BBQ Chicken - Irvine, CA [Eating]

(Pictures for this review taken with my Canon PowerShot SD800is.)

(Olive Original Chicken)

Southern-fried chicken is one of life's perfect pleasures. Locked in an armored shell of crunchy batter, the chicken is practically steamed in its own rich juices. The intense heat gelatinizes and draws collagen and marrow out from the bones, then forces it into the meat. Biting into a well-prepared piece of fried chicken is an experience akin to eating deep-fried stock; a lip-smacking good time.

The opening of Diamond Jamboree, Irvine's latest Asian mega center, brings a new wave of spectacular Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese eateries to an area of Orange County second only to Little Saigon for great Asian eats. Among them is my latest go-to place for Southern-fried chicken; BBQ Chicken. A restaurant which, ironically enough, serves no barbecue chicken at all.

Any American barbecue enthusiast worth his disposable plastic bib can tell you that true BBQ requires a dry rub, charcoal, and smoke, the holy trinity of this slow-cooked art. Keeping these immutable tenets in mind, BBQ Chicken's "Barbecue Chicken" isn't actually barbecued, it's grilled. What's more, while the grilled items on its myopic menu are good, where BBQ Chicken really shines is with its Southern-fried chicken. South Korea, that is.

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Huh. There seems to be a definite theme to my spam this morning. In order, starting sometime around 1am:

Christmas pleasure
The blue pill will bring harmony to your bedroom
Get shocked with length increase
Christmas night

Give your lady crazy enjoyment
You can drill ladies better
Get amazing buildup
Your powerful uprise will excite women

I'm thinking of setting it to music...
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Twiddling My Thumbs

One of the three transformer arrays in my building blew out this morning, plunging the office in to darkness. We have no lights, heating, or plumbing, since apparently the pumps that get the water up our floor are out as well. Somehow, they managed to jury-rig power and internet for us, but the entire internal network is down.

I'm getting a lot of time to catch up on my blogging.
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Green House - Gardena, CA [Eating]

(Pictures for this review taken with my Canon PowerShot SD800is.)

My friend Kimchee is a really interesting guy. A Korean orphan, he was adopted at a very young age by a Caucasian family in the mid-West and had a traditional American upbringing complete with sock hops, football, and mom's apple pie. By every measure except the most superficial, he's a good ol' corn fed farm boy.

(Kimchee in front of Green House.)

However, he never stopped being curious about his roots. Like many other acculturated Asian-Americans, Kimchee began seeking connections with his ethnic heritage. His Korean identity has been painstakingly earned, the result of a lifelong exploration of the food, language, and customs of his ancestral homeland. Each experience reveals a little more about a place he's never known and a people he continues to discover.

Kimchee's enthusiasm for all things Korean, and his former life as a restaurant chef, makes him the perfect guide for my Korean food adventures. Any question I can think of, he's already asked and has an answer to. His finely-tuned tongue has never led me astray. Where he goes, my gluttonous self is only too happy to follow.

One of his latest finds specializes in home-style Korean dishes seldom found in any of the more popular tabletop grill establishments. A mom & pop eatery of the finest kind, Green House occupies a claustrophobic storefront in the middle of Gardena's surprising treasure trove of tasty ethnic restaurants. The space is tiny, barely large enough to seat a dozen people, with just enough room for Mom to work the front and Pop to cook up a storm in the back.

Read the complete review, Green House - Gardena, CA [Eating], on

Brodard Nem Nuong Restaurant - Garden Grove, CA [Eating]

(Pictures for this review taken with my Canon PowerShot SD100 and Canon PowerShot SD800is.)

One of Little Saigon's worst kept secrets is Brodard Nem Nuong Restaurant. It's also one of the best hidden. A bustling oasis for local Vietnamese food lovers, the restaurant is incredibly difficult for first-time visitors to find. Even Google Maps will lead you astray.

However, those who persevere in their search will find Brodard's signature dish, Nem Nuong Cuon (Pork Spring Rolls), well-worth the effort. A specialty of the house, these chewy tubes of grilled pork paste and herbs are *the* reason people flock to the restaurant.

Read the complete review, Brodard Nem Nuong Restaurant - Garden Grove, CA [Eating], on

Kitayama - Newport Beach, CA [Eating]

(Images for this review taken with my Canon PowerShot SD800is.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Japanese society during the Edo period was rigidly striated into four impermeable classes. Merchants, because they produced no goods and did not serve the State, comprised the lowest officially recognized caste. To keep the merchant class in its place, the Tokugawa bakufu regulated what merchants could spend their money on. Displays of wealth in the form of lavish homes or personal adornment were strictly prohibited. Instead, the merchant class turned to other, less material ways to flaunt their success; food, sex, and entertainment. Centered in urban red light districts, the services and subculture that arose to support the hedonistic lifestyle of affluent merchants was described as Ukiyo, a "floating world" separate from the unyielding confines of the Pax Tokugawa.

Tucked away in an odd little fold of the border between Irvine and Newport Beach, Kitayama evokes storied descriptions of life in the floating world. The restaurant is a beautiful, labyrinthine sprawl surrounding a peaceful Japanese garden. Attentive, kimono-clad servers glide through the dimly lit halls, waiting on each table with polite efficiency.

Read the complete review, Kitayama - Newport Beach, CA [Eating], on

80% off at

One of the sites my company owns,, has an 80% off coupon code when purchasing $25 gift certificates to member restaurants. The average $25 gift certificate costs $10. The coupon knocks it down to $2.

It's an awesome deal. Last time this coupon came around, I picked up $375 worth of gift certificates for $27, and I'm still eating like a king. The coupon expires tomorrow, though, so you should check it out ASAP.