Long's Kitchen Opens in Irvine; Replaces Li's Kite

Edwin Goei
Long's Kitchen
About a year ago, Koko's Cafe closed after about three years in business serving what was, at the time, the only Hong Kong-style cafe food in Irvine. It closed because, presumably Tasty Garden opened a few blocks down and ate up all the Hong Kong-style cafe food business. Koko's was soon replaced by a restaurant called Li's Kite. Li's Kite served beef noodles. Now Li's Kite is also gone, replaced by another eatery called Long's Kitchen.

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Oki Doki Closes In Costa Mesa; Ikkousha, Ramen Shop from Japan, Takes Over

The newest Ramentown resident.
Oki Doki--the restaurant that served ramen at the same time it offered Vietnamese bun and Malay fried rice--has shuttered at 3033 Bristol St., the same corner at Paularino that once also housed Orchid Restaurant.

In its place Ikkousha is opening. Ikkousha is short for Hakata Ramen Ikkousha, which has twelve restaurants in Japan and a burgeoning empire in Indonesia, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and Hong Kong.

This Costa Mesa store is its first in the US. The specialty, of course, is the thick milky pork bone broths of the Hakata style.

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Vegan Nirvana Opens in Huntington Beach

Screenshot of their Twitter.
Scraps was a restaurant that had a bad name but good intentions. The chef was young, but her cooking was always interesting (kimchi-flavored waffles and fried pig ears) even as it was hit-or-miss.

I wrote a review of Scraps a few weeks after it opened. It closed about a year and half later.

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The Beach Barrel Replaces Biggie Baguette In Newport

I reviewed Biggie Baguette or Quebec Montreal Poutine, whichever name it finally went by, late last summer for its poutine--the Canadian staple of fries in gravy with cheese curds. A few months later Biggie Baguette or Quebec Montreal Poutine, whichever it was, closed.

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Berkeley Dog at University Town Center Closes to Make Way for Slapfish

Photo by Charles Lam

Well, this is a weird kind of bummer. Berkeley Dog, the pretty awesome hot dog spot across the street from UC Irvine, is now closed, and will become UTC's Slapfish location, once construction is finished.

I still remember when Berkeley Dog opened in, I think, 2011. It was really the first new, hip restaurant in UTC, which would pave the way for Chipotle, Chik-Fil-A, and a whole mess of other new restaurants in the plaza. The food, inspired by Cal's Top Dog, was great, and it was one of the first restaurants I reviewed as the New University's food critic. The only problem was that, apparently after my generation of anteaters graduated, it just wasn't that popular of a spot.

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Marukai Costa Mesa Turns Into Tokyo Central

Thumbnail image for ramen_iroha.jpg
Edwin Goei
What Marukai's food court looked like two years ago.

If you noticed that Marukai in Costa Mesa has been missing its food court lately, it's because it has been renovating for the past few months. Now those renovations are ready and in anticipation of its debut, the whole supermarket is closed from now until it grand opening January 22 (with a soft opening January 15).

When it re-emerges on that date, it won't be a Marukai anymore. Rebranded Tokyo Central, the new market will have the new food court, which the website describes like this:

"Specializing in an extensive assortment of ready-made foods and dishes from our open kitchens, TOKYO CENTRAL is a specialty market that offers a wide variety of imported foodstuffs and general goods from Japan..."

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Panxa Cocina Opens in Long Beach

Panxa Cocina
Chef Arthur Gonzalez's new restaurant, called Panxa Cocina, has opened in Long Beach at the spot recently vacated by Christy's on Broadway. Christy's closed last summer after a 20-year run. It was named after its owner, Christy Bono, who is the late Sonny Bono's daughter.

You might remember Gonzalez as the owner and chef of ROE Restaurant of Belmont Shore, a seafood joint that had to revert to serving its food out of a truck when renovations on its building hit road block after road block.

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Magic Wok in Artesia Closes :-( ...UPDATE!

Edwin Goei
The room in which great things are eaten.

Update: December 9, 2014.

We got an e-mail that Magic Wok is rehiring, which was confirmed by a post on their Facebook page (why didn't anyone tell us they had a Facebook page!!)

They're still closed as of this writing, but it doesn't seem long that they might reopen...or at least we hope so.

Yet in reading their latest posts, there was a hint on the real reason why it closed. It said:

The gossips are that they closed us up that is not true. We decided to closed the store. We had an employee, you might say a whistleblower but at this moment I cannot discuss it yet till we settle this issue. Thank you for asking...

Original article:

I got the devastating news this past Thanksgiving: Magic Wok, the beloved Filipino joint in the heart of the Filipino community in Artesia/Cerritos, has closed. The note taped to the window says:

"The Magic Wok Restaurant is close (sic) effective 9-29-14. We are taking a long vacation and R and R. Thank you for your support and patronage."
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Orchid Restaurant in Costa Mesa Evicted

Photo by JBinOC
That's a lot of paper.

Tipster and Top-Commenter JB sent us a heads up that Orchid Restaurant in Costa Mesa closed last Tuesday. Actually, they were evicted.

He writes to us that "the landmark Persian eatery and occasional poppin' Friday and Saturday night reception hall [was] evicted with the assistance of the sheriff last Tuesday."

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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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