By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Best Brush With Danger The guy in the silver Taurus who probably thinks you want to fuck and follows you for blocks after you leave Garden of Eden Adult Book Store and video arcade. This is the place you were warned about: racks of medieval dildos and VHS; grungy arcade spooling snowy porn; parking lot behind where no one can hear you scream. Gets the blood pumping. 12061 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 534-9805.
Best Glass House Crystal Cathedral. Cheesy, sure—the multitudes of statues in the garden—but there's also the view up through God's windshield. Say what you will about Robert Schuller, but his 25-year-old Crystal Cathedral is an architectural triumph that transcends the earthly bonds of denomination. It seats the masses in the high style that was the hallmark of the late architect Phillip Johnson—who, ironically, was gay. (Schuller remains avowedly anti-gay—though, as R. Scott Moxley reminds us, he may not be anti-gay enough: "Gypsies, Tramps and Bigots," March 24, 2000.) So the garden is sappy bordering on obnoxious: the retreat as theme park. So the bookstore is sad: smaller than the editorial department at Weekly world headquarters—and they've been printing the word a lot longer than we have. You're supposed to focus on the Lord—or on your dashboard. Making your pilgrimage across the acres of parking lot, you realize: it's wired for sound—so if the cathedral's full, you can still get a drive-in sermon. Which is how it all began for Schuller, 50 years ago. 12141 Lewis St., Garden Grove, (714) 971-4000; www.crystalcathedral.org.
Best Sausages International Meats and Deli. Not exactly the home of the zesty kolbász links (that'd be Hungary), but where kolbász goes to get away. Your chance to live like they do in Budapest: a table of bread, cheese, beer and a tower of spicy sausage. And thou. 10382 Stanford Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 539-6334.
Best Six-pack to Go The Rainbow Room and Rainbow Liquor next door. Soundtrack: Hank Thompson, "A Six Pack to Go." How it plays out: hit the Rainbow (Room), one of the city's coolest neighborhood dive bars, a half-hour before last call. Have a drink; step and repeat. When they won't hit you again, quick-walk one door south to Rainbow (Liquor)—the '60s-vintage light box sign looks great at night—and splurge on the malt of your choice. Rainbow Room, 12942 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 537-9946.
Best Nonalcoholic Beverage Nuoc Mía Vien Tây's sugar-cane juice laced with tangerine and kumquat citrus flavors has been raved about by everyone from TheNew York Timesto the Weekly's Arellano. Go find out why: plunge below the froth that tops your glass, into the deep, dark sweetness it hides—and get a natural sugar high for once. 14370 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 531-9801.
Best Karaoke Bar Crooner's Lounge at Azteca Restaurant. All oak and stained glass, this place reminds us of the Velvet Turtle or the Brass Dolphin. It's got the fearless, late '70s/early '80s, audience-is-listening kind of vibe that—coupled with the anonymity of darkness—is just what you need to cover J. Geils. 12911 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 638-3790.