Hikari Poki Bar Opens in Lake Forest

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Edwin Goei
Pick a poki.
The poke phenomenon continues. Hikari is the latest sushi bar to realize that these days people don't want sushi, they want poke. Though the menu is still populated with combo plates, sushi rolls, and nigiri, its new owners have rebranded the place as a poke bar. And they've even added a sushi burrito as an option.

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Tips for Dining at Napa Rose's Chef's Counter at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

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Photos by the Elmo Monster
Collage of creative comestibles
This is it: Your Disneyland summer. You bought an Annual Passport, and not just the Southern California Pass--you splurged for the Premium, the one that includes free parking and not a single blockout date. You've been to the parks so many times you've memorized the parking-tram announcements--both the English recording and the Spanish translation. And earlier in the summer, you managed to stay awake for the entire duration of Disneyland's 24-hour event and have the stinky pile of sweat-stained clothes to prove it. Now what? How do you continue to make the most of your summer at OC's most iconic landmark during its 60th-anniversary year?

At the best restaurant inside Disney's property: Napa Rose. And the best way to dine there is at its Chef's Counter, where you get a front-row seat to the kitchen action while chef Andrew Sutton and crew cook a multicourse meal customized just for you.

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Porthole Chip Shop Opens in Newport Beach

Categories: Now Open

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https://www.facebook.com/PortholeNewportBeach
Mussels Mexicana
I got wind of a new seafood restaurant that just opened in the Balboa Peninsula. It's called Porthole Chop Chip Shop and it appears to have taken the space of Patril Bistro, an Italian restaurant that was never on my radar since it was on the part of the Peninsula that looks like a residential section of town.

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Shakeaway, UK-based Milkshake Shop, Opens in Huntington Beach

Categories: Now Open

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https://www.facebook.com/shakeawayland
Why yes, I will have some whipped cream.
Well this is refreshing: a new ice-cream-based dessert shop that doesn't use liquid nitrogen or donuts. Shakeaway is, yup you guessed it, a milkshake bar. In fact, it purports to be the "World's Largest Milkshake Bar Company". It started in the U.K. in 1999, which is practically prehistoric when it comes to dessert concepts. Since then, it has expanded throughout the globe, with shops in the hottest parts of the world, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Now one's opened up in Huntington Beach, the first in OC but the third in California (two San Diego-area shops opened in the last year).


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Mitsuwa Costa Mesa Adds A Beer Vendor

Categories: Now Open

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Edwin Goei
Beer and beer snacks being sold.
Mitsuwa Costa Mesa, Orange County's preeminent Japanese food court, now has a beer vendor called New Japan Beer Company. It serves just four beers in 16-ounce plastic cups starting at $4.75. Three of them are the trinity of Kirin, Sapporo, and Asahi. The last is Stella Artois. But it does so ice cold and out of the tap.


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OPM Restaurant & Lounge To Open In Old Tap House Spot

Categories: Now Open

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http://opmhb.com
Yep. That's their logo.
Remember Tap House and Tap Shack, the sports bars with the pour-your-own beer taps? Both opened sometime in the last five years--Tap House in Huntington Beach and Tap Shack in Newport Beach--and both, well, tapped out sometime in the last year.

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Phoenix Boutique Rises Again in OC, This Time in Garden Grove

Categories: Now Open

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Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Chopstick away!

For a place that has a menu boasting over 200 items, the new Phoenix Food Boutique in Garden Grove has the tiniest parking lot. The narrow alley leading into it barely fits one car, and if you manage to squeeze through without shearing off a side mirror, you still have to compete for a spot to open up. This parking area, which has the same capacity as an average Coto de Caza driveway, is always full even when the restaurant isn't. On most nights it looks like a losing game of Tetris and, at any given hour, at least four idling cars will give up and leave in frustration.


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Piadina, New Italian Sandwich Shop, Opens In Tustin

Categories: Now Open

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Courtesy Irvine Company
This is their logo
The Marketplace in Irvine/Tustin is again exploding with even more new restaurants. A few months ago it was California Gogi Korean Grill and Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill among others. Now Miguel's Jr. has opened, as will the highly anticipated TAPS Fish House and Brewery in a few days.

And as I said in previous post, there's Piadina, which is named after the Italian flat-bread sandwich that it makes from scratch. Traditionally, piadinas are made from flattened raw bread dough baked-to-order on a griddle. The cooked discs are then used to hug proscuiito, cheese and arugula. The restaurant opened last week in the food court on the Tustin side where Jamba Juice and Rubio's are.


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Hakata Ikkousha in Costa Mesa Is a Temple for the Ramen Cult

Categories: Now Open

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Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Worship the bowl

I'm a noodle-soup agnostic. Pho. Niu rou mian. Thai boat noodle. I love all these warm bowls of instant comfort equally. So long as it comes out steaming-hot, has a good broth to sip and springy noodles to chew, I'm in my happy place. But ramen? Ramen is something else entirely. Ramen is not for casual worship. It's the noodle soup with cultish obsessives who'd be able to tell you what pH of alkalinity gives the noodles their characteristic golden hue or why the oil that floats on the surface of the soup is important (answer: it acts as insulation, keeping it hotter longer).


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Afters, Ice Cream Stuffed Donuts Pioneer, Opens in Tustin

Categories: Now Open

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Photo by Charles Lam
Mmm...donuts...with ice cream...
As Charles Lam wrote a few months ago, Afters, the ice-cream-stuffed-donut pioneer that started a feeding frenzy of crazy Yelp kids and local press, was working on its second OC store in Tustin.


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