Dunkin' Donuts Opens in Long Beach; Laguna Hills Location Next

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Dave Lieberman
Downey's Dunkin'
You East Coasters who've been flocking to Downey for the first Dunkin' Donuts around these here parts in a long, long time can now also flock to Long Beach; Another one just opened there last week at 5560 E 7th St.

And for those who are in South County who'd rather go to the one in Camp Pendleton rather than schlep it to Long Beach, well, there's good news: there will be a Laguna Hills Dunkin' Donuts soon.

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Lillie's Q Now Open In Brea

Categories: Now Open

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Anne Marie Panoringan
Shrimp and grits

Saturday's dinner service marked opening night for Lillie's Q, a concept first executed by Charlie McKenna back in 2010. Earning the title of "Best New Barbeque Restaurant In The Country" by Food & Wine Magazine in 2011, McKenna's ode to his grandmother's kitchen influence can be found next door to TAPS Fish House & Brewery. TAPS owner Joe Manzella co-owns this branch with Charlie-- making for one excellent collaboration.

An upscale venue for 'que, they are firm proponents of sourcing items domestically. Their J&R oven smokes meats with only peach wood, found roughly 80-miles away. This classic preparation imparts an ideal balance of sweet and smokiness. A Carolina rice plantation still supplies cornmeal used in their stone ground grits, a dish McKenna asks all of his team to pitch in on, "If you walk by the grits, you stir them."

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TWENTY EIGHT Opens In Irvine

Categories: Now Open

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Photo courtesy of TWENTY EIGHT
Finally!

When we interviewed Shirley Chung back in September, we were anxious to visit her modern Asian cuisine spot, TWENTY EIGHT. Jump a couple of months to yesterday, and it is finally opening in the former Kimera space.

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The Waffle Affair Opens in Newport Beach

Categories: Now Open

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Photo Courtesy of The Waffle Affair
Purty.
When I wrote about The Waffle Affair earlier this year and predicted it was going to be "another waffle sandwich shop", their PR person e-mailed me and set me straight. "Waffle sandwiches aren't even on the menu, they offer modern variations on authentic Liége, and all ingredients are incorporated into the batter," she said.

Now the shop is open, and by golly, they're sticking to it.

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SOCIAL Masters the Char--But Little Else--For Now

Categories: Now Open

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Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Those shrimp!

SOCIAL (its CAPS, not ours) is not unlike every other new American restaurant I've seen open around these parts. Dish cloths are used as napkins. The burger is in the $10-to-$15 range. Fries are turned into poutine, and all of it is washed down by elaborate cocktails from a bar that looks as though it came from the set of Tombstone. Diners sit either on a hard wooden bench or a cold metal chair at long communal picnic tables. The music is, of course, always loud. But if you're there on a Saturday night, you'll barely hear anything, anyway, since everyone is shouting over it. Call it a gastropub, a tavern, a "kitchen with libations," an "eatery and drink"--whatever it is, I went in with the feeling I'd been to SOCIAL before. It looked, felt and tasted like Newport Beach's Bosscat, which also leans toward a Southern comfort-food menu.


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

Categories: Bargains, Now Open

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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