Our Five Favorite Bites From OC Weekly Decadence!

Anne Marie Panoringan
All fired up at Urban Plates

It was a sold out party at OC Weekly's Decadence over the weekend. We braved the crowds to taste those featured in this year's Eat + Drink Guide. There was also all sorts of gossip news to be shared, as we quickly learned.

For instance, the team over at Urban Plates gave us a heads up that another location (in addition to the upcoming Irvine Market Place spot) in Brea is in the works for Spring. While having an icy blood orange dessert from Rita's Italian Ice, their rep mentioned an addition of acai bowls and smoothies to the menu. The table from Cubed, while serving up poke tasters (where's the musubi, guys?!) even hinted at an October opening inside Union Market. However, our favorite nibbles knew to bring their A-game.

5. OPM

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Five Things You Should Know About the Recently Reopened Naugles

Categories: Five Great...

Anne Marie Panoringan
The calm before the stampede

"There were a couple of instances where orders were just not right, and we will try to get those fixed. For a first day in business, things overall went quite well." - Christian Ziebarth

As a follow up to our news of the Naugles relaunch, we joined a select group of fans for a private Naugles opening over the weekend. Christian Ziebarth knew not to inform the free world of this, using the opportunity to work out any kinks with an understanding audience. Here is what we learned.

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5 Things Chefs Don't Always Get About Cooking at Home

Photo by Wonderlane
You kitchen, this ain't

I am frequently asked -- no told -- that I must enjoy amazing home-cooked meals all the time first as a former full-time food journalist with industry friends and now living with a chef. But while I have been treated to some off-menu items on occasion in restaurants, home cooking isn't always a chef's thing.

There is and will always be a difference between home cooking and slinging food behind a professional pass. And while there are some tips to be learned from chefs in restaurant kitchens (wear gloves, unsalted butter, don't waste anything, etc.), there are also certain nuances to cooking at home that some chefs just don't understand.

Don't get me wrong, there are chefs with 20-plus years in the industry and even cooks who are just starting out that do enjoy and have perfected the transition from the line to the apartment four-burner. And there are chefs who still set off the fire alarm -- this is for the latter.

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5 Great Sodas You've Probably Never Had Before

Categories: Five Great...

Photo by Antonio Oliveira
Surprise! None of these made it

Since my OC Weekly archive has pretty well established what a friggin' manchild I am, I really don't feel any shame admitting that, about once a month, I take a trip down to the Block at Irvine or up to Westwood -- not to navigate the bar or club scene, but instead to hit up the a candy store.

Granted, RocketFizz is no ordinary candy store. RocketFizz is essentially the most awesome candy store that has ever existed (outside of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, of course). It offers the widest array of novelty, hard-to-find, and just plain delicious sugary treats this side of Oompa Loompaland.

However, my favorite thing at Rocketfizz is the sodas. (I know, I know - look, I don't drink alcohol, okay? This is about the closest I get to beer tasting, and it's fun as heck.) This isn't the kind of crap your mom will find on the shelves of Cost Plus, people - the soft drink selection at any Rocketfizz location is downright INSANE, so I figured I'd share some of my favorites with you, dear reader, fine flavored beverages that you won't be able to find at your local 7-Eleven.

These are my top-five favorite alcohol-free beverages, worth the trek down the 405 or 57.

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Four Great Springtime Cocktails in Orange County

Categories: Five Great...

Photo by Brian Roberts
What booze do you pair with this?

Spring in Orange County: hot, sunny days (mercifully, not yet the very-fucking-hot, sunny days of summer) abound and our lush flora comes back to life (if you're water guzzlers like Villa Park, it never died). The only booze that sounds good comes brightly-flavored and chilled. Whether it's cocktails that sparkle with bubbly wine or play with herb and spirit medleys, the county's bars and restaurants have plenty of refreshing options to sip before they're rushed by summer crowds. Here are four cocktail suggestions, bright like white girls in shorts for the first time in months.

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Five Restaurant Picks For Mother's Day Orange County 2015

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The Golden Truffle FB page
Yes, please! May we have another?

We doubt you're one to delay planning your mom's (or mother-in-law's, for some of us) special day. So if you know somebody who hasn't, this is for them. And since ladies deserve only the best, we went the fancy schmancy route. Now go make that call; we can't do all the work. Well, maybe for a fee . . .

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5 Great Places to Eat at Coachella

Categories: Five Great...

Photo by T.Tseng

Coachella is different things to different people. For Drake fans, it's about belting to "Hold On, We're Going Home," even if it's super down-tempo. For douches, it's about taking their favorite tribal headpiece out for a spin (eeek...) For potheads, it's about three days of, well, pot. And for foodies, it can also be about pot -- but the Roy Choi kind (no, the other kind).

If you're the latter type, here's a rundown of the festival's food landscape: the beer garden, located at The Terrace, is the main festival food hub, and you can also eat at the craft beer barn. For those willing to put down $225, the Outstanding in the Field dinner series is a four-course pop-up you can try (no VIP wristband needed!) For $50, you can eat a prix-fixe dinner with a fancy chef. If you want to reserve a seat, do it with Reserve app.

Now that you know what to expect, here are five great places to eat at this crazy festival...

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5 Things You Learn by Shopping at a Mexican Market

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Dave Lieberman
Northgate Market #3 on East St. in Anaheim

I grew up shopping in regular American supermarkets, like Shop-Rite and the A&P. Ethnic markets were treated as oddities by outsiders, where you went for strange meat innards and bizarre canned foods.

Then I moved to a ZIP code that's nearly 80 percent Latino, and while there is an Albertsons, a Ralphs and a Vons within reasonable distance, my closest stores all have Spanish signage in the window. I couldn't be happier, frankly, because while I do still need to go to gabacho grocery stores for some things (ahem, buttermilk), the bulk of my weekly grocery shopping happens in the Mexican market.

My local Mexican market is Northgate, which I love for its outstanding "Rancho González" produce section and its meat counter, but these tips go for almost any Mexican market: Vallarta, El Super, Superior, or just the local mom-and-pop shop.

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Five Reasons to Make the Drive to Long Beach (Even Though It Ain't OC)

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Photo by Dustin Ames
And this is just the start

I know you guys get a little riled up when we spend too much time talking about Long Beach, but come on, it's closer to most of Orange County than most of Orange County is. And really, it's a very nice city with a lot of great food (as now LA Weekly Food Editor Sarah Bennett reviewed in her wonderful column of old, Long Beach Lunch).

So, to make it easier on all of you, I've shoved five of the best things about LBC consumables into one little list. Hopefully, you'll see it's worth making the drive.

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5 OC Food Places to Take Non-Californians

Categories: Five Great...

Photo by Michelle Woo
Omf homf

You're waiting for your out-of-towner relatives at John Wayne. It's the first time they're visiting Orange County, and, in the midst of looking for familiar faces, you realize, "Oh shoot. Where do I take them to eat?" Because if one thing's certain it's that they will be hungry.

Figuring out where to eat is a daunting task -- it forces you think deep and hard about Orange County's food culture. What's so special about it? What would entertain guests?

But save the stress. Here's a starter list to ease your planning so that you focus on what's important: catching up and eating.

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