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Grub Guide

Tasty morsels from the county's best damn dining guide

SANTA MONICA SEAFOOD
Tucked inconspicuously in the corner is a takeout counter with cheap chowders, fried seafood, sandwiches, stir-fry and grilled fish. The smoked-salmon chowder is simply amazing and so delicious you'll kick yourself after inhaling the cup because you could've had a pint for only a little more. 154 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 574-8862; also 424 S. Main St., Orange, (714) 456-0234; www.santamonicaseafood.com. $$

SCHLEPPY'S
The two San Clemente Schleppy's are the prototypical beach shacks: tiled roof caked with bird crap; a side business in such curios as seahorse wind chimes; host to seagulls and pigeons that warily eye patrons for the first signs of a tumbling scrap. Rule of thumb about ordering at any beach dive: avoid any hint of the exotic. Order Schleppy's burger combo: a small drink that qualifies as a medium nearly anywhere else, snappy fries bursting with earthy potato pride and a flavorful hamburger featuring some of the finest beef patties grilled since the last Labor Day. 250 Avenida Calafia, San Clemente, (949) 498-6484; 615 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, (949) 492-8335. ¢

STEER INN
"Get the 'small but mighty,'" my friend counseled. "It's the best." This steak is more mighty than small. The meat has enough texture to create a tooth-gnashing gusto reserved for Discovery Channel feeding frenzies, yet no steak knife is required to cut the beautifully seared surface. 801 S. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 639-2434. Also at 444 N. Lakeview Ave., Anaheim, (714) 974-5321. $$

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

STUBRIK'S
A steakhouse that co-owner Craig Voorting says is "all about the steak." With the best damn steak this side of a factory town and a pretty decent selection of white meat and seafood. 118 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-1290; also 28241 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 218-0790; www.stubriks.com. $$

SUN-DRIED TOMATO CAFÉ
Rack of lamb is as ubiquitous to fancy American bistros as falafels are to Middle Eastern bazaars, but the Sundried Tomato Café prepares a version fit for hoity-toity cavemen—meaty bones doused with a tart cranberry sauce, the lamb cooked to pink perfection. Great, zesty namesake cream soup as well. 31781 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 661-1167; also 361 Forest Ave., Ste. 103, Laguna Beach; (949) 494-3312; www.sundriedtomatocafe.com. $$

SWEET JILL'S
Bakery standards at Sweet Jill's—peanut-butter brownies, cookies, lemon bars and a cornucopia of fruit-flavored muffins—taste like a church fund-raiser held outside the Pearly Gates. The cinnamon rolls are the biggest sellers, as is the great peach coffee cake, a snowdrift of cream smartly balanced by unsweetened peaches in the cake's center. But beware of the German chocolate cake coated with a tan coconut frosting that Pharis could successfully export to the Fatherland; the stuff's denser than uranium. 123 1/2 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 598-3445; also at 5224 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 438-4945. $

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