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We tasted 14 nonalcoholic wines and spirits. Here's what you should try

Jenn Harris, Stephanie Breijo • Los Angeles Times • January 2, 2022
There are many reasons why someone might want to attempt a dry January. Maybe you indulged a little too much during the holidays. Or you’re just looking to cut back on alcohol in the new year. Our colleague Jessica Roy is pregnant, so she’s been...

New food words in the Merriam-Webster dictionary 2021

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • December 30, 2021
Fluffernutter: a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow crème between two slices of white sandwich bread. If you’re from the Northeast, you may be familiar with the sweet “delicacy” known as fluffernutter. While the sandwich is most...

Review: The 10 best new restaurants in Orange County in 2021

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • December 30, 2021
Hats off to all the new restaurants that opened this year. It was a long list that included a new wave of Thai restaurants, several new Italian restaurants and pizzerias, plus sushi, ramen, burgers, Mexican, Chinese, French, Spanish, American… But...

Best thing I ate: This burger is very French and very good

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • December 29, 2021
If there was a Swiss fondue restaurant in the French Alps that served a cheeseburger, it might look something like this: a pillowy-soft brioche bun stuffed with a half-pound burger patty that’s more spherical than flat, along with housemade bacon...

Sonoma County farm finds first truffle

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • December 23, 2021
For the past four years, between the months of December and March, Seth Angerer has walked through his family’s orchard in Geyserville, Calif., hoping for a miracle. With his dogs Leo and Vito in tow, he walks the 8 acres, slowly making his way up...

Best thing I ate: Orange County’s 20 best dishes of 2021, ranked

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • December 22, 2021
When you eat out every day like I do, it’s easy to forget about much of what you eat. But then there are those other meals or dishes that won’t let you stop thinking about them: a pizza, a burger, a bowl of ramen, Spanish, Italian, Bosnian… These...

Six of our critic's favorite new food books

Bill Addison • Los Angeles Times • December 18, 2021
At year’s end, with the all-consuming project — our annual guide to L.A.'s 101 best restaurants — behind me and some holiday downtime forthcoming, it’s a pleasure to turn my attention briefly from restaurants to excellent, recently published...

Review: The 7 best butcher shops in Orange County

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • December 16, 2021
Being a restaurant critic keeps me out of my own kitchen most days. But this is that time of year when I squeeze in a few exceptions. And for me, this usually involves meat. For years, I’ve relied on Irvine Ranch Market for much of what I cook....

Best thing I ate: This ramen in Fountain Valley could start a laksa revolution

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • December 15, 2021
I’ll never understand why laksa hasn’t become more popular than it is. Laksa is Southeast Asia’s answer to Japan’s ramen or Vietnam’s pho. A hallmark of Peranakan cuisine, it is wildly popular throughout Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Uncle...

Sushi Secrets Revealed by Chef Masa of Santa Monica’s Soko

Danny Palumbo • Los Angeles Magazine • December 13, 2021
Chef Masa Shimakawa rejects the notion that sushi is a minimalist preparation, that he simply serves as a middle-man, a broker with a sharp knife, between the ocean and his counter. You see, your average independently wealthy food zealot has come...