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    • At Darya, 30 years of 'good food, good company'
      At Darya, 30 years of 'good food, good company'

      Stormy Waldeck eats lunch five days a week at Darya, an acclaimed Persian restaurant in South Coast Plaza Village.

      The sales manger for a Tustin-based insurance company will head to the restaurant's bar, order the boneless chicken kebob and talk with the waitstaff, cooks and clientele he sees on...

    • Don't ask for tikka or korma at Rice N' Spice
      Don't ask for tikka or korma at Rice N' Spice

      When customers come into her family's restaurant in Anaheim looking for naan or chicken tikka masala, Dewmini Gamalath can't help but chuckle.

      "A lot of people don't know what Sri Lankan food is," said Gamalath, whose parents, Sandya and Tissa Gamalath, own Orange County's only Sri Lankan restaurant,...

    • Bennett: Here's how those oysters, prawns and fish get to your table
      Bennett: Here's how those oysters, prawns and fish get to your table

      A tour of King's Seafood Distribution reveals a dynamic facility fueled by unpredictability.

    • Bennett: Mexican sushi makes for unconventional, delicious fare
      Bennett: Mexican sushi makes for unconventional, delicious fare

      The most imaginative sushi in Orange County right now can't be found at high-end houses of omakase. It's not being served at any of the Japanese fusion restaurants that dot the coast either. In fact, some of these sushi rolls have more steak and chicken and cream cheese in them than fresh fish....

    • Bennett: O.C. breweries make a statement at Great American Beer Festival
      Bennett: O.C. breweries make a statement at Great American Beer Festival

      Orange County's craft beer is among the best in the country. Maybe you already surmised that just by drinking your way through your favorite local spots, but now there's even more validation to rub in the face of doubters.

      Both veteran and newcomer breweries from across Orange County won big at...

    • Bennett: A nicely aging Oozefest gets ready to show off cheese-filled creativity
      Bennett: A nicely aging Oozefest gets ready to show off cheese-filled creativity

      I have a confession: I like cheese. No, like, I really really like cheese. I like basic cheeses made from cow's milk. I like buttery cheeses made from goat's milk. I even like the fatty, slightly sweet cheeses made from sheep's milk.

      I like my cheese hard like a Spanish Manchego. I like my cheese...

    • How to have a Little Saigon food crawl complete with pho, spring rolls and plenty of Vietnamese coffee
      How to have a Little Saigon food crawl complete with pho, spring rolls and plenty of Vietnamese coffee

      Southern California is home to the largest population of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam. And Westminster and Garden Grove, which have the highest concentration of Vietnamese Americans in the U.S., is where you’ll find the oldest Little Saigon, making Bolsa Avenue and its surroundings a destination...

    • Everything you need to know about Hello Kitty wine, including where to find it
      Everything you need to know about Hello Kitty wine, including where to find it

      Hello Kitty may not be a cat (seriously), but she is a wino. 

      Sanrio, the company that created the character, teamed up with Torti Winery in Italy to make a line of Hello Kitty wine. Good thing Hello Kitty is old enough to drink. (Sanrio introduced the character more than 40 years ago, which puts...

    • Bennett: Anaheim's Cross Roast customizes cross-cultural Cantonese barbecue
      Bennett: Anaheim's Cross Roast customizes cross-cultural Cantonese barbecue

      It's not often that you go into one of those build-your-own-whatever places and the staff working the assembly line of trays for your bowl/burrito/pizza/whatever calls a part of your order back to the chef, apologizing that it will be a moment while they prepare a fresh portion of something just...

    • Bennett: Drop in at Blinking Owl distillery for eclectic local liquors
      Bennett: Drop in at Blinking Owl distillery for eclectic local liquors

      If Wes Anderson decided to go into the liquor businesses, the result might resemble Blinking Owl, the quirky new distillery that's home to the first spirits to be made in Orange County since Prohibition.

      Not only are the spirits that are now being crafted inside a former staircase-manufacturing...

    • Blinking Owl, Orange County's first distillery, opens this week
      Blinking Owl, Orange County's first distillery, opens this week

      Southern California can add another craft distillery to its growing roster of booze businesses. Blinking Owl Distillery, which takes its name from the midcentury bar of the same name on Birch and 3rd streets in Santa Ana, will open to the public on Sept. 24. Co-owned by husband and wife Brian and...

    • Bennett: Wok N Tandoor to the rescue in O.C.
      Bennett: Wok N Tandoor to the rescue in O.C.

      Indian food has always worn many faces in Orange County, from formal to fast casual to fusion.

      Maybe it's because we're just a few miles on the wrong side of the county line to lay claim to L.A.'s famous Little India — the ample crowding of traditional restaurants and glimmering sari stores that...

    • Bennett: It's time to Savor Santa Ana
      Bennett: It's time to Savor Santa Ana

      Though the motto was adopted a decade ago, it's only been in the last few years that Santa Ana has finally started to truly feel like "downtown Orange County."

      The few square blocks of art galleries, jewelers, fruit carts and Latin clothing stores — which have long made up historic downtown Santa...

    • Bennett: Breakfast at Snooze is a waker-upper
      Bennett: Breakfast at Snooze is a waker-upper

      At Snooze, there's breakfast and then there's breakfast.

      One is rubbery scrambled eggs, oily hash browns and overly buttered toast, and the other is a prosciutto-and-Teleggio-cheese Benedict on a toasted ciabatta topped with cream cheese Hollandaise and a salad of balsamic-splashed arugula.

      One...

    • Loqhum, a new candy shop, brings Turkish delight to Garden Grove
      Loqhum, a new candy shop, brings Turkish delight to Garden Grove

      Loqhum, a Turkish candy shop in Garden Grove, opened inside Fresh Choice Marketplace in May, dazzling customers with spectacular candies straight from Istanbul. The candy is shipped in small batches regularly, specially made for shop owner Turkay Hot, who is also from Istanbul. 

      In Turkey, this...

    • Churros to satisfy any sweet tooth
      Churros to satisfy any sweet tooth

      Fountain Valley siblings team up with marketer to open shop that serves product customized to customers' tastes.

    • Bennett: An update of new-wave Asian Cajun at The Wharf
      Bennett: An update of new-wave Asian Cajun at The Wharf

      Old Towne, Orange. Anaheim's Packing District. Main Street, Huntington Beach. DTSA.

      Whether thanks to recent or continual development, Orange County's historic downtowns are all flourishing destinations, filled with progressive chefs, young entrepreneurs and watering holes that bring the locals...

    • Bennett: Not exactly French. Not entirely Mexican. Chef Danny Godinez's cooking is something wholly unique in O.C.
      Bennett: Not exactly French. Not entirely Mexican. Chef Danny Godinez's cooking is something wholly unique in O.C.

      Chef Daniel Godinez opened his first restaurant, which gave Orange County its first taste of modern Mexican food, on a whim. The Acapulco, Mexico, native was working in the kitchen at Michael Mina's upscale Dana Point outpost Stonehill Tavern eight years ago when a friend invited him along to look...

    • A first for the county: Burmese food
      A first for the county: Burmese food

      Irrawaddy opens in Stanton, introducing the area to the tastes of the country now known as Myanmar. Tea leaf salad, anyone?

    • Bennett: It's time for O.C.'s beers to shine
      Bennett: It's time for O.C.'s beers to shine

      This one's for you Orange County.

      For the first time since the modern craft beer revolution hit here less than a decade ago, the county that is home to creators of cultish experimental Belgian ales (The Bruery), brewpubs that balance family vibes with geek-worthy IPAs (Tustin Brewing Company),...

    • Squad goal: Try all 6 of these hot pot styles at restaurants in L.A. and O.C.
      Squad goal: Try all 6 of these hot pot styles at restaurants in L.A. and O.C.

      When you're going out for hot pot, don't just invite any group of friends: First make sure your companions are reasonable, considerate, even empathetic diners, the sort of people who are good at trust games. Because when you reach your chopsticks into that boiling, shared kettle of broth, there...

    • Food truck brings nutritious meals to the needy
      Food truck brings nutritious meals to the needy

      Fountain Valley resident's 'kitchen on wheels,' named Betsy, delivers relief — and culinary savvy — to the homeless and working poor.

    • Tater tot poutine and khao soi? Yes, at the new 4th Street Market in Santa Ana
      Tater tot poutine and khao soi? Yes, at the new 4th Street Market in Santa Ana

      Downtown L.A. has Grand Central Market, San Francisco has the Ferry Building, and now, Santa Ana has 4th Street Market. The 30,000-square-foot complex houses a coffee shop, multiple food vendors, a market, bar and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

      And if you're looking for tater tots topped...

    • Dozens ill after eating Three Kings bread from cockroach-infested O.C. bakery
      Dozens ill after eating Three Kings bread from cockroach-infested O.C. bakery

      More than 30 people are sick after eating Rosca de Reyes bread, also known as Three Kings bread, distributed by Cholula's Bakery in Santa Ana, the Orange County Health Agency said in a statement. 

      The agency closed the bakery after an investigation revealed traces of cockroach infestation

      The...

    • New year, new spices for your kitchen -- plus other pantry tips
      New year, new spices for your kitchen -- plus other pantry tips

      Now that you’ve cooked your way through the holidays and used up every bit of chocolate, almonds, honey and spices in your cupboard, you’ll probably want to replenish them.

      Chocolate prices are going up, so buy what you’ll use over the next few months. Almond prices, too, are bound to rise as California’s...

    • Shoppers, scientists flock to Little Saigon seller of duck eggs
      Shoppers, scientists flock to Little Saigon seller of duck eggs

      The two spots in front of Hot Vit Lon Long An are taken, so Sonny Ha squeezes his SUV into a tight opening at the curb in the middle of the bustling Little Saigon shopping district.

      The handyman from Cerritos steps into the dimly lighted shop and places his order — two dozen duck embryos that will...

    • Bestwinesonline goes bricks and mortar; a 60-minute wine class at Dominick's
      Bestwinesonline goes bricks and mortar; a 60-minute wine class at Dominick's

      One of the leading discount wine websites is moving into the bricks-and-mortar world. And you're invited.

      On Saturday, Bestwinesonline is celebrating the opening of its retail shop in Santa Ana from noon to 5 p.m.

      Co-owners Tristen Beamon and Kyle Meyer have a lot planned. At the "tasting alley,"...

    • Sandwiches can be little slices of heaven at these three spots
      Sandwiches can be little slices of heaven at these three spots

      A sandwich is a portable feast — to take to the beach, to the park or just back to your desk. It can be as simple as tuna with mayo or jambon beurre — a ficelle or baguette spread with good butter and a slice of ham. It can be dainty, as in cucumber finger sandwiches, or heroic, as in the magnificently...

    • Knott's Berry Farm restaurant reopens after treatment for cockroaches
      Knott's Berry Farm restaurant reopens after treatment for cockroaches

      Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant reopened Thursday night after its permit was restored following treatment for a cockroach infestation, theme park officials said.

      Jason Soyster, a spokesman for Knott's Berry Farm, referred to the infestation as an "isolated structural incident" and said the...

    • Beyond the mall, food courts turn into gourmet destinations
      Beyond the mall, food courts turn into gourmet destinations

      The great American food court that rose with the shopping malls of the 1970s is fast disappearing. And in its place is the modern equivalent: a curated roster of restaurants and food purveyors that are more likely to serve a grass-fed beef burger on a brioche bun than a hot dog on a stick. In fact,...

    • Anaheim Packing House is packed to rafters with eclectic restaurants
      Anaheim Packing House is packed to rafters with eclectic restaurants

      The new Anaheim Packing House is a well-chosen collection of more than 20 small restaurants housed on two floors, with seating areas up and down and outside too. The eating spots are wonderfully eclectic with an emphasis on local, sustainable and/or organic ingredients: a grilled cheese bar, crepe...

    • 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...

    • The Gossiping Gourmet: Eclectic bites at Fusion
      The Gossiping Gourmet: Eclectic bites at Fusion

      The new Ayres Hotel in Fountain Valley, just off the 405 Freeway at Brookhurst Street, is home to a delightful restaurant called Fusion Bites. And the name is an accurate description of the eclectic menu, which is filled with tapas-sized dishes full of imaginative and tasty fusion food.

      The restaurant...

    • 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. Avocado tips: Best way to get unbruised avocado

    • 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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