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This week in north North County

In all the newsprint the national media has allotted our fair county these past couple of months—nutball elected in Orange! Anaheim Angels! Laguna Beach, the series!—not a single ink cartridge has been spilt on the Siberia of OC—the tiny towns of Brea, La Habra and Placentia. And really, who can blame them? Save for the Brea High Ladycats, Paul's TV—The King of Big Screen in La Habra, Placentia's City Council-caused $31 million debt hole and the following restaurants, there is nothing remarkable about Orange County's northernmost corner.

DINNER FOR TWO:

¢…….………………..…..Less than $10!

Location Info

Map

Brea's Best Burgers

707 S. Brea Blvd.
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Brea

Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

1639 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Brea

Shehnai Cuisine of India

705 E. Birch St., Ste. B
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Brea

The Cat & the Custard Cup

800 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: La Habra

Chicken Box

330 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: La Habra

Ricardo's El Ranchito

1351 S. Beach Blvd., 4
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: La Habra

Brooklyn Pizza Works

1235 Imperial Highway
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Placentia

El Farolito

201 S. Bradford Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Placentia

The Royal

909 E. Yorba Linda Blvd.
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Placentia

Sophia's Greek Cuisine

1390 N. Kraemer Blvd.
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Placentia

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$……………….…….…………..$10-$20

$$…………….……….…………$20-$40

$$$………………………¡Eres muy rico!

Brea

Brea's Best Burgers

The perfect non-chain burger, a quarter-pound patty all gussied up with Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and sesame-seed bun. Brea's Best also has sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos, burritos and breakfast fare. You could even eat healthy by ordering an ostrich burger—but why would you? A word of warning: the place gets mobbed during the weekday lunch rush, so plan accordingly. 707 S. Brea Blvd., (714) 990-2615. $

GAUCHO GRILL

Here's what you need to know about Argentine food as it relates to Gaucho Grill: meat. Lots of it, most of it beef, served many ways. The ultimate meat-eater's special is the plato mixto, a beast of a dinner including half a chicken, a skirt steak, chorizo, morcilla (a blood sausage) and mollejas (grilled-beef sweetbreads—and a sweetbread is a hypothalamus gland, kiddies). 210 W. Birch St., Ste. 102, (714) 990-9140. $$

LUCILLE'S SMOKEHOUSE BAR-B-Q

Sides at Brea's hottest spot—two per entrée—are as big as appetizers, and appetizers constitute a month's worth of courses in some sub-Saharan nations. But these servings are mere crumbs when measured against the feral bulk of a Lucille's barbecue plate. After plowing through one of these, you'd better waddle out fast before the Lucille's owners size you up as ready for a dance on the grill so plump will you be. 1639 E. Imperial Hwy., (714) 990-4944. $$

RENAISSANCE BISTRO

As the name suggests, Renaissance Bistro serves primarily northern-Italian fare, but the menu is dotted with just enough unexpected items to suggest the chefs aren't unduly locked into convention. 955 E. Birch St., (714) 256-2233. $$

SHEHNAI

Brea's best Indian restaurant—okay, Brea's only Indian restaurant—is decked out in fancy linen tablecloths and Ganesh water fountains and serving hot plates of tandoori, vindaloo, curry and kebabs at unfancy prices. 705 E. Birch St., (714) 990-8989. $$

LA HABRA CAT & CUSTARD CUP

La Habra's toniest (read: priciest) restaurant—nothing on the dinner menu is less than $16.50. We can't actually afford to eat here, but it's been around for years, and people are always raving about it, so it must be good. Fancily prepared American food in an English-pub setting (though it's quite a bit larger than a real English pub). 800 E. Whittier Blvd., (562) 694-3812. $$$

CAFÉ EL CHOLO

First served up by Rosa Bórquez in 1923 in LA's original Café El Cholo (her grandson Ron Salisbury owns the restaurant group these days), the place's green-corn tamales are a Southern California dining institution. On bites two and three, you'll find oozing sharp Cheddar cheese and Ortega chiles, which combined compete against the sweet corn as a snappy alternative. 840 E. Whittier Blvd., (562) 691-4618. $$

CHICKEN BOX

Yes, I included this classic in the Grub Guide two weeks ago, but there's nothing else going on in La Habra! A tiny room that always seems packed, Chicken Box fries up all the bird parts you'd expect with just enough grease to keep things tasty, as well as ribs, batter-fried fish and reasonably healthy stuff such as salads. And you gotta love a place that sells boysenberry punch—a supertart, purple elixir probably mixed nowadays only in one other concern, Knott's Berry Farm, and then probably only as a tourist curio. 330 E. Whittier Blvd., (562) 691-1701. $

GORDO MELLONY'S

Gordo Mellony's has normal burgers, cheeseburgers, chili cheeseburgers and bacon cheeseburgers. Then there are the "special" burgers—stacks of meat so gravity-defying that eating one would make for a good stunt on Fear Factor. Their King Kong Suicide comes with three kinds of cheese and four patties and rises to a height of 12 inches, held vertically aloft by a skewer. 430 W. Whittier Blvd., (562) 694-4456. $

RICARDO'S EL RANCHITO

Go here for three reasons: to watch the tortilla makers do their thing inside a glass booth; to mack out on the light, flaky flour tortilla chips; and to feast on the superb camarones rancheros, a droolingly wonderful dish. 1351 S. Beach Blvd., (562) 943-6020. $

PLACENTIA BROOKLYN PIZZA WORKS

Brooklyn Pizza Works celebrates a disappearing way of life, a shrieking 1970s family-style pizzeria aesthetic that's going the way of the Elks. The time warp here continues with the food. An anthropomorphic pizza on the menu boasts that The Orange County Registerdeemed Brooklyn Pizza Works the county's best pizza parlor. The pizza doesn't mention that the daily bestowed this honor in 1981 and 1992. But the designation still applies. And the calzones are even better! 1235 E. Imperial Hwy., (714) 524-1260; www.brooklyn-pizza-works.com. $

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