Asian-American Foodies Are Changing the Way Orange County--and the Nation--Eats

Portraits by Danny Liao and Dustin Ames
The 405 is slammed from the 55 to Long Beach. Harbor Boulevard is a parking lot. The industrial and office parks surrounding the South Coast Collection (SOCO) shopping center in Costa Mesa are emptying out, with thousands of employees resigned to spending the next hour or so in traffic hell.

Refuge is needed. At the Iron Press, on the northeastern edge of SOCO, the bar is already filled with people getting at the restaurant's waffle sandwiches and craft beers. Diners wear suits, pricy kicks, flip-flops and almost all the other fashions en vogue in Southern California. Three doctors, still wearing their scrubs after a day at work, relax with brews. At a side table, young friends look at their phones, framing the perfect photo of their food for Instagram or Snapchat.

Running around to make sure everyone's having a great time is Iron Press owner Leonard Chan. "What'll you have now?" he asks two patrons at the bar who had just finished their drinks. "I see two people and no beers."

One group obviously dominates the customer base: Asian-Americans.

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An Exploration of Steamers Jazz Club: The Good, The Bad, and The Magnificent Cocktails

LP Hastings
The Red Wedding; The King of the North is no longer available...

Steamers has been in Fullerton a long damn time. Like before obnoxiously drunk college kids realized there was no better place to get in fights, pee on walls, and just generally go buck wild-long time. But its seniority and location a ways down from the hobbling girls trying to cross the street has made it one of the few good places to hang out on the weekends in Downtown Fullerton.

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Food Profiling: Three Hearts Bake Shop

Categories: Food Profiling
Albert Evangelista
Mel shares her wares

When former On the Line subject Kevin Nagano of Sage Cafe sings the praises of another cuisiner, there's a great deal of respect. He started carrying the soft-baked confections of Three Hearts Bake Shop, a Huntington Beach-based labor of love for sassy Mel Myers. After tasting his custom variation of lemon poppy seed cookies sandwiched around green tea filling, we were sold.
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Food Profiling: Love Snax


We take chocolate for granted. Kisses, bars, truffles, and so forth; piles of the sweetest variety emerge in October, and taper off some time mid-February. After a while, it all tastes the same and has the same effect on us. Yet does anyone ever think beyond engaging in the gluttony? Eddie Perrin did. Actually, he had to for a client. This is where our story begins.

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Verdun in Laguna Beach: A Jewelry Box Filled With Chocolates

Verdun Chocolates Poster


A jewelry box filled with chocolates arrived in Laguna Beach directly from Portland when Verdun Fine Chocolates & Gifts owner Hamoody Houdroge opened the second location for the elegant Lebanon-based dessert shop last spring. He drove along Pacific Coast Highway looking for a new location to sell his product, and when he arrived in Laguna, he immediately felt confident that the store would be a great fit for the community.

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A Journey to Success With XS: David Vanderveen And A Healthier Approach To Energy Drinks

Categories: Food Profiling
XS Energ Drink.jpg

An energy drink without sugar, calories, or even caffeine? Unheard of! Yet XS Energy Drink co-owner and Laguna Beach resident David Vanderveen says he does it, in 13 flavors with a healthier approach than the Monsters and Red Bulls of the world.

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Johnny Kresimir, Hootenany Promoter Extraordinaire...and Restaurateur?!

Johnny Kresimir.jpg
Johnny's Saloon's words to live by.
Johnny Kresimir has one of the most important jobs in Orange County: he's the promoter for Hootenany, the annual rockabilly-punk soiree that's a rite of passage for North and Central OC kids (with a couple of South County and coastal wimps thrown in). But what most of those 'billies probably don't know is that Kresimir is also a restaurateur. Can a punk cook a mean steak? This one can.

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The Sticky Pig Featured On Food Network This Friday!

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When we featured Tara Simon's business, The Sticky Pig, on Food Profiling last month, she was dying to squeal an announcement.

"I'm working on something BIG, but I can't tell you just yet," she told us, graciously waving off our pleas for more deets--something to do with disclaimers and liability, or whatnot. Jump to last night, where her V.I.P.s (Very Important Pigs, naturally) received a special email exclaiming the champagne-worthy news.

"I'm excited to announce the television debut of The Sticky Pig, this Friday, May 13th, at 10 p.m., on Food Network's Outrageous Food with host Tom Pizzica."

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Protesters Say F-U to Foie Gras at Marche Moderne

Foie Gras Meatball
Javier Cabral
A Tasty Foie Gras Meatball I Ate Once From Chef Gary Robins
This just in: The coalition will protest directly in front of Marche Moderne at the third floor of the South Coast Plaza tomorrow, Friday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. The protesters want to make people aware of the cruel practice that involves force feeding ducks to make the buttery French appetizer known as foie gras.

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TASTEbud: Serious Cannabis Pastries For Orange County (An Early 4/20 Special)

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Javier Cabral
Tastebud uses 1/2 Canna-Butter and half regular butter for their fudge-y brownies
April 20th is a national holiday to many. Hell, to some of my homies, it's bigger than Christmas! On this day, the world's counterculture gather and pay a hazy homage to cannabis, yesca, herb, pot, bud, ganja or whatever the latest slang name might be. It's celebrated by smoking it, vaporizing it, drinking it and... eating it. For this year's 4/20, your trusty, hard-working OC Weekly intern went out on the field and participated in some intense immersion reporting.

I met up with some chef friends of mine who happened to be one of the leading suppliers of medicated edibles in Los Angeles. They actually just rented out an industrial kitchen out in Anaheim; thus, my obligatory duty to report on this!

Naranjeros: welcome to TASTEbud.

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