Dining Reviews

The Gossiping Gourmet: Pueblo's plates are great, no matter how small

The Gossiping Gourmet: Pueblo's plates are great, no matter how small

The South Coast Collection, or SoCo, center has become a real haven for foodies. In addition to Surfas, the large cooking supply store, it is home to Taco Maria, Arc, Pueblo, The Cellar Cheese Shop, The Portola Coffee Lab, Shuck Oyster Bar, Birdie Bowl and Juicery Bar, Susie Cakes, The Iron Press, Green Leaf Chop Shop, We Olive and Wine Bar and LCA Wine.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Steam kettles a sight to behold

The Gossiping Gourmet: Steam kettles a sight to behold

Orange County has very few Cajun/Creole restaurants, so I was delighted to discover the recent arrival in Huntington Beach of Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking, which also has a location in Santa Ana.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Five Crowns still holds the throne

The Gossiping Gourmet: Five Crowns still holds the throne

The Five Crowns is one of the grand old dames of fine dining in Orange County, having opened in 1965 as part of the Lawry's chain. But it has an even more colorful history.

O.C. Restaurant Week starts Sunday

The seventh Orange County Restaurant Week, featuring special offers from more than 100 eateries, will take place Sunday to March 7.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Hong Hai sets high bar for Vietnamese cuisine

The Gossiping Gourmet: Hong Hai sets high bar for Vietnamese cuisine

I've been feeling lucky these days in that I have found a number of small new restaurants that serve excellent food.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Who needs decor when you have great Japanese food?

The Gossiping Gourmet: Who needs decor when you have great Japanese food?

I was pleased to discover a new Japanese restaurant in the beautiful Orchard Hill Center just off Portola Parkway and Culver Drive in Irvine.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Bottom of the Barrel? Not this one

The Gossiping Gourmet: Bottom of the Barrel? Not this one

With new fine-dining establishments popping up infrequently in this struggling economy, I find myself more and more often in some small, unpretentious new place that has surprisingly good food. One is The Beach Barrel on the peninsula in Newport.

The Gossiping Gourmet: A bouquet for Mama D's, courtesy of Yelp

The Gossiping Gourmet: A bouquet for Mama D's, courtesy of Yelp

Yelp has just come out with its list of 100 best places to eat in the U.S. in 2015, and five of them are here in our area.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Wine and friendly neighborhood ambiance at Bacchus

The Gossiping Gourmet: Wine and friendly neighborhood ambiance at Bacchus

I think Bacchus Bar & Bistro is the kind of place we would all like to have in our neighborhood: casual and friendly with good food and live music at a reasonable decibel. It is located in the Quail Hill Village Center and has indoor and outdoor dining.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Good Eats at Hotel Irvine's gastro pub

The Gossiping Gourmet: Good Eats at Hotel Irvine's gastro pub

I remember a time when hotel restaurant food was traditional, fancy, expensive and not particularly good. But times have changed, and many hotels are serving wonderful and inventive food.

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