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At the Playground, Jason Quinn exhibits the ballsy confidence that has gotten him this far. The former Lime Truck chef scribbles on his chalkboard wall, “If you want your meat well-done, bring it with you” because he not-so-coyly refuses to do his burgers warmer than medium-rare. The now-controversial Playground burger is the bloodiest in all of OC, but also one of the greatest. The barely cooked patty is as thick as two fingers, and you don’t chew it; rather, you inhale the thing like beefy air. It shares the lightness of sushi and doesn’t feel greasy, even as the juices trickle down your forearm. That it shares a kinship with steak tartare and Ethiopian kitfo more than a Double-Double is the reason the cheese, the bun and the misplaced shreds of iceberg lettuce disappear from your peripheral vision. You focus instead on that deep-crimson core and marvel at how very good this hand-ground Wagyu beef is when eaten nearly raw.
When Manila Groove shut down last year, it was one less Filipino option in a sea of ethnic cuisines. Growing up in Daly City (where the fog is so thick from all the rice cookers hard at work), the o... More »
Here's some cocktail history for you: pretty much every cocktail you've ever had can trace its lineage back to the Old Fashioned: spirit, sugar, water, bitters. Switch the bitters for citrus juice and... More »
Ever heard the joke about how drinking Coors Light is like having sex in a canoe? Because both are fucking close to water? It's an old, tired joke, sure, but back when Santa Ana's Mayor-for-Life Miguel Pulido was a wide-eyed innocent, 3.2 percent... More »
Usually, the letters our mero-mero editero receives accuse us of everything from low IQ to being in league with the devil for any of a whole litany of sins. Our music critics are accused pretty much... More »
I live around the corner. I love that they've crossed the dividing line in Santa Ana, that they're bringing this new experience to a side of town that's been unfairly pigeonholed - a side of town I personally love being an import from europe myself. The beer selection is excellent, the food is whack - in a good way. You never know what something is going to taste like and even though I haven't liked a couple of things, I loved the chance to try them. I show up often, never have a reservation, but there's always a corner or seat to squeeze into if I wait and the staff are wonderful even though they don't know me. I have one minor gripe and that's please go easy on the salt in the brussels sprouts - otherwise, this place is an adventure in food for me and kudos to this angry chef guy for making it happen. And for telling fussy little narcissists to go to hell.
This restaurant has terrible customer service. The owner, Jason, is very unrefined and rude. My party was angrly and abruptly told to leave by Jason when I requested oranges for my drink. The ambiance is not inviting and the staff is just as rude as Jason is, go figure.
We loved brunch so much that we came for sunday supper! We were all blown away!!! the food was amazing and seemingly never-ending!!! the servers were all great and Jason even came over a few times to explain some of the dishes and share a drink (or two) with us! i definitely recommend Playground and can't wait for an invitation to his new "invitation only"!!
When the menu stops changing daily, when the controversial chalkboard proclamations of "If you want your meat well-done, bring it with you" is erased, that's when you'll know Jason Quinn has lost his edge, his ballsy confidence, his passion--everything that has made the winner of the second season of The Great Food Truck Race the toast of foodies and the subject of gushing such as this. Playground, the restaurant he opened with his share of the Food Network winnings, is already infamous... More »
Perhaps you're the type of home cook who can whip up something delicious with nothing more than a few simple ingredients from the cupboard and assured self-confidence. Professional chefs improvise, too, but not many make it their mission to improvise nearly the entire menu every day. We usually associate that sort of high-wire spontaneity with high-dollar restaurants such as the French Laundry, but in the middle of downtown Santa Ana is Playground, where Jason Quinn runs a much more... More »
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