, with nothing repeated.

Included in this year's list are two poke joints, because judging by our page hits, y'all love the poke. But notice that there's no sushi, because that's a whole other category!

And yes, in this alphabetically ordered list, I include a few Long Beach joints. Even though we are called OC Weekly, we cover Long Beach. Always have. So deal.


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Las Vegas' 10 Best Restaurants (And Drinks) Off The Strip

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Dave Lieberman
Get off the Strip already!
I'm not a big fan of the Vegas Strip. It's always full of people desperately trying to have a good time, whether they're weekenders in Los Angeles' largest, most remote suburb or there for a spectacularly poorly thought-out family vacation. The Strip is where decency goes to die surrounded by fawning club managers wielding $300 bottles of $30 vodka, cocktail waitresses with their breasts hinched up to chin-rest height, and bachelor parties puking all over themselves. It sucks, and it's not my idea of a vacation. The restaurants, too, are sad: semi-franchised outposts of the greatest hits back home, where celebrity chefs consult on the menu and then return once every six months to wave their hands in the kitchen and make ranting noises. It's the kind of place where restaurant reviews pay as much or more attention to the physical beauty of the waitresses than they do the food.

Fortunately, though, there's much more to Vegas than the Strip. Your blackjack dealer, cocktail waitress, outlet mall clerk, buffet line cook and whore escort have to live somewhere, and I guarantee you they're not eating $200 steaks at fancy casino restaurants and drinking in host bars every time they go out. There's a whole city out there, one with a burgeoning eating culture. There's a "Chinatown" two minutes off the Strip that's got just about every Asian cuisine you could want; there are breweries and beer bars and cocktail bars and taco joints, just like any other major city. Bonus: they're almost completely full of locals, so prices are extremely reasonable and quality is high, since they rely on repeat business.

There are dozens of spots, but here are ten spots to get you started and leave some jangle in your pocket for gas money for the long slog home on the 15.

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The 20 Most Important Orange County Restaurants of the Past 20 Years

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We miss you, Memphis at the Santora :-(

In honor of OC Weekly's 20th anniversary this year, behold the launch of 20 for 20 a bunch of listicles celebrating the best, worst, craziest, most influential, most most that's happened in OC during our existence. Stay tuned every week or so as we dive into our archives and teach. Enjoy, and second-guess on!

When I started reviewing restaurants for this infernal rag in 2002, I wasn't very impressed with OC's dining scene. Most places were retreads of restaurant trends already passé in Los Angeles five years earlier, or were some riff on Italian/Mexican/steaks/Japanese food. Oh, there were some good restaurants doing interesting things, but I wanted to only focus on hole-in-the-wall spots, as that's where the real culinary action was at the time.

Thankfully, OC chefs were just about to enter the golden age of dining we live in today, in which many young chefs set trends instead of following them. And some of those holes-in-the-wall also proved crucial, introducing tastes to OC that had never registered on county palates. Behold, then, a list of our choice for the county's most important restaurants over the past 20 years. Remember: We're speaking importance -- places that either set trends or influenced others with dishes, chefs or actions outside of the kitchen. Enjoy!


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10 Essential Taiwanese Restaurants in OC

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Edwin Goei
Class 302's lunch tin.

If it's true that Taiwanese cuisine is "disproportionately popular" in California, Irvine has to be the epicenter of that popularity. In OC's unofficial Taiwan Town, there are more Taiwanese eateries than there are McDonald's and Taco Bells combined.

What follows (in alphabetical order) is this humble writer's picks of the 10 most essential Taiwanese joints in Irvine (and one in Costa Mesa that one has to include because it's called Din Tai Fung).

There are, of course, many more that are worthy. Put in your favorites in a comment, will you?


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MAP: The Best Places to Drink in Orange County Right Now

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Photo by Jennifer Fedrizzi

On Wednesday, we posted The Best Places to Drink in Orange County Right Now -- a list of our favorite dives, bars, beer-testing rooms, and cocktail lounges. To help you get drunk at not one place but two (or three or four), we created an interactive map so you can bookmark future barhops and buzzed strolls. You're welcome.

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The Best Places to Drink in Orange County Right Now

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Jennifer Fedrizzi/OC Weekly
Anepalcos Cafe

By Gustavo Arellano, LP Hastings, Charles Lam and Dave Lieberman

With breweries opening up at a rapid rate, distilleries getting ready to debut later this year, bartenders upping their games, and dive bars remaining a place for comfort, we live in a golden age of OC drinking. With that in mind, behold a list of our finest booze barns, from Korean and Mexican bars to cocktail lounges, beer-tasting rooms, Long Beach dives and more. Enjoy, and let the second-guessing come with last call, cabrones!

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Ten Essential Fried Chickens in OC

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Edwin Goei
Roscoe's big plate of finger-lickin'.

In The Matrix, a character tells Keanu Reeves' Neo that he thinks that everything tastes like chicken because the machines couldn't figure out what to make chicken taste like--so they made everything taste like chicken.

But what if the machines made everything taste like fried chicken? Would Neo and the other humans be happier living inside the Matrix?

Our county has so many great fried chicken dishes, you'd never know we're all just batteries inside a vast computer network constructed by robots. Here are ten of what this human writer thinks is the best; but don't let this alphabetically-ordered list keep you from throwing in your vote in. Let's hear what your favorites are.


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Ten Essential OG, Non-Hipster Santa Ana Restaurants

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The Mexican-in-Chief
You really can't miss this truck.

We know. You toast at Little Sparrow, you quaff at Good Beer, you sip at Eqeko, you gorge at the Playground. Downtown SanTana makes for one hell of an upscale pub crawl, but sometimes it feels like the beardos in their selvedge denim and Red Wings that have never seen a construction site from inside the fence are taking over.

Well, here's your guide to the top ten eleven O.G., non-hipster spots, and since we're talking Santa Ana, we're mostly talking Mexican. This is just the tip of the iceberg--we could do a whole month's worth of Best Of Best Of Best Of! on O.G.S.A. alone.


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The Best Things to Drink in Orange County (And Long Beach), 2014

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Photo by Cleo Tobbi
Orange County is where these people live, after all

Alcohol isn't the only thing to drink in Orange County (though it's pretty nice). OC all up in that juice crave and can serve a pretty mean cup of coffee. Then again, booze runs the world, so we have for you now a list of the best things to drink in Orange County, from coffee to more coffee to Vietnamese coffee to beer and cocktails.

'Cause eating is nice, but I've never seen anyone shotgun some brussel sprouts.

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