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.

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…

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.

Summer’s Almost Over—Savor the Season at Zov’s

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September’s around the corner and honestly, it can stay there. I want to rock these shorts and sandal tan just a little while longer. And, though the season is fleeting, Chef Zov Karamardian is offering a taste of sunshine with her seasonal menu celebrating the flavors of late summer.

Dishes include:

  • Burrata Cheese with Heirloom Tomatoes, arugula, sugar snap peas, fresh mint, basil, lemon and lime juice and olive oil
  • Shrimp, Watermelon and Feta Salad with cucumber, arugula, mint and lime juice
  • (My personal favorite, pictured above) Pan-Seared Trout with Lemon Caper Butter Sauce and Summer Vegetable Medley

Visit Zov’s in Anaheim (Platinum Triangle), Irvine (Orchard Hills), Newport Coast and Tustin (Bistro side only). For menus and location information, visit www.zovs.com.

Grits Fullerton celebrates 1st anniversary with Golden Road at “Dirty South” Beer Dinner

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Grits Fullerton—Orange County chef Cody Storts first solo venture, with partners Darlene and Erik Arevalo—celebrated its 1-year anniversary June 24. The Downtown Fullerton restaurant serves as a modern diner, dishing out Storts’ insane takes on brunch, lunch and dinner classics.

For their first birthday, Storts teamed with Victor Novak, brewmaster of Los Angeles’ Golden Road Brewing—which just opened its first Orange County in Anaheim’s Platinum Trianglefor a 6-course beer dinner dubbed “The Dirty South,” paying homage to Storts childhood years spent in the South.  … Read more…

Grits Fullerton releases “Dirty South” menu for Beer Dinner Friday, June 24—You can win 2 tickets!

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Grits Fullerton is headed to The Dirty South this Friday, June 24, as Chef Cody Storts teams up with Victor Novak of Golden Road Brewing and Golden Road Pub Orange County for a 6 course beer dinner featuring brews you’ve never had before. Tickets, $135, including food, drinks, tax and service, are available here: bit.ly/GritsAndGoldenRoad.

The restaurant is holding a contest through Thursday evening to give away 2 seats to the dinner. You can get those details at the Grits Fullerton Facebook Page. Keep reading for the dinner and beer menu. … Read more…

6 O.C. burgers that honor National Burger Day all year long

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If blood type were determined by what you ate, I’d probably be blood type cheeseburger, or cheeseburger/pizza (kinda like Type AB). Not saying it’s a good thing, just saying there’s something about a grilled/seared/charbroiled beef patty with gooey cheese, cradled between two pillowy buns that I just can’t get enough of.

In celebration of National Burger Day, here’s 6 burgers in Orange County that I could always go for, no matter the day! … Read more…

Grits Fullerton & Noble Ale Works Blood & Guts Bonanza + June Beer Dinner Announcement!

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Working with multiple chefs and business owners in Orange County allows me to draw from multiple influences and perspectives. My various clients inspire me in different ways. In the case of Grits Fullerton, the creativity of Chef Cody Storts and Co. has always been what’s drawn me to the place.

I won’t ever forget my first bite of Fried Chicken Skins with Fresno pepper jam, or one of my new favorites of his, Thai Balls, with pancake balls, fried pork cutlet, raw shallot, jalapeno and cilantro, with a drizzle of fish sauce maple syrup. Like a banh mi for breakfast as made by Hunter S. Thompson.

Grits is a celebration of food and family, and accordingly, the restaurant has scheduled monthly beer dinners in partnership with breweries. The goal is to create a memorable experience for diners and beer drinkers alike. Past breweries included Stone and The Bruery, but for the restaurant’s May dinner, Cody and Grits Beverage Manager Boozie the Beer Guy turned up the mayhem and paired with Noble Ale Works for a Blood & Guts Beer Dinner on Friday the 13th of May.

The dinner came a week after Noble won big for their beers at the 2016 World Beer Cup, and were also awarded the honor of best small brewery in the world. ALL OF PLANET EARTH. Insanity! Noble’s Brewmaster Evan Price brought the heat too, producing unique beers including one with cochineal (essentially bright red beetle juice) and another (absolutely delicious brew) made with some interesting coffee beans.

Even though it’s my job, I was slightly afraid of this one, not because I don’t trust Cody, but because I’m not too keen on pig heads, brains, blood and the like. I know offal doesn’t mean awful, but it’s not like I’m eat intestines and snout for dinner every night.

Trust fall in progress …   … Read more…

Platinum Triangle at 2016 Taste of Anaheim!

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The 2016 Taste of Anaheim took over Anaheim GardenWalk Thursday, May 12, with more than 1,000 hungry eventgoers turning out for live entertainment, vendors and, most importantly, local restaurant tastings on both floors of the Anaheim entertainment, dining and shopping complex.

Platinum Triangle Community restaurants and breweries were there, serving tasty bites and refreshing brews to long lines from the early evening until late at night. Keep reading to see more from the event! … Read more…