Ronin Burrito, A New Late-Night Sushi Delivery Service, Opens

Categories: Now Open

This one is called The Wanderer.
Ronins are wandering samurai with no home, swords for hire. So kudos to whoever named the new Ronin Burrito, a sushi delivery service that serves UCI and its environs like Ippo Sushi and DelSushi.

If you look closely though, Ronin Burrito is different from those two. Its menu and focus is more like Fountain Valley's Samurai Burrito in that it serves exactly the same kind of food: uncut sushi rolls which can be called a burrito if you're stretching the definition.

But just like its established rivals Ippo and DelSushi, Ronin Burrito doesn't start delivering until 6 p.m. and then stops for the night at 2 a.m.

More »

Kingchops In Irvine Makes Fabulous Taiwanese-Style Pork Chop Rice

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Porcine pleasures

In the brave new Irvine, where there are more Taiwanese restaurants than there might be of any other cuisine, the pork chop rice called pai gu fan might be the most commonly eaten dish in the city. It's such a constant and essential representation of all that is homey, simple and good in Taiwanese cooking that you'd sooner find a Mexican cantina without tacos than a Taiwanese restaurant without pork chop rice.

More »

Now Open: Kettlebar Steam Cooking at Tustin's Union Market

Categories: Now Open

Anne Marie Panoringan
The bar is our favorite place to be

Today is considered the grand opening of Kettlebar in Tustin. And by grand, we mean their first day of both lunch and dinner service. We snuck in on Friday night to get a lay of the land at the first full-service eatery inside Union Market. Here is our story (cue Law & Order sound effect).

More »

The Barrel Room, A New Wine Bar, Opens in DTSA

Categories: Now Open

The Barrel Room's Facebook
Last summer, Anne Marie wrote about two new wine bars that opened almost simultaneously in SanTana: Robbins Nest and Vineyard Roz. Now here we are, less than a year later and Vineyard Roz is already history. But we haven't been calling DTSA a hotbed of new restaurants for nothing.

As we say we hardly knew you to Vineyard Roz, we say hello to a new wine bar called The Barrel Room. It opened at 324 W. Fourth Street, housed inside the West End Theater Building.

More »

Pub Thirty-Two in Mission Viejo Makes One of OC's Best Steaks

Photo by the Elmo Monster

I wasn't impressed the first time I ate at Pub Thirty-Two, and it wasn't our server's fault. In fact, he did everything he could to make everything sound impressive. When I said I wanted the Sriracha wings as a starter, he launched into a near-two-minute soliloquy on how they're soaked in duck fat.

"You mean they're cooked in it, like confit?" I asked.

More »

Long's Kitchen Opens in Irvine; Replaces Li's Kite

Edwin Goei
Long's Kitchen
About a year ago, Koko's Cafe closed after about three years in business serving what was, at the time, the only Hong Kong-style cafe food in Irvine. It closed because, presumably Tasty Garden opened a few blocks down and ate up all the Hong Kong-style cafe food business. Koko's was soon replaced by a restaurant called Li's Kite. Li's Kite served beef noodles. Now Li's Kite is also gone, replaced by another eatery called Long's Kitchen.

More »

Mr. Baguette, Challenger To Lee's Sandwiches, Opens in Little Saigon

Categories: Now Open

Edwin Goei
If Lee's Sandwiches is the McDonald's of banh mi, Mr. Baguette would be its Burger King. That is, if Burger King only did business in San Gabriel Valley and didn't expand to more than three branches.

But let's rewind 11 years when Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold wrote a review comparing Mr. Baguette to Lee's and concluded that despite replicating "the Lee's formula down to the menu boards and the video screens" it makes "its own high-quality charcuterie -- ham and headcheese and steamed pork loaves -- that it sells separately by the pound, and bakes its own baguettes."

More »

Oki Doki Closes In Costa Mesa; Ikkousha, Ramen Shop from Japan, Takes Over

The newest Ramentown resident.
Oki Doki--the restaurant that served ramen at the same time it offered Vietnamese bun and Malay fried rice--has shuttered at 3033 Bristol St., the same corner at Paularino that once also housed Orchid Restaurant.

In its place Ikkousha is opening. Ikkousha is short for Hakata Ramen Ikkousha, which has twelve restaurants in Japan and a burgeoning empire in Indonesia, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and Hong Kong.

This Costa Mesa store is its first in the US. The specialty, of course, is the thick milky pork bone broths of the Hakata style.

More »

Mooyah Burger & Fries Opens in Irvine

Categories: Now Open

In 2013 we wrote about Mooyah Burger, a Texas-based burger chain, that wanted to conquer our crowded Southern California fast-casual burger scene and compete with Five Guys, The Habit, and Smashburger along with our indigenous favorite, In-N-Out.

Now Mooyah has finally opened in Irvine at Alton and Jeffrey.

More »

La Pollada Continues Anaheim's Great Peruvian Restaurant Tradition

Photos by Josue Rivas
Dig in!

Twelve years ago, if you searched online for Peruvian restaurants in Anaheim, you wouldn't have haunted Yelp but rather the old Chowhound message boards, where posters debated the merits of Nory's and El Pollo Inka. The discussions revolved around whose ají sauce had more kick and which kitchen produced the most consistent saltado. The Peruvian restaurant you ultimately picked depended on which Chowhound poster was more convincing. I was firmly in the El Pollo Inka camp, even as it broke off from the original South Bay-based chain and started calling itself Inka Anaheim. But I liked Nory's, too. They were both on Euclid Street, within two blocks of each other, competing like old fogeys playing chess in the park.

Alas, 12 years is a lifetime for a restaurant. Inka Anaheim shuttered a while ago. Then, last year, Nory's also bit the dust, along with the legendary El Misti Picantería Arequipeña.
Now the space that used to be Nory's has risen again as La Pollada Peruvian Grill.

More »