Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from OC'c best damn dining guide

EAST WINDS ASIAN CUISINE
East Winds offers an attractive measure of the wild and the mild both, with staple Asian fare available for enthusiastic customization—an attentive and experienced waiter recommended super-fit orange peel chicken made with all white meat—and mix-and-matchers like teriyaki buffalo wings and kung pao pasta to dissolve the film off more jaded palates. 7114 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-1800. $

TACOS EL CHARITO
Here is Orange County's best deal: two tasty tacos for a buck, with free, unlimited pineapple juice. Who cares that this taco truck is in the middle of Surf City's notorious Slater Slums—two tacos for a buck with free pineapple juice! On Morgan Street between Slater and Speer aves., Huntington Beach. No phone number. ¢

IRVINE

Location Info

Map

Dunarea

821 N. Euclid Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > European

Region: Anaheim

Siam Chili Paste

1739 W. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Out of Town

Super Corokke

675 Paularino Ave., Ste. C
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Costa Mesa

Irie Jamaican Restaurant

9062 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630-5802

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Cypress

Au Lac Vegetarian Restaurant

16563 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Fountain Valley

TAAL

2720 Nutwood Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Fullerton

Table Ten California Grill

124 W. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Fullerton

Light Town House

8902 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

The Chicken Co.

9017 Adams Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

East Winds Asian Cuisine

7114 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Huntington Beach

TACOS EL CHARITO

Florida St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Huntington Beach

Darband Persian Cuisine

Heritage Square, 14210 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604

Category: Restaurant > Persian

Region: Irvine

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CHICAGO'S BEST
This tiny counter in a nameless Irvine food court serves all your Chicago faves—hot dogs, roast beef sandwiches and the fascinating Chicago tamale, a sweeter, fluffier version of the Mesoamerican standard stuffed with chili. Not bad at all—you could sneak one into a Mexican household come Christmastime and no one would complain. 2540 Main St., Irvine, (949) 757-1802. $

CHINA GARDEN
The dim sum jockeys who patrol China Garden with their carts and filled plates want you to gorge immediately, but pace yourself: the visits will not cease, the goodness of the county's best dim sum will not end. Cha shu bao, filled with sweet red barbecued pork, perfectly foils the steaming cup of the sharp house oolong tea. So does the steamed chicken bun, a light, chewy thing filled with ground chicken meat, ginger and herbs. 14825 Jeffrey Rd., Irvine, (949) 653-9988. $$

 

DARBAND
All Persian restaurants feature shirin polo, basmati rice mixed with shredded chicken and fragments of orange peel, pistachios and almonds. Darband outdoes them all by including a whole half chicken instead of chicken strips. And, instead of mixing it into the shirin polo, the Darband cooks bring it out simmering in a bowl of chicken broth. The result is a chicken so succulent and tender that you can eat it with a spoon. 14210 Culver Dr., Ste. H, Irvine, (949) 857-8265. $$

MELTING POT
At the Melting Pot, it's hard to eat a full meal, with dessert and drinks, without leaving at least a C-note behind, but the spent Franklin is worth it. Such a cost gets you a bowl of cheesy fondue, fine salad, French-influenced meat entrées and a dessert that's flambeauxed in front of ya. 2646 Dupont Dr., Irvine, (949) 955-3242. $$$

 

LA HABRA

ARTHUR'S COFFEE SHOP
"Best Breakfast in Town," proclaims the sign out front, and they probably don't hear too many arguments. While the food's good, the atmosphere is even better, like scenes from an unwritten Tom Waits song. Waitresses sport "OKIE SPOKEN HERE" T-shirts as they take orders from Korean War vets who have axle-grease stains on their well-worn Dickies. Arthur's serves real food for real people. 1281 E. La Habra Blvd., La Habra, (562) 691-7793. ¢

LA PALMA

HANNAM SUPERMARKET
The city says 1,500 shoppers file into this Korean grocery store every day. That's no surprise: this place is stocked with plenty of Korean squash—which resemble flattened pumpkins—frozen vegetable dumplings and corn buns for all your authentic Asian dining needs. 4941 La Palma Ave., La Palma, (562) 865-4116. ¢-$$

LAGUNA BEACH

230 FOREST AVENUE
230 Forest Avenue's (it's both the address and the name of the restaurant) starter plates give you plenty to decide among, including wild-mushroom strudel wrapped in phyllo with dark garlic sauce; roasted-artichoke crab dip with warm herb-pita crisps; and salmon and mussel stew with white beans and applewood-smoked bacon, slow simmered in a vegetable fish broth. 230 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-2545. $$$

ALISO BEACH SNACK BAR
This South Laguna landmark anchored Aliso Pier until the pier's 1999 demolition but remains unchanged since its 1972 opening, save for the prices. And a wooden menu dating back to the start shows that even those aren't dramatically different. The wait is always long, but don't hold it against owner Barbara Perry—she's usually the only person working. She no longer makes the funnel cake that seared itself into many lingual memories many years ago, unfortunately, so salve your disappointment with a sip of a powerful banana shake and a surprisingly tasteful chicken gyro. 31131 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 499-6811. ¢

ANASTASIA
A sweet little restaurant perfect for l'amour. The food is billed as French/California hybrid, but that is selling it short. 470 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-8903.$$

 

MOZAMBIQUE
It advertises itself as a South African restaurant, but Mozambique most excels in its preparation of meat—pork chops, steaks, seafood and the great Durban curry, a dusky lamb dish that will warm you up wherever you may be. 1740 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-7100; www.mozambiqueoc.com. $$

 

PENGUIN CAFE
Whenever I visit Penguin Cafe, I always order the same item: the Penguin Burger combo, a half-pound burger sparsely decorated with lettuce, pickles, a tomato and a glorious patty. Thousand Island dressing is on the side; thin, crispy fries come as well. The Penguin Burger may seem unremarkable, something you can grill in your back yard, but this is the sweetest burger around: a luscious, massive pillow of juice, man's perfect burger. 981 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-1353. $TACO LOCO
At Taco Loco you can feast for cheap without the insult of fast-food taste. Whether it's the delicious à la carte Mexican food or the cheap prices, the place is constantly swarming with the beautiful surfing crowd. 640 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-1635. $LAGUNA HILLS

ONAMI SUSHI & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Here, you can partake of as much sushi as you want. You can gobble down transparent globules of ikura (salmon roe) like popcorn or tiny particles of masago (smelt egg) as if they're, well, tiny particles of masago. 24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Ste. 1300, Laguna Hills, (949) 768-0500. $$LAGUNA NIGUEL

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