The Boathouse Collective's Costa Mesa Zen

Categories: Now Open

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi

"Where is this place?" my date asked nervously, looking around at the barely lit street and deserted sidewalks.

We were driving through a desolate, industrial part of Costa Mesa we'd never been to and had no business being in before tonight. A factory with gigantic pressure vessels and pillars spewing steam passed on my left. On the right was a darkened car-repair shop.

"It's around here," I said, trying to sound confident.

Then I saw it. The only hints of life for blocks are a string of lights and a sign in the dark that reads, "Boathouse Collective parking." We parked under the glow of a street lamp and walked toward the entrance: a gap between two shipping containers, with razor wire strung across the tops. As we neared it, a pair of flood lights flickered on, triggered by motion detectors.

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Cismontane Brewing Tasting Room Now Open In Santa Ana

Dave Lieberman
One less toll to pay

In June, Cleo gave details on Cismontane's future tap room. Over the weekend, the Rancho Santa Margarita-based brewery opened its doors with specials on tap and food trucks to fill your belly.

Found off the 55 and Warner Avenue (cross street Grand), their hours during the week are weekdays from 3 - 9 p.m. Saturdays are from noon to 9 p.m., and Sundays go from noon to 5 p.m. Three cheers to a more easily accessible location!

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Anaheim's 369 Chinese Replaced By Wafting Fragrance Noodle House

Dave Lieberman
It says "Wafting Fragrance" in Chinese. Otherwise it's just any old noodle house.

I was at 99 Ranch today buying lime leaves and lemongrass for a friend in Florida who doesn't have any good Asian markets nearby, and it was lunchtime. I couldn't bring myself to go to Jollibee or its brethren, I can't stand the service at Ten Ten, and I didn't want a Lee's sandwich.

As I was about to pull out of the parking lot and go find something else, I saw that 369 Restaurant, the Shanghainese place that faces Crescent, had been replaced. The only English signage for the newcomer simply says "Noodle House"; the name Wafting Fragrance comes from the Chinese name for the place, 飘香 (piao xiang).

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Laguna Beach's House of Big Fish Resurrected as Big Fish Tavern

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We're going to need a bigger boat.
Laguna Beach's The House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer--the restaurant with a mouthful of words for a name and a slew of awards from us including Best Happy Hour 2011 and Best Seafood Restaurant 2010--closed last month when its owner, Casa Resorts, decided it was was going to focus on its hotel properties.

But Big Fish lives on. Jim Walker and Louie Feinstein, owners of The Bungalow restaurant in Corona del Mar, have taken it over and last weekend it was officially resurrected as Big Fish Tavern.

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Amor y Tacos: For the Love of Mole

Photos by Jennifer Fedrizzi

Have you ever heard of "Mole Tots"? Yes, that's "mole," as in the legendary Mexican sauce made from more ingredients than you have fingers to count, plus tots, as in tater, the cafeteria staple you loved as a kid. Order it at Amor y Tacos in Cerritos, and you're served a fruit basket's worth of the cork-sized potato plugs, fried up crunchy and smothered in queso panela, shredded red onions, cilantro, sour cream, and the mole sauce that chef/owner Thomas Ortega makes with 21 different chiles and spices--a concoction so complex you'd think it less Mexican and more Google algorithm.

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Capital Noodle Bar: Ni Hao, Hainan

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Photo by Jennifer Fedrizzi
Good noodles, too!

The last time I had a perfect plate of Hainan chicken rice, it was in Singapore at some random hawker center I probably couldn't locate now if you gave me a map. Other than Savoy Kitchen in Alhambra, the undisputed king of Hainan chicken rice in Southern California, I've found very few restaurants here that do it well. It's a hard dish to nail because it's also the simplest. Technique and timing trumps everything; there's nowhere to hide mediocrity.

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Creamistry Opens In Long Beach

Categories: Now Open

Thumbnail image for Creamistry6.jpg
Photo by Dustin Ames
Ice cream eventually.
Creamistry, one of the first nitrogen ice-cream shops to open in OC, is now in the LBC. Belmont Shore to be exact. It opened this week.

For those of you reading in Long Beach who haven't been to the original Irvine location, here's what I wrote previously about it:

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Rollie's Bakery & Mexican Cafe Closes; Kaminariya Yakitori Dining Opens in Tustin

Edwin Goei
Rollie's in 2008.
Rollie's Bakery was one of OC's few Bolivian restaurants, specializing in salteñas, which are "ostensibly empanadas, but few in Latin America are so sturdy that they can contain broth inside their shells," as Gustavo wrote in his Hole-in-the-Wall column back in 2009.

The restaurant opened in 2008 and has graced these pages many times for those salteñas, winning "Best Empanada in 2010".

Now it has been replaced by a new yakitori restaurant called Kaminariya that competes against Honda-Ya, which is still packing them in a few blocks away. The yakitori is made from from Jidori chicken, but so are the karaage (sesame chicken), simmered giblets stew, and fried cartilage.

You can see what else is made with the chicken on their Facebook.

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Barley Forge Brewing Co. Now Open in Costa Mesa! (Updated With Corrections)

Categories: Now Open

Barley Forge Facebook
Your flight has arrived.
Dave wrote a few months ago about a new brewery opening in Costa Mesa called Barley Forge. This is the brewery owned by Greg Nylen, an attorney in his previous life, his wife Mary Ann Frericks, and co-founders David Chapman and Dave Stolte, who's also its design director. The brewmaster is none other than David Huls, who was lured away from TAPS in Brea, as our own Dave wrote.The brewmaster is Kevin Buckley, formerly of Latitude 33 in Vista.

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Meat Up BBQ Opens in Placentia

Categories: Now Open

This is where you'll meet up at Meat Up.
Is it just me, or does North County have, like, a lot of BBQ restaurants now. There's Leadbelly's, JP23, Big B's, Blake's Place and I haven't even started counting the chains.

Now there's one more called Meat Up BBQ, which opened in Placentia last weekend, taking up the space of Sue Ann's American Kitchen. Meat Up BBQ is a joint effort from the people behind The Viking Truck and GarlicScapes Truck.

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