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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

LAKE FOREST

MANILA FOOD MART
Every Filipino joint offers the same meals; Manila Food Mart differentiates itself by hawking various products, from such Filipino wares as handbags and barongs (an ornate, light, long-sleeved shirt similar to the Caribbean guayabera) to a freezer stocked with ready-to-eat meals such as bags of plump, sugary longansina pork sausages. And while all Filipino restaurants fry turons—bananas wrapped with egg roll paper—few do it as delectably as Manila Food Mart, which dusts each burrito-big turon with brown sugar so that the interior caramelizes just so: the epitome of sweet. 24601 Raymond Way, #10, Lake Forest, (949) 461-0113; www.manilafoodmart.com. $

LONG BEACH

Location Info

Map

Ara's Pastry

2227 W. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Anaheim

Sweet Jill's

123 Main St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Seal Beach

Stubrik's Steakhouse & Bar

118 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Fullerton

Steer Inn

801 S. Tustin Ave.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Orange

Steer Inn

801 S. Tustin Ave.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Orange

Santa Monica Seafood Co.

154 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

Knowlwood

150 S. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fullerton

Cedar Creek Inn

20 Pointe Drive
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brea

El Carbonero

803 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Restaurant > Central American

Region: Santa Ana

Athens West

7101 W. Yorktown Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

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ALEGRÍA COCINA LATINA
The Spanish-styled brocheta vegetariana isn't like any bruschetta we're used to. The bread is replaced with corn tortillas, topped with skewers of grilled vegetables in a light sesame sauce on a pile of Peruvian corn, fresh-chopped tomatoes and tofu. That's right—tofu! 115 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 436-3388. $$

TWO UMBRELLAS CAFÉ
Many French toast options here: Like the Elvis: filled with peanut butter and banana. Or the Flasher: peanut butter and banana and bacon. And the Apple Guy (granola, apple, raisin, maybe some kind of glaze) and the Banana Guy (bananas, mandarin orange, maybe some almonds?) And the S'mores: whole hot gooey marshmallows and chocolate. And there's more: one with caramel, one with berries (seasonally dependent), one with peanut butter and jelly—a kid-in-a-candy-store selection. 1538 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 495-2323. $

LOS ALAMITOS

ISLAND GRILL
Island Grill sells Hawaiian food with a Japanese bent, so that means you can get your sushi and bento box fill along with sumptuous teriyaki bowls. But regardless of main course, your dessert should be the shaved ice: a frosty, chilled monolith flavored with fruit and so delicate you could whittle it down with dental floss. 4390 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (562) 431-6496. $

MISSION VIEJO

SANTORA'S PIZZA SUBS & WINGS
Matthew 20:16 taught us that the last shall be first, and that's the best way to describe Santora's Pizza, Subs & Wings, a dank tavern just down the street from the sterile opulence of the Shops at Mission Viejo. Santora's pizza is passable; the subs nothing a Togo's drone can't slap together in three minutes. But Santora's Buffalo wings are the gourmand Gospel manifest: the Good Word transubstantiated into fleshy appendages ready to burn through your alimentary canal like the fires of Gehenna. 28251 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 364-3282. $

NEWPORT BEACH

BLUE CORAL SEAFOOD
Dinner is extravagant here as befitting any Fashion Island-area restaurant, but also substantial. Take the sea bass, for instance, done not with the usual lemon and capers but with red and golden peppers, or take the lobster. Four men do nothing but clean and strip the little buggers all day for the 300 dinners Blue Coral will serve. It's big-house volume but a small-house mentality. 451 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 856-BLUE; www.bluecoralseafood.com. $$$

THE LIDO SHIPYARD SAUSAGE CO. AND SABATINO'S FAMILY RESTAURANT
The meals begin like an explosion at the back end of a cornucopia. The sausage is made on the premises and is meaty, clean and flavorful. The stuffed pasta is also incredible. 251 Shipyard Way, Newport Beach, (949) 723-0621. $$

MULDOON'S
The perfect fish-and-chips search ends here. Five pieces of fresh red snapper are piled atop skin-on shoestring fries made from real potatoes. The batter on the fish is golden and puffy, like fried cumulus clouds. And the Irish soda bread will make you a regular. 202 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-4110. $$

ROY'S
Roy's is all about Hawaii—from the "Aloha" you get when you come in the door and the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole playing over the speakers to the blah, blah, blah about Tokyo-born founder Roy Yamaguchi, whose childhood visits to Maui, we're told, indelibly shaped his palate (and his palette). Whatever: Yamaguchi has been fusing ever since, and with great success; he is now the Wolfgang Puck of some 31 namesake restaurants in North America with entrées such as rib-eye or wild Scottish salmon. 453 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-7697. $$$

ORANGE

CAFÉ LUCCA
Gourmet paninis are the jewels here, from hot sopresata and pepper-studded mortadella glued together by provolone and luscious red pepper pesto to a chocolate rendition for the Waldorf set. But also content yourself with the wondrous gelatos: 16 separate flavors constructed daily with just water, sugar and fruit—no preservatives, chemicals or other artificial gunk. Each flavor not only tastes like its corresponding fruit but leaps onto the tongue: furious, refreshing, delicious. 106 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 289-1255; www.cafelucca.com. $$

CHA THAI
The yellow curry selection is optimal for those who sport the same color on their bellies, so be brave and step up a spice level to the red curry. Its marvelous mixture of bamboo shoots, bell peppers and coconut milk will give you the sensation of having had sex for two hours in a sauna. 1520 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 978-3905. $

GABBI'S MEXICAN KITCHEN
Until Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen, Orange County lacked a place where the high and low met, where Mexicans two days removed from Oaxaca could enjoy the mole raved about by Newport Beach trophy wives. This cozy restaurant in Old Towne Orange's hippening antiques district is a great union of Mexican cuisine's many charms and features regional cuisine alongside Tex-Mex classics, offers both wines and tequilas, and pairs English music with ranchera legend Antonio Aguilar. 141 S. Glassell, Orange, (714) 633-3038; www.gabbimex.com. $$

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