Empire Eats

Five restaurants to chew on our last imperial century

Quiz: What American president with visions of a new world order said, "I ask the Congress to authorize and empower the President to take measures to secure . . . the establishment of a stable government [in the liberated country], capable of maintaining order and observing its international obligations, insuring peace and tranquility and the security of its citizens as well as our own, and to use the military and naval forces of the United States as may be necessary for these purposes."

Ain't Dubya. The Republican was William McKinley, and the request came in his War Message of 1898, in which he asked Congress for the permission to "liberate" the Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines and pretty much any other country the U.S. wanted. As we embark on a new century of imperialism, here are five restaurants where we can savor the fruits of our last one.

•ONO ONO, 17582 E. 17th St., Tustin, (714) 505-0750. American settlers deposed of Queen Liliuokalani in 1896, upset she didn't want to join the Union. In honor of our culinary conquest, chew on scrumptious Kahlua pig ($6.95). •LA GLORIETA, 1604 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 543-7111. American banana companies in Honduras funded a 1909 coup in that country and installed a pro-American president. In that moment, a phrase was created—"banana republic"—and a dish was introduced to America: the platano relleno, a banana filled with ground beef. •KAPIT BAHAY, 615 N. Euclid, Anaheim, (714) 635-4400. Only the sweet narcotic of a halo-halo ($3) can ameliorate the thought of our 50-year occupation of the Philippines after we liberated the archipelago from Spain in 1898. •SEÑOR C, 5490 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, (714) 821-1290. Puerto Rico remains a colony of the States a century after we freed borinquens from the Spaniards. Get the alcapurrias ($5), plump green bananas stuffed with beef that possess the incendiary quality of the bombs our pilots rain down on the test range at Vieques. •FELIX'S CONTINENTAL CAFÉ, 36 Plaza Square, Orange, (714) 633-5842. Eighteen ninety-eight was a busy year in which we also took Cuba during the Spanish-American War. It shall be ours again when Castro croaks. In the meantime, feast on pollo criollo ($8.95) and toast imperialismo with some red wine.

 
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