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Ebisu Ramen

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Sam Woo in Irvine

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Sam Woo has been called the best Chinese in O.C.  One indication is that the clientele is about 95 percent Chinese.  Another is that the service can be rude.   Some people say if the service isn’t rude it’s not real Chinese.  There are several Sam Woo restaurants in So.Cal.  I think there’s one in San Francisco too.

There are three restaurants there.  One is take out only.  One is called Sam Woo Seafood Restaurant and looks a little expensive.  I’ve never been in there.   The 3rd is between the first 2 and that’s were I eat.  It’s usually cheap too.

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Imperial Dragon

This is a small Vietnamese restaurant in Costa Mesa. It’s definitely not bad. I’ve only been for lunch. They don’t have the catfish that the other place has but their soups are great as is their Charbroiled Pork with Rice and their Vietnamese eggrolls.

Directions: Take Bristol south.  It’s on the right just past Paularino in the same shopping center as Video Tokyo

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Houston’s

Houston’s is a national chain.  The have a very small menu.  Their two specialties are (1) Their Spinach Dip which they claim was named one of the 10 best things to eat in L.A.  I agree. (2) Their ribs which they call knife and fork ribs.   These ribs are so tender you usually don’t even need the knife.  The meat falls right off the bones with just a light push from your fork.  Yes!

Directions: They are in the same center as FatBurger above.  In LA there is one at the Century City Shopping Center and another in Manhattan Beach on Rosecrans a mile or two west of the 405.

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Zankou Chicken

This is a small chain and originally from LA.  There are about 7 of them so far.  They are Armenian and they make some super delicious chicken (and other stuff).  My favorite item there is the Chicken Shawarma (sp?).  If you’ve ever been to a Greek fast food place and seen the big cone of lamb or beef rotating on a machine and cooking slowly from which they cut off the edges to make gyro sandwiches out of, well Chicken Shawarma is made on the same kind of machine.  Stacks and stacks of chicken are piled on the machine along with some stuff at the top that melts and drips all over it as it cooks.

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Peruvian place at Cerritos and Western.

There is a little hole in the wall Peruvian restaurant at the corner of Western and Cerritos.  If you’ve never tried Peruvian food (as in from Peru) I suggest you try it.  It’s pretty good and somewhat different.  One of the dishes I had there is this potato dish with this thick yellow gravy/sauce poured all over it.  Very good!   Also I had some squid salad and the squid was as tender as chicken.  Not rubbery at all.  Yum!  They also have chicken dishes.

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Claim Jumper

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Claim Jumper’s claim to fame is their huge portions.  I seriously doubt most people could finish a meal there or even just dessert.  The food’s usually not bad though it’s definitely not great either.  There is almost always a wait for dinner though.

Directions: There are quite a few of these around.  Here’s one. Take Culver north from the 405 to Alton.  Turn left at Alton then right into the Lucky’s shopping center.  Claim Jumper is in that shopping center back toward Culver.

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Fatburger

Fatburger is also from L.A.  Fatburger as in "Man! That’s Phat!"  I love them with all 4 extras.  Chili, Bacon, Egg and Cheese.  Yum!  The one in O.C is in the Park Place area.

Directions: 405 to Jamboree, turn right from the exit toward Newport. Turn left at Michaelson, the first light and left again at the next light which is into the Park Place area

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Doria’s Haus of Pizza

This is a great place for cheap Italian food.  I’ve never had pizza there.  I usually have Lasagna or Cannelloni or Manicotti.  It’s all good and pretty cheap.   This is really a local type of place and there is often a wait to get in.

Directions: Take the 405 south to Adams.  Turn right and then right into the parking lot for the large Edward’s Theater.  It’s in that shopping center.

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Natraj

This is an awesome Indian restaurant in Laguna Beach.  The best part is that on weekdays they have an all you can eat buffet for lunch.  It’s a must try!  My friend Tom’s favorite dish is the Chicken Tika Marsala.  It’s not usually served during the buffet though sometimes you can get lucky.

Directions: Natraj is on PCH south of Broadway about 10 blocks on the left (opposite the beach)

NOTE: Natraj is under new management now and the food is no longer any good.  :-(

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