Valentine's Dinner Suggestion: Xa Sweet & Savory Cafe

Categories: Holidays

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Anne Marie Panoringan

Have you made reservations yet? If you're dreading the research and phone calls, I'm here to help. It's too boring to compile a lengthy list of properties. I'd rather share an edited few for your reference. So let's begin with my number one pick for 2013.

Get past the unassuming strip mall exterior, and you'll find one of the better dining spots in the vicinity of the Orange Crush. Shawn Xa is known for both his extensive cookie collection and his healthy meals that manage to be darn tasty.

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Celebrate Australia Day At Pie-Not This Weekend!

Categories: Holidays


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Anne Marie Panoringan
Hel-LO brekkie pie!

If you aren't busy Sunday afternoon, you are now.

See how Aussies celebrate their holidays over at Pie-Not as Ryan and Jai supersize festivities in their modest space. I don't really know HOW they plan to fit all that fun around the pie line, but it'll certainly be worth the stopover (if nothing else, to at least pick up some tasty grub). They've even planned for overflow parking, but more on that after you click it.


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Celebrating Elvis' Birthday? Bruxie and the Melting Pot Have Options for You!

Categories: Holidays

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Photo courtesy of Bruxie
A hunk of burning (waffle) love

January 8 is a significant day if you are loyal to The King. Presley may not be around, but his memory lives on in the form of remembrance here, there and everywhere. Don't believe us? We found two restaurant mini-chains celebrating in similar ways.

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Bradley Ogden Meet and Greet at Lark Creek Next Week

Categories: Holidays

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Every year, it gets tougher to find just the right present. I think the best gift you can give someone is time. And no, not the metallic kind that goes on your wrist (doesn't everyone use their phone for that?). I mean sharing a memory, and usually one that includes eating. For Forkers who know chefs like my guy knows quarterbacks, this one will do.

Next Monday and Tuesday evening, Chef Bradley Ogden will be in town celebrating his cookbook, Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden. Best known for New American cuisine, his Lark Creek Restaurant Group opened its newest location at Fashion Island earlier this year. You can check out Edwin's review here. If you're the kind of shopper who prefers to "sample the goods", you're in luck. A la carte dishes (inspired by the cookbook) from Lark Creek's local chef, John Ledbetter, will be available for consumption.

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Smoqued Santa Sunday Brunch Coming To Old Towne Orange

Categories: Holidays

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Photo by Amanda DeFrancis

They had us at brunch, but the team at Smoqued wants to show their softer side in this season of giving. By holding two very special meals this month, diners will not only fill their bellies, but pass along some good fortune to others in need. You're wondering how? We're glad you asked.

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Five Great (Non-Traditional) Thanksgiving Courses

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Anne Marie Panoringan
The makings of a great first course

We crave turkey this time of year like our friends tweet Pumpkin Spice Latte updates. But our holiday fix shouldn't be confined to a couple of major holidays. Instead, we look for signs of merriment in alternative forms. Here are five of our favorite tastes.

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Halloween Specials At Confetti's & Sidecar Doughnuts--of the FREE Kind!

Categories: Bargains, Holidays

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Anne Marie Panoringan

Who doesn't like free? You can get out of line, because two of the sweetest purveyors of tasty delights are giving away scream-worthy bites this Thursday to those with patience. And believe us, there will be waits in Costa Mesa.

Let's start with the limited time offer. Our friends at Confetti Italian Ice and Custard already know how to offer incentive via social media check-ins. This time, they require an extra step: a flyer.

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Harry & David Now Open In Costa Mesa

Categories: Holidays

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After they shuttered the last Harry & David shop in the Market Place, we were kind of bummed. It was one of those places we'd wander into just to see what seasonal confections and coordinating decor was on sale-- like a Hallmark store for food.

We came across their new, albeit temporary spot on the first floor of South Coast Plaza, next door to Henri Bendel (For those who don't speak "Mall", that's next to the escalators). The first sign of Christmas was grandiose, with colorful gift displays mounted everywhere. Hickory Farms who?


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IKEA Swedish Christmas Julbord Tickets On Sale!

Categories: Holidays

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We are not Swedish, but there's something about Ikea's annual holiday feast which makes us obsessed. It may be because the last two times we tried getting tickets, they were sold out. Yeah, that's probably it. Although an affordable diner housed within a college graduate's shopping labyrinth is reason enough to go in the first place.

After two strikes, a friend who works at another location tipped us off about the dinner date. The only way we could confirm it was by going to the source. That cafe manager was cool enough to ring up our ticket purchase, even after they were closed for the night. That's the key-- the food service people know what's up. If you don't think $12.99 ($9.99 if you sign up for a Family account) is much of a deal, then take a gander at the AYCE menu.


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Father's Day Dining in OC: Something Besides Golf and Ties

Categories: Holidays

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Chef Yvon Goetz of The Winery

Mothers may carry us for nine months, but Fathers are parents, too. So we're taking a moment to check in on a few dining options this weekend. Let's pretend dad doesn't want to grill for once, but have someone cook for him. It's also less clean up in the kitchen. Reservations are always recommended.

  • Pizzeria Ortica (Costa Mesa) - Chef Justin Miller is picking up an American Kunekune pig from Old Reminisce Farms in Mira Loma for hungry dads, and will create nine dishes from this little piggy. Noteworthy options include fennel sausage stuffed trotters and local cherries, white ragu pappardelle with fennel pollen and a sliced whole roasted ham with braised cabbage and grilled nectarines.

  • The Winery (Tustin) - Dinner service begins at 4 p.m., with live jazz starting at 6:30 p.m. For those hungry dads, expect to see prime rib, venison, lobster and kangaroo emerging from the Goetz kitchen. While you're there, remember to check out their wine list.

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