By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEATH OF A FOOD COURT
Posted by Edwin Goei, Stick a Fork In It, Sept. 8
It happened so slowly it seemed unnoticeable, but as one food stall after another called it quits, the writing on the wall became more obvious: Cafe Court was dying.
If your office wasn’t nearby—like say within the area bordered by Red Hill, Alton, Jamboree and Barranca—you probably didn’t realize a food court was even there (behind the Sam’s Club on Von Karman and Barranca). Neither did I. And when I did, I wasn’t initially impressed.
Then I discovered Zesty Thai, which quickly became my favorite place to get pad see ew, made to order in minutes by a warm Thai mother. But by the time I revisited Cafe Court about a month ago, there were two stalls left. Zesty Thai was long gone. The rest was shuttered-up like a self-storage yard in a deserted, postapocalyptic ghost town. I heard that the place finally bit the dust last week. So, rest in peace, Cafe Court: I can’t say I’ll miss you, but I will remember the pad see ew.
JB says: Even though I’m sure I never went there, it’s sad. Wondering why it failed . . . don’t Sam’s Club shoppers get hungry?
RACE-BAITING GIGANTE SUPERMARKET NOW CLOSED
Posted by Gustavo Arellano, Stick a Fork In It, Sept. 15
One of the first investigative series I wrote was on Gigante Supermarkets, a multibillion-dollar Mexican chain that wanted to open a store in Anaheim in order to conquer local Latino households. Its efforts made national headlines because this multinational cried the race card after Anaheim planning officials approved their plans but denied a liquor license because the area where Gigante wanted to open a store already had too many over the legal limit. Gigante won, opened in 2003 and quickly spoke of becoming the dominant Latino supermarket in Southern California.
So what was the sign we saw yesterday while driving up Euclid on the way to visit Mami y Papi? A new sign proclaiming, “EL SUPER.” This is what I get for not reading the Orange County Business Journal—seems Gigante sold off its American holdings to another business over the summer, and the Gigante Reconquista is over. The culprit wasn’t the faltering economy, but rather homegrown—the Northgate Gonzalez supermarket empire, one of the largest Latino supermarkets in the country and a household name in Latino OC. When Gigante opened, they were specifically going after Northgate dollars, going so far as to proclaim in private they would crush them.
But Latinos in Orange County are loyal, and while Gigante drew crowds, it could never beat the specials or brand name of Northgate. Northgate slaughtered Gigante so bad that they never opened another store here. To see El Super now take over is wonderful, hilarious and a victory for the small guy, even if the small guy is a multimillion-dollar company.
Gabriel San Roman says: For all the Know Nothings’ sudden concern back then for liquor licenses in the area, I only bought a case of beer once at that Gigante . . . fake Social Security cards in the parking lot, on the other hand . . . just kidding. Maybe!
GRAND THEFT KETCHUP
Posted by Nick Schou, Navel Gazing, Sept. 30
Last weekend, Steve Rocco was busted for stealing a bottle of ketchup from a cafeteria at Chapman University. He was observed taking the bottle by a security guard who alerted police, who cited Rocco for misdemeanor theft, for which he will have to pay a $250 fine if convicted by the justice system, a system that, as Rocco has personally revealed and first reported here, is secretly controlled by the Partnership, a shadowy cabal Rocco first came across back in 1981, when he was busted for stealing several rolls of Kodak film and a Smoke Craft sausage at an Albertsons store in Santa Ana.
Convicted of that theft by a judge and jury controlled by the Partnership—which in turn is controlled by, you guessed it, Albertsons, Kodak and Smoke Craft sausage—Rocco dedicated his life to unveiling this dark conspiracy.
Well, that, and selling stuff at swap meets and running for local school-board races that he never won until four years ago, when he beat a union-backed candidate to become the wackiest member of the already-wacky Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees. Ever since, he’s been an enigma, showing up for meetings in dirty clothes, a funky hat and sunglasses, mystifying the public with his bizarre rants about the Partnership.
Agi says: Is this dude up for re-election this November? If so, vote Rocco!
LAST NIGHT: THE KOOKS, THE WHIGS AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES
Posted by Albert Ching, Heard Mentality, Oct. 28
I’m not an eavesdropper, but sometimes, y’know, you just can’t help it. Like when you overhear something like this, from one of the many enthralled young teenage fans leaving the Kooks concert Monday night: “If he had AIDS, I wouldn’t care,” a clearly misguided young female said of (presumably) her answer to a theoretical offer of a sexual encounter with undeniably dreamy Kooks lead singer Luke Pritchard. “As long as he sang to me, it would be okay.” Pretty spicy talk for just a few yards away from a Build-a-Bear Workshop and the type of heartfelt (albeit creepy) praise that Leif Garrett and David Cassidy never got a chance to receive.