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Orange County Joins the Southland’s Next Big Korean Food Movement

Plus some Frank Bruni recommendations and Evan Funke’s perfect noodle

Han Yang, Orange County
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The next Koreatown

Don’t let Orange County’s big parking lots and endless malls fool you: there’s a lot of great stuff bubbling just under the surface. Among the most well-represented cuisines in the county is Korean, with some 100,000 Koreans living across the northern stretches of the O.C. in places like Buena Park.

As the LA Times notes, that has led to an exploding scene of great food down that way, thanks in no small part to a few savvy developers. It’s also thanks to a ton of historical factors like the Los Angeles riots that led families to relocate to cities like Fullerton, bringing their own businesses, restaurants, and flavors with them. The entire Times read is fascinating, following not only the past and present but the very bright future that could, one day, challenge Koreatown proper in its depth of culinary prowess.

Bruni approved

Frank Bruni, the longtime restaurant critic for the NY Times, has been hopping around Los Angeles lately. Among his dining ‘finds’ is Baran’s 2239 in Hermosa Beach, which has long been a quiet kind of South Bay darling. Turns out he really loves it, and recommends the chicken.

More Ria Dolly Barbosa love

Everyone is in love with Ria Dolly Barbosa’s cooking these days, as evidenced by this new This is Ground profile on the G&B/Go Get Em Tiger chef’s daily toolkit. It’s a fun, animated look at one of the city’s most promising young culinary stars.

El Arco’s last call

It’s closing time for El Arco Iris, the Highland Park Mexican food mainstay that’s in the process of being sold off. KCET offers some nice insight on the place’s final days, along with the history and family that made it so famous in the first place.

Noodle perfect

If there’s one thing Evan Funke knows, it’s noodles. The longtime pastamaker is a bit of an Italian savant (as his upcoming restaurant Felix will further show), and he talked to Clean Eating Magazine about the “perfect” bowl of pasta, and what to know when making your own from home.

Redbird and olive oil

There’s an olive oil collaboration dinner happening at Redbird on April 6, with tickets retailing for $100 flat. That gets guests some passed apps, beef tartare with caviar, and a procession of entrees including scallops, lamb belly, and a Colorado ribeye. Tickets are up now.

Cook with a legend

Is there anyone cooler than Chris S. Chris, the mustachio’d man behind the enduringly popular Papa Cristo’s? He’s as affable as he is talented, and now customers can sign up to cook with him and learn a few of the old man’s tricks for themselves.