Amar Santana Announces Upcoming Concept: Vaca, a Spanish Restaurant

Amar Santana biopicture.jpg
Why the hell do we not have a better pic in our archives?

When a chef goes off to open their own concept, it's a risk. Those that succeed are in it for the long haul. Some are even crazy enough to go through the process a second time. In the case of Amar Santana, he is revving to go.

Previously based out of Charlie Palmer's inside Bloomingdale's, chef returns to Costa Mesa with a cuisine as fierce as his Broadway smash in Laguna Beach. According to Santana, Vaca will be "inspired traditional Spanish." His new space will be across Bristol, inside Park Towers.

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XA Sweet & Savory Cafe Announces Second Location

Photo by Amanda DeFrancis/OC Weekly
Every day he's shuffling

We stopped by XA Sweet & Savory in Orange after recovering from a juice cleanse (more on that some other time) to refuel. In case you forgot about XA, both Edwin and I ranked it in our top five last year. It's that good.

Eventually Shawn Xa emerged from the kitchen, and he sat down to share his news. He's locked in a location for another XA that's due to launch in the spring. Plans for the sequel are plenty, but we'll start off with his coastal city of choice.

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Happy Birthday, Fritz That's It! Legendary Anaheim Gentleman's Club Celebrates its 20th TOMORROW

Courtesy of Fritz That's It
Pole Dance!

As Anaheim becomes more and more hipster-friendly, may the city's redevelopment ways NEVER take away Fritz That's It, the legendary gentleman's club that's celebrating it's 20th anniversary tonight. There's not need to; while hipsters think they're all classy as shit for going to burlesque shows, real men come to Fritz for a night of good drinks, good food and great lap dances. Take it from from the many men of distinction (whose names I won't mention out of respect) who have come here or continue to patronize Fritz.

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Chapter One Hosts Fundraiser for Halloween Hit-and-Run Victims THIS TUESDAY

Courtesy of the Huerta Family
L-R Lexi, Lexandra, Andrea: Gone too soon
It's been over a week since the tragic hit-and-run accident that took the lives of twins Lexi and Alexandra Huerta and Andrea Gonzales on Halloween night. Since then, the outpouring of support from the community has been strong, and this Tuesday night at Chapter One's Red Room, locals will be able to lend their support once more for the families of the girls through a benefit fundraiser event.

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Jollibee, Red Ribbon, & Valerio's To Open In Irvine With Seafood City

Edwin Goei
Open. Open. Open.
We broke the story here earlier this summer: Seafood City, the Filipino supermarket chain, is opening in Irvine. It will be its first store in Orange County at a space vacated by Shoe Pavillion (2180 Barranca Pkwy.) and flanked by a Wal-Mart.

Seafood City has eight other stores in Southern California, more throughout the state, most of them in cities where the Pinoys are.

Nevertheless, Irvine, which doesn't have a visible Filipino community, needs one of these, if simply because it will bring about more Filipino businesses and restaurants to a city that's already blessed with Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese ones.

But here's even more good news: when it opens, it will actually already come with three iconic Filipino businesses in it. Jollibee, Red Ribbon, and Valerio's have counters installed inside the market.

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Snow Monster to Open in Irvine's University Town Center

Photo by Kristine Hoang
They're coming..

Do you like macaron sandwiches, shaved ice, or milk tea served in mason jars? If so, you'll be glad to hear that Snow Monster is expanding to the University Town Center right by UC Irvine. It will be replacing the shaved ice joint Snowflakez between Blaze Pizza and Berkeley Dog. Though there's no date listed for the official grand opening, one thing's for sure: it's "happening soon."

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Anaheim's ARTIC Announces Additional Food Tenants

Photo by Dustin Ames
Pan roast in the ARTIC house!

We broke news in September about The Lost Bean, the first tenant to announce their plans to move into Anaheim's newest transportation hub, ARTIC. Our source passed along the official list of additional eateries soon to open, and it's looking pretty darn good.

First up, the slow and steady expansion of Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking. If you haven't already experienced their piping hot pan roast in Santa Ana or Huntington Beach, you're missing out. Even Edwin's a fan of their quirky, yet efficient cooking methods. In addition to SKC, there will be a whole lotta shucking going on as plans for an oyster bar are also in the works. If shellfish aren't your thing, then stay for their 20 brews on tap or absinthe-based cocktails. You heard us. We met Chef Ritter last month while attending a Halloween party. Hey chef, drop us a line! We're ready for that interview.

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Hello Kitty Cafe Coming to Orange County!

Anne Marie Panoringan
Our badass HK coin purse, circa 2010

As a little girl, Hello Kitty was the epitome of cool. I'd purchase pastel pens and pencils, gum that (maybe) lasted 20 minutes and collect all the trinkets they'd tape to our bags. Back in 2010 was my first sighting of a Hello Kitty mobile of sorts: they didn't carry food yet, but I scored a coin purse in the shape of a hamburger stand.

Jump four years later, and the first HK luxe lonchera won over girls of all ages this past weekend at MOCA's Hello Kitty Con. Stocked with Kitty-themed desserts, customers chose from a variety of sweets, including cake pops and macarons.

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Clay Oven Offers Tandoor-Cooked Thanksgiving Turkeys For Pre-Order

Tandoori Turkey.
For the past 22 years Geeta Bansal's Clay Oven Indian Restaurant in Irvine has been making turkeys in its tandoor for Thanksgiving. And every year around this time, they offer it for pre-orders. It's a downright tradition.

This year, a bird goes for $74.95 and serves at least six. They're skinless and marinated in a herb and spice blend before being roasted in the superheated barrel-shaped ovens. They're also stuffed with an spice and vegetable infused basmati rice, and comes with a cranberry chutney on the side, because, hey, what's a Thanksgiving turkey without some sort of cranberry sauce.

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Long Beach Urban Farm Dinner THIS SUNDAY!

Roughing it

Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) are not only another way to eat well, but they help local growers. The Growing Experience - An Urban Farm out of Long Beach is a CSA that sets up shop at Uptown farmers' market in Bixby Knolls every Thursday afternoon. However, what makes them unique is their joint collaboration with the University of California Cooperative Extension and Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles.

Started in 1996, a vacant, seven-acre lot within the Carmelitos Housing Development was transformed to a fruit and vegetable garden. Crops are grown year-round without synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. Residents with an interest in green industries and landscaping can hone in on their skills while participating in workshops and tours. This year marks the fifth anniversary of their autumn harvest event.

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