Celebrate #30YearsofZovs with these throwback dishes at original menu prices!

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Angel Hair Pasta

Zov’s Restaurant Group will celebrate 30 years since the opening of its Tustin flagship location in January 1987 by offering popular menu items at throwback prices. During the last week of each month Zov’s locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and Tustin will feature one dish at its original menu price.

Chef Zov Karamardian—originally a home cook and then a caterer—started her restaurant group in 1987 in Tustin and is regarded as one of the founding chefs of the Orange County culinary scene. Inspired by (and later a friend to) Julia Child, Zov has authored 2 cookbooks while growing her restaurant group to locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast, Tustin and John Wayne Airport.

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Zov catering a party!

Zov’s was awarded the 2015 Small Business Award by the State of California, and Zov cooked at the James Beard House for the third time in late 2015. She was honored as the 2016 Golden Foodies Chef of the Year by the Orange County Restaurant Association in late 2016.

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Zovs Tustin in 1987

Chef Zov—known for her unique Middle Eastern-fusion cuisine—turned to social media for input on what dishes should be featured.

“These flavors represent the foundation of my cooking,” Chef Zov said. “Over the years some of these dishes may have come and gone, but seemingly they have not been forgotten. We’re excited to share these special menu items in celebration with our longtime guests.”

The Dishes: 

Jan. 29-Feb. 4: Angel Hair Pasta with garlic, basil, parsley, tomato, pine nuts, feta, parmesan and extra virgin olive oil; $9.50
Feb. 26-March 4: Golden Lentil Soup
March 26-April 1: Sautéed Calamari
April 30-May 6: Roasted Rack of Lamb
May 28-June3: Fusilli Pasta with Chicken
June 25-July 1: Pork Prime Rib with Sour Cherry Sauce
July 30-Aug. 5: Mezze
Aug. 27-Sept. 2: Swordfish Piccata
Sept. 24-30: Rosemary Garlic Chicken
Oct. 29-Nov. 4: Cavatappi Pasta with Vegetables and Fontina Cheese

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Chef Zov, with OCHSA culinary students, at a recent demo

In addition to this promotion, Zov’s also welcomed Gelato Paradiso to Zov’s Bakery in Tustin where several flavors of gelato and fresh waffle cups are being served.

For more information, and Zov’s full menu, visit zovs.com.

Falasophy Grand Opening: 100 Guests will get FREE Falafel Tacos + Orange Blossom Lemonade

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Popular Lebanese-street-food food truck Falasophy has expanded from the road to its first location, landing in Downtown Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market. Owner Rashad Moumneh’s food truck, the Falafel Chariot, will still roam the streets, but Falasophy Disciples finally have a location to call their own.

Falasophy, the first Lebanese restaurant to open in Downtown Santa Ana, will celebrate by offering the first 100 guests at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, Orange Blossom Lemonade and an order of their popular Spicy Falafel Tacos (2)—tacos Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly called “more authentic than Frida Khalo.”

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Read more…

Niyaz’s Top 20 O.C. Dishes of 2016

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My top food moment of 2016 … Zov winning the Golden Foodie Award for 2016 Chef of the Year!

It’s been a great year for Orange County foodies.

We have Lobster Fries, Spaghetti Pizza and Churro Loops; Top Chefs in the kitchen and new openings at such a rapid pace it’s hard to keep up. There’s been a lot of delicious dishes to try, and while I couldn’t get to them all, I did manage to enjoy my fair share of awesome plates.

Here’s the 20 best things I ate and drank this year!

Read more…

Falasophy to bring falafels and more to Downtown Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market

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While Rashad Moumneh’s Falasophy food truck will still make the rounds for public and private events, Falasophy’s next stop will be a brick-and-mortar location inside the popular 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana.

With a menu focused on falafel, hummus and sides—benefited by “Chief Falasopher” Rashad’s past experience as a corporate restaurant executive—Falasophy has created thousands of fervent “Falasophy Disciples” across Southern California. The menu will grow at 4th Street Market to include even more craveable Lebanese street food.

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Disciples can still enjoy their current favorites—including the Banh Mi Falafel Pita, Falafel Tacos, Plato’s Salad Bowl (pictured) and Hand Cut Fries—plus new additions including the Garlic Chicken Panini and 24-Hour Steak Shawarma Pita. Falasophy will also expand the popular line of salad and hummus bowls with a variety of protein options.

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Knefeh—the famous “sweet cheese” dessert consumed at most street corners in the Middle East—will also be on the menu. Falasophy’s products will continue to be made from scratch, using all natural, fresh ingredients. In addition, they’ll be sourcing organic ingredients to the extent possible, including organic garbanzo beans. All oils used will be non-GMO.

Falasophy is scheduled to open in early January inside 4th Street Market, 201 E. Fourth Street, in Santa Ana. For their current menu, truck schedule and more info, visit falasophy.com.

For more info, read these stories in the Orange County Register and OC Weekly!

Order Evan Kleiman’s holiday pies at Alta Baja Market + Bottomless Drinks with tacos THIS SUNDAY!

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If you’re looking for a delicious way to end your Thanksgiving feast, look no further than Alta Baja Market. That’s where Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s “Good Food,” will be selling some incredible pies for the holidays.

Alta Baja Market is the only place to get these pies, and you must call directly at 714-783-2252 to place an order. Pie orders will also be available for pickup Dec. 22-24.

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Available Varieties Include:
Brown Butter Sweet Potato with Gingersnap Crust … $28
Double Crust Apple … $36
Chocolate Espresso Pecan … $38

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CARLITO’S WAY BRUNCH: Every third Sunday of the month, this Nov. 20 being such a day, is also Carlito’s Way Brunch. That means bottomless mimosas/micheladas with and order of their incredible breakfast tacos for $24 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check it out!

Alta Baja Market
inside of 4th Street Market
201 E. 4th Street
Santa Ana, Ca 92701
(714) 783-2252

Tempo Urban Kitchen adds Chef Cody Storts, new locations and brunch + plus a huge party!

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Chef Cody Storts, formerly of Grits Fullerton, has joined the team at Tempo Urban Kitchen as Executive Chef. Tempo Urban Kitchen, started nearly 2 years ago by Lascari’s and Cibo Fresh President Jorge Cueva, focuses on American-inspired Mexican food, inclusive of the melting pot of influences modern America draws from.

Cueva recently opened his second location in Anaheim Hills, with plans to expand to Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, and Tokyo, Japan in the coming year. Storts will helm the expansion in the kitchen, with his first item of business being the launch of Tempo’s brunch menu this weekend.  … Read more…

Paso Robles expansion in full swing for Pizza e Vino’s owner

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Pizza e Vino owner Steve Dickus’ expansion into Paso Robles is in full swing.

While his crew has been holding down his Neapolitan pizzeria in Rancho Santa Margarita—earning high placements on both the Orange Coast Magazine and Orange County Register “Best Pizza 2016” lists—Steve’s been working on 2 new restaurants in Downtown Paso Robles.  … Read more…

3 Tacos to Get Your Hands on This #NationalTacoDay

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Today’s not just any Taco Tuesday, it’s National Taco (Tues)Day and for that we celebrate. The noble taco is always there to provide sustenance, a trusty fallback and often an equally trusty fall-forward if we can call it that. I just love tacos. And I’m pretty sure you do too.

In honor of the day, here’s 3 tacos to get your hands on this #NationalTacoDay:

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos at Alta Baja Market (above)
4th Street Market, 201 E. 4th St., Santa Ana
www.altabajamarket.com

Alta Baja Market’s menu is full of Southwestern inspiration. Especially so on the weekends when the brunch menu features sweet or savory versions of New Mexican blue corn waffles, plus some seriously overstuffed breakfast tacos.

ABM co-owner Delilah Snell’s kitchen features the best local ingredients. She makes her own preserves, pickles and other goodies, and she puts the same care into these amazing tacos by using the world’s most perfect flour tortillas from Burritos La Palma, chorizo (of the gods) by Electric City Butcher, delicious Gonestraw Farm Eggs and house made pico de gallo. Austin, we see you.


 

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Falafel Taco at Falasophy
Menu & Schedule: www.falasophy.com

No taco has been as unique to me this year as Rashad Moumneh’s Falafel Taco at Falasophy. His #FalafelChariot, aka the food truck he runs between OC and LA, doles out delicious twists on falafel and hummus to vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike.

The taco’s components are well thought out: an El Metate flour tortilla cradling pineapple-juice pickled jalapenos for a mild bite, serrano chile crema for spicy-cool interplay and pickled cabbage for acidic crunch, all surrounding three golden, herbaceous falafels. The dish even landed at No. 33 on OC Weekly’s Top 100 Dishes of 2016, picked by “Taco USA” author and Editor-In Chief Gustavo Arellano. Quite the stamp of approval!


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Tahini Chicken Tacos at Zov’s
Locations throughout Orange County
www.zovs.com

2016 Golden Foodie Awards Chef of the Year Zov Karamardian is known for her blend of Mediterranean and French cuisines, but it’s her take on the chicken taco that had me swooning last year when I discovered these tasty bites on her Happy Hour menu in Anaheim.

The chicken is “spiced,” as it’s described on the menu, and I can’t really say what’s going on here except that it’s tasty and succulent. A mix of veggies, herbs and micro greens add a zip of freshness, with red pepper aioli and tahini providing a tasty sauce to tie all of the flavors together.

With the Ducks season about to start, these are a smart bet before the game, plus parking is validated for the entirety of the game so you can park and walk or Uber over. Tacos that basically pay for themselves … I’m in.

Zov Karamardian honored as Golden Foodie Awards 2016 Chef of the Year

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Chef Zov Karamardian—an Orange County culinary legend who in her early 40s turned an at-home catering business into a cafe, and nearly 30 years later has a multi-location restaurant group—was honored as “Chef of the Year” at the 2016 Golden Foodie Awards, Sept. 25, 2016, at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.

The Golden Foodie Awards is the Orange County Restaurant Association’s premiere annual gala, attended by regional and national celebrity chefs, restaurant industry folks and the food media. “Chef of the Year” was the final category announced at the gala; many in the audience were cheering Zov’s name before the winner was announced.

Upon receiving her award, Zov had the following remarks for the crowd:

“Thank you so much for this prestigious award. I would like to thank my entire staff, and I would like to share this award with all the chefs in this room. We know how hard it is day in and day out. It’s been 30 years, in and out of the restaurant, and it’s not easy. But it’s still going strong. So I thank my family and my entire staff for being by my side every single day, and I thank you so much for this award.”

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Chef Zov Karamardian is interviewed after her win by fellow Golden Foodie Award winners Grub Tribe.

Zov recently founded #ZovsFamilyTable, pairing with local nonprofits to provide healthy family meals to Orange County families, and she’s gearing up for the 30th anniversary of Zov’s Restaurants in early 2017. The Karamardian family will also open their first South Orange County Zov’s location in San Clemente in late 2017.

For more information about locations, menus and upcoming events, visit www.zovs.com.

3 Golden Foodie Award nominees you should know

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Sunday marks the fifth annual Golden Foodie Awards at the Fairmont Newport Beach. The Orange County Restaurant Association’s premiere event features regionally and nationally-regarded celebrity chefs, tons of great food and an awards gala honoring the best in Orange County’s culinary world.

It was a big year for Orange County chefs and their restaurants, and this year’s show will be themed to honor both the legendary chefs who paved the way and the trailblazers of today. Three of the restaurants Knife & Spork Public Relations works with are nominated this year. Whether they bring home Golden Foodies or not, here’s why you should know them:

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Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Restaurants
Nominated for Chef of the Year
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There’s a handful of pioneering female chefs in Orange County (thankfully, more so today), and Zov Karamardian is one of them. Her blend of Middle Eastern flavors and French influences have garnered local enthusiasts for 30 years come 2017. What started as one cafe in Tustin has grown to restaurants in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and Tustin, with a first-ever South Orange County location in San Clemente in the works.

While trends come and go, Zov manages to remain on trend year after year, adapting versatile menus that highlight her style of cooking while always showcasing what’s hot now, too. The Stadium Menu at Zov’s Anaheim is exemplary of her ability to reframe familiar classics including pizza, tacos and burgers in unique ways.

In late 2015 she cooked at the James Beard House in New York for the third time in her career and Zov’s was named the 2015 Small Business of the Year by the State of California for the 37th Senate District. In 2016, Zov founded #ZovsFamilyTable, pairing with local nonprofits to provide healthy family meals to Orange County families.

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Falasophy
Falafel & Hummus Bar on Wheels
Nominated for Best Vegetarian
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Few food trucks on the road in Los Angeles and Orange County are as ingenious as Rashad Moumneh’s “Falafel Chariot.” The roaming falafel and hummus bar serves up Middle Eastern classics punched up with bold flavors and even bolder ideas. The former Taco Bell corporate executive started Falasophy with the idea of promoting plant power and, specifically, the nutritional powerhouse that is the noble garbanzo bean.

Rashad’s falafels are crunchy bites of bright green heaven, but it’s not just how good they are, but how he uses them that sets Falasophy apart from the faux-lafel fakers out there.

Try them in critically-acclaimed tacos, with pickled veggies and a spicy-cool crema, or shoved into a pita with Vietnamese-style veggies just like a banh mi. There isn’t much like this on the streets, so a stop at Falasophy is a must. Schedule here: http://falasophy.com/#schedule.

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Grits owners Cody Storts and Darlene and Erik Arevalo.

Grits Fullerton
Nominated for Best Beer Selection
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Grits Fullerton and beer go together like maple syrup and fish sauce, look it up. Boozie puts together a killer beer selection with taps and bottles from craft breweries near and far, complementing the “American-Food-on-Acid” style of cuisine Chef Cody Storts is known for.

Their ability to source great beer is best exemplified in their ambitious, themed beer dinners, which have seen the Grits crew pair with some of the best breweries in the country including Stone Brewing Co., The Bruery/Bruery Terreaux, Noble Ale Works, Golden Road and Sierra Nevada. Cody asks the breweries to truly dig into their archive or create new takes on beers they may be working on already.

The results are never disappointing, and even led to the creation of the best beer I’ve had all year—”Poop Goes the Weasel” by Noble Ale Works during Grits’ “Blood & Guts” dinner. It’s a civet-poop coffee stout that I couldn’t get enough of. There were only 6 gallons made and it went fast. If I had a glass, I’d raise it!

Congratulations to the nominees!!