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.
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 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.
The seventh Orange County Restaurant Week, featuring special offers from more than 100 eateries, will take place Sunday to March 7.
I've been feeling lucky these days in that I have found a number of small new restaurants that serve excellent 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.