Wow Bento, Pokinometry-like Restaurant, Opens in Irvine

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Charles Lam
This is the bowl from Pokinometry.
Pokinometry is a successful concept. And with all successful concepts, it was going to happen sooner or later: you're going to get copycats.

If you look at the menu, Wow Bento in Irvine looks to be a nearly exact copy of Pokinometry's menu and assembly line setup: you either want a poke rice bowl (white or brown), a salad, or nachos. Then you add avocado, crab meat, cucumber, and sliced onion. Next, three choices of fish from this list: spicy tuna, salmon, tuna, albacore, shrimp, octopus, scallop, or tamago. Then, the sauce from no spicy to hot. Finally, there's the station with ginger, green onion, masago, and wasabi. The charge: $8.

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Popcorn Chicken Opens in Irvine

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https://www.facebook.com/taiwanpopcornchicken
Mmm...Taiwanese night market food...on a stick.
As we wrote about earlier this year, a restaurant specializing in the Taiwanese snack popcorn chicken was slated to open in Irvine. Last week, the restaurant opened, but it's not just popcorn chicken they're selling.

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SOCIAL Costa Mesa Opens

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https://www.facebook.com/socialcostamesa
Yes, they also have salads.
A new restaurant and bar opened in Costa Mesa last night. It's called SOCIAL Costa Mesa at 512 W. 19th Street at the location of the former London Pub. The chef is Jeffrey Boullt, who was previously the sous chef at Playground.

Here's a snippet of what the press release says about the dishes he's cooking there:


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Snuff A&O Kitchen+Bar's Cigar Dessert--Quick

Categories: Now Open

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Photo by Dustin Ames
Much better...maybe

Let me tell you about the first time something I ate at a restaurant made me . . . um, trip out. Yeah, that's what I'll call it. It was a dessert served at the new A&O Kitchen+Bar in Newport Beach: The Tobacco & Whiskey Brulee looks innocent enough, served in a flip-top glass jar. But it isn't; you have to be at least 18 to order it, as it's actually made with tobacco. According to our waiter, a cigar is unfurled and its innards steeped in milk. That milk is used to make the custard, which is chilled inside the jar, then topped with a scoop of whiskey-infused chocolate mousse and bits of chocolate streusel that are scattered around like flicked cigarette ashes. Tastes like Grandpa's shirt! They presented the dessert with a comically long spoon, and it was the last thing I ate that fateful Saturday brunch.


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"Dude, Where's My Curry" Opens in Foothill Ranch

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http://www.dudewheresmycurry.com
Dude, does anyone remember the movie?

Groan if you must. Go ahead, take a few cheap shots in the comment section. You know you want to. Anyone for "Dude, Where's the Pepto?" or some meaner variant of that?

But to me, the name owner Rohit Walia picked for his Indian restaurant in the quiet suburban sprawl of Lake Forest's Foothill Ranch neighborhood is brilliant in the same way that Pho King Way is brilliant. When you're in a crowded market and what you're selling is practically a commodity, the worst thing to do is to pick an off-the-shelf name that sounds like everyone else's. So why not repurpose Ashton Kutcher's low-brow comedy for a chuckle if it will bring them in.

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Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles Finally Brings Its Famed Combo to OC

Categories: Now Open

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Photo by Dustin Ames
Chicken already eaten

The first time I ate fried chicken at a Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles was about 20 years ago in Long Beach. There was a wait, as I'm told there always is on Sunday mornings; half the crowd was in church clothes. When I was finally seated in that pink-neon-bathed diner, I ate the fowl as I do all fried chickens, with my fingers digging deep into the crisp skin and moist meat, then dousing everything in sight with Red Rooster hot sauce. But here, for the first time, the chicken came with a waffle--two foods that, until that point in my life, had been separated by at least a few hours of digestion. On the plate and in my mouth, something wonderful happened: The hot sauce swirled into the maple syrup, and the sweet, sticky flavors of breakfast blended with the salty, greasy, spicy, fried ones of lunch. It was kismet.


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Capital Noodle Bar Opens In Irvine Tomorrow!

Categories: Now Open

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Edwin Goei
They're not noodling around.
Capital Noodle Bar--the spin-off of Diamond Jamboree's Capital Seafood and Irvine Spectrum's Capital--has announced that it will have its soft opening tomorrow at Crossroads, the same plaza as Creamistry, Urban Plates and DonerG. The Noodle Bar is located next to Ha Long.

As Anne Marie reported a few weeks ago:

"For the menu, expect their signature Hainan chicken, plus noodles and stir fry entrees mostly under $10. Two curry spaghetti dishes will cost you extra. They'll also offer a handful of dim sum sides for snacking, plus beer and wine options."
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M3 Live Bar & Grill Opens in Old "Battle of the Dance" Building in Anaheim

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https://www.facebook.com/m3livebargrill
M3 Live Bar & Grill
"Battle of the Dance" was, by all accounts, a spectacular failure. For those who remembered, it opened in February of 2011 a few blocks down Harbor from Disneyland, promising dinner and a rollicking flamenco and Irish dancing show (which was actually quite entertaining). It closed 16 months later.

What it left behind was a huge shell of a building that used to be a Toys-R-Us. Now a new restaurant and bar called M3 Live Bar & Grill has moved in, which has plans for the theater "Battle of the Dance" built. Its Facebook says it "will soon future top acts for dinner and show."

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Interview with A La Minute's Executive Chef Ryan Berk

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Scoop it up!

I sat down with A La Minute's executive chef and owner Ryan Berk at his new location in the Orange Circle to literally get the scoop on what all of this liquid nitrogen buzz was about. As we began to chat in the vintage farmhouse-esque creamery, Berk graciously made sure every flavor was brought to our table. It was like the clouds opened up and there was the answer to all of my hot summer day's prayers.

How'd you get started?

I've always been passionate about food. Running around in the yard, growing strawberries and tomatoes as a kid. I really liked the ideology of food and where it was coming from! I got started in the industry when I was 14 at a little Thai restaurant in my hometown, Redlands. I started as a dishwasher and sort of made my way up to a cook position. I was the only white kid in the kitchen getting trained by all of these Thai ladies. That's where I really gained a respect for culture and where the food was coming from.

Did you always know this was something you wanted to do?

I think it just evolved. I would save up every year to travel somewhere around the world. Right when I turned 16 I would go somewhere whether it was, India, West Africa, or South America. I would just leave and experience a bit of culture. I've always wanted to understand where different food was coming from. I don't know where the passion came from, but I've always just loved food.


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Jinbei in Irvine is a Japanese Restaurant's Japanese Restaurant

Categories: Now Open

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Photo by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Your new Cafe Hiro

I usually avoid using the too­-easily misconstrued word authentic 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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