By Edwin Goei
By Gustavo Arellano
By Edwin Goei
By Yesenia Varela
By Thao Ta
By Gustavo Arellano
By OC Weekly Staff
By Edwin Goei
Photo by James BunoanShameless self-promotion: in two weeks, this rag will publish its annual fantabulous summer food guide, 7,000 words on more than 100 of the finest county grubberies. I can't reveal the theme of our issue just yet, though—while the Weekly might be the journalistic equivalent of an exhibitionist, we're bigger prudes than Cotton Mather when it comes to revealing secrets.
I can say that we considered devoting the issue exclusively to Anaheim restaurants, mainly because Anaheim is my hometown and it would make my job infinitely easier. But more important, Anaheim is by far the county's dining nexus—a grand mix of esteemed and hole-in-the-wall establishments, restaurants offering tastier entrées than the dreck concocted over at either Beach—Laguna or Newport—not to mention more affordable, with more varieties of ethnic cuisine than a potluck dinner for the Model UN club.
But if you believe the Los Angeles Times and Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle—and you should never believe that pair when it comes to, well, anything—Anaheim is a dining desert. Longtime Anaheim reporter Kimi Yoshino—a hack who knows as much about the city as Michael Eisner knows about tact—breathlessly reported in the June 25 Timesthat city officials were trying to court "upscale steakhouses, trendy franchises and signature martini joints" because of a perceived lack of eating options in the city. "We need to be a lot more diligent to ensure that there are more dining options and shopping options," Pringle is quoted as saying in the piece. Yoshino agreed, solemnly adding, "Even local residents struggle to name half a dozen nice dinner houses."
5645 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807
721 S. Weir Canyon Road
Anaheim, CA 92808
22371 El Toro Road, Ste A
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Region: Lake Forest
2801 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804
928 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801
Really, Kimi? Then why does your article list three—Mr. Stox, the Anaheim White House and Napa Rose? Truth is, Yoshino's article was an unintended classic, an example for cub scribes of journalism at its laziest and most ignorant. She doesn't know Anaheim, and neither does that carpetbagger Pringle, who grew up in Garden Grove and didn't even live in Anaheim until announcing his candidacy for mayor in 2002. I, on the other hand, am this sordid burg—my family has roots here going back nearly a century. I can go on for 7,000 words on this subject but will spare you that rant (next year, though . . .). Here's an extremely truncated version of my ode to Anaheim eating:
THREE OTHER "NICE DINNER HOUSES" YOSHINO DOESN'T MENTION
Foscari: Great Italian palace in the Anaheim hills—and no, Anaheim Hills is not its own city, no matter how much residents there insist otherwise. 5645 E. La Palma Ave., (714) 779-1777.Rosine's Mediterranean Rotisserie: Also tucked away in Anaheim's bourgeois buttes. Even when slowly turning on a rotisserie, Rosine's succulent chicken exhibits more courage than Pringle. 721 S. Weir Canyon Rd., (714) 283-5141.Luigi's D'Italia: Intimate for the lovers, cozy for families, delicious for all. And Luigi's has been advertising in the St. Boniface Catholic Church bulletin since forever. 801 S. State College Blvd., (714) 490-0990.
THREE MASS FOOD PHENOMENA UNIQUE TO ANAHEIM
Little Arabia: How Brookhurst Street between La Palma and Katella avenues became a haven for delicious Middle Eastern restaurants, affordable halal butcheries and aromatic hookah lounges is a mystery. And it's one Yoshino—who wrote about the area in a March 1 article —didn't bother to mention while bitch-slapping my hood. Thai Corner: The La Palma Avenue and Euclid Street intersection is framed by two perpendicular strip malls anchoring the epicenter of Orange County's Thai community. Though all a bit run-down, each of the three grocery stores and three restaurants exhibits more elegance than Yoshino's trademark ass-kissing of council members. Armenian Row: An offshoot of Little Arabia on Ball Road, where the famous Armenian chains Zankou Chicken and Sarkis Pastry offer a bit of Mount Ararat to the famished.
MORE FOOD PHENOMENA UNIQUE TO ANAHEIM
Merhaba Restaurant: The county's only Ethiopian restaurant. 2801 W. Ball Rd., (714) 826-8859.Dunarea Restaurant:The county's only Romanian restaurant and one of two in Southern California. 821 N. Euclid St., Ste. C, (714) 772-7233.Club Avio:The county's only Dutch restaurant. 1557 W. Katella Ave., (714) 774-2840.Costa Rica Restaurant: The county's only Costa Rican restaurant—hell, the only Costa Rican restaurant in California, if not the United States. 2500 W. Lincoln Ave., Ste. 5, (714) 527-2010.Café Casse Croûte:The county's only Canadian restaurant. 656 S. Brookhurst St., (714) 774-8013.Ararat Armenian Cuisine: The county's only Armenian restaurant. 1827 W. Katella Ave., Ste. A, (714) 778-5667.
THREE ANAHEIM RESTAURANT
La Palma Chicken Pie Shop: Where hipsters go to eat like their grandparents—sometimes with said coffin dodgers. The neon hen towering over the restaurant is a robbery waiting to happen for a Googie fanatic. 928 N. Euclid St., (714) 533-2021.Original Pancake House: Also featuring an iconic mascot beloved by all Anaheim residents—a smiling chef flipping some flapjacks. And those flapjacks? As swell as what your tummy will do after breakfast here. 1418 E. Lincoln Ave., (714) 535-9815.Carl's Jr.: Hate Carl's Jr. founder Carl Karcher (contributor to myriad Neanderthal causes over the past several decades) all you want, but don't deny the power of his cheeseburger—bite-sized, with powerful pickles, pungent mustard and nicely burnt meat. After Disneyland, Carl's Jr. is Anaheim's greatest gift toward the decimation of humanity. Various locations; www.burgers.com/home/.