5 Fried Chicken Sandwiches You Can Eat Right Now Without Waiting in Line at Popeyes

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With the Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich craze sweeping the nation for a second time, plus last weekend’s Fried Chicken Sundays at Craft House selling out in 1 hour 15 min., it seems hungry people everywhere have a craving for golden, crispy poultry that can’t be satiated.

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Seriously. Look at the line wrapped around the Popeyes in Santa Ana recently. I waited it out for a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich and I have to say … it was a good fast food version of a fried chicken sandwich. They served them in foil wrappers (a la Chic-Fil-A) that steam the sandwich a bit too much before you can enjoy it, but overall it’s better than anyone else’s out there in the fast food arena.

But, if you’re not in the mood to wait in line, or just want to find better flavors in other places, there are plenty of great options in Orange County (and one in Long Beach that I like, too).

Keep reading for 5 Fried Chicken Sandwiches You Can Eat Right Now Without Waiting in Line at Popeyes.

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Booze Bros. Pint Night Tonight + Thanksgiving Smoked Turkeys at Meat Up BBQ

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If you’re looking for a new twist on Thanksgiving Dinner, check out Meat Up BBQ in Placentia. Until Monday, the hickory smokehouse is selling catering packages that serve 10-12 people with smoked turkey and all the sides at MeatUpBBQ.com.

And, if you’re in the neighborhood tonight, Nov. 21, stop by from 5 to 10 p.m. for the latest installment in their monthly pint night series with Booze Brothers Brewing Brewing Co. from Vista (North San Diego).

Full details after the jump …

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Craft House Cooks Up Fried Chicken Sundays (and a Bonus: Butter Cake!)

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DANA POINT Craft House is delving deeper into Chef/Owner Blake Mellgren‘s southern roots with the addition of Fried Chicken Sundays, every Sunday starting at 5 p.m. 

Craft House fried chicken is marinated in a red-hued bath of dry rub and buttermilk, giving it a kick, and it’s always crispy-crunchy-delicious. One of my favorite meals my (Midwestern) mom would always make me was fried chicken with collard greens and mashed potatoes and the Craft House version lives up to her standard (and definitely brings back great memories for me, too)!

Chef Blake said he wanted to create an opportunity for families to come together at the dinner table on Sunday evenings before the week begins to spend time together and enjoy a meal.

Each order includes a 3 pieces of Organic Jidori Fried Chicken, veggie of the week, mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, cornbread and honey butter for $25.

While #TeamCraftHouse is already known for an array of Southern-influenced dishes (like “The Holy Grail of Meatloaf“), having a dedicated day just for fried chicken in Dana Point is an offering Chef Blake is proud to bring to the community.

“Chicken should only be served two ways. Fried or whole roasted,” Chef Blake said. “And everything tastes better fried. So we cook the best kind of chicken.”

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*NEW* FALL DISHES + Filet Mignon Beef Stroganoff Returns to Lido Bottle Works!

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NEWPORT BEACH Lido Bottle WorksChef Amy Lebrun and Team LBW have been working hard with local purveyors and in our their own local gardens to consistently turn out some of the best hyperseasonal cuisine all year long. Whether it’s a variety of apple changing over the course of weeks in a burrata, or the parade of uncommon mushrooms (fried chicken or lion’s mane, anyone?) that make their way into the various dishes, Chef Amy truly celebrates the season’s bounty in an almost intense way.

LBW’s Fall 2019 menu features the return of their jaw-dropping Filet Mignon Beef Stroganoff, and I’m highkey obsessed with the Poblano Gratin that’s paired the Prime Pecan-Smoked NY Block Steak! They also added more vegetarian and vegan options, including the artistic Seasonal Vegetables with pistachio butter pictured above.

Keep reading to see all of the new dishes, and make your reservations at LidoBottleWorks.com! … Read more…

MeatUp BBQ Celebrates 4th Anniversary Thursday with Epic Event!

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Placentia’s MeatUp BBQ will celebrate it’s 4th Anniversary Thursday Night with a beer event that will be one to remember … but, with beers this heavy, some might not!

Owner Luis Flores curates a beer event each month with a select brewery, but for the 4th Anniversary he’s opening up the taps to an array of his favorite breweries. The list includes:

🍺 Bottle Logic 2018 Fundamental Observation, 13.2%
🍺 Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. 8th Anniversary Sidecar Barley Wine, 12.5%
🍺 Phantom Carriage Bavmorda Barley Wine, 10.2%
🍺 4 Sons Self Taught Rye Coconut Amber, 16.3%
🍺 El Segundo Imperial Revolucion, 9.3%
🍺 Alesmith Sap Ness Monster Speedway Stout, 13%
🍺 Good Beer Company Unlit, 8.5%
🍺 Barley Forge The Black Dahlia aged in cognac barrels, 11%
🍺 Epic 2018 Quadruple Barrel Big Bad Baptist, 11.7%
🍺 Karl Strauss Bourbon Vanilla Wreck Alley Imperial Stout, 10%

They’ll also have a Limited Edition 4th Anniversary Glass to keep, awesome raffles & the return of THE TEXAS CHOPPED MEAT SANDWICH!!

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It’s 2 split lobster rolls packed with hickory-smoked meats including brisket, pulled pork and bratwurst, plus bacon, pickles, and their signature Cracked Pepper BBQ!! It’s enough to feed 2 people, or someone really, really hungry!

MEAT UP BBQ 4TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
5-10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31
1450 N. Kraemer Blvd., Placentia
meatupbbq.com

P.S.: If you’re looking for a feast for the BIG GAME this Sunday, they also offer a killer package:

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$20 3-Course Lunch at Lido Bottle Works

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Newport Beach Restaurant Week runs now through Sunday, Jan. 27, featuring an array of Newport’s best restaurants offering delicious multi-course meals at special prices.

Lido Bottle Works on Newport Harbor is offering a $20 3-Course Lunch as part of this special event!

It includes:

FIRST COURSE
Soup du Jour or Charred Eggplant Hummus

SECOND COURSE
Crispy Jidori Chicken Sandwich or Gem Lettuce Salad

THIRD COURSE
Chocolate Mousse or House Spun Ice Cream

A few things you should know before you go … the soup changes daily (hence the name, and it’s always delicious)! I’m also partial to Chef Amy Lebrun’s Crispy Jidori Chicken Sandwich because it’s marinated in Thai flavors and dressed with spicy peppers and cilantro! The Gem Lettuce Salad features amazing polenta croutons and a smokey ancho/honey chili paste.

It’s probably worth making reservations for 2 so you can try a little bit of everything.

Reservations & Restaurant Info: LidoBottleWorks.com

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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A Meal at the 3rd Best Restaurant in the World

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It’s 2017 … let’s kick off the year in style!

Whether you agree with the concept of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list or not, the fact remains—not only do the annual rankings include culinary heavy hitters worldwide, but landing a spot does wonders for the notoriety of a restaurant for years to come.

In the United States only 6 restaurants made the 2016 list in total, though the No. 3 spot does belong to the U.S.

Rather, it belongs to James Beard Award-winning Chef Daniel Humm and Co. of Eleven Madison Park in New York, a contemporary American restaurant in the Metropolitan Life North Building on Madison Avenue (across the street from the famous Madison Square Park Shake Shack).

Though he’s been at the helm for a decade, Humm and his partner Will Guidara purchased the restaurant from previous owner Danny Meyer just a few years ago. In early 2016, Humm pared down the restaurant’s lengthy four-hour tasting menu for a new minimalism, which made news in The New York Times.

“I think we’re at a point where eating 25 courses is not necessary,” Humm told The Gray Lady. “We feel strongly about it. That’s not what we want anymore, as diners. It’s too much.”

My wife and I arrived in Spring 2016 to celebrate 10 years together, just as they hit seasonal stride with their new menu.

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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!

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