BurntZilla Represents the Union of Two Great Food Trucks, Burnt Truck and Dogzilla

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Small bite, big flavor

The life cycle of luxe loncheras is the opposite of butterflies'. They spend their adolescent years flitting about from place to place, and if they're lucky and survive, they settle into the cocoon of a permanent home. The Lime Truck, Dos Chinos, Kogi: all have matured to be brick-and-mortars. The same has now happened with two of OC's homegrown New Age food trucks: the Burnt Truck and Dogzilla. But theirs is actually a merger of sorts, built on a solid friendship forged on the road and the fact they both serve products on King's Hawaiian rolls.

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Grinderz Rolls Out Quality Burgers in Costa Mesa

Josh Chesler
Grinderz skates past a lot of its burger competition.

Opening a restaurant (or a second location of your restaurant) can bring logistical challenges, like not knowing exactly when you should turn off the grill and close your doors on a quiet night.

Grinderz, which expanded from its Huntington Beach location to a new spot in Costa Mesa, is going through those challenges at their new spot (they close "around 9:00-ish"), but they're still putting out enjoyable burgers and fries while they're at it.

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Dough Exchange's Research and Development Free Bread Ends TOMORROW

Categories: Buns In the Sun

Photo by Charles Lam

Despite what you may have seen in some video earlier this week, Dough Exchange's research and development period will end THIS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14. That means no more free pastries, so if you're a horribly cheap date, you know what to do. The bakery will be closed February 15 as it's moved across the street into the Fourth Street Market. Starting the 16th, you'll be able to buy their breads and pastries (and some other goodies, I'm sure), over there.

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Rockfire Grill Has Created OC's Next Great Burger

OC Weekly
Least soggy bun ever!

At first, Rockfire Grill is discombobulating. The music is reggae; the food is American; and the owner is originally from Mumbai and also owns the Tangy Tomato, a Chinese Indian restaurant in Artesia's Little India. That Raj Syal now makes burgers tucked into flatbreads he bakes to order in a leafy Mission Viejo strip mall frequented by suburban soccer moms can be explained in one word: "freshness."

It seems to be his axiom, his mission statement, the one idea that drives him and his business forward, as well as why he left the day-to-day operations of Tangy Tomato to a partner and is refocusing his efforts on this concept he built from scratch. It's simple, he says to me: Bake the bread to order and serve everything fresh, and they will come.

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Jason Quinn's Dough Exchange Sucked at First. Now? Much Better

Dave Lieberman
Dough Exchange, or D'oh! Exchange?

The first time I went to Dough Exchange, the Playground-affiliated bakery in Santa Ana's East End Marketplace, was a week or so after it opened, and it was absolutely execrable. Jason Quinn had contacted me asking me to let him know when I came in, and being the contrary bastard I am, I snuck in without telling him. I went with a friend who is extremely knowledgeable about food, and we sat down with the four items we purchased.

It was as though the basic concept of gluten formation had escaped the bakers. The cinnamon roll was bread; the empanada was bread; the doughnut was bread; the croissant was bread. All four were tough and chewy, obviously overworked.

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Starting Today, You Can Get Free Dough Exchange aka Bread from Jason Quinn's Bakery

Dough Exchange Instagram
Bread is the best food.

Still haven't tried Dough Exchange, the Playground's bakery next door? Well, Jason Quinn's removed another one of your excuses. Starting today, you can get as many free pastries as you want from the bakery, given that you eat them on premises.

Why the lack of charge? According to Quinn, the bakery's business has been inconsistent, and he wants people to at least try the bread and give him feedback leading up to the opening of the 4th Street Market later this year (the market will sell Dough Exchange bread and pastries, as well as other take-home friendly Playground foods). For more details about Dough Exchange, check after the jump.

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77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach

Photo by Moss Perricone
Crab it up!

Behold the beginning of 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!

Umami Burger has quickly become the Arcade Fire of OC burger joints. Several years ago, a passing reference to the depth of the fifth flavor (or Funeral) made you sound like someone who knew something; now, you sound like someone who knows how much records cost at Urban Outfitters. But there's something we forgot in the fog of pretension and subsequent backlash--namely, that The Suburbs is a great album. And Umami makes a damn good burger.

Burgers rarely get better than the lemon miso crab melt.

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79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger

Photo by Moss Perricone
Pocket, pocket, pocket!

Behold the beginning of 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!

Story by Moss Perricone

It's a burger's responsibility to hold itself together, not mine. That being said, an important exception for the Pocket at the Pocket Burger Shack in Sunset Beach, because any joint that sticks a fried egg in their namesake burger deserves our respect. It's as if they're saying, "A burger is incomplete without an egg," and I commend them on such a bold, delicious statement. You will too when you hit that firm, yellow center.

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Here are Orange County's 10 Busiest In-n-Out Drive-Thrus, According to Google Earth

Categories: Buns In the Sun

Thumbnail image for in-n-out_huntington_beach_beach_blvd.jpg
Apocalypse double-double...
Let's start this article by fully acknowledging we're lovingly ripping off this concept from our pals at Foodbeast, who remain the country's best national food blog, all from their little SanTana storefront. Then let's admit that the methodology is flawed from the start: Google Earth's satellite images seemingly takes photos at random, so In-n-Outs that we know are always slammed didn't make this list: for instance, the SanTana location off Bristol Street, for instance just north of Civic Center Drive is perpetually slammed, so much so that In-n-Out instituted barricades a couple of years back--yet Google Earth shows no cars at all in either of their two drive-thru.

All this said, the list pretty much fell according to my OC In-n-Out experiences. Of course the Irvine branch across the street from UCI made the cut, along with the Fullerton location off Harbor Boulevard and Orangethorpe. But...Laguna Niguel?! Read on...

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New Burger At Mick's Karma Bar: The El Gringo

Categories: Buns In the Sun

Photo courtesy Mick's Karma Bar

Weeklings (and a few Forkers) will tell you that Mick's is one of the better burgers you're going to find in Orange County. And the "Mick" in Mick's is one of the more outspoken individuals you're ever going to meet. Always tinkering with new concepts, Michael Schepers will simultaneously take orders, greet regulars and show you what he's formulating on his laptop like it's no big deal.

His trademarked Karma Burger is mandatory for first-timers, but there's always room to experiment with one of his other options. I have a thing for the Swiss onion version. And their non-burger items are pretty good, too. But I'm here to discuss the newest member to his family-- El Gringo.

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