Niyaz’s Top 20 O.C. Dishes of 2016


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…

The Beach Barrel brings back Ochoa’s Chorizo Chili


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.


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

2016 Golden Foodie Awards Voter Guide


Summer’s winding down and we’re headed into the final third of 2016. It’s an election year, and you’re going to be faced with a tough decision this year, like you are every election year … Who will you pick to win at the 2016 Golden Foodie Awards?

Orange County’s premiere foodies-choice awards show returns this September and voting is live now! Use our handy Voter’s Guide to help you with your pics for several categories of voting, which take place Aug. 1-21, 2016.

We represent several clients who may be great for a specific category, so we’ll list them all and the decision will be yours based on what you like to eat and where. Thanks for your support!


Aug. 1-7, 2016:

Best American: Grits Fullerton
Best Vegetarian: Falasophy
Best Bartender: Cesar Cerrudo, Anepalco
Best Italian Food: Pizza e Vino
Best Mexican: Anepalco
Best Pizza: Pizza e Vino

Aug. 8-14, 2016: 

Best Mediterranean: Zov’s
Best Beer Selection: Grits Fullerton
Best Burger: The Beach Barrel, Grits Fullerton or Zov’s
Best Californian: Falasophy
Best Service: Anepalco or Zov’s

Aug. 15-21, 2016
Best New Restaurant: Grits Fullerton
Best Cocktails: Anepalco or Zov’s
Best Dessert: Zov’s
Best Wine: Pizza e Vino

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


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


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

More local love for The Beach Barrel


Jared Jones, co-owner of The Beach Barrel, with his signature BBQ Chicken Pizza.

It’s been nearly a year since Green Room OC owner Mac Carlson and former Midnight Muncheez owner Jared Jones opened The Beach Barrel in Newport Beach. The restaurant specializes in “Kine Grub,” including scratch-made sandwiches, pizzas, hot dogs and salads—and has nearly 100 5-star Yelp! reviews.

It’s become a favorite for peninsula locals and the Orange County media is noticing, too. Here are 3 recent articles highlighting the Barrel’s unique take on beach eats:

The Beach Barrel is open noon-3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon-10 p.m. Sundays for dine-in, take-out and FREE delivery. Cutoff times apply. View their menu at Catering is also available; contact for more info!

Keep reading for pics of some of their most-popular items!  … Read more…

Fried Avocado new at The Beach Barrel in Newport Beach


Knife & Spork Public Relations client The Beach Barrel turns out some of the tastiest fast-casual grub on the Newport Beach peninsula. The restaurant features specials and deals on a near-weekly basis. One of those specials—Fried Avocado—became quite popular, so owner Jared Jones is keeping it around for a while.


If you’re an avocado fan, you’ll need little convincing when it comes to the Fried Avocado. Even if you aren’t so sure about veggies, chances are you like fried goodies and these crunchy treats definitely qualify. They coat avocado slices with panko crumb, then cook them to golden perfection. The avocado within becomes creamier, but doesn’t lose its coolness under heat, much like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. They come 6 to an order, with house Ranch or Chipotle Ranch sauces.

The Beach Barrel
3305 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, Ca 92663
(949) 531-6222

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Follow me on Instagram @niyazpirani for food photos and videos before they hit the blog!

Over is my new favorite design app


Working as a public relations professional and food writer, there are a lot of apps I use daily to get the job done. The list is deep—Bitly, Dropbox, Facebook, Google Docs & Sheets, Hootsuite, Instagram, Notes, Pages Manager, Twitter and Yelp Biz are my regulars—but the newest update to Over, a text and image maker, has made this the most valuable app I use for creating visually-compelling content for my clients.


Over 3 is simple to navigate and easy to use, allowing you to import your own pictures and PNG files to create your final images. You also have access to a massive stock photo library, and text and enhancement packs are available for purchase. I spent $5 unlocking new fonts and features and they were all worth it.

Here’s a quick video intro to Over to see it in action:

Download Over at the Apple Store and Google Play, and follow Over on Instagram to see great examples of what users are doing with the app.

Happy creating!

Follow me on Instagram @niyazpirani for food photos and videos before they hit the blog!
Tag your food photos with #SPORKBLOG to let me know what I should check out next!!