Free Pizza At Blaze's Fashion Island and Santa Ana Mainplace Stores on Wednesday

Categories: Bargains, Now Open

This is their logo
As we wrote about in the past, Blaze Pizza, which you probably already know from its outlet in Irvine across from UCI, is expanding fast. There are more outlets of this build-your-own-pizza chain opening 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.

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Waterman's Harbor Is All About That Bass

Categories: Now Open

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Scallop lollipops

There's a dish being served right now at Waterman's Harbor in Dana Point that may be the best fried fish in all of OC. The entire creature--a whole black bass with its skin and tail intact, its head propped upright, mouth agape--is flash-fried under a barely there batter. Even though it's presented whole, the fish is also nearly all deboned, with the flesh butterflied and the spine collapsed flat from the load of artichoke hearts, tiny potatoes and white beans it carries on top.

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ST Pâtisserie Chocolat Now Open In Costa Mesa

Anne Marie Panoringan
Sugar, ahhh. Honey, honey

The holiday season just keeps getting sweeter, as another dessert spot unlocks its doors to the public. Found in our favorite neck of the woods, SoCo Collection, you can thank Master Pastry Chef Stéphane Tréand for gracing patrons with a high-end confectionery retailer and pastry school all rolled into one, multi-purpose space.

Previously located in San Clemente, his school has relocated to the accessible grounds off the 405 freeway. Classic and modern French pastries are also available for purchase at this sugary spot, which opened on November 19.

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Poke Etc. Opens in Long Beach

Categories: Now Open

Thumbnail image for north_shore_poke_bowl.jpg
Mary Pastrana
The poke from North Shore Poke Co.
Hurray! Another poke shop just opened. A new Hawaiian joint called Poke Etc. debuted in Long Beach last week and this on the heels of North Shore Poke Company opening its second store in OC-close Cerritos.

Poke Etc., from what I can tell from its website, looks to be the most authentically Hawaiian poke joint yet. The poke is served out of refrigerated troughs and sold by the pound like the do in the island state. And apparently they do a version with coconut milk by request, which is more like Tahitian poisson cru.

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Temakira, Sushi Hand Roll Shop, Opens in Costa Mesa

Categories: Now Open

Photo Courtesy of temakira's Facebook
Let's roll!
Recent years have brought on various sushi innovations in OC. Ten years ago it was the advent of revolving sushi, such as Kula, Kaisen, and Gatten. Then came the all-you-can-eat concept that places like Sake 2 Me seems to have mastered. This year, we've seen a sushi burrito joint (Samurai Burrito), and a poke joint (Pokinometry) come into the market.

Now there's a shop dedicated to just sushi hand rolls, those rice-and-fish-stuffed cones of nori that your itamae might serve you as part of an omakase meal.

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Seafood City Now Open In Irvine

Anne Marie Panoringan
Hunger waiting game

We'd never seen such a sight. So many Filipinos descending upon one area in Irvine. We thought we were in Daly City Cerritos. It took three cycles to turn around the corner of Armstrong and Barranca on opening day. It made The District look like Cars Land.

Seafood City adds to the list of ethnic supermarket brands (Wholesome Choice, Farm Direct, Mitsuwa, H-Mart, Zion, Super Irvine and both 99 Ranch Markets) to call this seemingly vanilla landscape home. We shook our head in disbelief just writing that. The next time someone gripes about a lack of good eats that aren't a chain around there, just rattle this list off and see if they can comprehend.

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ChocXO Coffee and Chocolate Roaster Is Opening an Irvine Factory, Take a Tour and Win a Year's Worth

Categories: Now Open

Photo by Cleo Tobbi
They're a churnin'

So, this weekend, ChocXO, one of our favorite coffee (and chocolate) roasters in Orange County will be opening their Irvine chocolate factory. To celebrate, they're giving free tours on Friday and Saturday (with included edible swag) and giving away a year's worth of chocolate to multiple people.

If you're interested in free chocolate, free hot cocoa, free liquid chocolate shots, and more free chocolate, check out the everything after the jump.

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Koc Crawfish Crosses a Crawfish Joint and a Snail Restaurant, Adds Beer

Categories: Now Open

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Commence crackin'

You've seen the likes of KOC Crawfish Beer Club & Restaurant before. With its neon signage, blink-and-you-miss-it strip-mall location, and cartoon mascot of a sea creature you're about to consume in a whirlwind of cayenne-garlic butter and lemons, KOC is obviously the latest entry in the growing genre of Vietnamese-owned Cajun seafood houses.

If there's one place that spurred the proliferation of this kind of eatery, it's the Boiling Crab. Although the now-ubiquitous chain didn't invent the concept, it's the Ray Kroc of the genre, sans the megalomania. The Boiling Crab figured out what customers really wanted in a seafood restaurant--reasonable prices, cold beer, an addictive sauce--and created an empire.

Its success blazed the trail for the rest, including Claws, the Kickin' Crab and now KOC.

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TLT Foods, The Lime Truck's Brick and Mortar, Opens Today!

Categories: Now Open

What a week for openings. First, Dough Exchange, the Playground bakery, opened yesterday, and now TLT Foods, The Lime Truck's brick and mortar is finally open at the Irvine Spectrum.

The Lime Truck is, of course, Orange County's most famous luxe lonchera, having won the second Great Food Truck race and launching the career of the Playground's Jason Quinn. The menu at the restaurant is in the same style as the truck, fresh and distinctly Southern Californian. You can check out the menu for their LA locations on this fancy website here.

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Bulgolgi House Is Korean Barbecue for the (Early) 21st Century

Categories: Now Open

Photo by Jennifer Wang
That's a rib eye

Orange County is pretty set when it comes to Korean barbecue. Supremely hungry and want to smell your meat as you cook it? Head over the Cham Sut Gol, the grill in Garden Grove that's fed college students (and everyone else) for years. Want something a little more.. upscale or full of offal meat? Gen's got two locations for you. And then if you want something more American to introduce your gabacho friends to, All That in Irvine has got you covered.

And that's not even counting all the other barbecue places that dot the county's Korean enclaves (my Korean hair guy keeps telling me to check them out).

So when, I heard about Bulgolgi House's imminent opening in La Palma, I thought to myself, "does Orange County really need another Korean barbecue joint? What's going to set Bulgolgi House apart?"

Well, I went, I saw, and I'm convinced. Bulgolgi House has a place in Orange County's seared-meat scape.

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