$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.

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…

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…

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!!

The Beach Barrel brings back Ochoa’s Chorizo Chili

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What I love most about the crew at The Beach Barrel in Newport Beach is that they’re always trying something new, and it’s usually on the outer stratosphere of American grub. Jared Jones and Co. have brought us Hawaiian Sticky Buns, Jerk Chicken French Fries and, finally, one of their finest recipes has returned to the menu just in time for fall.

Have you had Ochoa’s Chorizo? If you haven’t been to this tiny Santa Ana storefront near Warner and Main you’re missing out on the leanest, tastiest chorizo in town. They sell it all kinds of ways too, spicy, mild—a green jalapeno version and even soyrizo made on site.

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To make their killer chili, Jared’s taking Ochoa’s spicy, adding a little more heat, ground beef and beans (plus some secret spices). You can order it in a bowl, but it’s better with a bunch of cheese on crunchy French fries and juicy burgers. If you haven’t had the Barrel’s signature burger patty you’re definitely missing out … it’s beefy and spiced, touting a unique flavor you won’t find at other burger joints.

The Beach Barrel is open 7 days a week on the Newport Beach Peninsula, and they stay open for dine-in, takeout and delivery until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Locals looking for delivery can use UberEATS: The Beach Barrel to make it happen.

For more on The Beach Barrel, check out this great article written by Valentine Bratoff for Spoon University!

The Beach Barrel
3305 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, Ca
949-531-6222

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.

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…

The Beach Barrel now serving Jerk Fries

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Knife & Spork Public Relations client The Beach Barrel in Newport Beach took one of their most popular sandwiches and switched up the ingredients for their latest special.

Owner Jared Jones is using his Jamaican Jerk Chicken—which is marinated and cooked in an authentic jerk sauce made in Jamaica—to cover a bed of fries, cheddar cheese and cilantro garnish. The dish is gooey, crispy, spicy and meaty, hitting every part of the palate except for sweet. That’s where the Barrel’s Hawaiian Sticky Buns come in.

Visit The Beach Barrel on the Newport Peninsula Wednesday through Sunday. Dine-in, takeout and local delivery are: 5-10 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday; Noon-3 a.m. Friday & Saturday; Noon-10 p.m. Sundays. For the full menu, phone number and location information, visit www.thebeachbarrel.com.