Naugles now open daily, plans for 1,000 more in the works

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For Christian Ziebarth—raised in Fountain Valley, a former website designer and food blogger who’s now the president of Naugles—it’s always been about Mexican food.

“My dad worked in LA and was always trying new Mexican food. One of his criteria on whether it was good or not was if gringos didn’t want to eat there,” Ziebarth says. “If they had food blogs back then, he probably would have been a food blogger.”

It was Ziebarth’s dad who introduced him to Naugles, as he would make Ortega Burgers at home, an idea he borrowed from the fast food chain. Ziebarth would later experience the real thing on a trip to his grandparents’ house in Joshua Tree. He remembers thinking, “This is really good! Now I know why everyone’s talking about it.”

Though the brand would eventually die due to merger, now at age 47, Ziebarth is the guy responsible for wrestling Naugles back from Del Taco in a trademark lawsuit.

He’s become a champion of the fast-food world—also landing on the OC Register’s 100 Most Influential People of 2016 list—and now he’s on the cusp of the biggest venture yet: Turning Dick Naugles dream in to a reality again, by resurrecting the fast food brand and building it into a 1,000-unit behemoth. … 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…

This Chocolate Chip Muffin, for President

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If there’s one platform I can truly get behind this election season, it’s that we should support our local businesses.

If we’re talking donut shops in Orange County, my favorites are all over: Cream Pan in Tustin (cake donuts, bagettes, strawberry croissants); Surfin’ Donuts (multiple South County locations; get the Tiger’s tail); Sidecar Doughnuts in Costa Mesa (everything); and my favorite family-run shop: Michael’s Coffee House across the street from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest/Foothill Ranch.

I hate to say I don’t know the name of the family that runs the place, but they’re always so slammed when I’m in there, I’ve never had much of a conversation with them. What I can tell you is to order any of their customizable sandwiches on a huge, buttery croissant; the blueberry donut is my wife’s favorite, and THEY MAKE THE GREATEST CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN OF ALL TIME.

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It’s all about the ratios. Lets talk about that muffin top—the good kind. In this case, the best kind.

It’s like a flying saucer landed on a wax-paper-wrapped pedestal for all to gawk in awe at. Because it’s so huge and cooks over on the pans, the perimeter of the top tastes more like a muffin version of Chewy Chips Ahoy! The inside of the top and the bottom of the muffin are perfectly soft and fluffy, and not overly sweet. Large chocolate chips stud the top and float around in abundance within, too.

It’s hard to tell someone to go driving for a chocolate chip muffin, but that’s exactly what I’m saying you should do. Take the toll road to save time if you must, (Bake off the 5, cutting across Rancho will do it too), but this is one decision you won’t soon regret.

Michael’s Coffee House
29200 Portola Parkway
Lake Forest, Ca 92630
949-455-1348

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…

Drink Up! Explore the world through cocktails at YNK in Irvine

What if I told you one of the hottest cocktail bars to ever touch down in Orange County is in … Irvine?!

Ten years ago you would have laughed at me, but O.C.’s different these days. I was at an intersection in Tustin near the Marketplace on Tuesday and had a flashback to a time when all four of the restaurants on the corners were chains. Today, only one of those four.

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan predicted in the 60s that the times, they are a changin’. And almost 60 years later some of the best cocktails in O.C. are being served at the … Irvine Marriott?

The times ARE a changin’.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.

Irenia at Lunch: Modern Filipino Food Shines in DTSA

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Filipino food is not something I’m thoroughly familiar with. Back in the day we used to raid my friend Noel’s pantry for Vienna Sausages, Spam and rice—and while that’s sure to make the Filipinos reading this smile—we can all agree: true Filipino food that is not.

I’ve previously dabbled in dishes at Pinoy Pam’s and Magic Wok—finding introduction to lumpia, pancit, sisig and lechon—but it hasn’t been until the recent influx of finer-dining Filipino fare, led mostly by second generation Filipino Americans, that I truly began to take notice of what this new wave of chefs are cooking up.

Filipino food is taking over the Golden State: In Los Angeles Eggslut founder Alvin Cailan’s Amboy helped pave the way for the Jonathan Gold-approved LASA; in Oakland the first Savor Filipino food festival goes down Oct. 15; and here in Orange County we have our own special gem in the heart of Downtown Santa Ana, the humble yet show-stopping Irenia.

Read more…

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.