S.T. Noodle Bar in Long Beach Brings on the Heat and Thai Flavors

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Killer khao soi

Have you ever had something so spicy it burns the skin? It happened to me with S.T. Noodle Bar's khao soi, a bowl of flat, yellow egg noodles drowned in a coconut-curry broth. I ordered it medium, which I believe is the standard there, and in the middle of my slurping, a few drops of the yellow liquid dribbled down my chin. First, I felt a warmness there. Then it actually stung. I realized then that what the restaurant called its medium level of spice was probably as hot as I could handle. There were still two levels above that--spicy and extra-spicy--but here I was, not even halfway through the bowl, and my whole mouth throbbed and my brow had turned into Niagara Falls. If you had sat across the table from me, you would've thought I was in pain, but instead, I was in a euphoric state of endorphin-fueled pleasure, with John Mellencamp's "Hurts So Good" playing in my head.

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Luna Kutsi, Mexican Restaurant, Opens In Old Memphis at The Santora Spot in Downtown Santa Ana

Categories: Now Open

Luna Kutsi Facebook
Artist rendering.
In an old review of Diego's Downtown in Downtown Santa Ana, I wrote it "straddles two disparate dining universes--hipster restaurants on one side, countless regional Mexican specialists on the other" trying to appeal to the customers of both.

Unfortunately, Diego's closed earlier this year after about two years. This, however, does not mean that the dream died with it.

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El Patio, Legendary Anaheim Mexican Eatery, Closes This Month, Re-Opens in May!

Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Goodbye ol' friend :-(

The day of reckoning is near for El Patio, Anaheim's beloved Mexican restaurant. With plans approved in January to demolish the shopping center where it stands, the hole-in-the-wall has to be out by April 26. But fret not, El Patio faithfuls: The Anaheim staple (since 1977) has found a new location just a half-mile down the street and will be reopening in May!

"It's going to be bittersweet," says Douglas Molina, vice president of El Patio. "We're going to move because we have to move. It's a sad day but we have to go forward regardless."

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Paninoteca Maggio Returns to Santa Ana With its Amazing Paninis

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi

If you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I would've said that the only two meatball sandwiches worth eating in all of Orange County were at Cortina's and Harry's Deli. Then I'd remember that Harry's Deli closed, so I'd say it was Cortina's--just Cortina's. But now, I'd add Paninoteca Maggio's to that list and tell you it might be the greatest yet.

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Fins Poke Fusion, New Poke Restaurant, Serves Poke and Unagi Sandwiches

More poke! More fun!
Did already we already mention poke is blowing up all over? I think we did. But here's more proof.

Sushi Zone, an all-you-can-eat sushi joint in Mission Viejo, has rebranded itself as Fins, a restaurant specializing in poke bowls where you can choose your flavor (either a house spicy mayo vinaigrette, a ponzu blend, or sesame shoyu), and your fish (salmon or tuna), your base (spring mix, white rice, or brown rice) to make poke bowls of your chosen size (either a regular for $8.95, or a large for $11.95). Extras like avocado, masago, or octopus can be added for a $1.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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