The Eat Index: OC: These food and drink items are a silver lining to the pandemic – OCRegister

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Vietnamese style chili crisp from East Borough in Costa Mesa (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Brad A. Johnson is cheering for the demise of the novel coronavirus pandemic just like everyone else, but if there’s one good takeaway it’s that the upheaval of the pandemic allowed him to discover some splendid food and drinks.

From frozen gin and tonics to chili oil to German sausage, here are 10 memorable things Brad discovered during the pandemic. Read more. 

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Cecina and arrachera tacos at Tacos Los Cholos in Fullerton (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Taco ’bout a ribeye 

The tacos al carbon from Tacos Los Cholos, which opened a second location in Fullerton, are seriously good, Brad says. The USDA Prime ribeye tacos come off the grill with a satisfying char, but they’re still perfectly medium rare. Read more.

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Despite serving only breakfast, brunch and lunch, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, is known for its cocktails, including creative takes on Bloody Marys. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Don’t sleep on this breakfast 

South Orange County has its own location of Snooze. The new 4,551-square-foot location of the breakfast and brunch spot has 149 seats for indoor and outdoor dining and has the same midcentury modern look as its sister restaurants. Read more.

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The Row on Harbor, a center with eight restaurants and six shops, has “relaunched” and will celebrate its grand opening on June 12 with food specials, live music, kids activities and a beer garden in La Habra. (Courtesy of The Row on Harbor)

La Habra’s restaurant row 

The Row on Harbor, a food-focused strip mall which closed not long after its January 2020 opening because of the pandemic, will celebrate its grand opening more than a year later with food specials. Anne Valdespino has more. Read more.

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Mike Flynn, right, and Chef David Yamaguchi, left, veterans of King’s Seafood Company restaurants, have brought a chef-driven seafood menu to Old Towne Orange. (Courtesy of Smetona Photo)

The O Sea 

Mike Flynn and Chef David Yamaguchi, veterans of King’s Seafood Company restaurants, have brought a new counter service seafood spot to Old Towne Orange. Dubbed O Sea, it’s got a menu packed with small plates, finger foods and local craft brews. Read more.

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Laurent Vrignaud, owner of Moulin, has been a longtime proponent of closing down Forest Ave. for a promenade in Laguna Beach, CA. He is outside his restaurant on Forest Ave. on Monday, June 15, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Moulin does dinner 

Boutique French restaurant chain Moulin is known for breakfast, brunch and lunch, but it’s adding a sixth location that will specialize in dinner. Moulin Bouillon will open in the former location of Juliette Kitchen + Bar in late September. Read more. 

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Pictured is the 360 Sports location at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. A new 360 Sports will open at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs in the coming months. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Buh-bye buffets 

As the pandemic continues to wane, one of the big questions for Southern California’s casinos is what they will do with their buffet spaces. For some, the answer has been to use the space for something beyond smorgasbords. Read more.

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Panzanella can be served in creative ways, including in drinking glasses. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Cathy Thomas shares three different takes on panzanella, an Italian dish that features vine-ripened tomatoes with bite-sized chunks of artisanal bread, red onions and cucumbers. She offers a traditional take on the recipe as well as two variations: roasted pepper panzanella and panzanella “bruschetta style.” Let’s Cook! 

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Celery, apples and peanuts team up with Anaheim chili, green onions and parsley to make one tasty salad. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Cathy Thomas’ dad grew up on an  Illinois farm and loved celery. It was a treat for him when it finally finished growing after four months. She thinks he’d like this salad that showcases celery, apples and peanuts. Let’s Cook!