Life & Arts

O.C. band wins a chance to duet with multi-platinum pop artist

The future appears to be a lot less uncertain for the Orange County-based band Undecided Future after winning the opportunity of a lifetime — a duet performance with their idol and multi-platinum recording artist Jason Derulo. The five-member funk and R&B group won the duet opportunity after submitting...

  • Iranian American musician makes an old instrument new again

    Iranian American musician makes an old instrument new again

    Mahan Esfahani is obsessed with the harpsichord — he has been ever since he was a kid. The Iranian American wunderkind — he already has won numerous awards and was selected “Newcomer of the Year” by BBC Music Magazine in 2015 — first heard the harpsichord on cassette when he was 8 years old. He...

  • Winter Fest returns to Orange County

    Winter Fest returns to Orange County

    Snow is coming to Orange County. These ice crystals don’t stem from Mother Nature; rather, they come courtesy of Winter Fest, a holiday festival that will be held at the OC Fair & Event Center from Dec. 21 to Jan. 7. In its third year, Winter Fest will feature a host of holiday-themed attractions,...

  • Here’s how to start exploring Buena Park’s Koreatown restaurants

    Here’s how to start exploring Buena Park’s Koreatown restaurants

    Like its Los Angeles counterpart, the burgeoning Koreatown in Buena Park can be overwhelming to visitors. All along Beach Boulevard, down Orangethorpe Avenue and across Commonwealth Avenue, I have long seen strip mall signs alight with Hangul lettering spelling out the names of beauty parlors,...

What to eat now in O.C.: Sarah Bennett's favorites

  • Puesto’s nopal sorbet (pair it with a shot of mezcal)

    Puesto’s nopal sorbet (pair it with a shot of mezcal)

    On your first trip to O.C.’s new Puesto, which is the only restaurant in Irvine that will change the way you think about Mexican street food, it’s okay to start with dessert first. That’s because dessert here is actually a palate-cleansing bowl of nopal sorbet and a shot of Oaxacan mezcal. So what...

  • SeaSalt Woodfire Grill’s tri-tip is an authentic experience

    SeaSalt Woodfire Grill’s tri-tip is an authentic experience

    Eating a perfectly cooked piece of meat is one of the holiest eating experiences there is. But eating a tender piece of salt-and-peppered tri-tip perfectly cooked for hours over an open fire pit fueled by temperamental California red oak in the grand tradition of the state’s only native barbecue...

  • Bagels & Brew’s rainbow bagel makes mornings fun again

    Bagels & Brew’s rainbow bagel makes mornings fun again

    From grilled cheese to muffins to Frappuccinos, 2016 was the year that food went full unicorn — that is, becoming a hyper-color psychedelic swirl of its former self. But only a few of these fantastically-colored items were actually edible, much less turned out to be better than their bland-looking...

  • The Wharf’s crawfish macaroni and cheese brings luxury to new-wave Asian Cajun

    The Wharf’s crawfish macaroni and cheese brings luxury to new-wave Asian Cajun

    Crayfish, crawfish or crawdaddies — no matter what you call the juice-filled freshwater lobsters — they’re a popular by-the-pound order at the dozens of Vietnamese-owned seafood boil spots across Orange County. Problem is, who wants to go through all the trouble of cracking them open just to redeem...

  • Alta Baja Market’s botana blends crunchy-cool with local sourcing

    Alta Baja Market’s botana blends crunchy-cool with local sourcing

    Delilah Snell helped start the first farmers’ market in Santa Ana more than a decade ago and has since been one of the city’s biggest advocates for local, sustainable food. Last year, she opened Alta Baja Market — a community-minded boutique grocer that stocks goods from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico...

  • Anepalco’s huitlacoche ice cream is homestyle magic

    Anepalco’s huitlacoche ice cream is homestyle magic

    When most of us dream of huitlacoche — that earthy purple corn fungus found seasonally in Mexican cooking — it’s smashed among ribbons of gooey Oaxacan cheese between the folds of a hand-patted, bruise-blue corn tortilla. When Danny Godinez dreams of those same huitlacoche quesadillas — a staple...

  • Little Saigon’s restaurant scene revives as second-generation Vietnamese Americans mix it up

    Little Saigon’s restaurant scene revives as second-generation Vietnamese Americans mix it up

    One of Sonny Nguyen’s favorite childhood memories was eating out in Little Saigon. “We would only go out to eat once a month, and it was a pho restaurant,” Nguyen, 38, said of the Vietnamese noodle soup dish. “It was a big highlight. It was a luxury.” In the decades since, Nguyen has seen Little...

  • Sandra Tsing Loh puts her spin on a holiday favorite

    Sandra Tsing Loh puts her spin on a holiday favorite

    When she was in middle school, Sandra Tsing Loh desperately wanted to play Clara or the Sugar Plum Fairy in the local ballet school’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.” In fact, she longed to have a part in every play. Loh didn’t nab that cherished role in “The Nutcracker.” Instead, she says,...

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