Is it a birria pizza or a giant red taco? You decide. – Orange County Register

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Main course

Tacos Madre’s “pizzabirria” in Costa Mesa is a giant birria quesadilla. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Brad A. Johnson tried the 15-inch pizzabirria at the new Tacos Madre in Costa Mesa.

But is it pizza? Kind of. We’ll let him explain.

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Eat of the moment

Earl Gray Pie at Bakery Cafe in Buena Park (Photo by Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A tartlet

It’s easy to confuse Earl Gray pie at the Bakery Cafe in Buena Park with blueberry pie. But one mistake you don’t want to make is to swallow it. Brad says the pie is “best enjoyed slowly.”

Jacob Carter, a longtime employee of Lucci’s Italian American Deli, rolls out a cart of produce for a customer in Huntington Beach Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. Lucci’s will close Feb. 26 after 50 years in Huntington Beach and 75 years in business. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Last chance for Lucci

Lucci’s Italian American Deli in Huntington Beach will close after more than 50 years, owner Rick Refice said, and his last day of service will be February 26. A staple of the neighborhood loved by locals, he will be greatly missed. Anne Valdespino has more.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel announced that he and his business partners will open Bloom Restaurant near Mission San Juan Capistrano in late October. Seen here, left to right, business partners Kyle Simpson, Jared Cook, Russ Bendel and Gabe Whorley. (Courtesy of Bloom)

New Restaurants in Old San Juan

Joining the pack will be restaurateur Russ Bendel, owner of Sapphire in Laguna Beach, Vine Restaurant in San Clemente, Ironwood in Laguna Hills and Olea in Newport Beach. He and his partners will open Bloom at the end of October.

Wine still costs more at restaurants than at grocery and liquor stores, Eric Stenta, vice president of operations at Polly’s Inc., explains why and offers tips for getting the best deals. Seen here, a selection of wines served at Polly’s. (Courtesy of Polly’s Pies)

Insider tips on wine

The hardest part of dining out is negotiating the wine list. How do you know what’s a deal and what’s a rip off and why the wines cost so much more than at Costco? Experts answer these and other important questions— such as the rules of engagement in terms of corkage fees.

Beef Stroganoff is served over wild rice, garnished with paprika and parsley. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Want to make a hearty Beef Stroganoff? Cathy Thomas has a recipe that dates back to the 1940s. Here’s how to do it.