Best of OC, Nos. 26 to 50

From the Bowers patio to Merry's

I beg to differ! Now that the Crystal Cove Shake Shack is no more, having been bought out by Ruby's, the real grimy deal is Schleppy's, located at the very end of the San Clemente Pier, where you can munch on hamburgers and hot dogs while admiring crappy seashell jewelry and fending off the hovering seagulls. 615 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, (949) 492-8335.(Gustavo Arellano)

I beg to differ! There's nothing like the hole-in-the-wall that is Q-Tortas. Try the burrito. I dare you! 220 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia, (714) 993-3270. (Jon Mann)

I beg to differ! Screw the burrito at Q-Tortas. Stick to the tortas. (Gustavo Arellano)

Notice our Rods. Photo courtesy Anaheim Baseball
Notice our Rods. Photo courtesy Anaheim Baseball
A place for everything, and everything on a doily. Photo by Tenaya Hills
A place for everything, and everything on a doily. Photo by Tenaya Hills

I beg to differ! The breakfast burritos at Nick's are made with eggs, potatoes and cheese, just like everybody else's, but for some reason these just might be worth dying for. 223 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 598-5072.(Jennie Warren)

I beg to differ! The chicken tortas at El Gallo Giro are what made this reconquista'd country great! Do they ever close? 1442 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 549-2011. (Matt Coker)

No. 44: The Orange County Courthouse
They don't make courthouses like this—or like the one in Long Beach, or like the Boeing office building on Lakewood Boulevard in Long Beach—any more, and no one seems to realize or care that commercial buildings from the 1960s are of an age where they're every bit as endangered as 1950s Googie-style restaurants ever were. It's just that we're finally at a point where we've razed all those restaurants, motels and bowling alleys (remember Kona Lanes?), and what will be next? Those commercial structures. Details are what make this courthouse grand—and its pedigree as the last major public project from famed modernist architect Richard Neutra. It has all those huge windows with extruded aluminum frames, that cool typeface on the aluminum lettering outside, wide mosaic floors, wooden door handles that taper at each end, and a reflecting pool that has long since been allowed to dry up. No, there are no plans in the works to demolish or remodel this place, but we're the nervous type and water-stained ceiling tiles don't lie. 700 Civic Center Dr. West, Santa Ana; (714) 834-3734.

I beg to differ! They have not knocked down all the bowling alleys yet, and worrying about the future of swanky old Linbrook Bowl (it's on the corner of Lincoln and Brookhurst, see?) seems to be a much better waste of time than some place where The Man kicks around common citizens. 201 S. Brookhurst Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 774-2253.(Dave Wielenga)

I'm with you! Seriously, Linbrook Bowl is beautiful.We walked over there all trashed one night and got the karaoke jockey mad at us (well, mostly at me), and the place is just . . . freaking . . . perfect—shiny and retro-grand and full of bowlers and drinkers and karaoke-ers. And we love it! (Rebecca Schoenkopf)

And yet: Always a good idea for us to point out endangered property at a prime intersection. Smell that bulldozer? (Chris Ziegler)

No. 45: Nickel Nickel 5-Cent Games
Crowds are what make this place great—well, that and the fact that most games cost a nickel, except oldies like Pac-Man and Centipede, which are free. So what if the carpet is dingy and there are crowds of ankle-biters three deep around the dance games and the shoot-'em-ups? You're standing in the loudest museum ever: this is how we played video games before we let the corporations sell us home systems—like they sold us hi-fis and iMacs and iTunes—and barricaded ourselves in our homes for day-long sessions of Counter Strike. Once upon a time, when you faced off over a two- or three-player console, you were looking at a bunch of pimply boys just a few feet away. It was ugly—but it was fun. 10912 Katella Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 638-5050.

I beg to differ!Why, back in my day, video games were free! 'Course you had to walk five miles in the snow to get to an arcade, and then the arcade was empty because video games hadn't been invented yet. But, boy oh boy, those were the days. Now get off my lawn! (Mr. Glicken)

No. 46: Tree of Life Nursery
Hard to believe, but this is still the county's only nursery devoted exclusively to California native plants. Harder still to believe, but the vast majority of people still resist filling their yards with foliage that looks and smells like California should look and smell. Hardest to believe is if everybody did cultivate California natives the environment of Orange County would feature more birds, insects and small wildlife while using drastically less water. 33201 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 728-0685;

No. 47: Garden of Eden Adult Bookstore
A tribute to original sin and its many imaginative spin-offs and well-worn clichťs, this adult bookstore puts the danger—and not just eventual eternal damnation—back into sex, thanks to the shadowy men lurking on its shadowy fringes. One half of the store is a sex toys and videotape emporium—with dusty VHS tapes, obscure DVDs and a rack of medieval pleasure devices all managing somehow to be out of reach, so when you reach for them, or ask for help getting them, you're embarrassed. Kinda like sex. Whatever. The other half has rows of semi-private porn booths where the low-end ecstasy endlessly loops, and you spool in and out depending on how regularly you feed it dollar bills. And it's full of tweaker guys who may or may not follow you for a couple of blocks in their Taurus when you leave. Nice. 12061 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-0124.

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