Not full of hot air

Lingonberry Café. Their insane mealtime bargain includes not only food but also free baby-sitting! So hightail it upstairs for the manager's special: a godsend that includes a large portion of Swedish meatballs with creamy gravy and two steamed red potatoes. 2982 El Camino Real Blvd. (at Ikea), (714) 838-4000, ext. 325.

Mangga Grill. The menu reflects the diversity of a 7,000-island archipelago heavily influenced by Chinese traders, 400 years of Spanish domination and a half-century of American occupation. Oh, and their honey-stung chicken with Manila rum sauce is amazing. 341 E. First St., (714) 730-1332.

Pina's Bistro. From her earthy navy-bean soup to voluptuous Naples-style pizza with homemade fennel sausage, Pina Ercolamento, a native of Italy, puts Neapolitan pride into all of the creations in her tiny Tustin trattoria. 640 W. First St., (714) 730-5442.

Zov's Bistro and Bakery. In his 1992 thriller Hideaway, Dean Koontz's main characters dine at Zov's on calamari and black-bean soup that was "such a perfect sensual experience that the monochromatic bistro seemed ablaze with color." 17440 E. 17th St., (714) 838-8855.


Tustin Tiller Days. In the old days—and by old days we mean the 1880s—Tustin had three churches, a hotel, a bank, and a horse-drawn "tallyho" trolley line that ran all the way to Santa Ana. And a lot of farms. Hundreds of acres of farms. Tustin Tiller Days recalls those halcyon days when men were men and dirt and horses were the city's mode of production. The festivities, usually the first weekend in October, include such agriculture-related fun as Irish rock bands, a Ferris wheel and pancake breakfasts. Columbus Tustin Park, the corner of Prospect Ave. and Irvine Blvd.


U.S. Navy Dirigible Hangars. Largest wooden structures in the U.S., not counting Keanu Reeves. Visiting these bygone relics of blimpier days (formerly the province of the U.S. Navy, located on the abandoned Marine Corps Air Station) constitutes trespassing, but a leisurely cruise up Redhill Avenue still provides a hell of a panorama. But the glory isn't quite gone: although zeppelins have yet to come back into style as America seeks non-Greyhound-related alternatives to air travel, slick Hollywood types see the hangars' potential—look for these local boys' most recent appearance in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, the corner of Tustin and Redhill.


Ikea. Modern? Check. Efficient? Check. Cold, soulless and inhuman? Check, check and check! With a design aesthetic like this, it's no surprise that Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad was once involved with Nazi-supporting rightists during the '40s—after all, Ikea doohickeys are just the thing to turn a smallish living room into real lebensraum! Of course, he's very sorry now ("It was the biggest disaster of my life," he told British newsmen this year), so if you're the kind of person who appreciates an apology for the biggest crime against humanity (not counting Keanu Reeves), visit Orange County's only Ikea location and burrow into the volkstyle with a clearer conscience than ever. 2982 El Camino Real, (714) 838-4000.


The fight over the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station. The old Tustin base covers 1,600 acres. The Santa Ana Unified School District and the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which actually has jurisdiction over part of the base, want 100 acres for a kindergarten-through-college campus. The Tustin City Council, which controls the base reuse process, wants to give the districts just 22 acres. Santa Ana accused Tustin of being racist. Tustin countered that Santa Ana is desperate and greedy. Now Sacramento's involved. It can only get worse from here. . . .


Pickup Basketball. In the mood for a good pickup game of basketball? Want to wager a little money on your skills? You know, just a friendly, under-the-table bet? Tustin's your place. Now, we're keeping the location of the courts out of deference to the locals who tipped us off, but Tustin's not a big city. Ask around. And make sure you work on that jump shot.

Skratch magazine. Punk's not dead, but Skratch magazine will make you want to kill it: for 66 mostly monthly issues (which is about 66 too many), Scott Presant's semicoherent, unfunny, skate-boner jock-off advertorial rag strives mightily to beat independent music down to the lowest common denominator, without ever using words with as many syllables as "denominator." The place you turn to find out where all your favorite boardshorts-and-beer-bellies bands will be making mall-punk a threat again. Any publicity's good publicity, though, right, guys? 17300 17th St., Ste. J, (714) 543-1411 or (714) 543-1414.

The Swinging Door. The premier hole-in-the-well hooch joint in Tustin, with a sweet selection of swing on the jukebox and each bartender prettier than the last (verified by several objective sources, even). Everyone who's a local anyone (grizzled old blimp pilots, perhaps?) sops up beer around here, and even at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday, this place oozes boozy fun. 355 El Camino Real, (714) 730-9934.


'Beat it . . . please.'

Villa Park is so small—just 2.1 miles in area—that you could drive by and not notice, which is how most of its 7,000 residents like it. They are quiet folk, mostly upper-middle class and just plain upper class. The Spanish/ ranch-style/colonial homes are generally on at least half an acre; the seemingly requisite pools, tennis courts and horse stables are out back. The driveways showcase cars in near-showroom quality: late-model SUVs, sedans and midlife-crisis sports cars. Most of the neighborhoods have no street lamps or sidewalks, which would suggest that no one walks in Villa Park.

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