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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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

Grits’ Pancake Balls featured on Foodbeast

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Peter Pham and Reach from the Foodbeast crew recently visited Grits Fullerton to get a taste of Chef Cody’s delicious pancake balls. Cody’s take on the Danish aebleskiver is a more-cake-like take on the European original, only Grits executive chef is doing them up his way.

For example, take one of my favorite dishes of the year, Thai Balls—with pancake balls, fried pork cutlet, raw shallot/jalapeno/cilantro and fish sauce-maple syrup. I lovingly refer to the dish as the Breakfast Banh Mi (that’s Vietnamese, I know) but one taste of this dish and you’ll understand exactly).

Cody’s also been going through the cereals of his childhood to spruce up his balls and the results are insane, and insanely delicious.

Click here to see Foodbeast’s video and article about Grits Fullerton’s Pancake Balls!

OC Weekly’s Fresh Toast: Brunch your face off

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OC Weekly‘s sold out Fresh Toast brunch-a-thon swarmed Newport Dunes and Waterfront Resort Saturday, where more than 40 local restaurants and vendors shared their best brunch bites for 1,500 famished weekend warriors. For me it was a little bit of business—Knife & Spork Public Relations client Zov’s was a participant—but the event was a whole lot of gustatory pleasure too.

I walked around shooting pictures and munching on a variety of snacks from some of my favorite O.C. restaurants and places I haven’t made it to yet. For a first-time fiesta, everything ran remarkably smooth. There were definitely some booths I missed, but on a positive note, there were enough vendors present to disperse the crowd so lines were never too long.

I’ve been sorting through my shots and I’m already hungry for Fresh Toast 2! Keep reading to see the dishes I got my hands on … … Read more…

Grits Fullerton: The New American Classic

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Rarely do the realms of “American food” and “New American cuisine” overlap. The first term conjures steamy biscuits with pepper-speckled gravy, double cheeseburgers and hefty steaks while the latter brings to mind dishes with modern sensibilities, both in technique and aesthetic, with ingredients that are farm to table, light, local and organic. But in finding our newness, we’ve mostly left behind those classic diner traditions, that—while built on the backs of European immigrant families—have become part of our national food identity.

Grits Fullerton—the 4-month-old brunch concept from former Hopscotch/Nieuport 17 Chef Cody Storts—is the new American classic, using today’s techniques to reinvigorate old favorites. Any morning that starts at Grits becomes a great morning, and, as Chef Storts recently launched weekly dinner service, prix-fixe beer dinners and all-you-can-eat fried chicken Sundays there’s no better time than now to experience this North County hotspot.

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