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5. Eat Chow
This second branch of Eat Chow resides on Newport Beach’s northern fringe and builds on the success of the Costa Mesa original, which focuses on comfort food. Co-founder Eric Doran tragically passed away in a car accident, but partner Brian McReynolds persists with Amy Curran and Francisco Perez. Their new space is tucked away off PCH, with a stucco front, big red EAT letters on wall, and skylights. For lunch and dinner, Eat Chow serves supercharged versions of classics like the patty melt and sloppy joe, plus an array of burgers, salads and more. Breakfast may be where Eat Chow shines brightest, with a mix of Americana and Mexicana. Breakfast sandwiches are a particular strength. So is the coffee, which comes from Intelligentsia.
MUST ORDER: Breakfast BLTA, Coffee
6. Juliette Kitchen & Bar [CLOSED]
Chef Hyun-Sook “Juliette” Chung and John Hughes, who previously found success with The Filling Station in Old Towne Orange, re-emerged in freeway-friendly Plaza Newport with this farm-to-table concept, complete with reclaimed wood, full bar and on-site wine shop. The menu changes some daily, depending on what’s in season, and what’s inspiring the chef. Juliette’s crew clearly has a deft hand with vegetables, and no matter the season, their signature burger is a winner, featuring a pork and beef patty, tomato jam, grilled balsamic onions, aged cheddar, crispy pancetta, little gem lettuce, radicchio, and mustard aioli piled high on a soft bun.
MUST ORDER: Roasted Cauliflower, Farro Risotto, Juliette Burger
7. Kean Coffee
Martin Diedrich remains Orange County’s specialty coffee grand puba. The third generation coffee professional grew up on his family’s coffee farm in the Guatemalan highlands. He founded Diedrich Coffee, and one year after selling his interest in that successful chain, resurfaced in Newport Beach with wife Karen, naming their indie coffeehouse for son Kean. The original Kean Coffee is still going strong, with a European setting that includes mottled yellow walls, limestone plaster flourishes, hand-painted glass lamps from Venice, Italy, and a red coffee roaster crafted by Martin’s brother Stephan. Kean’s menu now includes signature ice-blended drinks like the Blueberry Buzz and Red Monkey, but generally, they keep things simple, with Italianate espresso drinks, single origin brewed coffee, and a small pastry selection.
MUST ORDER: Turkish Latte, Shakerato, Coffee
8. ’lette macarons [CLOSED]
Paulette Koumetz’s macaron shop, which debuted in Beverly Hills in 2007 as Paulette, now has branches across Southern California, including in an elevated Fashion Island plaza. This is strictly a grab-and-go operation, with waves of Parisian cookie sandwiches washing over a molded white counter. All almond flour cookies have crispy coats, pillowy cores and creamy ganache fillings. Flavors include Madagascar vanilla, Coconut, Raspberry Rose or Pumpkin, depending on the season. Expect decorative flourishes.
MUST ORDER: Macarons
November 20, 2014 at 4:13 PM
Had no idea that Diedrich’s resurfaced — will keep an eye out for Kean’s next time I go the Newport way.
November 20, 2014 at 4:48 PM
H.C., the Diedrichs now own Kean Coffee, a separate brand with only two branches.