Sunday, April 24, 2022

Kappo Honda - Fountain Valley

 Is there a finer izakaya in Orange County than Kappo Hondal? It was the first izakaya I tried more than 20 years ago, but after switching to its bigger and more popular sister Honda Ya in Tustin for the last decade, I seldom went back.

When I revisited Kappo Honda recently, I discovered a huge gulf had developed between the two restaurants in the intervening years. 

Honda Ya seems to have evolved into doing volume business, the equivalent of a big box store. 

Meanwhile, Kappo Honda remained intimate and fastidious, maintaining its focus on quality and attention to detail. 

If you don’t believe me, just compare the salmon skin salads. 

Kappo Honda’s is delicate and well-composed with frisee and spears of crispy wonton—a masterpiece worthy of a French garde manger. 

Honda Ya’s salad is slapdash, using mixed greens and looks like a messy pile of kitchen scraps. 

And there’s something about the rest of the food I had at Kappo Honda. Every dish tasted like the person who made it wanted to make it perfect, not just complete the order ticket.

It’s further proof that, just as in life, siblings rarely follow the same path.

Kappo Honda
18450 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Sabrosada - Fountain Valley

Sometimes you just need a bunch of hot and crunchy rolled tacos smothered in heaps of Day-Glo cheese and globs of guacamole. 

Sometimes it’s good not to think about what your doctor would say. 

Sometimes it’s good to eat like a twenty-year-old with a bottomless appetite and limitless metabolism. 

17225 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Taiko - Irvine

When I think of Taiko, I think of its longevity. Is there any other non-chain restaurant in Irvine that has endured as long as Taiko? Or succeeded from the word-of-mouth on its enormous portions, reasonable prices, and attentive servers who weren’t even alive when I visited last?

14775 Jeffrey Rd
Irvine, CA 92618