Guilty Pleasures


1901 Hiking the Trabuco Canyon valley. There's lots of wildlife and water flows through the streambeds pretty much year-round. The wooded areas are cool places to rest. Of course, getting there requires a 10-mile ride over a dirt road, but few undeveloped wooded areas are easily accessible by car.

1902 In New York, this kind of drinking and dining would cost you your firstborn. At the Laguna Beach Brewing Company, however, you can keep your children and even open a window to catch the ocean breeze. 422 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-2739.

1903 The balsamic-cherry-covered pork chopsat Memphis. 2920 Bristol, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-7685.

1904 And the gumbo.

1905 And the corn bread.

1906 Orange Coast College Repertory Theater. Most of the schools in the county put on very good shows, from Cal State Fullerton and UCI to Fullerton and Saddleback colleges, but none of them have theaters actually run by the students. OCC does, and that's good enough for us. 2701 Fairview, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-0202.

1907 Hugsnot drugs.

1908 But drugs, sometimes.

1909 Like when you're sick.

1910 And tired.

1911 Toasted ravioli at the Clubhouse. Several staffers of this upscale South Coast Plaza restaurant (in other words, they can't afford to eat there either) recommend this $5.45 appetizer, which features lightly toasted ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and dusted with Parmesan and Romano cheeses ringing a bowl of tasty marinara sauce. A couple can get away with splitting this, ordering salads and drinks and still get out the door for about $20. 3333 Bristol St., Ste. 2802, Costa Mesa, (714) 708-2582.

1912 Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. It's cool. Really. Whatever. 411 Olive Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-3483.

1913 "We have sympathy for the people of the United Methodist Church, which was destroyed with loss of life, but the United Methodist Church is one of the most liberal and apostate denominations. The pastor was a woman, and the Bible says, 'Let your women keep silence in the churches.' It is time to change 'God bless America' to 'God have mercy upon America.'" Letter to the Register, April 15, 1994.

1914 The batting cages at Homerun Park. 711 S. Beach Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 952-0497.

1915 The dry, hot Santa Ana(Santana, people! Santana!) winds may have made housewives finger the business sides of their kitchen knives in film-noir LA, but here they clear the air, seem to shift the mountains miles closer to the ocean, and transform the sun from diffused and fluorescent to direct and incandescent. Under such honest light, the meanest strip mall is a real place. Or maybe that's just the heat getting to me.

1916 The dainty seven courses of beef at Pagolacare an ethereal repast. 14580 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 531-4740.

1917 These lines of poetry, by Marcia Cohee: "Waiting for the thin trees to grow through the sidewalk/Where there's no room for roots./And how the dogsgather at sundown,/Remembering coyotes, like their former occupation,/ Remembering how the smokes align in the bright."

1918 "I cannot vote for Kathleen Brown as I swore an oath never to vote for a female candidate. Females are on the attack and we males must oppose them at every point." Letter to the Register, Aug. 5, 1994.

1919 The faded rural charm of Orange County can still be savored on the grassy quad of Saddleback College, where the best viewing for bunnies begins at dusk. 28000 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 582-4500.

1920 Warren G. Harding elected president.

1921 Weekends in the parking lot of Cook's Corner, which gleams with the polished chrome of Harleyswhile the combined tang of leather and beer hangs in the air. See it while you can; determined developers (is there any other kind?) have their greedy eyes on it. 19122 Live Oak Canyon Rd., Trabuco Canyon, (949) 858-0266.
1922 Heidi's Imports, the best place in the county to get all those German CDs you've been looking for. 7561 Center Ave., Ste. 47, Huntington Beach, (714) 373-4498.

1923 Todd Spitzer in golf togs.

1924 411VM. By now, people know skaters like to watch skate videos. Over and over again-as long as they're not busting some kickflips of their own or watching one another play video games. Back in early 1993, a few friends within the industry-including skateboard photographer to the stars Chris Ortiz-envisioned a video magazine that would go beyond the typical skate videos and magazines skateboarders were gobbling up. It was to be a skate video with a kick-ass soundtrack, littered with interviews of top pros, up-and-coming amateurs, company profiles, contests, road trips, foreign coverage, skate spot reviews, and mind-blowing action footage that left nothing to the imagination. They publish bimonthly and their distribution has grown 65 percent: compare issue 21's circulation at 14,000 to issue 27's at 23,000. Coming Oct. 25, they're on issue 37! And since a picture is worth a thousand words, it's much more efficient.

1925 The teenage mating scene on Main Street in Huntington Beach.

1926 Tower/Good Guys store by the Laguna Hills mall. Marvel at $7,000 flat-screen TVs and experience a home-theater room that looks and sounds better than a theater. 23541 Calle De La Louisa, Laguna Hills, (949) 465-5700.

1927 Mall exhibit of photos of Princess Di, seemingly chosen to showcase her many hats.

1928 Mall exhibit of drawings by John Lennon.

1929 Mall exhibit of animatronic dragons.

1930 Gwen Stefani's new British accent.

1931 Tattooed skate punks in their early 40s.

1932 The fish blimpthat floats above Sunset Ford. Don't call it a "fish blimp" in the presence of anybody who works there, though. To them, it's Willie the Whale. 5440 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster.

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