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This Week in Ramadan and Rosh Hashana

It's Ramadan time again, which means Auntie Fatima Rahman once again lords it over the iftar—the evening meal with which Muslims break their daily fast—at the Islamic Society of Orange County, the oldest mosque in these conservative-Christian badlands. But, in one of those weird cosmic coincidences that suggest there really is a higher being, the first day of Ramadan fell on the same day as Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Since the sons and daughters of Isaac and Ishmael constantly feud, we invite them to declare truce at the following restaurants.

 

DINNER FOR TWO:

Location Info

Map

Abel's Bakery

24601 Raymond Way
Lake Forest, CA 92630-4460

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Lake Forest

Islamic Society of Orange County

1 Al-Rahman Plaza
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Garden Grove

Jamillah Garden

2512 Walnut Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Tustin

Kochee Kabob House

4143 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Irvine

Kosher Bite Deli & Meat Market

23595 Moulton Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Laguna Hills

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ABEL'S BAKERY
Abel Salgado has been keeping the challah coming for 40 years, the past five of them in one of Orange County's few Jewish bakeries. Trays buckle with rugala, small cookies moist with chocolate chips, and the holy hamantashen, a fruity triangle-shaped turnover sold by the thousands during the festival of Purim and by the hundreds the rest of the year. 24601 Raymond Way, Ste. 7, Lake Forest, (949) 699-0930. ¢BISMILLAH HALAL TANDOORI RESTAURANT
The karahi lamb will blow your mouth into a new orbit. Prepared with a dictionary's worth of herbs and spices, the taste is an unbelievable medley of flavors. And the nihara's beef is so tender it's like butter. 8901-D Knott Ave., Buena Park, (714) 827-7201. $

ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF ORANGE COUNTY
During Ramadan, Fatima Rahman (known to all as Auntie Fatima) lords it over the best religious-minded buffet in the county at Orange County's largest mosque, preparing $2 Styrofoam cartons of delicious Indian food and the stray baklava. The rest of the year, Auntie Fatima prepares it only during Friday services. Some of the tastiest Indian food around—and no faith in Allah required! 9752 13th St., Garden Grove, (714) 531-1722. ¢

JAMILLAH GARDEN
Drones at the industrial park at the corner of Tustin Ranch and Walnut welcome the noon hour with joy. Like an oasis in the Gobi lies Jamillah Garden, one of the county's two restaurants specializing in Islamic Chinese cuisine, a type of dining tradition combining Middle Eastern opulence with the austere tastes of northern China. Corporate types crowd into the restaurant in a sort of hunger haj throughout the day, drawn by the affordable lunch specials; curry chicken; and the sesame bread, a Frisbee of flour speckled with scallions. 2512 Walnut Ave., Tustin, (714) 838-3522. $

KATELLA DELI
The place has a voluminous menu that spans matzo to mud pie, spinach salad to skyscraper sandwiches, knish to kippers—not to mention a full bakery that houses fresh rolls and bagels. Their Denver omelet is terrific. 4470 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-8611. ¢

KOCHEE KABOB HOUSE
Kochee Kabob might lack decorative charm and a relaxed ambiance, but its grilled meat is, well, hard to beat—eight kinds of kebabs, each paired with flurries of long-grained, nutty basmati rice and a salad that can't quite measure up. Kochee Kabob's meats are flavorful enough without condiments, but there are two available: sour chili powder and a green hot sauce that's a fusion of a mint chutney and emerald Tapatío.4143 Campus Dr., Ste. 195, Irvine, (949) 854-0206. $

KOSHER BITE DELI
Orange County seems just too spick-and-span Christian to host a real New York-style Jewish deli, but try telling that to the folks at Kosher Bite in Laguna Hills, a cluttered room where the air conditioning is three ceiling fans on their last wobbly rotation, potato-and-barley soup is boiled daily, the Sabbath means rest and the menu—knishes, matzo ball, pastrami on rye—is as stubbornly borscht belt as Carl Reiner. 23595 Moulton Pkwy., Ste. H, Laguna Hills, (949) 770-1818. $

View Orange County's best damn dining guide at ocweekly.com/food.

 
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