Orange Coast Magazine

The Return of Break of Dawn Can't Come Too Soon

Even though the situation is only temporary, things are a little rough around brunchtime since eternal Orange County favorite Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills closed last month. Where are we to get our tempura eggs, house-cured pork belly, and crème brulée French toast with soy caramel? Well, we won’t have to go far, as it turns out—the restaurant is relocating to a bigger space in Oakbrook Village, where it’s always been. Read more...

At Masterlink, the Daily Grind is Anything But

Tucked away behind a no-frills metal security door on the alley side of Big’s Bar and Grill in Fullerton, Masterlink Sausage and Meats quietly hums with activity. The 50-year-old Fullerton institution turns out more than 60,000 pounds of sausages a week, many under its own label, and a lot for brands you know, including one of the very biggest names in the sausage biz. I’m not at liberty to divulge that one, or other clients nearly as big, some of whom send their own proprietary spice blends to Masterlink marked in code—even the sausage makers don’t know what’s in them. For plenty of others, Masterlink does the seasoning and smoking. Sales manager Mike Pease showed me a bin of hickory wood shavings for the smoker—the company doesn’t use liquid smoke flavoring. Read more...

For April, a Refreshing Deal From Savory Spice Shop

At The Groves Antique Fair at the Orange County Great Park last week, I had a nice chat with a seller about his extensive display of old spice boxes, tins, and bottles. He had some as old as 1930s-era, but the familiar red-and-white McCormick tin, other than logo updates, hasn’t undergone any truly radical change over the decades. Read more...

Layers of Mystery in Our Dining Critic's Lasagna

As you can imagine, even a restaurant critic who likes to cook doesn’t get the chance that often. Oh, how we pity those folks who eat in one fabulous restaurant or another practically every night, right? Actually, the unfortunate truth is not every restaurant is fabulous, and critics sometimes crave a home-cooked dinner at their own quiet table. Read more...

Salade Lyonnaise is a Taste of Ann Mah's 'Mastering the Art of French Eating'

As promised in my Q&A with O.C. native Ann Mah, a recipe today from her “Mastering the Art of French Eating” (Pamela Dornan Books/Viking, 2013). It’s salade Lyonnaise. Among salads, are there any better than those with bacon and eggs? Mah’s version of this classic has coddled eggs, rather than poached, making for an especially nice presentation as an oozy, runny, golden yolk is revealed in each serving.

Thursday is a Good Day for Farmers Marketing in O.C.

Thursday in Orange County is positively loaded with farmers markets. The total is seven now, with the newest opening a week ago in downtown Santa Ana, and Westminster opening in mid-January. Thursday also has O.C.’s oldest, the venerable fairgrounds farmer confab in Costa Mesa. Read more...

Sugar Beak Bakery is a Treat for the Vegan Sweet Tooth

Following a plant-based diet, whether for health or ethics, doesn’t automatically exclude dessert. Everybody likes cookies, and in fact there are baked goods proudly wearing VEGAN stickers everywhere you look. But the truth is, a lot of self-identified vegan products just aren’t very good. Read more...

'The Great Food Truck Race' Season 5: No Experience Required is the Only Requirement

If you’ve ever idly dreamed about entering “The Great Food Truck Race,” here’s a little encouragement—the Food Network is casting season five. Tyler Florence will again host, but this time there’s a new restriction that actually opens things up a bit: The production company wants only cooks with exactly zero experience running a food truck. The contest amounts to on-the-job training, because the grand prize remains, of course, a food truck. Read more...

Fig & Olive Fashion Island is All Extra-Virgin, All the Time

Executive chef Pascal Lorange oversees all six Fig & Olive restaurants, and was in Newport Beach recently looking in on his Fashion Island baby, only the second outside of New York. An L.A. outpost opened in 2011, and Chicago’s getting its first later this year. I imagine he was pleased with what he found. Even on a Tuesday afternoon, the bright, 12,000-square-foot space—encompassing patio, lounge, main “white room,” and more intimate wine bar—was hopping. Read more...

At Lazy Dog, Thin Mints are Still on the Menu

Did you get a chance to try the new exclusive-to-O.C. gluten-free Girl Scout cookie before sales closed last week? It’ll be interesting to see if they give the classic favorites any competition—as everyone knows, among Girl Scout cookies it’s Thin Mints that get most of the attention. Read more...

O.C.'s Best: Dining Guides

  • O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

    The classic hair-of-the-dog cocktail is bigger and bolder than ever, with inspired garnishes and premium upgrades

    Get your vegetables and booze in one convenient—and delicious—serving with what’s been hailed as America’s murkiest and most complex cocktail. Traditionally made with tomato juice, vodka, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, its origins are widely debated. Here are five superb O.C. renditions of the world-famous drink.

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  • O.C.’s Best: Power Lunches

    For the business elite, big meals and big deals are all part of the dance

    When it’s time to impress important clients, it helps to have the right atmosphere. Our advice? Do it over a lunch that shows you mean business. Break bread at any of these five restaurants in Orange County—don’t forget to wear your best-looking suit and, of course, bring the company plastic. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Elixir Soups

    If you’ve caught whichever virus currently is making the rounds, reach for comfort in a steaming bowl of goodness

    There’s nothing like the warmth of soup to soothe the misery of a cold or flu. Whether it’s a light broth or hearty porridge, it’s a universally nurturing remedy. If mom’s not around to prepare her famous homemade chicken soup, these five Orange County options are the next-best thing. Read More
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