Dining | Orange Coast Magazine
 

Main Course: Rancho Santa Margarita's The Blind Pig

The slender brunette slams shut her textbook as soon as she sees us step through the front door. She leads us to a cushy half-round banquette lining the roomy bay window at the rear of the tavern. It’s dark out, so the window reflects the room’s multiple flat screens and its handful of patrons. Read more...

Main Course: Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

Serial restaurateur David Wilhelm is legendary for creating and extinguishing more dining hot spots in O.C. than any hospitality veteran still on the scene. After a long hiatus, he’s back in a typically bold way with the whopping Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern overlooking Dana Point Harbor. Read more...

Fashion Island Newbie is Plenty Satisfying, But Doesn’t Surprise

She sits quietly at a table for two at the front window, only a glass of water before her. Not even a menu. After 20 minutes, my tablemate spots a solo male, looking bemused, at a table in the back of the 220-seat space. Eventually, the two singles find each other and share a meal. Read more...

Main Course: Little Sparrow

As I dig in to my latest meal at Santa Ana’s Little Sparrow, a loop of the ’60s E-chord surf tune won’t leave my head. A-well-a bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word. I chalk it up to dizzy relief. It’s been some time since a new restaurant has wowed me three times in a row. The bloody mary is superb, and I’ve had only one—I swear. Read more...

Dining Deconstruction: Smoked Duck Fries

The idea of value-added frites, either a descendant of SoCal carne asada fries or a riff on Canada’s gravy-topped poutines, might be one of the best craft beer or cocktail go-withs ever. This version from DivBar, on the Newport Beach waterfront, gilds the already-rich frites with sumptuous smoked duck. $9 Read more...

Main Course: Brick

San Clemente’s Brick fires up some outstanding artisan pizzas, but do not call this beach burg restaurant a “pizzeria.” Its original name, Brick Pizzeria, made sense when chef-owner David Pratt opened in May 2012, but as time passed and the kitchen found its groove and audience, the term seemed too narrow, and Brick simply made more sense. Read more...

Main Course: Early Bird

I’m having a surreal moment in a bland Fullerton shopping center. I’m eating, and loving, a pile of crispy rice that’s flecked with salt cod, fresh herbs, and roasted peanuts. Moments before, I fell for Texas quail on a puddle of coffee molasses made with fresh strawberries and rye. I almost look around for hidden cameras. Read more...

11 Delectable Photos from What is Possibly the Clunkiest-Named-Restaurant in Orange County

Everything about cozy Wineworks for Everyone is tasteful and discerning, except for its clunky name. Is it a store? A motto? A bumper sticker? Get over this confusing hurdle and the reward is one of the best bistros within miles. Click here for the full Main Course review. Read more...

Main Course: Wineworks for Everyone

Everything about cozy Wineworks for Everyone is tasteful and discerning, except for its clunky name. Is it a store? A motto? A bumper sticker? Get over this confusing hurdle and the reward is one of the best bistros within miles. Read more...

Main Course: Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico

Being trapped in a gridlocked tourist zone is perhaps my most feared August nightmare. To even consider parking on Broadway in Laguna Beach—ground zero for vacationers right now—the potential for dining pleasure must be exceptional. What a delight to report that Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico is well worth the trek. Open since September, the yearling shop mere steps from busy Coast Highway stays packed with locals—customers with plenty of neighborhood alternatives, including Javier’s, Asada Laguna, and Avila’s El Ranchito. Even during my first test-drives in sleepy winter months, local demand for the virtuoso margaritas in tall tumblers and Mexican fare with a modern edge was conspicuous. Read more...
 
 
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