Guilty Pleasures


272 Friends of the Sea Lion Marine Mammal Center, where creatures that don't have a choice about swimming in the local ocean are taken to recover after they wash ashore from the effects of too much pollution. 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3050;

273 Stopping the madness.

274 The stop-in-your-tracks street construction on the way to Disneyland. Anything that cuts into the amount of time (and money) you'd normally spend there is a good thing, no matter how bad it feels.

275 Paulist PressBookstore, where you can find Thomas Merton's books cheap.

276 Ditto for St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul.

277The great viewat the Crystal Cove Shake Shack.

278 The "Okie spoken here" shirts worn by the staff at Arthur's. 240 N. Tustin St., Orange, (714) 997-1850.

279 The clam chowder at Fisherman's Restaurant & Bar on the San Clemente pier at sunset. 611 Ave. de Victoria, San Clemente, (949) 498-6390.

280 The high-on-the-pole crosswalk buttons placed specifically for the upwardly mobile horseback riders at the Nellie Gail Ranch in Laguna Hills.

281 The way Register columnist Gordon Dillow's innumerable references to his status as an average guymake you suspect he ain't. But maybe that's just us bein' haunted by the tales we learned on our pappy's knee, where he smoked the simple smoke of simple folk and taught us how to sniff out a bullshit artist. Catch Dillow's column several times each week in the slower, earthier Orange County Register's Local News section.

282 The mushroomburgers with real grilled onions at the Charlie 1 Café. 7777 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 898-9996.

283 "Dissing the idle rich with the waitress at Charlie 1 Café," according to our source, the Mushroom Burger Man.

284 Trader Joe's at 14443 Culver Dr., Irvine, (949) 857-8108.

285 What made me think Limp Bizkit were from Newport Beach: I could swear they'd been to the Spaghetti Bender and were singing, "I only did it for the gnocchi." 6204 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 645-0651 .

286 And the house Chiantiat Spaghetti Bender.

287 On the patio.

288 In late summer.

289 The sky-sized windows at the new Gypsy Den overlooking the grand Santora Building. Gypsy Den Grand Central Building, 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 835-8840.

300 Celtic musician Margie Mirken, who plays at a variety of South County coffeehouses.

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