Jinbei in Irvine is a Japanese Restaurant's Japanese Restaurant

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Photo by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Your new Cafe Hiro

I usually avoid using the too­-easily misconstrued word to describe anything. But not since Kappo Sui in Costa Mesa have I encountered a more authentic Japanese restaurant in OC than Jinbei. No other word suits it. If John Wayne were a man's man, then Jinbei is a Japanese restaurant's Japanese restaurant, where everything served is exciting, intriguing and unfiltered. It's the kind of place you tell your friends about and hope they tell their friends about it, even while you wonder how it ended up here, tucked deep inside a tree­lined pocket of residential Irvine in one of Don Bren's most manicured neighborhood centers.


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Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles Scheduled to Open in Anaheim at 8 AM TOMORROW TODAY!

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Roscoe's webpage
Welcome home, Roscoe's!

Two years ago, the beloved Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles chain announced they were opening their first OC location in Anaheim, just down the street from Disneyland. And then...the wait. Delays and delays and delays and delays.

No more delays, folks: if all goes according to plan, according to those in the know, Roscoe's will open its doors TOMORROW at 8 a.m., just in time to soak up your drinking that you will commence in a coupla hours--or, in my case, since 11 this morning.


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Three New Restaurants Debut At Irvine Spectrum

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Logos courtesy of each restaurant.
Logos.
Irvine Spectrum is now home to three new eateries. About last week or so, Del Frisco's Grille and Brio Tuscan Grille opened next to each other in what used to be the parking lot across from Yard House. And this week the second outlet of Urban Seoul, Chef Kacy Jun's Korean-Mexican mash up, opened up in the space that Taverna Blu vacated.

Both Brio Tuscan Grille and Del Frisco's are sprawling eateries, with most of Brio's coveted seats outside in two patios shaded by trellises. Del Frisco's looks like a steakhouse through and through, with a wine bottle tower at the entrance, a long bar, and booth-heavy seating.

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Class 302 Opens in Irvine Marketplace; Introduces Self-Serve Boba Drinks

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Mary Pastrana
The first lrvine location.
So the second Class 302 just opened in Irvine. This is the one we said would replace Dumpling Noodle House, next to Yogurtland and Thai Spice.

They still offer their specialities: shaved snow and Taiwanese comfort food packed in metal lunch tins. And it still themes its dining room, tables, and serving vessels to something out of a grade school classroom.

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Din Tai Fung At South Coast Plaza Opens TODAY!

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Anne Marie Panoringan
On your mark

They were originally scheduled to open this past spring, right? But you know how it goes. Especially from a highly anticipated chain moving into a coveted corner location. When you knock McDonald's down, it better be for a gold mine.

With Uniqlo scheduled to open after Labor Day (there's currently a pop-up store by the carousel) and Din Tai Fung welcoming the Asian invasion, the Sanrio wing of South Coast Plaza will never be the same again. Kudos to long-term planning.

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Afters Ice Cream Now Also A Food Truck

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Photo by Charles Lam
Even better at midnight.
Afters Ice Cream, the ice-cream-stuffed donut shop that has become something of a phenomenon for stuffing ice cream into donuts, has an enviable problem: It's too popular. Lines were a constant fixture and were as inevitable as the calories.

A few weeks ago, it became a different kind of problem. Opening past a certain hour apparently violated some sort "conditional use permit" according to a sign they posted on the window.

So they were forced to close up their Fountain Valley shop by 9 p.m., no matter how many people were still waiting in line.

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Pieology Opens Sunday At The Marketplace in Irvine; Free Pizza Voucher For First 150 Customers

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Edwin Goei
Pieology also makes really good salads!
The opening of another Pieology is typically not newsworthy, especially in Irvine, where there's already one at the Spectrum. But we talked about the opening of another outlet of Blaze Pizza, which is another one of its custom pizza competitors, because it was doing a giveaway.

Now we talk about the Pieology that will open this Sunday at The Marketplace in Irvine because it, too, is going to offer a giveaway.

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Happy Dining, OC's First "Dry Pot" Restaurant, Opens in Irvine

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Photo by ThatGuy
Pharrell would probably eat here.
You have, of course, heard of the Mongolian hot pot, right? Served at places like Little Sheep, hot pot is the spicier/bolder/funkier cousin to Japanese shabu shabu, where you encounter not just the standard bearers of sliced beef, lamb, chicken and pork, but also the decidedly kinkier diversions of tripe, tendon, blood cake, goose intestines and pork kidneys. You cook all these things fondue-style, dipping them into a bifurcated pot that contains two kinds of soup: a spiced-up hot broth with herbs and a not-so-spiced-up broth with herbs.

But it's the middle of August. It's humid. Hot. Decidedly not hot pot weather. Enter the concept of the "dry pot" restaurant. Stop your snickering--save your marijuana jokes. A "dry pot" restaurant is basically a hot pot restaurant without the hot pot, but with all the meats cooked with the same spices and herbs. Also, since it's absent the soup, it's also without the cook-yourself-part that the soup would require.

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Build-Your-Own Pizza Comes to Santa Ana, Get It By Donating Some Money to Charity

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Free!

Looks like Santa Ana's going to be the next city in Orange County to get a fancy build-your-own pizza joint. PizzaRev, a Blaze Pizza / Pieology-style pizzeria will be opening the doors of its corner store on Bristol Street and MacArthur next Thursday, Aug. 14.

And hey, they know how to celebrate a grand opening. Customers will get to choose how much they pay for a personal pizza on the first business day. Yes, you can pick zero, but don't be a jerk because all of the pizza proceeds that day will be donated to the Angels RBI League, a youth-serving nonprofit. The suggested donation is $8.

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Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai, New Ramen Shop, Opens in Costa Mesa

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https://www.facebook.com/ramenbannai
Kitakata Ramen Team.
Costa Mesa, OC's Ramen Town, lost one a few months ago when Kohryu, one of the more beloved noodle shops whose signature was caramelized green onions in its broth, closed up.

But we don't call it Ramen Town for nothing. Now a new ramen shop has popped up in its place. Called Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai, this is the first U.S. store of a chain that has about 60 locations in Japan.

It's named after the city from which it originated.

Here's the description from its website:

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