Afters Ice Cream Now Also A Food Truck

Categories: Now Open

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.

More »

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

Categories: Now Open

Thumbnail image for pieology_salad.jpg
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.

More »

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

Categories: Now Open

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.

More »

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

Categories: Now Open


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.

More »

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

Categories: Now Open

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:

More »

Free Pizza at Blaze Pizza in Mission Viejo TODAY

Categories: Bargains, Now Open

Thumbnail image for blazepizza.jpg
Blaze logo.
Blaze Pizza, which you probably already know from its outlet in Irvine across from UCI, is expanding fast. There are more planned outlets of this build-your-own-pizza chain 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.

If you're thinking "Wow, that's a lot of malls", it's probably because Blaze is founded by Rick and Elise Wetzel, the same people who brought you Wetzel's Pretzels.

More »

Montreal Poutine Opens In Costa Mesa

Categories: Now Open

Montreal Poutine logo

Local restaurants have been teasing us with versions of poutine for years. While most are delicious, they're usually fancied-up fries, usually topped in whatever braised meat the restaurant happens to have cooked and doused with gravy from the pot. As an upgrade to cheese curds, I've seen cheese sauce, grated Swiss, even queso fresco as topping. I've rarely witnessed any restaurants around these parts actually using plain cheese curds, its customary topping.

More »

Sushi Wasabi in Tustin Sold to New Owner As Sushi Master Retires

Edwin Goei
Katsu Aoyagi in 2008.
There are so many sushi masters in Orange County these days. But for a while, there were really just two venerable artisans whose names were on a short list of the best: Shibutani-san of Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa and Katsu-san of Sushi Wasabi in Tustin.

They were part of the old guard, known as much for their sublime omakase as the fact that they refused to make California rolls. On the latter, Katsu-san even put it in writing. On a framed sign above his sushi bar were these words.

We follow the art of traditional sushi practice. Sushi bar is limited to the fresh catch of the day - continually served. No need to place an order. We offer sushi and hand rolls of Japanese tradition. (No California rolls. If self selection is preferred, please be seated at a table.)


More »

Celebrity Soul Food Buffet Opens in Lake Forest

Categories: Now Open

Their logo.
You might have never stepped into Dragon Buffet in Lake Forest, but you probably already have a good idea of what it was: a Chinese buffet.

Typically, when a buffet like that closes, it doesn't really close, it just changes hands. A new "Under New Management" might go up, but you can bet you can still count on the sweet and sour chicken being there.

But this time, this Chinese buffet is gone for good. In its place at 24416 Muirlands Blvd. in Lake Forest something new has moved in: a Southern food buffet, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the first of its kind in OC, let alone Lake Forest.

More »

Now Open: 1st US Location Of Meet Fresh At Diamond Jamboree!

Anne Marie Panoringan
Decisions, decisions

Who doesn't want to be at the shiny and new place? It's only been open a week, but Meet Fresh in Irvine isn't hurting for business. In fact, I stood in line for at least 20 minutes opening night before placing an order (and that was a Tuesday) at this Taiwanese chain open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A co-worker told me she had friends come from as far as San Diego, even San Francisco, to check out the first spot in the United States. You could say they have a following. Although the same co-worker also mentioned that this company was starting to close some of their other outlets.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault