Seabirds Kitchen OPEN TODAY

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Photo by Charles Lam
OPEN TODAY!

Seabirds Kitchen, the new brick-and-mortar headquarters for the venerable Seabirds Truck, is open for its first full day of business today. They'll be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. serving the vegan fare that we all know and love.

Located in the LAB near Gypsy Den, the interior is not quite finished, but already plenty pretty. And anyways, THE KITCHEN IS READY, and that's the important part. People were plenty happy to grub on Seabirds while standing around in parkings lots for goodness sake.


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Taco Maria Now Officially Open; Menu Changes to 4-Course Prix Fixe

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Shuji Sakai
Ever wonder why the marquee food critics for a publication never review soft openings? It's because the point of a soft opening is to make final tweaks before the ravening hordes descend on a restaurant. In Taco Maria's case, it's less a change to the dishes than a change to the timing.

In an effort to make more efficient use of limited space, the restaurant is opening with a four-course prix fixe menu that will cost $42, with $24 for a wine pairing on a much more expansive wine list. Don't worry, the dishes from the preview are still mostly there; that arrachera we posted a photo of from the pre-opening festivities is still there; so are the mole, the jardineros, and the fish al pastor.

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Taco Maria Soft Opens Tonight--GO!

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Dave Lieberman
Think back to when Taco Maria used to park at the SoCo farmers market every Saturday. Remember those arrachera tacos that had everyone swooning?

Yeah. That's them in the picture above. Except now, instead of being tucked into a little paper boat, they're arranged on a plate with an incredible salad of nopalitos with tomatoes, onions and bacon, and a linen napkin-wrapped plate of thick, fluffy homemade tortillas. Ask for a little salsa--can't eat tacos without chile--and realize that now Carlos Salgado has an entire kitchen at his disposal. He's got room for the things he wants, and that means he's importing olive oil from Baja California and has room for an oven and a fryer.


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2 Weeks Until Taco María Opens

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ProfessorSalt.com
Taco María's luxe lonchera is sold off, and the long-awaited restaurant at the OC Mart Mix is built out with a gorgeous dark-hardwood bar counter. Permits are long-completed; inspections are over.

Dave told you back in February about plans to open a fixed location. Then in June, we let you know you could Kickstart plans into action.

Now, there are just two more weeks until we can eat Carlos Salgado's crispy pork-belly carnitas with salsa borracha again.

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Taco Maria to Park Permanently, Become Bricks-and-Mortar Restaurant at OC Mart Mix

For the last eighteen months, we have been watching as Carlos Salgado's Taco María truck became the darling of the food community. People who refused to eat from a mobile catering truck lined up for Taco María's food, from burritos to chilaquiles, from ezquites to bone marrow quesadillas.

It's finally time; the truck is going to be parked and Taco María will move into the OC Mart Mix sometime this spring.

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Clay Oven, the Pop-Up Place: This Time, Seabirds

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Stephanie Morgan photo by Kimberly Valenzuela / OC Weekly
Chef Geeta Bansal of Clay Oven and Chef Stephanie Morgan of Seabirds
Clay Oven has played host to a few pop-up restaurants recently, usually with cutesy names ("Play Oven" for the Jason Quinn pop-up), but tonight's "Clay Birds" seems like an obvious match: the ladies from Seabirds will be teaming up with Chef Geeta Bansal to cook two seatings' worth of Indian-inspired vegan fare.

See also:
- Seabirds Will Team Up With Clay Oven In September Pop-Up
- The Playground & Clay Oven Team Up To Do "Play Oven" Pop-Up
- The Seabirds Truck e-Cookbook + A Recipe For OC Weekly Readers
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No. 23: Chowder Fries at Slapfish

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Anne Marie Panoringan

Who knew this luxe lonchera would be so successful it made their Top 5 last year? This gal. Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude did good with their goal of branding into a brick-and-mortar establishment back in April. They've already gotten two shout outs on our countdown so far, but this is my go-to comfort dish bowl meal.

I'm sure it's our Bay Area roots calling, but nothing says home like piping hot clam chowder. And not the red stuff, either (stay in Manhattan!). We're talking creamy, tater-on-tater action.
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SLAPFISH: Brick and Mortar Preview

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Photo by Matthew Pih

"We want to change the way people think about and choose their seafood" says SLAPFISH co-owners Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude. "The idea is to get people to eat more seafood, but the right types of seafood, because sustainable tastes better."

When we interviewed Andrew for On the Line last summer, we met in a space that could morph into the refreshingly responsible seafood shack. His propensity to immerse himself and Jethro in current food news was apparent with each visit. Jethro and Andrew designed the nautical space to match their oceanic lifestyles. Their menu selection reflects both the luxe lonchera they departed, plus a few new specialties.
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Back the Birds: Seabirds Launches Kick(starter)-and-Mortar Campaign

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Dave Lieberman
The future home of Seabirds... but only if you help.
Late last year, we reported that Stephanie Morgan and her partners in awesome vegan cuisine were looking at the space next to Playground in downtown Santa Ana's Fiesta Marketplace East End. It's taken a few months, but they've finally committed to the space.

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Jason Quinn to Open Fancy Restaurant in Downtown Santa Ana

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Dave Lieberman
Ever walked through the pedestrian plaza on Second Street between Sycamore and Broadway? You walk past the Gypsy Den and Memphis, then Lola Gaspar and the soon-to-open Road Less Traveled and Belly Sprout stores, and then, on your left . . . scaffolding and an indescribably ugly fence closing off what looks as if it were Paul Revere's house plunked down in the middle of Southern Califas.

This beautiful building, which once housed offices of The Gas Company, has sat empty for as long as I've lived in Orange County. It is destined, finally, for public service once again: Jason Quinn, formerly of the Lime Truck and current enfant terrible at Playground on la Cuatro, intends to open a restaurant there.

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