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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

PAGOLAC
Pagolac will show you another side of beef—seven, to be exact. "Bo 7 Mon," the restaurant sign's subtitle, is Vietnamese for seven courses of beef, the restaurant's specialty. Ungodly slabs of sirloin are transformed into wisps of flavor-packed beef. 14580 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 531-4740. $$

SEAFOOD PARADISE
The tanks at Seafood Paradise contain live denizens of the deep, which are plucked from their temporary home and steamed whole in a deliciously rich Oriental black-bean sauce with ginger and scallions.8602 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, (714) 893-6066. $$

TAI BUU PARIS BAKERY
Order a bánh mì ga at the takeout counter, and you'll get a shredded-chicken sandwich. If you sit down and order cari ga bánh mì off the menu, though, a waiter will carry out a bowl of chicken curry stewed in turmeric-scented coconut milk; the bread comes as a half-baguette. Make sense? No? Ah, just chomp on the bánh mì thit nuong, barbecued pork seasoned with a restrained hand. 9039 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 101, Westminster, (714) 895-6114. ¢

Location Info

Map

La Langosta

408 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Anaheim

Rasthal Vegetarian Cuisine

2751-2755 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Anaheim

Oki Doki

13681 Newport Ave., Ste. 9
Tustin, CA 92780

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Tustin

Harbor Café & Tacos

16540 Harbor Blvd.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Fountain Valley

Heroes Bar & Grill

125 W. Santa Fe., Ste. 128
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fullerton

Kung Pao House

217 N. Euclid St.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Fullerton

Roadside Burgers

513 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Fullerton

BCD Tofu House

9520 Garden Grove Blvd., Ste. 9
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie

14354 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Garden Grove

Vien Dong

14271 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

The Chicken Co.

9017 Adams Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Lucci's Deli and Market

8911 Adams Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Huntington Beach

YORBA LINDA

THE WILD ARTICHOKE
While the restaurant's motto "Food prepared from the heart, with the soul in mind" is cumbersome (it's like a New Age math problem), all of James D'Aquila's culinary creations are fabulous, simply fabulous. Stick to the artichokes—either the simple Wild Artichoke salad tossed with various vegetables and sprinkled with bitter balsamic vinaigrette, or Artichoke Napoleon—a puff pastry in which sautéed artichokes assume the luxuriousness of truffles. 4973-A Yorba Ranch Rd., Yorba Linda, (714) 777-9646; www.thewildartichoke.com. $$$

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

AMAZING KABOB HOUSE
Take the advice of this tiny restaurant's name: kebabs of lamb, chicken, ground beef, even shrimp sizzling between bell peppers, tomatoes and onions on skewers. But make sure to also order the the Kabuli palau—basmati rice cooked with lamb, carrots and currants—and a bowl of aash, a noodle soup with hefty portions of potatoes, chicken and tomato would sell well in Iowa.3209 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 282-1228; 2445 E. Imperial Hwy., Ste. F, Brea, (714) 529-9300; www.amazingkabobhouse.com. $

ATHENS WEST
Many Greek restaurants offer French fries on their menu, but few treat them with the care you find at both Athens West locations. They fry long, skinny potato strips until golden and firm, dust them heroically with—is it parsley I taste? Or oregano? The feta cheese on top is melted slightly, just enough to lend creaminess without producing a gooey disaster. Put some of Athens West's kebabs on top, and you have impromptu Greek chili billies. 7101 Yorktown Ave., Ste. 106, Huntington Beach, (714) 536-6112; 303 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-6500. $

BÁNH CUÔN HÔNG MAI
This chain of two near-closets in Garden Grove and Santa Ana offers most of their dishes—fragrant com tam, slippery bún and satisfying drinks—in 27 different fashions. But Hông Mai's ultimate specialty isn't numerology, but rather the studious preparation of the rice roll delicacy known as bánh cuôn: silky, light, furtively filling, a good sponge for the accompanying fish sauce. The rice paper itself is a bit bland, but that neutral flavor somehow amplifies a bánh cuôn's innards tenfold. 10912 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 534-4526; 5425 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 554-9190. ¢

BIRRIERIA Y PUPUSERIA JALISCO
Whether you order Mexican or Salvadoran food at Birriería y Pupusería Jalisco, make sure to mix and match condiments, if only in the name of Latino solidarity. Add curtido (the Salvadoran slaw that accompanies pupusas) to Birriería's bottle-sized burritos—enjoy the contrast between the garlicky, pickled curtido and the unspiced beans-rice-and-meat simplicity of the burrito. Spread the chilled, citrus-tinged house salsa on the pupusas to tweak the hearty appetizer. 404 N. Grand Ave., Ste. A, Santa Ana, (714) 836-4409; 17292 W. McFadden, Ste. D, Tustin, (714) 573-1586; 6999 E. Cerritos Ave., Stanton, (714) 826-3382; 2525 N. Grand Ave., Ste. A, Santa Ana, (714) 288-8931; 1212 S. Bristol Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 662-7400. $

CLARO'S ITALIAN MARKET
Claro's is a fourth-generation family business with a passion for food as big as the 600-pound loaves of provolone it's known to display during winter. Besides a huge selection of imported groceries, Claro's houses a stellar deli and bakery. 1095 E. Main St., Tustin, (714) 832-3081; 101 W. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, (562) 690-2844. $

THE DAILY GRILL
This is where you can learn to love the Cobb salad, an orchestrated event of chicken, tomatoes, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, scallions, egg, and romaine and iceberg lettuce mixed in a creamy Italian dressing. Also American comfort food—don't miss the meatloaf—prepared at its highest level. 957 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 644-2223; 2636 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 474-2223.$$

EL FORTÍN
In a country where each state has its unique version of the curry-like mole, Oaxaca is king, and El Fortín offers four stunning varieties of the royal family. I won't even bother describing the house mole, as my tongue cannot possibly articulate this creation—only eat.700 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 773-4290; 10444 Dale Ave., Stanton, (714) 252-9120; www.restaurantelfortin.com. $

LEE'S SANDWICHES
Based out of San Jose, the shop specializes in bánh mì, the Vietnamese sandwich that is an appetizing post-colonial amalgamation. Though the always-endless lines seem imposing, Lee's service is so outstanding that you'll quickly be savoring one of the most outlandish deals ($1.50 for a huge, nine-inch, delicious sandwich) in the world. 9261 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 901-5788; 13991 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 636-2288; 1028 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 525-2989; 4127 Campus Dr., Irvine, 949-509-9299; www.leessandwiches.com. friggin' ¢JOHN'S PHILLY GRILL
Philly cheesesteak houses dot the county like drunks at the nearly departed Veterans Stadium—I mean, they're ubiquitous—but the cheesesteak prepared at John's Philly Grill is among the best, a squeeze of cheese and many peppers inside a firm loaf. If the meat were any juicier, it'd be a fruit. Thank owner John Carpenter for bringing along the cheesesteak's authentic zest from his native Philadelphia while leaving his city's beer stench back home. 1784 S. Euclid Ave., Anaheim, (714) 491-2733; 20379 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-8755; 16061 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-1513. $QUAN HY
Quan Hy serves country-style Vietnamese—a lot more flavor and eccentricity than food like pho. With the country stuff, you taste a lot of different things. They sell a lot of mixed bowls—one is like a seafood medley, an assortment of pork and beef and shrimp and fish and vegetables. 9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 775-7179; 10212 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1652. $$

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