16 April 2014

Bottle Juice

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BRAD A JOHNSON

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Quick, while the weather in Southern California still feels vaguely like winter. Go to Santa Monica Seafood in Costa Mesa and order a big steaming bowl of San Francisco-style cioppino. Classic Italian fisherman's stew doesn't get much better than...

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Start with the okra. And then try the octopus. These two dishes should give you a great idea of what this Asian-inspired tapas bar is all about. The okra is fresh and crisp, lightly battered and fried whole, tempura-style. The okra snaps between your...

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Waiiha Sushi & Japanese Dining at SoCo reopened in early January after a quick interior nip/tuck. The formerly ultra-stark dining room has been softened with gauzy screens that hang from the ceiling, creating more intimate nooks and a sense of...

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The Spam sandwiches grab my attention. But I mean, seriously, how good can this place be? This is what's going through my head late last year as I'm studying the menu online before actually dining at DivBar in Newport Beach. The menu doesn't stop at...

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It's dark and foggy the first time I visit Broadway in downtown Laguna Beach. The restaurant's vertical neon sign cuts through murky haze, letting me know I'm in the right place. A small crowd is huddled on the sidewalk beneath the blue neon glow. My...

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I hadn't intended to eat here. I simply need a bottle of water, so I duck into Buena Vista Market for a quick transaction. But the moment I step through the grocery store doors, I smell something unexpected. Tacos! But where is it coming from? Ah,...

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Chef Rachel Klemek has launched a branch of her Blackmarket Bakery at The Camp in Costa Mesa. There isn't a sign out front yet, but you won't need a breadcrumb trail to find it. You can smell the freshly baked bread from around the corner. This place...

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The first time I dined at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's was three years ago. Or maybe it was four? It was a simple but wonderful lunch of beef sliders and French fries; this much I recall because the memory of those fries has stuck with me. They...

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The team behind The Crosby, a popular gastropub in downtown Santa Ana, has launched The Grilled Cheese Spot, a tiny sandwich shop just around the corner. The first thing you should know about this place is that it's standing-room only. Literally....

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Restaurants and nightclubs are two vastly different propositions. The skill set required for running a restaurant is simply not the same as what's necessary for maintaining a bottle-service nightclub with popular DJs, dancing and "it" crowds. Almost...

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