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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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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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!

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.

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Baja day trip with Alta Baja Market & Anepalco

I recently signed both Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana and Anepalco in Orange to my client roster. Alta Baja Market, located inside of 4th Street Market in Santa Ana, is a brand new market and cafe from Natasha Monnereau and Delilah Snell that celebrates the bounty of goods, food and culture above and below the Southwestern border. Anepalco and Anepalco’s Cafe from Chef Daniel Godinez have elevated Mexican food in Orange County for nearly a decade.

Delilah, Daniel and I packed into his car last Monday and headed to Baja for the day on a search for glassware and goods for Alta Baja Market. Also, TACOS. Tacos … and ceviche … and cheese … and wine and wine and wine. We also had a half mole-half cochinita pibil pizza in Tijuana on the way out of town. How we didn’t explode, I’ll never know.

Check out the video above to see how we spent our day. Some of the dishes may become inspiration for their seasonal cafe menu, and you may eventually find some of the items on their shelves too. … Read more…

Chef Greg Moro’s Killer Buns

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Greg Moro and his team have been tinkering with the menu at Chapter One: The Modern Local since the former Nieuport 17/French 75 chef took the helm of this Santa Ana gastropub in early August.

My favorite dish may be gone (R.I.P. The Kraken—a mass of scallops, calamari and greens in a pool of squid ink), but there are new items on the menu to make up for it. By far the most exciting thing for me isn’t a new dish, however, but a new component he’s using to upgrade the noble burger: Dutch Crunch Potato Buns.

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Three-coursin’ it at Morton’s The Steakhouse

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Rachael Ray taught me on “$40-a-Day” that the best meal deal at a nice restaurant is at lunch. There’s actually a really funny Aziz Ansari bit on the subject too, check it out.

Typically I come to Morton’s The Steakhouse in Santa Ana for their lunchtime burger, a hefty beef bomb with crisp bacon and gooey horseradish cheddar, but their prix-fixe menu enticed me on a recent visit. In the case of Morton’s, where the steaks hover around $50 plus, having a $30 three-course prix-fixe steak lunch is a bargain you should take advantage of at least once.

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