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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 2014: Nutty Brûlée

    No one can resist breaking into the sugary crust of crème brûlée, and this one packs an extra surprise with its abundance of silky-smooth chocolate-hazelnut custard below—thanks to the addition of Nutella. This sinful dessert is incredibly rich and best shared with a friend. $8
    704 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, 949‑673‑7173, theslidingdoorcafe.com

    Read More
  • Hot Shop: Betting the Farm

    “There’s not a guy in America who wants to go to the mall,” says John Anderson, left, co-owner, with his brother Mike, of Tankfarm in Seal Beach. Read More
  • Neighborhood: Dana Point

    Perched above Pacific Coast Highway, Monarch Bay Plaza reflects the relaxed sophistication of its Dana Point neighborhood. In the Spanish-style mall with red tile roofs, ocean breezes blow through white stucco archways, and upscale-yet-casual boutiques and restaurants attract locals and tourists. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Tiki Drinks

    Though some regard them as overly cloying concoctions, tiki cocktails such as mai tais and zombies are enjoying a resurgence in Orange County. Craft bartenders layer the rum-based drinks with multiple spirits and spices to create beguiling and complex potions. Here are five great places to get your tiki on. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Vegan Breakfasts

    Veg-heads don’t just mow down bowls of granola and slam wheatgrass shots at the break of dawn. Most want to enjoy brunching on Sunday-Funday with everyone else. And because it can be hard to find tofu scrambles and dairy-free waffles, we’ve rounded up five local eateries that provide tasty vegan options to start the morning right. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Shaved Ice

    These light and downright lush desserts get tricked out with enticing toppings and mix-ins, many taking their cues from Asian favorites such as red beans, mochi balls, and lychee. But they also can be as traditional as orangesicle and strawberry shortcake. Here are six places in Orange County to get your brain-freeze on. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Roast Chicken

    Whether it’s cooked slowly over open flames on a spit-roast or stuffed with herbs and roasted in the oven to golden perfection, few dishes are as comforting as a simple roast chicken. While it’s hard to beat a home-cooked version, these seven diverse locales in Orange County do right by this ubiquitous classic. Read More
  • O.C.'s Best: Afternoon Tea

    The ritual dates back to the 1800s as a snacking fix and social gathering for the aristocratic ladies of Britain. Today, afternoon tea has become a fashionable alternative for birthday parties, and bridal and baby showers. Here are five teahouses in Orange County where you can practice traditional etiquette while noshing on dainty pastries and finger sandwiches. Read More
 
 
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