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Don the Beachcomber brings tiki culture to Huntington Beach

When Delia Snyder’s husband died five years ago, she was forced to take the reins of a legendary restaurant business in Huntington Beach. Snyder and her husband, Arthur, had operated Don the Beachcomber since they opened it in 2009 at 16278 Pacific Coast Hwy. Married 34 years, the couple worked...

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    • Bracken’s Kitchen takes healthy meals to impoverished people

      Bracken’s Kitchen takes healthy meals to impoverished people

      Bill Bracken picked up a spoon to stir a pot of stew. “This was made completely from scratch,” he said, pointing to pieces of chicken, zucchini and bok choy. “It’s full of vegetables, it’s low-fat, low-calories, low-sugar — nothing processed at all. I made it yesterday.We let it set for 24 hours...

    • Tastemakers Orange County will celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander cuisine

      Tastemakers Orange County will celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander cuisine

      The contribution of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Orange County food scene cannot be understated. From old-school Vietnamese hole-in-the-walls in Garden Grove to second-generation Filipino chefs updating the cuisine of their homelands, O.C.’s diverse restaurant culture would look like just...

    • ‘Just look at that sunset:’ Marché Moderne restaurant is ready to reopen at its new location

      ‘Just look at that sunset:’ Marché Moderne restaurant is ready to reopen at its new location

      When husband-and-wife chefs Florent and Amelia Marneau took over Tamarind’s former location in the Crystal Cove Shopping Center, the couple knew they were in for a design challenge. For the Marneaus, who together opened the acclaimed Marché Moderne 10 years ago, the answer was simply to relocate...

    • The Beachcomber Cafe retains the ambiance of a 1930s beach resort

      The Beachcomber Cafe retains the ambiance of a 1930s beach resort

      Crystal Cove State Park is my favorite place to go in Orange County when I need to get away from Orange County. Well, the modern version of it, any way. Hiding in plain sight right off Pacific Coast Highway (sandwiched between the bustling Laguna and Newport beaches), the rare expanse of rolling...

    • Lido Bottle Works chef focuses on ingredients true to Newport Beach

      Lido Bottle Works chef focuses on ingredients true to Newport Beach

      “I’ve been smoking salmon,” Joel Harrington says. “They’re absolutely beautiful.” The chef of Lido Bottle Works — the newly opened Newport Beach restaurant that serves locally grown food and 15 beers on tap — is in the kitchen, lacing up an apron and talking about his special for the day. He enters...

    • Chef Mark McDonald draws on memories of Italy at Old Vine Café

      Chef Mark McDonald draws on memories of Italy at Old Vine Café

      Chef Mark McDonald grew up in Huntington Beach, but the heart of his cooking — accessible tasting menus and bistro breakfasts are the backbone of his Costa Mesa restaurant, Old Vine Café — comes straight from southern Italy, a place he calls a “home away from home.” McDonald opened Old Vine at...

    • Aussie-style meat pie bakery expands with local home delivery
      Aussie-style meat pie bakery expands with local home delivery

      The owners of Pie-Not, a pair of spots that specialize in Australian meat pies, have a few Aussie phrases for Orange County customers to learn: “Sparrow-fart” is very early in the morning, “woop-woop” is far from anything of interest and “coppers,” of course, are police officers.

      And there’s a...

    • SoCal vegan butcher specializes in artisan plant-based meats
      SoCal vegan butcher specializes in artisan plant-based meats

      When Kerry Song gave up animal products and switched to an entirely plant-based diet seven years ago, she wasn’t thrilled by her options at the grocery store, where all she could find were bland and over-processed veggie burgers and faux meats.

      “If you look at the ingredients of the products, there’s...

    • Vaca restaurant to host a Friends of James Beard Benefit dinner
      Vaca restaurant to host a Friends of James Beard Benefit dinner

      Long before he competed in the “Top Chef” finale and earned laurels for his two Orange County restaurants, chef Amar Santana was a high school sophomore enrolled in a cooking course.

      It was the early 1990s. He had just migrated from the Dominican Republic to Queens, N.Y., and didn’t speak English.

      ...

    • Youth chefs dazzle O.C. Fair guests with creative burgers
      Youth chefs dazzle O.C. Fair guests with creative burgers

      Sean Le grew up watching Food Network shows such as “Iron Chef” and “Good Eats,” marveling how the chefs prepared such beautiful dishes while trying to beat the clock and knowing thousands of viewers would watch every move.

      On Thursday it was Sean’s turn to be in the spotlight as he and Mason Partak...

    • Cast a vote for Orange County's best culinary stars
      Cast a vote for Orange County's best culinary stars

      The sixth annual Golden Foodie Awards will recognize the best culinary stars at independent Orange County restaurants with a star-studded event Sept. 24 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

      Orange County food enthusiasts are invited to vote using the Golden Foodie website during a three-week...

    • What to drink with that deep-fried Twinkie? Try these wine and beer tips for the O.C. Fair
      What to drink with that deep-fried Twinkie? Try these wine and beer tips for the O.C. Fair

      Fran Gitsham is used to answering questions about wine at the Orange County Fair, but there’s one query from thirsty fairgoers she hears most often.

      Her answer is always the same.

      “What’s the best wine?” Gitsham, an Orange County Wine Society board member, asked with a coy smile. “It’s the wine...

    • Author of ‘The 40-year-old Vegan’ wants to ‘veganize’ your comfort foods
      Author of ‘The 40-year-old Vegan’ wants to ‘veganize’ your comfort foods

      She can turn cashews into ricotta cheese and ranch dressing, zucchini into spaghetti noodles and chickpeas into a deli “tuna” salad.

      She wants to teach you how to do the same and she swears it’s as delicious and satisfying as the home cooking her Grandma Maira and Grandma Sellani stuffed her with...

    • Five places to eat at the new Lido Marina
      Five places to eat at the new Lido Marina

      A few short years ago, Newport Beach’s Lido Marina Village was an aging and mostly abandoned — if not still-quaint — seaside retail destination.

      Built in the early 1970s in the cozy style of the East Coast’s many pedestrian-centered marinas, it spent most of its life populated by boat rental businesses,...

    • Unicorn, fried, sweet and hot: We taste the OC Fair food
      Unicorn, fried, sweet and hot: We taste the OC Fair food

      From Flamin’ Hot Cheetos cheese fries to a chicken sandwich made with doughnuts and heaped with ice cream, we made our way to the Orange County Fair Friday — stomachs rumbling and antacids at the ready — to taste some of the event’s most unconventional gastronomic delights.

      Our first stop was Chicken...

    • The Resort at Pelican Hill courts the local crowd in addition to overnight guests
      The Resort at Pelican Hill courts the local crowd in addition to overnight guests

      Nearby residents may think The Resort at Pelican Hill caters only to tourists, but in the last six months the upscale Newport Coast hotel has launched initiatives aimed at attracting neighbors for dinner, drinks and activities.

      “At the resort, we have our locals,” said Managing Director Tom Donovan....

    • Farm-to-table chef Rich Mead is behind Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens
      Farm-to-table chef Rich Mead is behind Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

      Chef Rich Mead moved through the streets of Santa Monica like a farmers market Sherpa.

      After meeting me on one end of the famous Wednesday market here, he checked his list and started down the sidewalk behind the tents, ushering me with him as we made our way toward open roll-up trucks parked out...

    • If you love Asian food, check out the night market mega-feasts in Arcadia and Costa Mesa
      If you love Asian food, check out the night market mega-feasts in Arcadia and Costa Mesa

    • What to eat now: Sarah Bennett’s favorite Orange County dishes
      What to eat now: Sarah Bennett’s favorite Orange County dishes

      Sometimes the most important food experiences are the simplest ones — a bowl of fried baby anchovies, an exquisitely smoked piece of meat, a succulent cactus sorbet.

    • Naugles plans a second Mexican fast-food location in Huntington Beach
      Naugles plans a second Mexican fast-food location in Huntington Beach

      Naugles, the revived Mexican fast-food restaurant chain formerly owned by Del Taco, is opening a second location in Huntington Beach.

      The new restaurant will be at 5061 Warner Ave., replacing a dry-cleaning business.

      Naugles, named after former Del Taco partner Dick Naugle, will continue to operate...

    • Tacos and bratwurst mingle at ‘GerMexican’ Taco Brat in Costa Mesa
      Tacos and bratwurst mingle at ‘GerMexican’ Taco Brat in Costa Mesa

      Taco Brat is not a taquería.

      And it’s not pronounced brat as in a bratty child.

      Rather, it’s brat as in bratwurst, and it’s now open in Westside Costa Mesa.

      The German-Mexican food concept featuring tacos and bratwurst — a first for Orange County — is celebrating its grand opening from Saturday...

    • After 37 years, Golden Truffle is calling it quits
      After 37 years, Golden Truffle is calling it quits

      It’s been 37 years since Alan Greeley first opened the doors of the Golden Truffle in Costa Mesa that, according to a 1988 Los Angeles Times reviewer, is “an eccentric restaurant with an eclectic menu that defies rhythm or logic.”

      Things haven’t changed. Greeley still does what he wants at his...

    • 2 restaurateurs put plenty on the menu with 3 eateries at Costa Mesa center
      2 restaurateurs put plenty on the menu with 3 eateries at Costa Mesa center

      Jeff Chon and Christian Fernandez are becoming the food stars of Costa Mesa’s 17th Street promenade. By the end of the summer, they will own three eating establishments in the strip center at 333 E. 17th.

      The partners’ second restaurant there, Oak & Coal, opened May 30, and a grand opening is scheduled...

    • L.A. Times Food Bowl event comes to Costa Mesa next week
      L.A. Times Food Bowl event comes to Costa Mesa next week

      The Los Angeles Times is sponsoring a food demonstration event Tuesday at the South Coast Collection and OC Mix centers in Costa Mesa.

      The free event, part of the Food Bowl series, includes live music and talks with chefs and culinary experts from SoCo and OC Mix.

      Festivities begin at 5 p.m. and...

    • Taco Brat, a Mexican-German restaurant, hosts preview night in an Irish bar
      Taco Brat, a Mexican-German restaurant, hosts preview night in an Irish bar

      The kitchen at Taco Brat isn’t quite ready for prime time, but the fledgling Costa Mesa restaurant gave hungry patrons a sneak preview Tuesday of the soon-to-open “taqueria and brathaus.”

      Dozens pulled into the Harp Inn, which hosted the event, to taste Taco Brat’s Mexican-German fare of tacos...

    • Beachside concessions go gourmet in Orange County
      Beachside concessions go gourmet in Orange County

      Puny burgers. Deep fried chicken fingers. Syrupy shaved ice. Those confoundingly famous tortilla chips covered in cold shreds of orange cheese.

      Orange County’s beachside concessions are notoriously un-gourmet. For decades, the shirtless, shoeless visitors relaxing along our pristine shoreline had...

    • Laguna Beach's Taco Bell celebrates 50 years on Saturday
      Laguna Beach's Taco Bell celebrates 50 years on Saturday

      While restaurants have come and gone in Laguna Beach, one brick-walled building with arched windows emblematic of a Spanish mission has endured the decades by satisfying taco and burrito cravings.

      The Taco Bell at 699 S. Coast Hwy. can't compare in historical significance to California's mission...

    • Bennett: Gunwhale Ales beer balances nautical and nice
      Bennett: Gunwhale Ales beer balances nautical and nice

      It's hard for breweries to find a sense of place. Unlike wine or coffee, which rely for flavor on the whims of the soil and climate in which the beans or grapes are grown, beer is a completely man-made product, its final taste mostly a testament to the skills of the brewer.

      But as experimentalism...

    • Bennett: LSXO takes Vietnamese food to a whole new level
      Bennett: LSXO takes Vietnamese food to a whole new level

      Tin Vuong is a perpetual people pleaser, which for a chef with a restaurant empire as ambitious as his is meant as a hearty compliment.

      Over the last five years, the San Gabriel Valley native (along with business partner Jed Sanford) opened a wild array of distinctly different and wonderfully executed...

    • Bennett: Noshing to the music at Mesa
      Bennett: Noshing to the music at Mesa

      It was all Adele everything last Tuesday night at Mesa, the ultra-hip, finally-with-a-sign-out-front, Costa Mesa-via-West-Hollywood restaurant, lounge and nightlife hotspot tucked into a dark parking lot corner of The Camp shopping mall.

      Tables on Mesa's dining side were prepped with tea tray altars...

    • Bonchon is bringing its Korean fried chicken to O.C.
      Bonchon is bringing its Korean fried chicken to O.C.

      The Costa Mesa site will offer the Korean-style fried chicken and secret sauces found in company locations around the world.

    • Bennett: Think you know Mexican food? Think again
      Bennett: Think you know Mexican food? Think again

      Carlos Salgado doesn't see borders. Or, rather, 2016 is the year he feels more comfortable crossing them.

      It's something he does both literally and figuratively as one of the main flag-bearers of Alta California cuisine, a creation of Mexican American chefs in Southern California who, in the last...

    • Bennett: Outpost is the in place for Aussie food
      Bennett: Outpost is the in place for Aussie food

      Calling a restaurant "Australian" is about as useful as saying a place serves "American food." Because despite our visions of Americana diners and burger stands, America is still a very diverse place to eat. Modern American cuisine has been influenced as much by the traditions of the European immigrants...

    • Marché Moderne heads for a bigger, 'totally new' restaurant experience at Crystal Cove
      Marché Moderne heads for a bigger, 'totally new' restaurant experience at Crystal Cove

      Lauded French bistro is planning a new space in Newport Coast. South Coast Plaza has an unidentified replacement signed.

    • Behind the Plate: Newport waiter 'Santi' Islas gives service a simple name
      Behind the Plate: Newport waiter 'Santi' Islas gives service a simple name

      Editor's note: This is the first installment of Behind the Plate, a series of articles about longtime local restaurant workers.

      ——

      On a recent Friday evening, business is booming at A Restaurant.

      Patrons descend on the West Coast Highway institution, whose roots in Newport Beach date to 1926....

    • Poke, slow to catch on, is now hot, hot, hot
      Poke, slow to catch on, is now hot, hot, hot

      Restaurants offering the raw-fish dish are proliferating in Orange County.

    • Your guide to Orange County food halls
      Your guide to Orange County food halls

      Say what you will about the culinary landscape in Orange County: It may be home to strip malls packed with chain restaurants, but it’s also where the artisanal food hall scene is taking off like nowhere else in California.

      Angelenos may not think twice about driving from East Pasadena to Venice...

    • Bennett: If you can find these bars, you'll still need to know the password
      Bennett: If you can find these bars, you'll still need to know the password

      Shhh, don't tell anyone, but some bars in Orange County are meant to be secret affairs. We're talking no signs out front letting you know of their existence, hidden entrances where you least expect them and nightly passwords procured via the most roundabout of ways.

      Once inside these clandestine...

    • Pedro's celebrates 30 years of serving up fish tacos, chicken fajita burritos and cheese quesadillas
      Pedro's celebrates 30 years of serving up fish tacos, chicken fajita burritos and cheese quesadillas

      Pedros Tacos marks the 30th anniversary of its first location, off El Camino Real in San Clemente. Oh, how the business has expanded. Franchising is key.

    • The best ways to use beer and ice cream to keep cool this summer
      The best ways to use beer and ice cream to keep cool this summer

      If you need some relief from summer’s relentless sunshine and climbing temperatures, there’s no better escape than a cold glass of beer. Except for maybe a decadent scoop of ice cream. It’s a tough call, so why not just have both? From ice cream floats with a boozy twist to beer-flavored scoops,...

    • Sawdust, now 50, tries keeping it fresh
      Sawdust, now 50, tries keeping it fresh

      The festival, which had a rough start but finally took off, is now trying to win over younger visitors. Look for new sights and sounds when it opens this week.

    • Naugles is back. And that means cheesy 'Hombre Nachos' and bun tacos are too
      Naugles is back. And that means cheesy 'Hombre Nachos' and bun tacos are too

      Cruising down Huntington Beach's sandy oceanfront bike path should be relaxing , with onshore breezes and views of the surf. But each summer, I'm reminded that, instead, it's a constant flow of pure chaos.

      Especially during peak weekend hours, the heavily trafficked pavement surrounding the city's...

    • Head to Restaurant Marin in Costa Mesa for giant English muffins and chicken pot pie
      Head to Restaurant Marin in Costa Mesa for giant English muffins and chicken pot pie

      Name: Restaurant Marin, named after co-owner Marín Howarth. She and her husband, chef Noah Blom (he worked at Daniel in New York City), are also the duo behind Arc restaurant next door. Restaurant Marin opened in April. 

      Concept: The restaurant, located at the South Coast Collection shopping center...

    • At 50, Avila's El Ranchito is still all about family
      At 50, Avila's El Ranchito is still all about family

      The third generation is now involved in running the 13 restaurants, but Mamá Avila remains the matriarch.

    • This Orange County restaurant has a dedicated bacon bar
      This Orange County restaurant has a dedicated bacon bar

      A restaurant in Huntington Beach has just opened, with what the business describes as a to-go bacon bar. Saint Marc Pub-Cafe, Bakery and Cheese Affinage (that's the real name) now has a bacon bar where customers can walk up and order 11 different types of bacon by the slice. 

      The restaurant's signature...

    • Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado wants authentic tortillas: That means Mexican maize
      Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado wants authentic tortillas: That means Mexican maize

      Carlos Salgado is on a mission to reclaim the tortilla. "It's a working-class ingredient," says the chef, "and here in the U.S. we haven't typically assigned a lot of value to it."

      The 36-year-old chef-owner of Taco Maria, the Mexican restaurant in Costa Mesa that The Times' Jonathan Gold named...

    • Fish tales from a landmark: Newport Beach's century-old seafood market
      Fish tales from a landmark: Newport Beach's century-old seafood market

      At the Dory Fleet market in Newport Beach, local independent fishermen have been selling their catch directly to the public for more than 100 years. If anything, it's more popular today than it has ever been. The market, founded in 1891 and declared a historical landmark, has seen its share of...

    • Family-owned Five Crowns restaurant celebrates 50 years with a new menu
      Family-owned Five Crowns restaurant celebrates 50 years with a new menu

      Even as a child, Ryan O'Melveny Wilson knew flavorful and expertly prepared prime beef.

      When he and his family traveled from Northern California to visit his grandfather's Newport Beach restaurant, Five Crowns, he would ask for the New York steak au poivre.

      "I'd only eat half of it, which annoyed...

    • 'Ted' Marinos, longtime cafe and pawn shop businessman, dies at 91
      'Ted' Marinos, longtime cafe and pawn shop businessman, dies at 91

      Elefthious "Ted" Marinos, a longtime Costa Mesa resident, business owner and volunteer, has died.

      Marinos died of natural causes in his home on Feb. 15. He was 91.

      Marinos' 60-year residency in Costa Mesa included operating the Wagonwheel Cafe, which eventually became the Goat Hill Tavern, as well...

    • Corona del Mar Today: Crews move boulders to make way for home
      Corona del Mar Today: Crews move boulders to make way for home

      Crews began loading boulders from the sands of Little Corona Beach onto trucks and hauling them away Thursday morning.

      The effort is part of an agreement between a Corona del Mar couple and the California Coastal Commission.

      The removal was expected to cost about $100,000, homeowner Jerrod Blandino...

    • Burger King will be out, Raising Cane's chicken in on Harbor Boulevard
      Burger King will be out, Raising Cane's chicken in on Harbor Boulevard

      Costa Mesa planners approved a new fast-food restaurant this week that will replace a Burger King near the 405 Freeway.

      The Burger King at 3150 Harbor Blvd. — the city's only Burger King — will be replaced by Raising Cane's, a Baton Rouge, La.-based chain that specializes in chicken tenders.

      Raising...

    • Dancing is OK again at Woody's Wharf, court says
      Dancing is OK again at Woody's Wharf, court says

      Appellate decision finds that City Council violated municipal code in hearing appeal of Planning Commission action.

    • Vintage car museum gets green light from Costa Mesa planners
      Vintage car museum gets green light from Costa Mesa planners

      Costa Mesa planning commissioners unanimously signed off Monday night on plans to turn a Westside industrial site into a vintage car museum and cafe.

      Richard Cushman, owner of Beverly Hills Motorsport on Pomona Avenue, won approval to convert his 1960s-era building at 729 Farad St. into a place...

    • New Balboa Peninsula deli blends tradition, trends
      New Balboa Peninsula deli blends tradition, trends

      With its extensive craft beer selection, local artisan coffee and traditional East Coast deli fare along with vegan options, Newport Beach's newest delicatessen is out to prove that "family-friendly" and "trendy" aren't mutually exclusive concepts.

      Dory Deli, near the Newport Pier at 2108 W. Oceanfront...

    • Hungry? Newport's Restaurant Week offers special menus through Feb. 1
      Hungry? Newport's Restaurant Week offers special menus through Feb. 1

      Diners can dig into special menus at 63 restaurants during Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week, which runs Monday through Feb. 1.

      The ninth annual event will offer prix fixe menus with lunches from $10 to $25 and dinners from $20 to $50.

      Participating restaurants include fine-dining establishments...

    • Off Center Festival at Segerstrom looks to entertain and provoke
      Off Center Festival at Segerstrom looks to entertain and provoke

      Fourth annual event offers socially minded works.

    • Corona del Mar Today: Heroin, meth are teen drugs of choice, officer says

      Undercover detective speaks at CdM's first PTA meeting of the year.

    • Longtime chamber leader passes baton
      Longtime chamber leader passes baton

      After 23 years as Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, Ed Fawcett is calling it quits.

      But although Fawcett stepped down Dec. 31, by the next day he had started as a consultant for the chamber's transition to new leadership.

      Fawcett said he will continue consulting with the new president...

    • Jonathan Gold's top 10 restaurant dishes of 2014
      Jonathan Gold's top 10 restaurant dishes of 2014

      2014 — I remember 2014. In Los Angeles, it was the year of peak steakhouse. It was a year of artisanal soda pop, $16 cheeseburgers and chef-ly barbecue. Tacos entered their Mannerist period. Cocktails largely supplanted wine, even in fine-dining restaurants. Kale, sea urchin, offal and poached...

    • Lido Theatre screens 'The Interview'
      Lido Theatre screens 'The Interview'

      One fan calls it his 'patriotic duty' to see film at center of a hacking incident that the U.S. has linked to North Korea.

    • Top 10 stories in Laguna Beach for 2014
      Top 10 stories in Laguna Beach for 2014

      Mobility throughout Laguna Beach, whether by foot, car or bicycle, was a recurring theme in 2014 as the city took strides to address safety on the busiest thoroughfares, including adopting a bike safety plan after a cyclist was killed along Coast Highway in June.

      The city hired urban planning firm...

    • C is for cookie — that's good enough for her
      C is for cookie — that's good enough for her

      Emily Osterberg, who moved from Minnesota to become an entrepreneur, has her hands full at Baking Betty's.

    • Ranch at Laguna Beach faces trademark infringement claim

      A U.S. District Court judge last week set a trial date in a trademark infringement claim by the owner of the Anaheim-based Ranch Restaurant and Saloon that accuses the company that owns The Ranch at Laguna Beach of capitalizing on the name to promote business for its hotel and golf course in Aliso...

    • Mozambique gets more seating but parking is not resolved

      Mozambique's parking problems took center stage at the Laguna Beach City Council meeting Tuesday, but the steakhouse scored some concessions as it got the chance to be heard after appealing a recent decision by the Planning Commission to quash its plans for more seating.

      In September, the commission...

    • Woody's Wharf to appellate court: Shall we dance?
      Woody's Wharf to appellate court: Shall we dance?

      The Balboa Peninsula restaurant is challenging a ruling that barred dancing and late-night patio hours.

    • Gift-wrapping competition aids charity
      Gift-wrapping competition aids charity

      They came armed with scissors, tape, wrapping paper, bows and creativity.

      Representatives of nine nonprofit organizations went head to head Wednesday morning in a gift-wrapping competition sponsored by Quattro Caffe at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

      A panel of judges circled the restaurant to...

    • Coffee beer, or how to drink your craft beer and coffee at the same time
      Coffee beer, or how to drink your craft beer and coffee at the same time

      Brewers have been mixing their buzzes with coffee-fueled beers for decades, but nowhere else in the country does coffee beer quite like Southern California.

      The region is home to many fantastic small-batch coffee roasters, and these bean-loving artisans share the flavor-fanaticism that also fuels...

    • Stylish community joins forces on Superior
      Stylish community joins forces on Superior

      In a corner of town more popularly known for industrial buildings and oil changes, a budding pocket of artists and businesses are combining forces to forge their own slice of "Costa Mesa cool."

      They're calling their neighborhood Style on Superior.

      So far, 11 businesses on Superior Avenue's 1600...

    • Season of change for venerable band Missiles of October
      Season of change for venerable band Missiles of October

      Laguna Beach band, which has been mainstay of Marine Room Tavern for 23 years, branches out to stay alive.

    • Biz News: Coldwell Banker opens brokerage in Newport Center
      Biz News: Coldwell Banker opens brokerage in Newport Center

      Rush Hill, while still Newport Beach mayor, participated in a ribbon-cutting Dec. 4 at the grand opening of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at 840 Newport Center Drive, Suite 100.

      About 200 people attended the event, including Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage President Jamie Duran,...

    • Dining and coffee break ideas for Southern California holiday shoppers
      Dining and coffee break ideas for Southern California holiday shoppers

      Holiday shopping is not for wimps. Given that it's among the most strenuous and exacting activities on the planet, you, the one staring with glazed eyes at a very long list, will need sustenance. Sometimes a quick bite is all that's needed. Other times you'll want to put those bags down beside...

    • Around Town: Plaque to be placed at old Golden Bear site Monday
      Around Town: Plaque to be placed at old Golden Bear site Monday

      Huntington Beach's famed Golden Bear nightclub will be remembered with a plaque placed at 1 p.m. Monday at its former site at 306 Pacific Coast Hwy., now the Pierside Pavilion.

      The Golden Bear opened as a restaurant in the 1920s and frequently served movie stars who were in town for a day at the...

    • Huntington Beach rejects new limits on alcohol sales

      Huntington Beach has been grappling for more than a year about how to cut down on rowdy behavior in its popular downtown area.

      The problem got new focus in 2013 during a melee on Main Street that left shop windows smashed, portable toilets overturned and people pelting police with debris. More...

    • Harbor area alive with marina and park projects
      Harbor area alive with marina and park projects

      Commissioners hold a special meeting aboard a ferry as they tout progress being made in several areas.

    • Huntington council rejects tighter alcohol restraints on new downtown restaurants

      The Huntington Beach City Council decided Monday night not to place additional restraints on new downtown bars and restaurants that serve alcohol despite having supported the notion months before.

      Council members voted 4-2 to deny a zoning change that would have required new eating establishments...

    • Food, art and exhibits Friday night at Canvas Costa Mesa event

      The inaugural Canvas Costa Mesa event, a one-night program of festivities that spotlight the local arts, will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday in the SoBeCa District.

      Merchants, eateries and galleries in the roughly triangular area bordered by Bristol and Baker streets and Randolph Avenue will...

    • Five great brewed-in-L.A. IPAs to drink right now
      Five great brewed-in-L.A. IPAs to drink right now

      Love 'em or hate 'em, the popularity of India Pale Ales in Southern California cannot be denied, and there are more choices than ever for hop-forward IPAs from Los Angeles breweries. Forget the big names from San Diego, here are some new IPAs (and one classic) from local breweries that deserve...

    • Rock 'N Fish leaves Laguna, rooftop redesign stays
      Rock 'N Fish leaves Laguna, rooftop redesign stays

      The restaurant that had been poised to reap the benefit of downtown Laguna Beach's first rooftop deck has closed after four years in the coastal city.

      Rock 'N Fish, which operated the top space in the historic two-story Heisler building, served its last meals and cocktails Saturday, building owner...

    • Empty Bowls brim with charity
      Empty Bowls brim with charity

      Irvine-based nonprofit invites artisans, including high-schoolers, to decorate bowls for charity dinner.

    • 3 questions: Where Huntington Beach City Council candidates stand on the issues

      Two incumbents and nine challengers are running for four spots on the seven-member Huntington Beach City Council. The Huntington Beach Independent asked each candidate the same three questions:

      1) How would you address the problems downtown (alcohol, parking, etc.)?

      2) Who should have the final...

    • Babette's open in Newport Beach, The Horn wild game steakhouse to open in WeHo
      Babette's open in Newport Beach, The Horn wild game steakhouse to open in WeHo

      Babette’s, the popular East Hampton restaurant, has opened its first West Coast location in Newport Coast. Zach Layton, owner Barbara Layton's son, is running the Orange County location. The menu includes lacinato kale with toasted barley, Granny Smith apple, cerignola olives, marcona almonds,...

    • Brewing beer by the beach
      Brewing beer by the beach

      Laguna entrepreneurs offer their homemade brew to local establishments — and their logo may jog some memories.

    • Laguna council approves bike safety measures

      Cyclists in Laguna Beach scored a victory at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

      In two separate votes, the council unanimously approved bike routes, designated with signs and sharrows, and a beefed-up education and enforcement campaign developed by the Laguna Beach Police Department.

      A slew of recent...

    • The Gossiping Gourmet: Din Tai Fung worth the wait
      The Gossiping Gourmet: Din Tai Fung worth the wait

      In 1993, Din Tai Fung was voted one of the 10 best restaurants in the world by the New York Times. The first one opened in 1958 in Taiwan. Eventually, its success led to other restaurants opening throughout Asia, Australia and then the U.S.

      Its latest branch just opened in South Coast Plaza.

      The...

    • Planning Commission rejects tighter alcohol rules for new downtown restaurants

      The Huntington Beach Planning Commission voted not to place tighter restrictions on when new downtown restaurants and bars can serve alcohol.

      The proposal that failed Tuesday night would have changed the city's zoning in the area to require new eating establishments to close at midnight and stop...

    • Biz News: New food locations opening

      Grand opening set for Island Hotel gourmet collection

      The Island Hotel in Newport Beach will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. Wednesday to introduce its gourmet Market Place in the hotel's renovated lobby.

      Tastes of some of the house specialties at the Market Place will be offered, along...

    • Around Town: Downtown Residents Assn. makes endorsements

      Downtown residents group makes election endorsements

      The Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn. says it is endorsing Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby and incumbents Joe Shaw and Connie Boardman in the Nov. 4 City Council election.

      The group also endorsed incumbent Jennifer McGrath in the city...

    • Blessing the Boathouse
      Blessing the Boathouse

      Costa Mesa entrepreneur, who has owned the Westside property for 10 years, relaunches it as a restaurant.

    • Surfboards on Parade now up for auction
      Surfboards on Parade now up for auction

      Sales from the show will benefit the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, as well as other causes.

    • Visitors get Taste of Laguna
      Visitors get Taste of Laguna

      Chefs from more than 30 restaurants converged at the Festival of Arts grounds Wednesday for the food showcase known as Taste of Laguna.

      The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce's annual event included creations from restaurants such as Splashes, Ocean View Bar & Grill, Nick's, Lumberyard and K'ya Bistro...

    • Candidate Madison's proof leads to more questions

      Some supporters are standing behind Laguna Beach City Council candidate Jon Madison after allegations surfaced last month that he lied about academic degrees he earned and an apparent discrepancy in his voter registration.

      Madison attempted to clear his name with an emailed statement released Monday...

    • Candidate Madison's proof leads to more questions
      Candidate Madison's proof leads to more questions

      Some supporters are standing behind Laguna Beach City Council candidate Jon Madison after allegations surfaced last month that he lied about academic degrees he earned and an apparent discrepancy in his voter registration.

      Madison attempted to clear his name with an emailed statement released Monday...

    • Is that yogurt parfait on students' plates? Eating healthy is schools' goal
      Is that yogurt parfait on students' plates? Eating healthy is schools' goal

      Schools cracking down on junk foods, aiming to improve the nutritional value of lunches.

    • Vitamin Shoppe opening in Costa Mesa

      Vitamin Shoppe, Costa Mesa, Share the Health, SOCIAL Costa Mesa restaurant, Bistango, Bill Blank, Talk About Curing Autism, "Real Help Now" conference, Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa hotel, Michael Leon, Dr. Anju Usman, True Health Medical Center, Dan Rossignol, Lisa Ackerman

      A new Vitamin Shoppe...

    • Restaurants with wine in kegs
      Restaurants with wine in kegs

      Some places where you can try wines on tap:

      Bäco Mercat

      This popular downtown L.A. restaurant has just one wine on tap, but it's a terrific one: Alta Maria 2013 "Carbonic" Pinot Noir made in the style of Beaujolais, $13 a glass.

      Bäco Mercat, 408 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-8808, www.bacomercat.com

      ...

    • Police work for restaurant tips to help H.B. serve Special Olympics athletes
      Police work for restaurant tips to help H.B. serve Special Olympics athletes

      Having been in the food service industry for years, Carol Lung knows what it takes to be a good waiter in a restaurant.

      So she watched as dozens of Huntington Beach police officers scrambled from table to table at California Pizza Kitchen in the Bella Terra mall during the Police Department's Tip-A-Cop...

    • Culinary heavyweights kick off Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival
      Culinary heavyweights kick off Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

      Chef Richard Blais dripped soon-to-be-frozen horseradish ice cream into liquid nitrogen.

      "You have signed the liability waiver, correct?" Blais joked as he poured some of the liquid over the front of a small stage where it evaporated in a freezing cloud at the feet the men and women in the first...

    • Huntington studies alcohol, business regulations

      The Huntington Beach City Council received updates this week on key issues related to the downtown area to get a better sense of how to make it safer for residents and visitors.

      During a study session Monday, city staff presented a report on how Laguna Beach and Pasadena regulate alcohol and mixed-use...

    • The Crowd: Make it 51 for South Coast Repertory
      The Crowd: Make it 51 for South Coast Repertory

      The 2015 social season on the Orange Coast was launched with panache by South Coast Repertory.

      In anticipation of the theater's 51st season, patrons gathered for a chic kick-off party in the breathtaking contemporary residence of Sarah and Thom McElroy. The hosts welcomed the crowd to their Irvine...

    • Mozambique dining plan, car lifts rejected; Rock'n Fish rooftop deck OK'd
      Mozambique dining plan, car lifts rejected; Rock'n Fish rooftop deck OK'd

      The Laguna Beach Planning Commission on Wednesday rejected a proposal by a controversial restaurant to reopen a large dining area and install car lifts to offset an increase in demand for parking.

      The proposal by Mozambique Steakhouse is the latest in a years-long string of moves by the restaurant...

    • Candidate Jon Madison dismisses questions about his age, name, resume
      Candidate Jon Madison dismisses questions about his age, name, resume

      His birth date, work history, degrees are inconsistent with campaign website, according to published report.

    • Taste of Balboa Island brings flavors outdoors
      Taste of Balboa Island brings flavors outdoors

      Bill Longfield wasn't sure a food-tasting event on an island would work.

      The Balboa Island Improvement Assn., where Longfield is a board member, had for years hosted an outdoor dinner in its namesake neighborhood, but as the event got more popular — especially when they invited food trucks a few...

    • Cool and slow at Moulin Bistro
      Cool and slow at Moulin Bistro

      French-themed restaurant, which intentionally offers pokey Internet speed, invites patrons to relax for a meal.

    • The Crowd: Vikki Vargas on the scene at SPIN
      The Crowd: Vikki Vargas on the scene at SPIN

      In the world of broadcast journalism, it is most unusual for an on-camera reporter/anchor to enjoy a 30-plus-year career in a single market. Vikki Vargas, Orange County bureau chief for NBC 4, is such a journalist.

      Her breadth and depth of knowledge on life and times in the Orange County community...

    • El Pollo Loco reports strong earnings in first quarter after IPO
      El Pollo Loco reports strong earnings in first quarter after IPO

      El Pollo Loco, the fast-food chain known for Mexican-style grilled chicken, reported strong profit growth in its first quarter after going public in July.

      The Costa Mesa company said net income was $6.6 million, or 21 cents a share, in the three months ended June 25. That's a sharp jump compared...

    • Vegan Oktoberfest and Huntington Beach and Chile Relleno festivals
      Vegan Oktoberfest and Huntington Beach and Chile Relleno festivals

      Vegan Oktoberfest, the world's first vegan version of the annual German funfair is headed to Santa Monica on Oct. 4. From 1 to 6 p.m., there will be a German beer hall featuring live oompah bands, Bavarian maidens and a selection of vegan craft beer. At admission, guests will be given a beer stein...

    • Former dishwasher now Zov's culinary director
      Former dishwasher now Zov's culinary director

      "Hold on," said Louie Jocson. "I'm in the process of caramelizing onions."

      The newly appointed culinary director of Zov's, the restaurant chain known for its Eastern Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, is a fixture on the Southern California culinary scene.

      Jocson will work alongside chef Zov Karamardian...

    • Newport council candidate returns disputed campaign donation

      Newport Beach City Council candidate Scott Peotter says he has returned a $1,100 campaign contribution to Woody's Wharf to avoid costly legal repercussions.

      The four owners of the Balboa Peninsula restaurant and bar had already donated the maximum $1,100 to his campaign, City Clerk Leilani Brown...

    • Biz News: Cucina Enoteca opens at Fashion Island

      A new Fashion Island restaurant that caught on fire during construction opened Wednesday.

      Cucina Enoteca joins other recently opened, upscale restaurants at the shopping center, including Fig and Olive and Red O.

      The restaurant offers communal seating and private tables and features a wine shop....

    • Barbara's Bits and Bites: The Ritz, Pizza Nova
      Barbara's Bits and Bites: The Ritz, Pizza Nova

      It's time to take my monthly break from writing about politics and focus on something more far delicious for all those foodies out there who enjoy discovering — and re-discovering — fun places to eat in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa as much as I do.

      The buzz this week is about The Ritz Restaurant.

      ...

    • Din Tai Fung comes to Orange County
      Din Tai Fung comes to Orange County

      Dim sum house, one of world's Top 10 restaurants, opens in South Coast Plaza.

    • SUV slams into low wall in front of Denny's in Costa Mesa
      SUV slams into low wall in front of Denny's in Costa Mesa

      Costa Mesa police and fire crews worked to remove an SUV that was stuck on the grass area at the Denny's on Harbor Boulevard Tuesday morning.

      Paramedics and firefighters responded to the Denny's at 3170 Harbor Blvd. at 10:27 a.m. after receiving reports that a woman had backed her vehicle into...

    • Biz News: JP Morgan Chase opens office near Fashion Island
      Biz News: JP Morgan Chase opens office near Fashion Island

      JP Morgan Chase recently celebrated the grand opening of a "private client office" near Fashion Island.

      The site, at 1470 Jamboree Road, used to house the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and looks over the Newport Beach Country Club, according to a news release.

      "The new JP Morgan Chase office...

    • Beach City Brewery comes to Huntington Beach
      Beach City Brewery comes to Huntington Beach

      The wave of craft beer bars, restaurants and breweries continues to inundate Orange County with new places to grab a pint, and Beach City Brewery is building a following of locals in Huntington Beach.

      Tucked in an industrial park just west of Beach Boulevard, Beach City Brewery is the first craft...

    • Banh mi goes gourmet; here's 11 of Los Angeles' best
      Banh mi goes gourmet; here's 11 of Los Angeles' best

      The latest wave of sandwich shops (Hero Shop, Superba Food + Bread, Trencher) and modern Vietnamese cafes (East Borough, Phorage) in Los Angeles have generated tantalizing new spins on banh mi, the beloved Vietnamese sandwich that is the culinary result of French colonialism in Southeast Asia.

      ...

    • Five Chinese restaurants where MSG isn't on the menu
      Five Chinese restaurants where MSG isn't on the menu

      Monosodium glutamate: Love it or hate it? Some people are convinced it’s toxic, though there isn't much science behind that claim. Others compare it with table salt.

      Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s no secret that MSG is used heavily in restaurants – especially in traditional Chinese...

    • The A to Z of Los Angeles pizza
      The A to Z of Los Angeles pizza

      In celebration of National Pizza Day, here's a run-down of Los Angeles pizza, including go-to delivery spots, Chicago-style, New York-style, Neapolitan-style and New York-Naples hybrids. Here's where to get your gooey, cheesy, melty, crispy- and/or chewy-crusted pizza fix.

      800 Degrees Neapolitan...

    • Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A.
      Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A.

    • 9 great breakfast sandwiches plus one killer burrito to try now
      9 great breakfast sandwiches plus one killer burrito to try now

      A perfectly balanced breakfast sandwich the size of your head goes a long way toward improving the prospects of almost any day. (And there’s nothing like it for curing a hangover.) It has to have melted cheese, protein (preferably crisp bacon), eggs (of course) and bread (from tortilla to loaf,...

    • 28 great L.A. bakeries
      28 great L.A. bakeries

      Maybe it was the rise of kouign amann -- the uber-buttery, caramelized "it" pastry from Brittany -- and better access to fresh-baked baguettes that lately has helped reinvigorate an Angeleno culture of neighborhood bakeries, all butter and sugar and love.

      There's a bakery out there to suit any...

    • The great L.A. coffee scene: Your dream caffeine fix may be just around the corner
      The great L.A. coffee scene: Your dream caffeine fix may be just around the corner

      You're a coffee fiend keeping track of every new specialty coffee shop that opens in L.A.? With one new cafe opening after another, it's not so easy anymore. But it is a lot easier to come across a great brewed coffee or perfect pull of espresso, whether in south Santa Monica or North Hollywood,...

    • 5 best not-Cronuts in L.A. (and a map that includes all the rest)
      5 best not-Cronuts in L.A. (and a map that includes all the rest)

      It's easy to succumb to a faux-Cronut addiction. Intrigued by a meta-pastry trend, I've eaten every version of the croissant-doughnut hybrid in Los Angeles that I could find, from Spudnuts in Canoga Park to DK's Donuts in Santa Monica.

      I've had the original Cronut, the "half-croissant, half doughnut"...

    • Falafel! 6 great places to get your fried-garbanzo fix
      Falafel! 6 great places to get your fried-garbanzo fix

      There's an art to making falafel so that the ground garbanzo beans are perfectly light and fluffy, the exterior crisp but not greasy, the mix of textures and spices habit-forming.

      Falafel's exact origins are unknown, but it's believed to have started in Egypt, then made its way through the Middle...

    • MSG-free bowl
      No MSG, no worries

    • Cold-pressed juice, hot in L.A.
      Cold-pressed juice, hot in L.A.

      Shortly after Chipper Pastron opened the first Juice Farm in Pasadena in January, a developer asked if he'd be interested in setting up another in the same neighborhood. No way, Pastron said, thinking there wouldn't be enough demand.

      Six months in and he and his partners are negotiating a space...

    • L.A. restaurants: Top 13 spots on hotter-than-ever Sawtelle Boulevard
      L.A. restaurants: Top 13 spots on hotter-than-ever Sawtelle Boulevard

      The stretch of Sawtelle Boulevard often referred to as Little Osaka recently has expanded so quickly that it's bursting beyond its traditional boundaries. With so many new restaurant openings, they're popping up north of Santa Monica Boulevard and south of Olympic. 

      Shin Sen Gumi officially opened...

    • Chicken karaage list: 6 great places to get your fried fix
      Chicken karaage list: 6 great places to get your fried fix

      Chicken karaage, the Japanese version of fried chicken, is addictive. Unlike its American cousin, karaage are boneless, cut small and mostly dark meat. It's easy to pop five into your mouth in quick succession. The coating, made of potato starch, is light, almost paper thin and delicate. And the...

    • Best banh mi sandwiches
      Best banh mi sandwiches

    • Where to find the best bibimbap
      Where to find the best bibimbap

      Several locations specialize in the many varieties of the favorite Korean mixed-rice dish.

    • Easy dinner ideas from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook
      Easy dinner ideas from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook

      99 EASY DINNER RECIPES to help you when you need something fast.

    • The $10,000 martini
      The $10,000 martini

      The $10,000 martini from Vaucluse is literally on the rock - a one-carat, rough cut diamond added to the drink.

    • The hunt's on: Three restaurants deep into game this season
      The hunt's on: Three restaurants deep into game this season

      Critic's Choice: Josie Restaurant, Patina at Disney Hall and Saddle Peak Lodge are there to indulge your hankering for wild boar, elk, quail and other manner of game.

    • 25 Cinco de Mayo recipes: Guacamole, tostadas, chiles rellenos and more
      25 Cinco de Mayo recipes: Guacamole, tostadas, chiles rellenos and more

      Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with recipes for margaritas and tacos and other great fare.

      You can also find a recipe list here.

    • Three L.A. restaurants that are good brunch bets
      Three L.A. restaurants that are good brunch bets

      Critic's Choice: Bucato, Girasol and Farmshop are three L.A. restaurants that know how to do brunch right, which can be a lifesaver when you have houseguests.

    • Places to eat for $5 or less in Southern California
      Places to eat for $5 or less in Southern California

      Dining out for $5 or less may seem like a fantasy, but Southern California has much to offer for those on a tight budget. For affordable Vietnamese fare, venture to Garden Grove. Or look to food trucks for inexpensive eats. Even some pricier restaurants offer cheap eats during happy hours.

    • Pancakes, on a grand or silver-dollar scale, in L.A.
      Pancakes, on a grand or silver-dollar scale, in L.A.

      Critic's Choice: Pancakes are an American comfort food favorite. Three L.A. eateries offer terrific examples: Cooks County, Valerie and Axe.

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