Best of OC, Nos. 26 to 50

From the Bowers patio to Merry's

I beg to differ! Look, I've never been to the Garden of Eden so I'm willing to allow that it's a terrific porn palace and therefore a county treasure. Still, I think you have to at least give a nod to the folks over at Spanky's, who are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to sex DVDs. They've got everything from homemade celebrity sex tapes to sex tapes of someone at home making the maid. Hey, hey! The selection is wide ranging, the staff is helpful, the environs are clean—and Spanky's clearly has the most entertaining print advertising campaign of any business in OC: meat and potatoes guy with a right arm twice the size of his left, polishing a rocket, spanking a monkey, etc. Good stuff. 213 N. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 554-4495. (Steve Lowery)

I beg to differ!Steve seems to know an awful lot about Spanky's. Also? Can we stop using the phrase "gold standard" to talk about porno DVDs? Gone With the Windthey ain't—except maybe for taping people's boobs together. Now, I've said too much. (Theo Douglas)

Boom, boom, boom, let's go. Photo by Madame Montana
Boom, boom, boom, let's go. Photo by Madame Montana

No. 48: Wholesome Choice Market
The best supermarket in OC puts every immigrant's cooking needs—Cherry preserves from Turkey! Goat cheese from Bulgaria! Paul Newman salad dressings!)—under one roof, and adds an international deli that does great takes on Indian, Persian and Greek food, and flips out luscious Persian breads by the hour. Plus, the check-out aisles stock gossip rags from US Weekly to Farsi-language glossies for your escapist needs. 18040 Culver Dr., Irvine, (949) 551-4111;

I beg to differ!Orange County teems with grocery stores tiny (the mom-and-pop halal markets of Little Arabia) and large (the Mexican GonzŠlez Northgate Supermarket chain). (Gustavo Arellano)

No. 49: Rally Monkey
The legend of the Rally Monkey is a good one, with the added bonus that it happens to be true. Two guys working the screen thingy at Angels Stadium were bored one day during some long game of suck in the dispiriting 2002 season, so they put a picture of a jumping and howling monkey up on the screen. A screeching, jumping, howling monkey—that's right: it was the Reverend Lou Sheldon. But then what happened? We won! And every time we were dawdling beyond the seventh inning stretch they would break out the Reverend and we would win again! We won and won and won, and then there was some stretch where, for like two games, the lowest batting average was .750. But now I can't find that and everyone here is laughing at me. But it happened! It DID! And then we won and life was grand, like a Disney movie (the plot of one such Disney movie, in fact, even had as its punch line that the mean Dad who leaves his family comes back "when the Angels win the World Series," something that could Clearly. Never. Happen. (That dad was a douche!) But then in the movie, as in life, the Angels DID win the World Series. And then they sold David Eckstein and MVP Troy Glaus, and in 2004 they let Percy go. And like that. The Rally Monkey don't work so good either, any more.

I beg to differ! True, it can be a bit pungent, definitely an acquired taste, but we've found if you first marinate the monkey in a citrus-peel sauce with a couple shakes of Emeril's Italian Essence and a splash of rum—the higher the proof, the better—you'll gobble down your entire distant cousin long before the seventh inning stretch. (C. Heston)

No. 50: Merry's
Best place to support the economies of the Axis of Evil. A clothing boutique that imports fashions from Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and a few others. It's REALLY a cool shop. 2747 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 987-4363.

I beg to differ! On the orange side of the county line, Little Arabia has the largest concentration of Muslims and Arabs west of Detroit. There's no central meeting place, so stop by the offices of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and ask them about their favorite Halal dining and grocery spots. Irvine's Persian community congregates around Heritage Square Plaza, where Caspian Restaurant, an ornate shrine to kebabs and mounds of flavored rice, hosts banquets, and Assal Pastry pleases palates with its cookies and saffron rice pudding. Little Arabia, in Anaheim and Garden Grove, roughly along Brookhurst Ave., between La Palma Ave. and Garden Grove Ave.; CAIR, 2180 W. Crescent Ave., Ste. F, Anaheim, (714) 776-1847; Caspian Restaurant, 14100 Culver Dr., Irvine, (949) 651-8454;; Assal Pastry, 14130 Culver Dr., #H1, Irvine, (949) 733-3262.

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