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Author Gretchen Kurz

  • Gretchen Kurz

    Dining Critic

    Kurz has been an Orange Coast dining critic since 2004. The O.C. native has a wickedly good palate, and wears out the magnetic strip of her credit card reviewing restaurants and covering the local dining scene. Between meals, she’s the local editor of Orange County’s Zagat Survey.

 

The Ultimate Guide to O.C.'s Mexican Food

Nachos to Beat The Cal-Mex take on carne asada nachos at La Sirena Grill outshines the competition. The key is the precise ratio of primo goods: grilled grass-fed beef, luscious Hass avocados, organic pinto beans, jack cheese, and spicy-fresh pico de gallo. Wash it down with watermelon-strawberry agua fresca. 347 Mermaid St., Laguna Beach, 949‑497‑8226... Read more...

Pizza Love

PIZZA E VINO The self-described “Antica Pizzeria Napoletana,” just steps from the lake in Rancho Santa Margarita, lives up to its billing and then some, with old-school technique, charm-your-socks-off Italian ambience, and a new-school mindset. The restaurant is O.C.’s first—and the country’s 39th—to be Verace Pizza Napoletana-certified as serving authentic Naples-style... Read more...

Top 10 Restaurants of 2012


Best New Restaurants of 2011

Fresh fish, new brews, and lots of Italian headline, with the new model for success: uncomplicated settings, rockin’ cocktails, and value-heavy deals. After we distilled our 10 faves, ranked here by preference, Taco Asylum, Chapter One, and Rock’n Fish opened. Read more...
  • Best of 2013: Speaker Series

    Newport Beach Public Library Foundation looks for the best speakers on topical issues—and boy, does it deliver. The Witte Lectures series has included playwright Edward Albee, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, and food writer Ruth Reichl. Renowned British novelist Zadie Smith is scheduled for OCt. 30, and O.C. novelist Peggy Hesketh on Nov. 7, in the intimate 215-seat auditorium, which makes the post-talk, question-and-answer session that much more fun. Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: East Side Costa Mesa

    This updated neighborhood doesn’t have to try hard to be interesting, original, surprising, and modern—it just is. Take the mile-long stretch of strip malls along 17th Street, between Newport Boulevard and Irvine Avenue, the heart of the renaissance. Foodies come for the Instagram-worthy Aussie-style meat pies at PieNot, coconut French toast at Plums Café, and braised pork panini at Pitfire Artisan Pizza. And that’s just the Ps. Other homegrown restaurants and shops tip toward lean-and-clean fare, such as the casual Jan’s Health Bar. Plus it’s the birthplace of Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Read More
  • 10 Great Hikes

    Cleveland National Forest: It’s long, it’s a climb, it hurts your feet, but it has amazing two-county views and loads of flowers. It’s worth it. Take Trabuco Canyon Trail through the woods with alder and large bay trees releasing their distinctive culinary fragrance. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

    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

    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

    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
  • O.C.’s Best: Vintage Cocktails

    The revival continues for cocktails inspired by the golden, boozy pre-Prohibition era, along with variations on established classics, such as the Manhattan and the Boston sour. Here are six great bars in Orange County where old meets new in handcrafted cocktails. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Brunch O’Clock

    For many of us, weekends are for sleeping in and enjoying sumptuous breakfasts that can last until late afternoon—and perhaps a mimosa or two to round out the affair. Here are six restaurants where you can stroll in for a great not-quite-breakfast, not-quite-lunch experience. Read More
 
 
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