Little Sparrow On Best New Restaurant Tomorrow!

Categories: Food Media

Photo by Eleonor Segura
One component of a (hopefully) winning team.

It must be one of those weeks, because it isn't often when we can root for a team in a sport we understand. Competitive cooking challenges can be just as nail-biting as the final minute in a football game. Bravo's series Best New Restaurant follows sixteen popular establishments from around the country, putting them head-to-head against each other. Who comes out on top is anybody's guess, but we intend to cheer for Little Sparrow.

A Weekling favorite since they emerged on the scene in May 2013, our team has managed to include the Santa Ana gem in everything from Top 100 lists to chef interviews. Owners, managers and spouses Naseem Aflakian and Bruce Marsh envisioned it to be similar to a neighborhood brasserie, serving New American cuisine. Per Bruce, they present exactly what Best New Restaurant is seeking, "an entire package of service, ambiance and food."

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We Support the Taco Emoji--But a Burrito Emoji Would be Better

Categories: Food Media


I've only just recently gotten up on my emoji game, preferring instead Facebook stickers and nouveau emoticons to the sanctioned icons from the Unicode Consortium, but I can appreciate their importance. I mean, they're pretty cool. How else am I supposed to express my desire for sushi? Or that I feel like :|? Using actually words? Come on now.

But for the past year or so, there's been a core emotion I've been unable to express, and I bet you can guess what it is from the headline. But, as mid-2015 Unicode update gets closer, we have a chance to fix that.

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Afters Ice Cream Is the Sixth Most Yelped Place of 2014

Categories: Food Media

Photo by Charles Lam
They sold hundreds of thousands of these

Time to add another feather to the Yelp cap that is Orange County. First,
Bruxie was the second highest rated restaurant of 2011. Then we placed a bunch on all of the Top 100 Yelpiest lists. And now the latest: Afters Ice Cream, Orange County's darling opening of 2014, is the sixth most Yelped about place of 2014.

Congratulations guys, you deserve it.

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We're all in With Duff Goldman from Duff Till Dawn


Some might call Duff Goldman the "Ace of Cakes" but around these parts when it comes to this baker extraordinaire, we like to think of him more so as the "ace of cool." Throwing his much needed sleep out the window, on January 29th (at 10:30PM ET/7:30PM PT) Goldman will be pulling an all-nighter on his new Food Network show "Duff Till Dawn." Competition shows are all the rage these days and this show is no exception as it pits two teams of cake decorators against each other to create the ultimate one of a kind over-the-top cake in order to win the "golden whisk." Featuring a cast of rotating judges, Duff Till Dawn promises challenges and twists that will keep you enthralled from dusk to...well, you get the idea.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Who came up with all of the challenge themes for Duff Till Dawn?

Duff Goldman: That was me and our supervisor/producer. This is actually the first show I've ever produced so it's a new venture for me. I really wanted to be a producer on it because I've competed in so many competitions from ice carving to chocolate sculptures and cakes and I know what works and what doesn't work for contestants. What I've seen with some of the shows that we see on TV, people who don't really understand how cake decorating works treat it like a baking competition and they're very different. Cake decorating is a whole other party so to use the types of challenges that people use in baking challenges, well, it just doesn't work. We really came up with rules and a format that is as loose and open as possible because we really want people to shine. The whole point of the show is to show off how incredible these people are. These are people who work on texture and flavor in a medium that really doesn't want to do what you tell it to do. In coming up with the challenges, we are really giving people the chance to show off what they are best at.

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Yelp Releases 2014 Top 100 List, Orange County Takes Nine Spots

Categories: Food Media

Photo by Dustin Ames
These guys make some of the best sandwiches in America

I've always thought Orange County food was under-rated. I mean, we know it's good, but the rest of the United States? They need some learnin'. And that truth always comes out when Yelp publishes their yearly Yelpiest lists. First, Bruxie topped the list in 2011. Last year, Orange County took six spots. This year? We're all the way up to nine.

So congratulations to those nine. Who won it for us this year? We'll Mama D's made the list again, and for the rest, you'll just have to check after the jump.

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Taco Trippin' Out With Aarón Sánchez

Cooking Channel

Latin cuisine aficionado and kick ass chef Aarón Sánchez has a new show on Cooking Channel (Tuesday's at 6:30pm PST/9:30 EST) called "Taco Trip" and we are all in. Traveling the country for great grub isn't new but Aarón's take on it certainly is because let's be honest, everyone loves a good taco but not everyone can deliver it. We trust this man's judgment so before he visits Portland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Nashville, and Chicago on a quest to feed his hunger, we talked to him about the new show, his new line of cookware, and his new restaurant. Talk about starting off a new year being brand new. Well done Sánchez.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I'm pretty positive that Santa will be bringing me the double burner griddle from your new cookware line and I'm pretty pumped. Is there something that you think is a "must have" item in your collection?

Aarón Sánchez: Thank you for representing me and supporting! That's awesome! That griddle is great for grilled cheese, searing tomatoes to make salsa, and all sorts of stuff. I really like that piece that you are getting and I really like the bean pot too. It's this really cool kind of rustic looking pot for beans and I absolutely love that.

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Get Your Holiday Baking Done Ahead of Time with Bobby Deen

Food Network

FINALLY "pumpkin spice" season has passed and the local stores aren't the only one thinking of the upcoming holidays. Food Network is rearing up to get us all in the mood with their newest series "Holiday Baking Championship" hosted by Bobby Deen on Sunday, November 9th. Along with judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman, and Lorraine Pascale, Bobby will be on hand to cheer on eight competitors as they flaunt their skills with traditional holiday desserts all in the hopes to win a $50,000 prize. While we might not personally be in the mood for putting up a tree or lighting the candles just yet, we are in the mood for learning a few new recipes and kitchen tricks so we chatted it up with Bobby to see what the show has in store for us.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): The last time we talked you were not married so I wanted to say congrats although I feel like a lot of gals (me) might be sad....

Bobby Deen: Well thank you! I waited a long time and I've been married a little over a year but here's what I know. If your spouse makes you a better person, you've done well.

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Richard Blais: If You Love to Eat, You'll Love Hungry Games

Food Network
I would probably spend way too much for a pizza.

In his new Food Network show "Hungry Games," Chef Richard Blais teaches, learns, and trivializes the way the food we chose is essentially chosen. On Monday October 20th, you can get in on the fun challenging your foodie awareness by tuning in but of course, we wanted you to get the details on what Hungry Games really entails. And because we love you sweet readers so much, we reached out to Blais for some answers just for you. The passion and knowledge he transmitted blew our minds just as much as his new show promises to. No worries, you can save the "thank you's" for later.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): So you've done Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Chopped All-Stars...which was the most challenging for you?

Richard Blais: Well we're talking competition with all of those and I'm a big runner so I like to think of them all as running different kinds of races. For example with the three you mentioned, Top Chef is a marathon, Iron Chef is a relay, and Chopped is a sprint. It depends on where your style fits but they all have their things that make them interesting. I enjoyed running all of them but I'm just glad that Hungry Games is not a race so to speak.

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You Can Now Watch Alton Brown's Good Eats (and No Reservations and Other Food Shows) on Netflix

Categories: Food Media


Hey guys! Some quick good news: Starting from late last week, you can now watch Good Eats on Netflix! Alton Brown published some new, short videos on his YouTube channel a few months ago, but now you can watch full 21-minute episodes from the comfort of your underwear.

Now for the bad news..

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Charles on The Fork Report THIS SATURDAY to Talk Decadence and OC Food

Categories: Food Media


Hey everyone, just a heads up: OC Weekly Junior Asian Corespondent Charles "Clam" Lam (me) will be headed up to Burbank this Saturday to appear on KFI-AM 640's The Fork Report with Weekly pal Neil Saavedra to talk about our upcoming Decadence tasting event as well as Orange County food.

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