Interview with Guy Who's Drinking Boba for an Entire Year!

Categories: Local Eats

Justin Salamanca

This is a story of boy meets boba. The boy, Justin Salamanca of Cerritos, grew up not knowing that he'd be truly happy until he sipped his first boba drink (which, in case you were wondering, was a caramel green slush at Upper House Boba in Walnut). Justin met boba in the third grade, and he knew immediately it was what he didn't know he needed.

This week, UCI student Justin Salamanca is on day 90-something in his quest to drink boba every day for a year for (500) Days of Summer, his passion project inspired by Steven Cong's boba database. Though Salamanca isn't really drinking boba for 500 days (more like 365 -- he thought 500 sounded better), 365 days is still a lot of, well, whatever boba's made of. Props, man.

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Downtown Santa Ana Farmers' Market Anniversary Dinner THIS THURSDAY!

Categories: Local Eats

Photo by Amanda DeFrancis/OC Weekly
Time flies when you're having fun

In the summer of 2013, Kerri Annick Cacciata participated in our On the Line series. Her big news: plans to start a farmers' market in Downtown Santa Ana. Today, the market she dreamed of is about to turn one.

To celebrate, she's teamed up with some local supporters for a benefit dinner. While it may be of no cost to visit the Thursday market (save for those parking meters), operating one takes time, resources and a certain amount of money. With your participation, the DTSA market can grow and continue to provide a backdrop for local outreach and events. So let's talk about this dinner.

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The North Left Launches Updated Lunch Menu

Categories: Local Eats

Anne Marie Panoringan
Say cheesy!

It's common knowledge that The North Left is a solid place to grab dinner. More often than not, our friends head there for drinks. What we didn't realize was that they're also open for lunch. Nobody ever talks about it, so we assumed it wasn't. Wrong.

They've been serving lunch for so long, in fact, that a brand new menu came out this past Friday. While we only ordered a tuna melt and chips ($12) with our Chester Copperpot cocktail, our bartender was kind enough to explain some of the updated comfort food.

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Check Out the Observatory's Awesome New Menu

Categories: Local Eats

Anne Marie Panoringan
S'mores ston'dnuts

While at the bar during the Bleachers concert over the weekend, we noticed menus. They looked better than what we normally find in small venues. Hand-cut fries smothered in short rib gravy and aged provolone ($7), edamame with togarashi ($4) and a 'killer' grilled cheese with white cheddar, gruyere, apple wood bacon and grilled onions ($10), just to name a few. Then it clicked.

A few months ago, Scott Brandon departed Fireside Tavern. The chef who opened Crow Bar and LinX posted his newest digs on Instagram, but only now did we find ourselves there.

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Urban Cactus: Delicious Sorpresa Near Angel Stadium

Dave Lieberman
¡Ay, qué fresa!
A menu from Urban Cactus showed up in my office shortly before Christmas. I didn't look at it--I was busy replenishing the water in the coffee machine, like a good corporate citizen--but I happened to drive past it last week, pulled in, judged it by its cover, and nearly pulled right back out onto the road.

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Santa Ana's Fourth Street Market To Open Feb. 16, Preview at Savor Santa Ana Feb. 12

Anne Watson Photography
Fourth Street Market opens Feb. 16.

[Updated 2/3/2015 with the correct pricing for Savor Santa Ana tastes: $2. Still cheap.]

It's been a long time coming, but downtown Santa Ana's food hall is finally ready to throw open its doors to the public. The paper is down, the signs are up, and the tenants are buying their start-up ingredients. Fourth Street Market (4SM) is located at 201 E. 4th St., adjacent to Style World and across from the East End Marketplace. Monday, February 16, 2015 is opening day, though there will be a public preview during the Savor Santa Ana event on Thursday, February 12 from 5-8 p.m. where the vendors will sell small tastes for $1 $2 each.

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Starting Today, You Can Get Free Dough Exchange aka Bread from Jason Quinn's Bakery

Dough Exchange Instagram
Bread is the best food.

Still haven't tried Dough Exchange, the Playground's bakery next door? Well, Jason Quinn's removed another one of your excuses. Starting today, you can get as many free pastries as you want from the bakery, given that you eat them on premises.

Why the lack of charge? According to Quinn, the bakery's business has been inconsistent, and he wants people to at least try the bread and give him feedback leading up to the opening of the 4th Street Market later this year (the market will sell Dough Exchange bread and pastries, as well as other take-home friendly Playground foods). For more details about Dough Exchange, check after the jump.

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Clay Oven's Offering Pay-Up-Front Tickets for a 5-Course Game Meat Dinner Tomorrow

Categories: Local Eats

Photo by Kenneth M. Ruggiano
Chef Geeta Bansal
You may have heard of the pay-up-front reservation concept happening at Trois Mec in L.A., Volver in Philly and elsewhere. It's where you pay for the entire experience as though you're buying a ticket to a concert. The Wall Street Journal wrote about the idea in an article they called "The Restaurant Reservation Revolution" back in May.

And now, for tomorrow night's game-meat dinner at Clay Oven in Irvine, Chef Geeta Bansal is offering a pay-up-front ticketed meal in OC. If I'm not mistaken, she's one of the first restaurateurs in OC to do so.

For a total of $195.00 ($202.82 w/service fee) that you pay for online for a Will-Call or a print-at-home ticket, you get five courses of game meats and seasonal produce accompanied with wine pairings from Trefethen Family Vineyards.

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Mona Lisa Cucina: Good Italian Food Cooked By... A French Guy?!

Categories: Local Eats

Photo by Das Ubergeek
Sacre, bleu!

I suppose it's a measure of what an insufferable food snob I am that I go around judging the authenticity of a place by whether they actually know what goes into classic dishes. It's important to do in an Italian restaurant, because you need to know whether you're in a Tony Soprano nightmare or a restaurant with dishes recognizable to actual living Italians. Not that one's superior, but sometimes you want red sauce, and sometimes you don't.

And so I had my stuck-up judgment face on when I stopped in to Mona Lisa Cucina in Huntington Beach. My brain shrank away from the menu when I read "spaghetti bolognese" on the menu, because no Italian would ever put anything except wide ribbons, classically tagliatelle. with rich bolognese. No; not Italian. There was a Greek salad on the menu, and a Caesar--oh, God, another Cal-Ital; pandering to the whomever; insert your snobby, sniffy conniption here.

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Anaheim's 369 Chinese Replaced By Wafting Fragrance Noodle House

Dave Lieberman
It says "Wafting Fragrance" in Chinese. Otherwise it's just any old noodle house.

I was at 99 Ranch today buying lime leaves and lemongrass for a friend in Florida who doesn't have any good Asian markets nearby, and it was lunchtime. I couldn't bring myself to go to Jollibee or its brethren, I can't stand the service at Ten Ten, and I didn't want a Lee's sandwich.

As I was about to pull out of the parking lot and go find something else, I saw that 369 Restaurant, the Shanghainese place that faces Crescent, had been replaced. The only English signage for the newcomer simply says "Noodle House"; the name Wafting Fragrance comes from the Chinese name for the place, 飘香 (piao xiang).

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