Culinary Kings of North Orange County
Reigning Eateries and the Entrepreneurial Minds Behind Them
Well after the conquest of the Targyrens, the kingdom of Orange County might now be ruled by the culinary gods. As we battle our way through the foodie realm of OC, with its spectacular range of cuisine, North OC is marching its way to victory with some incredible new food experiences.
Inside The Hotel Fullerton, Citizen Kitchen is a surprising kingdom of food in an urban, lounge atmosphere. With a level of culinary sophistication unexpected in a hotel restaurant Chef Zach Geerson is combining seasonal ingredients in modern, innovative ways. Zach Geerson studied at the Culinary Institute of America, and worked in restaurants in New York and Florida before his first executive chef command at the Pelican Hotel in Miami Beach. Returning triumphantly to his home of Southern California, Chef Geerson became the executive chef of Citizen Kitchen and entered a whole new realm of food. Feast on his grilled Spanish octopus with a “mole negro,” corn, heirloom tomato, coriander and radish. Or, try what chef calls their “best dessert” – Fig, Fig and more Figs. Fig panna cotta, stewed fig purée and fresh figs with balsamic and micro herbs.
Rising up from the ashes of chain restaurants past, Tempo Urban Kitchen has stormed the foodie world of Brea with its new American and Mexican cuisine, along with craft cocktails in a modern, industrial space, with Executive Chef Cody Storts bearing the crown as lord of the kitchen. Chef Cody has worked on nearly 30 restaurant concepts in California and Texas, attending Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena for his culinary training. In creating Grits, Chef Storts wanted to ensure each forkful has flavor that punches you in the face. Enjoy the short rib mole, with the rich meat served in a Chocolate Modern Times-Coffee Roasty beer sauce alongside an Abuelita chocolate tortilla, Tempo serves a variety of slow-cooked meats including chorizo, Italian sausage, carnitas and ribs. For those warriors with big appetites, feast on the 1-pound ribeye marinated with 3 different peppers.
As far as meat and buns go, Burger Parlor stands at the helm of sandwich dominance four years running, growing from a Fullerton pop-up to a fully loaded brick-and-mortar to bring gourmet burgers into the hands of OC’s hungriest peasants. Chef Joseph Mahon, the head chef/owner of the burger bar, started off his culinary odyssey mostly in fine dining, starting in New York at Cafe Boulud and eventually making his way to Los Angeles’ Michelin-starred Bastide. The brainchild that is Burger Parlor took its roots directly from Mahon’s “Burger Mondays” that he started as a weekly menu during his time at Bastide, growing so popular in demand that the chef eventually opted for a pop up shop in Fullerton to whip up hormone-free burgers with high quality ingredients. With his fine-dining cuisine experience put to the test, Mahon’s burgers have soared with flying colors and already have him putting together Burger Parlor’s second location, soon to be in downtown in the city of Orange.
Macallans Public House
Keeping the Irish and Scottish kings of yore happy, Macallans Public House is a new kind of Irish pub in Brea, serving north OC’s best selection of over 200 of scotches and whiskies, and pub food with a twist. For those warriors back from battle to do some drinking, Macallans offers a variety of whiskey flights including custom flights to your specific taste. Executive Chef Roman Jimenez is creating a consistent Irish pub menu that is still imaginative and with a modern taste. Chef Jimenez received an AA from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Pasadena and helmed restaurants in Chicago and OC before storming North OC at Macallans. Experience a traditional Irish breakfast with eggs, bangers, Irish bacon and beans, or the 48-hour corned beef hash with eggs and (surprise!) kimchi and jalapenos.
Taps Fish House and Brewery
Taps has held the North OC’s iron throne for what seems like centuries, offering 20 different styles of in-house brewed beers and a seafood menu with New Orleans and Asian influences. Chef Nelson Barillas is the king of the seafood realm with exciting dishes like the Hokkaido scallops with house-made bacon, cheddar ale grits, sautéed kale and a Meyer lemon chimichurri, or a rich San Francisco-style cioppino or Australian barramundi. Taps offers prime steaks and chops for non-seafood lovers as well. Previously at The Catch in Anaheim, Chef Barillas is a nearly 20-year veteran in the kitchen who was inspired to become a chef by experiences cooking with his family. Find one-of-a-kind events including beer and cigar pairings and winery-hosted dinners.
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