There’s been a whole lotta shakin’ going on in Orange County this past month. Fortunately, we’re here to give you a proper rundown of what’s new. Don’t be surprised if you recognize a few names.
Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana – Irvine/Dana Point
Chef Jonah Amodt, formerly linked to Andrea at the Resort at Pelican Hill, is now the executive chef of this dual-location brand. Bringing Amodt on board is a sign of things to come for Angelina’s. While it will continue to offer authentic pizzas and primi pastas, diners can look also forward to halibut di stagione, seared Alaskan halibut in a creamy leek purée with sautéed oyster mushrooms and wild ramps. Burrata will be upgraded di Primavera, alongside English peas, fava beans, lemon and mint. Expect a roll out in time for the next major holiday weekend. 8573 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, (949) 536-5200; also at 32860 Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, (949) 429-1102; www.angelinaspizzeria.com.
Haven Gastropub – Orange
In October 2016, Craig Brady departed Haven for a coveted executive sous chef position at the RANCH. May marked his return to Old Towne as Haven’s new executive chef, and we could taste the difference that 18 months in a kitchen with the brothers Rossi made. A classic cheesecake is playfully layered in a jar with rhubarb compote, Meyer lemon curd and malted streusel. Baby carrots are treated to a coriander roasting, as well as smoky almonds, harissa yogurt and lemon zest. Welcome back, chef! 190 S. Glassell St., (714) 221-0680; www.havengastropub.com.
Hive & Honey Rooftop Bar – Irvine
One of our top five bartenders last year, Ravin Buzzell departed YNK to pursue other projects. He resurfaced a couple of months ago as operations manager of Marriott Irvine Spectrum’s hot spot. And by hot, we mean velvet ropes on the ground floor corralling a line of twentysomethings waiting to take the elevator. We kid you not. While he may be sporting a three-piece suit and roaming the lounge, you can definitely see Ravin’s influence on the cocktail menu. Our favorite so far is Hey Boo Boo!—which is served in a honey-bear container. Try it June 20 as part of our OC Weekly’s give-back initiative, Good Feels. Your $10 donation gets you admission to the rooftop bar and one specialty cocktail. We’re ready for some avocado-inspired sips, Ravin! 7905 Irvine Center Dr., (949) 759-0200; www.marriott.com.
Fleenor’s On 4th – Santa Ana
We met Linh Nguyen at a Foodbeast fundraiser and knew he had skills in the kitchen as the consulting chef. He’s also been linked to the Crosby and Crave Restaurant, which is how Fleenor’s gets its name. See, Judy Fleenor was an On the Line subject in 2011, when she was linked to Cafe Chiarini. When that folded, she opened up Crave across from the Federal Building. The winning combination of Nguyen and Fleenor means solid bites such as steak frites and deviled eggs. 400 W. Fourth St., (714) 316-5421.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.