Latest Stories

Critic’s Notebook: Chocolate cake in a jar is my latest obsession

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • August 10, 2022
These little jars of flourless chocolate cake have become my latest pantry staple. They are intensely dark and dense, more like fudge than cake. One little jar is enough for two people to share.

Can Trader Joe's Jamaican patties be topped? Yes!

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • August 8, 2022
A taste-off between the social-media-hyped Trader Joe’s Jamaican patties vs. the ones from Simply Wholesome in View Park-Windsor Hills. Also in this week’s recommendations from Jenn Harris, cochinita pibil at a lucha libre-themed restaurant in...

L.A.'s best new breakfast

Bill Addison • Los Angeles Times • August 6, 2022
Vivian Ku’s purple sticky rice fan tuan is superb wakeup food. Cut in half, the thin cylinder reveals a center filled with a crackly youtiao, braised soy egg, pork floss and minced preserved vegetables hidden in its maze of fried dough. Each bite...

At Chinatown's Pearl River Deli, the menu is always changing — and worth chasing

Bill Addison • Los Angeles Times • August 4, 2022
When chomping into the Macau pork-chop bun at Pearl River Deli, the first sensation that rolls over your taste buds is obvious: meat. Breaded, fried, appealingly nubbly meat. It takes about eight seconds before more intricate flavors start to sing...

Review: These are the 10 best bakeries in Orange County

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • August 4, 2022
Bread bakers are a strange lot, always waking hours before the roosters start cock-a-doodle-doing to slide their jiggly, sweetly sour loaves into ovens that have been warming all night. Baking is a career of passion, and I am immensely grateful...

Best thing I ate: This charcoal-fired chicken will disrupt your dinner routine

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • August 3, 2022
I’ve never eaten at a Mediterranean chicken restaurant in Australia, so my context for evaluating Australian-Mediterranean charcoal-grilled chicken is admittedly lacking. But I can assure you this: The chicken that gets brined and slathered with...

Recession, you say? Not for the $74 cheesecake at Jose Andres’ new place

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • August 1, 2022
The $74 cheesecake from San Laurel It’s a scene that verges on the obscene. Despite the general jitters over a looming economic downturn, new restaurants in L.A. are still finding new ways to indulge excess at the table. I felt ridiculous as I sat...

Review: Outer Reef is the best restaurant to open in Dana Point in years

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • July 28, 2022
“Deja vu.” The dining room at Outer Reef, a new surf-and-turf restaurant at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point, strikes me as pretty but feels eerily familiar: the combination of white wainscoting, light hardwood floors and navy upholstery...

Best thing I ate: This bagel and lox could become a habit

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • July 27, 2022
I could get used to this. This everything bagel. This impeccable house-cured salmon. This cream cheese that’s as light as air. All these little sprouts and herbs. The salted capers and house-made pickles. I’ve never really thought of myself as a...

Why we chose Anajak Thai as Restaurant of the Year

Bill Addison • Los Angeles Times • July 23, 2022
“I feel like we’ve opened up a totally new restaurant,” says Justin Pichetrungsi, summing up the last three years since he took over the business his parents began in 1981 and continues to steer it through an ongoing pandemic. In his hands, Anajak...