Eat This Now: Bola-Bola Siopao at Chowking

Categories: Eat This Now

Edwin Goei
Steamed buns filled with meat can be found throughout Asia. The Philippines is no exception. What is exceptional about the Filipino version called siopao is that it used to be exceptionally hard to find here in OC. Outside of Pinoy-dense neighborhoods like Artesia and Cerritos (which are just outside the OC border), there are just a handful of places where you can find siopao, including that corner of Anaheim at Euclid and Crescent we've occasionally referred to as OC's unofficial Little Manila. Now that Seafood City in Irvine opened with a few food vendors, there's even more siopao options, such as the ones Valerio's sells out of its steam boxes.

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Little Arabia's Zait & Zataar Rises From the Ashes and Reopens

Categories: Now Open

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Palm tree swayin' in the breeze...
Zait & Zataar, Little Arabia's busiest little restaurant and bakery, is back! Much of the place burned down in a fire last August. Since then, the faithful have been deprived of Zait & Zataar's tantalizing Saj wraps, Z bowls, and brick oven bakery goodies. But there is finally reason to rejoice--the Lebanese eatery has risen from the ashes and hosted a soft re-opening a week-and-half ago.

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On the Line: Leonard Chan, Part Three

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
I don't think that counts towards your 20 glasses of water.

While many On the Line subjects are modest in their responses, I quickly realized part one was turning into 'Leonard's guide to dining in Orange County'. For a slender guy, the man can eat! So for those that are still with us, a few more words from Leonard. The first half is a summary of his existing and upcoming concepts around here. Then we wrap things up with many of his favorite restaurant recommendations.

Are you still there? It's a lot of ground to cover, especially if you consider yesterday's segment.
We're almost done, we promise!

You've got a lot of concepts. Tell us what is up and running; then what's in the works in Orange County. GO!
Yowzas. It's hard to believe the time that has zipped by already. I started, with the help of my old friend Wayne Atchley (the original California Shabu Shabu owner) and my friend and business partner Ash Chan at California Shabu Shabu in Costa Mesa six years ago. From there, I popped up The Iron Press at SoCo, and shortly after that, opened the doors to Shuck Oyster Bar along with Chef Noah Blom at The OC Mix in 2012.

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Ten Essential Fried Chickens in OC

Edwin Goei
Roscoe's big plate of finger-lickin'.

In The Matrix, a character tells Keanu Reeves' Neo that he thinks that everything tastes like chicken because the machines couldn't figure out what to make chicken taste like--so they made everything taste like chicken.

But what if the machines made everything taste like fried chicken? Would Neo and the other humans be happier living inside the Matrix?

Our county has so many great fried chicken dishes, you'd never know we're all just batteries inside a vast computer network constructed by robots. Here are ten of what this human writer thinks is the best; but don't let this alphabetically-ordered list keep you from throwing in your vote in. Let's hear what your favorites are.

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On the Line: Leonard Chan, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
HOW old are you?

I'm pretty sure there was a dare to publish something that Leonard admitted to. Let's see if you stumble upon the statement. It was difficult to pass up.

Got your beer? Because you'll want to settle in and relax for this interview.
His storytelling began yesterday in part one.
If you're caught up, then do continue. . .

What turns you on-- creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Passion, humor, pride and forgiveness. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing someone meld all of those aspects into their life. I will never forget seeing a Japanese city worker on his hands and knees scraping gum from the sidewalk in 2001. He was working so diligently, and I couldn't stop staring at him as he was talking with those around him, just happily scraping away. Sure enough, some a-hole walks by and spits out his gum. *Plop* My jaw dropped. I wanted to go over and help the guy. He looked at the gum, shrugged, smiled, and chuckled to a nearby commuter, and scooped up the piece of gum and just kept going. If everyone in the world was like this, we would be living in an even more amazing place.

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Berkeley Dog at University Town Center Closes to Make Way for Slapfish

Photo by Charles Lam

Well, this is a weird kind of bummer. Berkeley Dog, the pretty awesome hot dog spot across the street from UC Irvine, is now closed, and will become UTC's Slapfish location, once construction is finished.

I still remember when Berkeley Dog opened in, I think, 2011. It was really the first new, hip restaurant in UTC, which would pave the way for Chipotle, Chik-Fil-A, and a whole mess of other new restaurants in the plaza. The food, inspired by Cal's Top Dog, was great, and it was one of the first restaurants I reviewed as the New University's food critic. The only problem was that, apparently after my generation of anteaters graduated, it just wasn't that popular of a spot.

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UCI Scientists (And One Aussie), Discover a Way to Unboil Eggs

Photo by Edsel Little
Doesn't this look delicious?

Overcooked boiled eggs are horrible. The whites get rubbery, the yolk develops that little green sulfur ring, everything smells off, don't you wish you could just.. unboil them sometimes? No? Okay, good, because despite what the headline says, you still can't actually unboil eggs.

What's really cool though, is that a team of scientists at UC Irvine have now developed a way to re-nature (nature? un-de-nature?) proteins that have folded incorrectly so they can be reused. How'd they test their process out? By renaturing an egg protein that had been cooked for 20 minutes in near boiling water.

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On the Line: Leonard Chan, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by LP Hastings
How old ARE you?

No, he's not a chef. And yet Leonard Chan is associated with more eateries than I can count. It started with California Shabu-Shabu off Baker in Costa Mesa, then continues at South Coast Collection/The OC Mix, Anaheim's Packing House, and future developments in Tustin, Mission Viejo, ARTIC in Anaheim and even Los Angeles. Whether the man is likeable or cray cray is up to the beholder. Either way, he's got a lot on his mind, and I was ready to listen.

I hear Iron Press is undergoing a menu makeover.
Yes! I spent a good portion of the final quarter of 2014 bouncing ideas around with our chefs and staff until we came up with a menu we were happy with. I think we have taken a huge leap from where we were at our last menu iteration. We are really looking at our waffle irons more as a cooking vessel rather than simply a waffle making machine. Don't get me wrong. I still love waffles, but there are times I would love to sit down and have a couple great brews and munch on something different. We wanted to create a menu that was concise, but flexible at the same time.

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In Search Of OC's Best Garlic Cheese Bread!

David C. Mau
Stubrik's version.....

Twice a month, legendary bartender/chef/restaurant insider Dave Mau pops by Stick A Fork In It to chime in about a random OC food or drink musing of his choice. Enjoy!!

Awhile back and over a few beverages, I got into a lively discussion with some of my fellow peeps in The Biz about the merits of garlic cheese bread in all its variations and, most of all, where to find the good stuff. We all agreed North Woods Inn still had some of the best and there were quite a few standouts south of the 91 as well. From the tone of our conversation - it was quite profane and opinionated--you would have thought we were discussing sushi grade fish or the finer aspects of Chateaubriand. It seems my fellow Chefs and servers have strong feelings about this otherwise simple dish.

Granted, we're not talking about some over engineered gastropub bread with housemade brioche, Tasmanian shallots and three different aged, artisanal cheeses. We're talking the down-and-dirty, Yankee Doodle Dandy version, overflowing with garlic, seasoned salt (maybe some Worcestershire or anchovy paste) with well broiled cheese on a chunk of French, white or even sourdough bread that looks perfect nestled up to a slab of pot roast or a Salisbury Steak. What were our picks here in OC? Drumroll...

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Owners of Anaheim's El Patio, Glo-Room Blast City's Plans to Demolish Their Businesses

Categories: News

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Tacos, burritos and tortas: Who could ask for more?
The fate of an Anaheim shopping center and the future of its tenants swings in the balance this afternoon. The city's planning commission is holding a public hearing at 5 p.m. to decide on moving forward with a proposal that would level businesses on the corner of La Palma and Magnolia avenues in favor of a future McDonald's, Rite Aid Pharmacy and retail space. The center is home to longtime and legendary Anaheim establishments like El Patio Drive In and the Glo-Room. If the planning commission approves the proposal by Frontier Real Estate Investments, they'll be crushing the hard work of immigrant entrepreneurship from El Salvador to Vietnam along with it.

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