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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Dosa Place in Tustin Closes; Moves To Its Original Location In...Tustin

Photo by Kimberly Valenzuela
Is that all you got?

There was once only one Dosa Place in Tustin, the one on Redhill. Then there were two, when the 17th Street restaurant opened in 2010. Then, somewhere along the way, the Dosa Place on Redhill became Dosa Express. And so, there was technically only one Dosa Place in Tustin, the one on 17th Street.

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Laguna Beach's House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer To Close Next Month

Photo by Keith May

House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, the restaurant with a mouthful of words and a slew of awards including Best Happy Hour 2011 and Best Seafood Restaurant 2010, is closing next month. We got a tip from a reader that the parent company was going to focus on its hotel properties and decided not to renew its lease.

So we contacted Casa Resorts Inc.--which owns Hotel Ménage and La Case del Camino--and they confirmed it.

Included in the confirmation was this tidbit from a press release.

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