As the first fast food chain to offer the Impossible patty, Fatburger hopped on the plant-based bandwagon early. Today nearly every major fast food chain offers some vegan options, signaling that the trend may be here to stay. Continuing their foray into healthier alternatives, Fatburger teamed with Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream to offer dairy-free milkshakes at 12 of their Southern California locations.
Started by Craig Susser in 2011, Los Angeles-based eatery Craig’s gained popularity through their dynamic menu which provided everything from steak to vegan specialties. It’s also known as a celebrity hot-spot. Noticing a growing desire for healthier alternatives, and after countless non-dairy dessert requests, Susser and head Chef Kursten Kizer created “Craig’s Vegan,” a cashew-based frozen dessert.
Fatburger’s vegan milkshakes come in two flavors, vanilla and strawberry, and are available now at their Beverly Hills, North Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, Venice, Van Nuys, Wilshire, Redondo Beach, Carson, Santa Monica/Sepulveda and Lincoln/Pico locations.
Andrew Gruel, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and a recognized expert on sustainable seafood, is the CEO and Founder of Slapfish Restaurant Group, the award-winning food truck turned international brick and mortar, based out of Huntington Beach and founder of Butterleaf Restaurant and Two Birds Chicken (two fast-casual concepts in Irvine) and Raw Bar by Slapfish in Huntington Beach.
Andrew Harris, the show runner, executive producer and co-host for “The SoCal Restaurant Show” heard on Saturday mornings in Southern California since 2012 on the 50,000 Watt AM 830 KLAA – The Home of Angels Baseball, is a veteran specialty radio show producer.Harris also is an accredited food, wine and travel journalist. Harris’ earlier background was as a respected, hands-on food and beverage professional.
As co-hosts of the “SoCal Restaurant Show,” the question we are asked every day is, “Where should I go for (insert cuisine type here)?” We eat out a lot and cover a huge listening area of dining opportunities, from Santa Barbara on the north to the Mexican border on the south and Inland to Palm Springs and points farther east. Our O.C. suggestions are far from a comprehensive directory. For the meritorious O.C. chefs and restaurateurs whose fine establishments we also frequent that were inadvertently not included, our profuse apologies.
You do typically wait in line here but it moves fast, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Inspirational immigrant success story and lovely family. Highlights for breakfast are the guava & cheese pastry and the bacon omelette panini.
Chef Ross Pangilinan (ex-Leatherby’s Café Rouge) has made a bit of an unlikely spot into a deserved destination. Our dish of choice for Sunday Brunch is the Duck French Toast. It’s a spot-on balance of sweet and savory flavors.
It’s an unusual, seven days-a-week Alsatian-inspired Brunch here (extra Specials on The Weekend) at this proudly veteran-owned and veteran-staffed establishment that truly impresses. Their Monte Cristo Sandwich (sautéed in butter until golden brown) stands tall along with their serious beverage program.
Chef Henry Tran is from the TAPS Fish House & Brewery, so he understands that for a casual pub with a lot of seats the food needs to be just as good as the wide variety of incredible craft beers available on tap. Also vegan options. We especially enjoy the miso-marinated sesame crusted salmon with Thai chili oil matched with Right Said Red (an Irish red). Family and dog-friendly, too.
This was Orange County’s first gastropub and the creation of Lawry’s Restaurants Inc.’s Corporate Executive Chef and Vice President, Ryan O’Melveny Wilson, who represents the 4th generation of Frank/Van de Kamp family ownership. SideDoor pioneered charcuterie and cheese plates which were a rarity in Orange County when it launched in 2008. They even have a super-knowledgeable, in-house cheesemonger. One of their secrets is a revolving offering of unusual, premium wines by the glass. Of course, the iconic prime rib sandwich au jus with house-prepared potato chips is a standout.
It’s all about the crave-worthy banh mi here served on a French baguette. The sandwich features cucumbers, cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots, jalapenos, aioli and soy vinaigrette with your choice of protein. Think braised pork belly with fish sauce and anise.
Chicagoland has a love affair with Portillo’s. They arrived here in Buena Park in 2005. The sandwich of choice is the signature Italian beef dipped in their famous recipe gravy. Go the distance and get it with hot peppers and Mozzarella. The French bread used is brought in from the Chicago bakery (Turano Baking Co.) Portillo’s has been using since 1963.
Proprietor Sal Maniaci is obsessive about the authenticity of his Neapolitan pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven imported from Naples. The master pizzaiolo is, of course, from Italy. The crust is soft yet crispy and thin but slightly chewy.
Although not from Chicago, Founder & Executive Chef Rance Ruiz has a passion for Chicago stuffed pizza. Through extensive trial-and-error, he perfected his recipes for stuffed, pan and thin crust pizzas. The dough, sauce and salad dressings are made from scratch. Be patient – it’s worth the wait.
Here you have an accomplished fine-dining chef (ex-Bastide) creating the better burger with Nebraska Angus beef. Everything is from-scratch including the ketchup and mustard. The ice cream for the shakes is house-made. As proprietor, Joseph Mahon says he prefers to under-promise and over-deliver.
With apologies to Gustavo Arellano, there is nothing wrong with the Americanized Mexican fare (think combo plates) we grew up with in Southern California. What we really crave is the authentic regional Mexican fare that is now available to us. An appealing example is, Urbana, hidden in plain sight on the lower level of the Anaheim Packing House. It’s full service. Everything from the salsas to the fresh corn tortillas is house-made. Incredible what they do in 1,800 square feet. We return for the street tacos (think smoked Marlin) and the lime-cured red snapper ceviche with pico de gallo, guacamole and spicy aioli. The extensive cocktail menu is sure to grab your attention, too.
Back in 2001, Zov’s Executive Pastry Chef Michelle Bracken created the spectacular Milk Chocolate Bomb dessert for a wildly successful James Beard Foundation benefit at Zov’s Bistro honoring the late Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse. It’s milk chocolate mousse with a crème brulée center and sugar cookie crust. A mini-version is available at the Tustin location.
Churros are a sweet treat of wonder when they are made with premium ingredients and served fresh and hot. At The Loop, you can get them dipped, glazed or served on a base of soft serve ice cream along with decadent toppings.
This is the area’s standout izakaya. In Japan, guests frequent an izakaya as a place to enjoy food and drink in a casual setting. It’s a big dinner-only menu with items including sashimi, grilled fish, sautéed dishes, rice dishes, deep fried selections and noodles.
The Winery started in Tustin and has a new branch in La Jolla, but for a special occasion the bay view from the dining room here is the pick. Service is king at this restaurant group along with a top-notch wine list, but what also separates it from the other elevated steakhouses is the cuisine of Chef/Partner Yvon Goetz. Just one example of his menu creativity is the seafood hot pot with scallops, clams, mussels, catch-of-the-day fish and veggies in a lemon verbena-lemongrass broth. It’s a “secret menu” item so you need to quietly ask for it.
Proprietor/Chef Rich Mead has been passionately cooking field-to-fork way before that was a cliché. He makes the long trek to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market every Wednesday morning to talk with the farmers and source the freshest, seasonable fruits and veggies for both the restaurant and bar. The outdoor setting in a lushly manicured and spacious garden is unrivaled. A true fine-dining gem.
Food Network’s Chef Jet Tila (“Iron Chef America”, “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Guy’s Grocery Games”) was the co-host for the first two years of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” One of his most recommended picks for East Hollywood’s Thai Town is Sapp Coffee Shop. This is where Chef Jet took the late Anthony Bourdain for the Thai Town episode of “No Reservations.” A standout dish is the Thai Jade Noodles (dry) that get their distinctive green color from Mustard Greens. With the wheat noodles are barbecued pork, roasted duck and snow crab meat. It’s bliss in a bowl.
Note from Chef Andrew and Andrew: Some of the establishments included are sponsor partners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We wholeheartedly recommend them all, unequivocally, with great enthusiasm.
As summer approaches, we’re all going to need something cool to sip on to beat the heat. But, for specialty coffee lovers, it seems cold brew and sugary blended drinks are the only applicable solutions. Yet, cold brew leaves you wired, and most blended coffee drinks quickly become an unnecessary sugar bomb.
Still, in the specialty coffee industry, there seems to be no room for sugary substitutes or frilly beverages, as super specialty coffee consumers prefer less sugary drinks that focus on the flavor of the coffee itself.
That’s why a Southern California coffee shop is working to redesign the Frappuccino — by creating a frozen coffee beverage in a slushy machine.
The result: the Frozen Sweet Latte, created by Hopper & Burr, a specialty coffee shop located in Downtown Santa Ana, Califorina. It’s a frozen coffee beverage that keeps an icy consistency and carries the robust flavor of quality coffee until the very last sip.
Truman Severson, coffee maker and owner of Hopper & Burr, who has worked in the specialty coffee industry for more than a decade, explained the inspiration for H&B’s new frozen beverage came from frozen alcoholic tiki drinks, which are traditionally served out of a slushy machine.
By adding the ingredients of Hopper & Burr’s Sweet Iced Latte (whole organic milk, raw sugar, and espresso) to a slushy machine, the drink’s primary characteristics — the sweetness of coffee and cream — remained intact, while adding a smooth, icy texture without diluting the drink.
“The slushy machine does a couple of things,” Severson explained. “It freezes the water in the milk which means the drink doesn’t get diluted at all. It also freezes it in constant motion, so the ice crystals that do form, are very very small which makes the texture really soft and not chunky.”
The idea, in Severson’s mind, was that the Frozen Sweet Latte might help shrink the divide between the lovers of blended coffee beverages and those who enjoy specialty coffee.
“The high majority of blended coffee drinks are Fraps and they are loaded with non-food ingredients and they’re sickly sweet and way too big,” Severson added. “There’s nothing wrong with this preparation method, it just had a bad period in time, and I feel like that’s exactly the same thing with blended coffee drinks.”
Look out Starbucks, there’s a new summer coffee drink in town.
Time Out L.A. is taking advantage of those who are forever down for desserts with their Dessert Fest happening this Sunday, April 30. Attendees will have access to some of LA’s most tempting treats, all in one sitting.
Kate Wertheimer, Editor at Time Out Los Angeles, says:
“At Time Out we’re dedicated to discovering the best of the city—whether that’s bars, theater, comedy, art or the very best dishes. L.A. has some great restaurants that are getting super creative with their desserts—whether baked, fried or frozen—so to celebrate our favorite sweet treats, we’re crowning L.A.’s very best. I promise that this will be every foodies’ perfect day filled with delicious, decadent goodness, and a few surprises, too.”
The Walrus and the Hedgehog
Tickets are between $25-$35 and will get you tastings from each participating restaurant plus two complementary beers from Peroni Nastro Azzurro.
If you’ve ever eaten at The Halal Guys, you know why people wait in lines out the door for it.
The New York-based gyro restaurant is without a doubt addicting, so seeing its delicious meats, pita bread, and famous ‘White Sauce’ on a MASSIVE 52-inch platter will make you feel a bit tingly, to say the least.
It’s easy to see why the Cubano sandwich trend has began to proliferate, branching out from its roots on the East Coast. If you think about it, the Cubano is probably one of the simplest sandwiches ever made, yet its simplicity is sparking culinary intrigue across the country — and everyone is beginning to notice something special about the Cubano.
Having originated in Florida, the Cubano is traditionally made with roasted pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and lightly toasted on a panini grill. Its adaptations can certainly vary when it comes to specific ingredients, but all share the same no-frills approach to making an unforgettable and deliciously savory, melt-in-your-mouth creation.
This April, Bruxie, the fried chicken and waffle sandwich chain, will also be sharing their own Cubano concept.
Behold: the Bruxie Fried Chicken & Waffle Cubano Sandwich.
Made with shaved ham, Bruxie’s house-made honey-mustard, thinly sliced pickles, and of course their crispy, golden brown fried chicken, all served between two savory waffle buns, this is something that might actually be better than Spring Break.
If you’re looking to experience the traditional taste of the Cubano with a twist from Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, you’d better hurry. Like Spring Break, Bruxie’s Cubano Sandwich won’t be here forever (even though we all wish it would).
The Bruxie Cubano sandwich will be available from April 5 – 25.
DUI Fries sound like something your drunk buddy invented, or some kind of urban legend about fries that cure your hangover, and while those are questionable claims, both are probably the reason these fries exist.
If you search for #DUIFries on Instagram, only 674 photos come up. It’s insane that a dish as crazy as this one hasn’t even cracked 1,000 IG posts, as of this writing. But those in the know, know what’s up with these majestic, artery-clogging fries.
About five years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to DUI Fries. He told me that if I went to a restaurant called Jim’s Burgers in La Puente, California, I could find some chili cheese fries that were topped with not only pastrami, but carne asada, as well.
This no doubt intrigued me, and we set out on this mission to find the DUI Fries.
As with most “secret menu items,” I nervously asked the cashier for these “DUI Fries,” fully expecting to be given a, “What’s that?” But she put in the order, and I awaited the greasy goodness to fill my insides.
It was pretty much everything I hoped for, as I felt like death afterward, but came to terms with the over 1,500-calorie meal possibly being my last before my heart exploded.
I recently went in search for the origin of the majestic DUI Fries, and was first led to Dino’s Chicken and Burgers. After speaking with Jim Pantazis, the small burger chain’s owner, he said the DUI Fries were born at Dino’s “about 10 years ago,” at their Pico Rivera location, and actually had nothing to do with alcohol, despite the obvious name.
A photo posted by Linda Compton (@thecuddler88) on
We later found out those claims made by Dino’s owner to be furiously contested, as there were claims that the origin of the DUI Fries actually came in the 70s, and it came across the street from Dino’s, at a diner called Jim’s Super Burgers.
Owner Robert Stavrakis said, “The DUI was created by us and our customers over 20 years ago.”
Stavrakis said some of the regulars at Jim’s Super Burger wanted to name a menu item and put together the fry concoction, inspired by the pastrami fries that were already on the menu. They added carne asada to the mix, and it became a hit. After noticing that nearby bar-goers would often come into the restaurant in the middle of the night, they decided to go with the name, “Dining Under the Influence Fries.”
They even came with receipts, showing us a registered trademark for the D.U.I. name.
Regardless of the origin, DUI Fries are now one of Southern California’s best kept food secrets, and the craziest thing about it, the ingredients are readily available at most mom & pop burger shacks around Cali. Because of this, the fries can be found at several different locations, some even giving them a different name, but same look.
Archibald’s Drive-Thru has their own version in their five So Cal locations:
Whether you call them DUI Fries, Loco Fries, or simply ask for carne asada and pastrami chili cheese fries, these are a gem in Southern California. Those in the know, might covet them as much as In-N-Out’s glorious Animal Style Fries, maybe even more, since they’ve been on the low for so long.
Y’all need to experience these fries, and the chosen few who already enjoy them might hate me for this story, but I can’t be greedy.
Whether you go to Jim’s Super Burgers, Dino’s (Also, their chicken fries are fire, but that’s one secret to uncover another time), or any of the other restaurants mentioned, pop in and see if you can handle them.
Just make sure you go with a friend. Ya know, just in case you need someone to quickly perform CPR on you.
“Churro, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years that you’d like to be eaten.” – Adele (maybe).
From ice cream filled donuts to rainbow unicorn bagels to gelato rolled up right in front of you to make a beautiful floral and edible arrangement in a cup, our foods have become more colorful, more unique, and — most importantly — more delicious! We put new spins on old favorites all the time, so it is no surprise that the churro has been undergoing these Instagrammable makeovers today. Here are the top seven IG worthy churros you can find in SoCal that won’t break the bank or break your foodie IG aesthetic!
If Snoop Dogg had a favorite churro, it’d definitely be a churro with some… drizzle. Churros Calientes keeps it sweet with their warm and sugary churros decorated with gooey toppings such as dulce de leche, sweet condensed milk, and cream cheese-guava. The customizations don’t stop here though — you can choose your own filling as well in your churro, too! With a stack of churros on a plate topped with one of the rich homemade flavors, you’ll be able to taste the goodness in your mouth just by taking a pic.
Known as the original churro ice cream sandwich connoisseur, Churro Borough is churro simplicity at its best. With both ice cream and churros made fresh daily, Churro Borough offers churro sticks, churro bits, and the beautifully crafted churro ice cream sandwich. Sure, you probably cannot stick the whole sandwich in your mouth in one bite, but you can definitely try, which is definitely worth it for the ‘gram.
Cutting it close to Tijuana, Churros El Tigre serves quality desserts with an extra side of joy — and by joy, we mean sugar, of course. From churro fries to mini churros to the supreme churro sundae made of six churros, a banana, two scoops of ice cream, chocolate, caramel, lechera, crushed peanuts, and cherries, you’ll have your mouth (and tummy) saying churr-OH YASSS.
Who wants to be nice when you can be naughty? Known for churro creations like their beautiful rainbow unicorn-like cotton candy churro ice cream sandwiches, The Naughty Churro adds color, flavor, and flare to a churro sandwich. If you’re feening for something a bit more savory, The Naughty Churro has your back, offering sweet fried chicken in between two churro buns to satisfy your every need. They have recently come up with their sh*ttiest creation; we wouldn’t say that it comes in first place, but it is definitely number 2.
Loop, there it is! The Loop Churros add a new twist — or rather, bend — to the churro. The Loop gives you options on how you want your churro, whether you want to dip it in sauces like nutella or tiramisu, glaze it with different flavors like Sprinkle Berry or Matcha Crunch, or chill it in an ice cream combination of goodness. You may not hear about the latest trends and foodie finds, but trust us; you’ll stay in The Loop with these churros.
You’d think these churros were a Thanksgiving turkey due to the endless options of stuffing. Having only opened earlier in 2016, Sweet Daily Dessert Cafe in Riverside offers drinks, desserts, and of course, churros in all shapes and sizes (and flavors!). For those who wish to balance that sweet and savory taste, the cream cheese stuffed churro might be the safe option, but if you dare, try the churro dog with garlic aioli. Yes, you read this correctly: THE CHURRO DOG IS A THING. The variety of churro desserts and fillings makes us wish we were currently students at UCR – that’s short for University of ChurRos, obviously.
Cereal? Ice cream? Churros? Why not all three! Sometimes, less is more, but in Ridges Churro Bar’s case, MORE IS MORE. Ridges is known for a few of their OG flavors, including Fruity Pebbles, Salted Caramel, Nutella Nut, and Strawberry Cheesecake. Topped with cereal, nuts, chocolate, and more, these churros are stuck into a cup of sweet ice cream for you to enjoy. A churro from Ridges is perfect for the ‘gram — hold the cup in one hand, extend your arm, and take a pic with the other! It’s like it was meant to be.
You may have thought that churros were a delicacy found at Costco or Disneyland, but this is a belief of the past. Take a trip to any and all of these churro spots and sink your teeth into something magical and Instagrammable!