Dining Blog - Orange Coast Magazine

TASTE OF O.C. | Priscilla Mayfield on food


Nathaniel Nguyen's Morning By Thasos in Costa Mesa―Real Life is Better Than TV

Posted By: Priscilla Mayfield · 3/7/2013 9:00:00 AM

Remember Nathaniel Nguyen? I did a post last month about his appearance on ‘The Taste’ cooking show. A self-taught chef with experience that ranges from fine dining to food truck, the Huntington Beach resident has taken over the kitchen for breakfast at Thasos Greek Island Grill in Costa Mesa from 8 a.m. to noon on weekends. I’ve meant to stop by since our chat, and finally got the chance last weekend. While the savory waffle and butter-poached shrimp he offered Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson on TV is, sadly, nowhere to be seen (and believe me, I looked), there’s plenty else to choose from on his succinct “Morning by Thasos” menu.

While his future plans run from pop-up suppers to owning a full-on brick-and-mortar, for now you can see his work at this cheery, small space across the street from South Coast Plaza. His goal is to offer healthful foods ...

O.C. Restaurants: Katsuya in Laguna Beach Gets the Kibosh

Posted By: Priscilla Mayfield · 3/3/2013 4:45:00 PM

 A year ago in our March issue, Katsuya by Starck’s crispy rice with spicy tuna reigned supreme in a Smackdown. Maybe there’s something to be said for going to the source—Katsuya Uechi invented the dish at his ground-breaking San Fernando Valley restaurant, after all. Now, you’ll have to hurry if you want to try the progenitor here in O.C., because tomorrow is the last day of service for the Laguna Beach outpost. Fans might find small consolation in knowing this final night will still be locals’ special Monday, with all menu items half price. But what of the prime Coast Highway space? One rumor has a fine-dining mini-empire from another Asian tradition eyeing it for its second Orange County location...

Cucina Enoteca in Irvine―O.C. Restaurant Week, and Beyond

Posted By: Priscilla Mayfield · 3/1/2013 9:00:00 AM

Have you taken advantage of Orange County Restaurant Week yet? If not, you’ve got today and tomorrow to do so. (Take a look at the participating restaurants here.) At Cucina Enoteca, I was impressed by the generous choice on the special restaurant-week $25 and $30 menus—an especially good thing due to my enforcement of the informal-yet-ironclad agreement that my family orders a variety of dishes for everybody to taste.

Even with my vigilance, I was lucky to get a microbite of my son’s roasted Jidori chicken and creamy polenta. (I loved the addition of what the menu calls a poached hen egg, really a cooked-in-shell oeuf mollet.)  Honey-roasted eggplant pizza with goat cheese, mere millimeters thin and extra-crisp as requested, was exactly what my husband wanted after his Bulleit rye Manhattan ($10.50), which bartender Chris Yee makes with Carpano Antica vermouth. My apéritif was the sparkling rosé wine director ...

All Fire, All the Time, at Arc in Costa Mesa's The OC Mix

Posted By: Priscilla Mayfield · 2/20/2013 7:00:00 PM

Open less than two weeks, and already busy at lunch when I was there, chef Noah Blom’s Arc, in The OC Mix, is a beguiling mix of guts and glam. It’s not surprising to find unremitting rusticity where the chef breaks down whole pigs and poultry, all the cooking’s done over a wood fire or in a wood-fired oven, and the napkins are Ikea cotton dishtowels. The happy surprise: finesse, even classicism. Charred Brussels sprouts appear, yes, but also tarte flambée, with béchamel and nuggets of house-cured and -smoked bacon, thanks to Blom’s haute cuisine background. After culinary school in San Francisco, he worked for Daniel Boulud at Daniel in New York—and, the Newport Beach native’s first restaurant job as a teenager was at the Ritz. Arc is Blom’s second restaurant in The Mix—he’s also chef-partner at Shuck oyster bar.

The glamour continues in the craft cocktails created by ...


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