Eat This Now: The Benedict Omelette From Egg Cracker

Categories: Eat This Now

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Anne Marie Panoringan
Hangover cure?

The folks over at Fullerton's Egg Cracker serve with a simple message: "Good friends just trying to make good food." Above greasy spoon status, their clean, well-lit space works for group outings seeking not quite standard grub. And by not quite, we mean wild boar meatloaf, hot browns and campfire pancakes.

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Eat This Now: Filipino Egg at EATS Kitchen & Bar

Categories: Eat This Now

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Edwin Goei
Flip that egg!

EATS Kitchen & Bar--the revamped restaurant at the Hotel Irvine that recently hired Jason Montelibano from Chapter One: the modern local--is participating in Irvine Restaurant Week. It's offering a 3-course prix fixe dinner from a selected subset of their regular menu for $25 per person. Sounds like an excellent deal, right? Well, not exactly.

If you went there, like I did, then asked for the restaurant week deal, then afterward proceeded to look at the prices you would've paid had you ordered each course a la carte, you'd realize that the person who set up the prix fixe was bad at math or hoping you were. It turns out that even if I'd chosen the most expensive options, the restaurant week deal was still a dollar more expensive than ordering the same meal from the regular menu. It would've been worse if I'd taken the burger as the main course: I would've paid an extra $4.50.


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Eat This Now: Salmon Skin Hand Roll at Gatten Sushi

Categories: Eat This Now

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Edwin Goei
Crunchtastic!
Since Gatten is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant--arguably one of the most successful kaiten sushi chains in Southern California--Travel Host Andrew Zimmern's credo of "if it looks good, eat it" can be applied. There are the rainbow-tempura-crunch roll usuals, yet also other, more advanced sushi morsels such as sea urchin roe gunkan maki and natto. But the best thing to eat--the salmon skin roll--you have to order off the menu.

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Eat This Now: Chicken & Waffles at Mrs. Bea's

Categories: Eat This Now

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Edwin Goei
Fingers, prepare to be licked.
There are probably a number of reasons why Mrs. Bea's Louisiana Chicken and Waffles isn't as well-known as Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in Anaheim. Yes, there's the fact that even before the Roscoe's in Anaheim opened, the brand was already an L.A. cultural icon.

Mrs. Bea's, on the other hand, has only been open less than two years. But another reason is the location. It's in La Habra, my hometown, a city often forgotten by the rest of OC because it's traversed by no freeways and really, no reason to visit unless you have a term paper to write about Richard Nixon.

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Eat This Now: Hummus at Gogo's Pizza and Kabab

Categories: Eat This Now

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Photo by Charles Lam
Hummus in its natural habitat

Pizza gets top billing at Gogo's Pizza and Kabab, which is a little weird to me because their pizza is just so-so. No, if you ever find yourself at that weird little take-out counter in Costa Mesa, you want to be ordering from the "kabob" [Gogo can't decide on their preferred spelling] half of the menu.

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Eat This Now: Octopus a la Plancha at Broadway By Amar Santana

Categories: Eat This Now

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Dave Lieberman
Those curls on top are impossibly crispy potatoes.
Most octopus served in Orange County is so rubbery you could use it for dodgeball. It's like the chefs of OC fell asleep the day their mentors talking about the 3-30 rule (you either have to cook octopus for three minutes or at least thirty, otherwise it's rubbery).

Broadway by Amar Santana, however, is the home of the best octopus in Orange County, and we've said so many times before. There was never, however, photographic proof until now.

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Eat This Now: Confit & Carmelized Pork Belly at Marché Moderne

Categories: Eat This Now
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No doubt, pork belly and Brussels sprouts will be on many critic's lists of "Tired Old Restaurant Trends 2014." It's understandable. Little did we know during the bacon craze of 2011 that we'd need bigger, thicker pieces of pork to satisfy our cravings. Nor did we realize when we discovered our love for sprouts that we'd eventually move on to shishito peppers out of sheer Brussels boredom.

Sometimes it takes seemingly passé flavors to remind us that "classic" combinations are classic for a reason--like with the simple, albeit perfectly executed Confit & Carmelized Pork Belly at Marché Moderne in South Coast Plaza, which comes off like the fanciest ham dinner this side of a Newport country club.


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Eat This Now: Soft Tofu Soup & Bulgogi Combo at Dae Myoung Ok

Categories: Eat This Now

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Edwin Goei
It's tofu time!
In one sprawling Irvine shopping center, there are three Korean restaurants that serve soondubu jjigae, the Korean soft tofu soup that comes out in a boiling cauldron. All of them are worthy. All of them are good. But Dae Myoung Ok Korean Restaurant might just be its Methuselah. The walls are plain save for a few scuff marks. The servers are getting towards retirement age. But the customers are loyal. And when you go, you get a hot, tall glass of barley tea for free.

It's been here for as long as I can remember. Before the recent remodel of the center, its marquee simply said "Korean Restaurant", which should tell you it came from a time when there weren't as many Koreans in Irvine as there are now.


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Eat This Now: Monkey Balls at Chapter One: The Modern Local

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Photo by Gabacho Jeff
Insert teabag joke here...

I spend so much time at C4 Deli in downtown SanTana that I've neglected its big sister, Chapter One: The Modern Local. So I swung by the other week to have myself a full meal: crunchy jalapeño poppers, a gigantic hamburger (make non-Sriracha hot sauce available, Argie Jeff and Gabacho Jeff!) and more Friscos that a healthy liver should be able to support.

Dessert seemed impossible, but then I noticed a new item: Monkey Balls.

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Eat This Now: Tuna Musubi at Cream Pan

Categories: Eat This Now

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Edwin Goei
Tuna in; Spam-a-lot

Cream Pan has been and always will be known for its strawberry croissants. Many have pondered how three simple ingredients--custard, croissant, and strawberry--can come together and become the stuff of legend. If you've not tried it, you should go now and wait in line. It's the reason people go there in droves, and it always will be.

While you're there, you should know they do other things well, and not all of them sweet. Some items are savory, such as the onigiri we wrote about a few years ago. Also great: the crustless finger sandwiches stuffed with cucumber, tuna, and egg salad that are begging to be served at a tea party.

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