Cody Storts Discusses Hopscotch Departure, Walkout of His Culinary Militia

Categories: Food Politics

Nieuport 17 FB
Short rib stroganoff at Nieuport 17. Doesn't suck.

Rumors. Really awesome rumors have been circulating as of late regarding a group known as the Culinary Militia and one chef associated with Hopscotch in Fullerton. Like a game of Telephone, the facts have been stretched enough to where I asked the one person who could set the record straight. Was there a falling out? Stealing? Blackmail? Walkout? Cody Storts and I met over fish tacos to discuss what was going on.

Cody trusted me enough to want to share what's been happening for the last month or so. And that's what this is about. If you'd like to know how Tustin's Nieuport 17 factors into all of this, keep going. Otherwise, there's always my chef interview.

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On the Line: Justin Lopez of Stonefire Grill, Part One

Photo by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Change is good

Stonefire Grill didn't use to be synonymous with vegan or vegetarian diets. Back in the day, it was definitely more of a meat-and-potatoes destination. Justin Lopez knew that expanding the menu to include these options would help the already successful brand continue to grow. I admit to being skeptic, but open-minded to learning more.

Updating the Stonefire menu to include healthy vegetarian options was risky. How did you convince your mother and aunt that it would pay off?
While I think industry observers would think it risky, I really didn't believe our guests would have a problem with it. more than anything, we saw it as another great opportunity to bring a sense of our kitchens to the public. It's how we all cook at home, but they (my mom and aunt) eat healthier than I do. There were lots of fun nights testing our ideas on one another and also seeing how our guests reacted to them. We recognize the need to be as inclusive as possible, and two of their sons (my brother and cousin) have gluten allergies, so these new recipes worked well on that front, too. As a company, we're committed to keeping things exciting and constantly evolving.

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61. Consommé from Tacos y Birria El Güero

Photo by The Mexican
Drink up, Part Two!

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

Let's go to the review I wrote of this place earlier this year, shall we? Let's shall!

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Sangrita at Lola Gaspar, Our Drink of the Week!

Photo by The Mexican
Drink up!

It's been awesome to see lovers of Mexican spirits not only embrace craft beers, mezcal, and more, but to even ape Mexican borracho traditions. Consider sangrita, a Mexican digestif of sorts. For decades, classy drunks would use a shot of sangrita as a chaser for a shot of tequila, just to show how chingón they were. The custom never made it into the United States, unfortunately, where gabachos are fully content to suck on limes and lick their palmful of salt as their tequila sunrise--¡que pendejos!

But sangrita is making a huge move in OC's better bars, and not via the processed punch that is Viuda de Sanchez, the Cuervo of sangrita brands. Places like Anepalco's and Lola Gaspar are making in-house versions, stunning beverages that nearly serve as proper meals. Consider Lola's take.

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VIDEO: Middle Eastern Restaurant Owner Bans Loretta Sanchez, Rips Up Her Award to Him, Over Gaza Comments

Categories: Arabic Aliments

Anaheim's Little Arabia is heating up! As the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza continues, Olive Tree restaurant co-owner Alan Abdo is upset with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. The lawmaker sat down with KNBC-TV Channel Four's Conan Nolan for an interview that touched on the issue. "If what it takes is boots on the ground, that might be the last recourse that the Israelis have," Sanchez said.

Abdo--who runs perhaps the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Southern California--didn't take kindly to those remarks calling them "disgusting" in a YouTube video.

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This Week In Food: Michelada VW Bus, Hangover Omelette, and Queen Mary Food Fests

Categories: Dining Digest

William Vo
I'll take a holiday in Cambodia if this is what we eat!
Hi guys, hope everything's going swell with ya'll. Let's take a look at what happened this week in food...

Edwin went to Little La Lune, a Cambodian Restaurant in Long Beach, for his print review. He announced the resurrection of Pita Grill in Orange and also the opening of La Vida in Costa Mesa.

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Free Pizza at Blaze Pizza in Mission Viejo TODAY

Categories: Bargains, Now Open

Thumbnail image for blazepizza.jpg
Blaze logo.
Blaze Pizza, which you probably already know from its outlet in Irvine across from UCI, is expanding fast. There are more planned outlets of this build-your-own-pizza chain in OC than you thought were necessary to fight off the Pieologies and other like-minded pizza concepts of the world, including Orange, Santa Ana at Mainplace, Fashion Island, Laguna Niguel, Brea Mall and Brea Gateway.

If you're thinking "Wow, that's a lot of malls", it's probably because Blaze is founded by Rick and Elise Wetzel, the same people who brought you Wetzel's Pretzels.

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62. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Little Sparrow

Photo by The Mexican
Sweet, too!

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

Little Sparrow has made its reputation with fancy cocktails, sumptuous meals, and exquisite desserts. But Chef Eric Samaniego's talents are such that he can down-home it with the best of them, as seen in his stunning take on this Southern-fried classic.

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Montreal Poutine Opens In Costa Mesa

Categories: Now Open

Montreal Poutine logo

Local restaurants have been teasing us with versions of poutine for years. While most are delicious, they're usually fancied-up fries, usually topped in whatever braised meat the restaurant happens to have cooked and doused with gravy from the pot. As an upgrade to cheese curds, I've seen cheese sauce, grated Swiss, even queso fresco as topping. I've rarely witnessed any restaurants around these parts actually using plain cheese curds, its customary topping.

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Sushi Wasabi in Tustin Sold to New Owner As Sushi Master Retires

Edwin Goei
Katsu Aoyagi in 2008.
There are so many sushi masters in Orange County these days. But for a while, there were really just two venerable artisans whose names were on a short list of the best: Shibutani-san of Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa and Katsu-san of Sushi Wasabi in Tustin.

They were part of the old guard, known as much for their sublime omakase as the fact that they refused to make California rolls. On the latter, Katsu-san even put it in writing. On a framed sign above his sushi bar were these words.

We follow the art of traditional sushi practice. Sushi bar is limited to the fresh catch of the day - continually served. No need to place an order. We offer sushi and hand rolls of Japanese tradition. (No California rolls. If self selection is preferred, please be seated at a table.)


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