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The Gossiping Gourmet: Great food, same old decor at Forno

The Gossiping Gourmet: Great food, same old decor at Forno

Chef Ali Kihanmahd has worked in the restaurant business for 25 years, including 15 spent in top Italian restaurants in New York, and he is now demonstrating his many talents in a charming little restaurant in Costa Mesa called Al Forno Caffe.

Retail Therapy: Hello Kitty, hello holidays

As we enter the holiday warehouse sale season, heed a few tips: Many clothing sales don't offer dressing rooms, so ladies are reminded to wear layers like leggings and tank tops to make it easy to quickly try on garments. Leave the large bags at home, and never wear clothing by the label whose...

On Theater: 'Romeo and Juliet' updated (again)

Modernizing Shakespeare is nothing new — directors have been doing it forever. Scissoring the script so the play checks in at under two hours and scrapping the intermission, that's a new — and quite welcome — practice.

In the Pipeline:  A daring WWII landing, dismal prison and forced march

In the Pipeline: A daring WWII landing, dismal prison and forced march

I had a very special Veterans Day last week, having had the privilege of spending the morning with Bud Guillot. He's another of the amazingly resolute service members we are honored to have living in Huntington Beach. And like all the others, his story is filled with unique and unforgettable...

Retail Therapy: It's tree-lighting time again

Disney fans, rejoice: The Fashion Island annual holiday tree lighting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The free 20-minute show, which features a full ensemble of Disney characters and magical snowfall, attracts about 10,000 guests each night. Arrive early (people...

On Theater: 'Pippin' still a bright 'corner of the sky'

On Theater: 'Pippin' still a bright 'corner of the sky'

When "Pippin" first burst onto Broadway in 1972, John Rubinstein starred in the title role of the son of Charlemagne seeking his own little corner of the sky.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Out and about at Social

The Gossiping Gourmet: Out and about at Social

Social Costa Mesa is the hot new spot in town. Like many of the new restaurants these days, it is quite casual, and the food is rich and tasty.

In the Pipeline: Ex-manager's birthday evokes Meadowlark Airport's high-flying legacy

In the Pipeline: Ex-manager's birthday evokes Meadowlark Airport's high-flying legacy

After thanking everybody, he said, with a smile and in his small voice, "This is the last plane to leave Meadowlark Airport." Then his forefinger pulled the trigger on a handheld launcher, sending the small, green plastic airplane across the room.

A Word, Please: Lay and lie can even trip up the dictionary

Typos dog everyone with a keyboard, and that horrible feeling of realizing too late that a resume, important email or blog post contained an error is practically universal.

Retail Therapy: A buck for book smarts

Take a look, it's in a book: The Friends of the Newport Beach Library will hold their next public buck-a-bag book sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library Friends Room, 1000 Avocado Ave. Proceeds will help the library build its collection and fund events like...

All About Food: Sugar is sweet, and so is moderation

All About Food: Sugar is sweet, and so is moderation

Did you know that the amount of total added sugar (not the sugar found in fruits, vegetables or dairy products) that we consume has risen from 6.3 pounds per person per year in 1822 to more than 100 pounds today?

In the Pipeline: Campaign signs send good messages about electoral process

In the Pipeline: Campaign signs send good messages about electoral process

The election is over. And within a couple of days, the city will be rid of certain elements that to some are a scourge and to others a celebration.

On Theater: More gab than ghosts in 'Haunting'

On Theater: More gab than ghosts in 'Haunting'

Plays based on novels often encounter the age-old paradox — what may captivate a reader may merely induce ennui in a theatergoer. This often is the case in the production of "The Haunting of Hill House" at the Costa Mesa Playhouse.

In the Pipeline: Pageant winner is serious about literacy

I'm waiting to speak with the newly crowned Miss Huntington Beach, but she is busy. Watching as she works on college applications, writing essays and drafting her resume, I am impressed. I'm aware of how busy she is at school, juggling advanced placement courses while also preparing for a part in an...

Retail Therapy: All things sweet and spooky

Sweet stuff: Baskin-Robbins lovers can receive a scoop of ice cream for $1.31 at all locations Friday. Information: baskinrobbins.com. If you prefer shakes, enjoy one for a special price of $2.99 at Ruby's from 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays this fall....

The Gossiping Gourmet: This Italian restaurant would make Puck proud

The Gossiping Gourmet: This Italian restaurant would make Puck proud

I love to find small new shopping center restaurants that serve really good food. My latest discovery is Ceppo in Huntington Beach.

On Theater: 'Zealot' a zenith for SCR

Of all the world premieres unveiled at South Coast Repertory over the years, few have approached the level of dramatic conflict or its effect on society that Theresa Rebeck has achieved with her superbly structured drama "Zealot."

The Gossiping Gourmet: Din Tai Fung worth the wait

The Gossiping Gourmet: Din Tai Fung worth the wait

In 1993, Din Tai Fung was voted one of the 10 best restaurants in the world by the New York Times. The first one opened in 1958 in Taiwan. Eventually, its success led to other restaurants opening throughout Asia, Australia and then the U.S.

On Theater: 'Venus' radiates plenty of heat

In producing a play for the stage, one of the most crucial elements is the casting process. Choosing the right actor or actress for a particular character often means the difference between the success or failure of a production.

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