The Feast Days of Summer

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MEMORIAL DAY
The last Monday in May

While you should pay a visit to your local VFW hall to thank those who served and to local cemeteries to honor those who gave their lives so this rag could exist, the most appetizing way to celebrate our wars and troops is by eating what they wished for while in the service: a massive helping of comfort food, surrounded by good folks. That is exactly the scene at Paul’s Coffee House, recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The décor is pure Marines, from real ones (pictures of Leathernecks) to pretend versions (John Wayne posters) and even a gorgeous wood carving of the Marines’ insignia. But a staid museum this is not: Paul’s reflects the worldly experiences of the Corps on its menu, with plates spanning the globe—from a mountainous loco moco to French toast, from breakfast burritos to chicken-fried chicken as big as the Texas plains, and even kimchi on the side from time to time. More than a few good men will be sitting at Paul’s counter or in the ample booths—salute them by treating them to a cuppa joe. 16947 Bushard St., Fountain Valley, (714) 962-7879; semperfinerdiner.com.

Hugh D'Andrade
Hugh D'Andrade

Location Info

Map

El Cabrito

1604 W. First St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Van's Bakery

8926 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Westminster

Capital Seafood

2700 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92614

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Irvine

Anaheim White House

887 S. Anaheim Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Restaurant > Fine Dining

Region: Anaheim

Darya Restaurant

1611 W. Sunflower Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Restaurant > Persian

Region: Santa Ana

Thai Nakorn

11951 Beach Blvd.
Stanton, CA 90680

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Stanton

Thai Nakorn

12532 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Garden Grove

Bánh Mì Che Cali

13838 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Sandwiches

Region: Garden Grove

Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery

15551 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Westminster

Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery

8948 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Westminster

El Fortin

700 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Fullerton

El Fortin

10444 Dale Ave.
Stanton, CA 90680

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Stanton

Break of Dawn Restaurant

24351 Avenida De La Carlota, Ste. N-6
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Laguna Hills

Paul's Coffee Shop

16947 Bushard St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Coffee Shops

Region: Fountain Valley

Blake's Place

2905 E. Miraloma Ave., Ste. 3
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Brasserie Pascal

327 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > European

Region: Newport Beach

Olive Tree

512 S. Brookhurst St., Ste. 3
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Alebrije's Grill

E. Cubbon St & S Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

The Past Memories

9252 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Garden Grove

Puerto Madero Market

1225 W. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Category: Restaurant > Argentine

Region: Santa Ana

Phoenix Club

1340 S. Sanderson Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > European

Region: Anaheim

Loreley Restaurant

1340 S. Sanderson Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Out of Town

Wadiya

949 S. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Anaheim

Powell's Sweet Shoppe

27000 Alicia Parkway, Ste E
Aliso Viejo, CA 92677

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Niguel

Forn Al Hara

512 S. Brookhurst
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Zen Vegetarian

9329 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Vegetarian

Region: Westminster

Jagerhaus

2525 E. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Anaheim

The Crosby

400 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Santa Ana

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INDEPENDENCE DAY
July 4

This day motivates many an American to trot out the grill and commemorate our freedom from those tea-swilling Brits. But burgers and dogs, dear countrymen, can’t technically be called barbecue. Ask any pitmaster from here to Yonkers, and they’ll tell you that a true ’cue requires the slow smoking of your chosen proteins. And that, friends, is a job better left to experts such as the Hobels, the family who own and operate Blake’s Place out of a sparse cafeteria-like dining room in an industrial park in Anaheim. Tender ribs tear off bones as if they were Post-It Notes; smoked sausages sliced on the bevel glisten with redness and snap when your incisors pierce the casing. Don’t expect china or fancy glasses—everything is served on paper plates, and drinks are self-serve. If you had a blanket, you’d be at a picnic. Afterward, go up a few blocks to the Disneyland area for the obligatory dessert of fireworks. 2905 E. Miraloma Ave., Ste. 3, Anaheim, (714) 630-8574; blakesplacebbq.com.

 

 

BASTILLE DAY
July 14

Pascal Olhats is so French he makes Nicolas Sarkozy seem as Gallic as John Cleese. So who better to trust with Bastille Day than the dean of OC’s French chefs? To mark the occasion, the traditionalist always puts on a fete worthy of monarchy-toppling proportions. His original restaurant, aptly called Tradition, has done a Bastille Day spread for as long as we can remember. But now that he’s opened Brasserie Pascal, he’s got an even better venue. Wine (red, white and sparkling) is the beverage of choice, of course, followed by a prix-fixe dinner that is French fare personified. Everything from the peasant dishes (ratatouille) to the high cuisine of the aristocracy (steak tartare, mixed tableside) makes an appearance. And be sure to order the soufflé so you can savor the delicious irony of Marie Antoinette’s purported words about letting us eat some pastry or other. 327 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-2700; pascalnpb.com/brasserie.htm.

 

RAMADAN
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, generally in August and September

Ask any Muslim in Orange County where to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan, and the answer will be nearly unanimous: Olive Tree, located in Anaheim’s Little Arabia district and serving a buffet as soon as the appointed hour passes. The buffet is a thing of beauty—and enormous. The dishes rotate, but you may be treated to mansaf, a Jordanian dish of long-grain rice topped with lamb baked in jameed, the Arabic answer to Quark (the cheese, not the elementary particle that helps to make existence possible). You may see saya deia, whole roasted fish, or maglooba, rice cooked with dried fruit, almonds and 17 spices, then topped with a lamb shank that drips off the bone. Stewed okra, stuffed zucchini or green beans with tiny shreds of beef, as well as an outstanding, mint-strewn salad provide the vegetable portion of the meal, and there are plenty of dips, including an outstanding, cumin-laced yogurt. Prepare for massive lines; the secret is out among the local Muslim population, and the wait could be considerable. 512 S. Brookhurst St., Ste. 3, Anaheim, (714) 535-2878.

 

MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
Sept. 16

The two great heroes of Mexico’s War of Independence were Miguel Hidalgo and Jose María Morelos; the country traditionally celebrates its liberation from Spain by having the president utter the same cry for freedom Hidalgo did 200 years ago from the balcony of the presidential palace in Mexico City. These phenomena culinarily unite at Alebrije’s, the celebrated pink taco truck of Santa Ana. It primarily hawks Mexico City-style food, which means alambres and pambazos are more popular here than tacos and burritos. But the owner is from Hidalgo’s home state of Guanajuato, and his prize dish comes from the capital of Morelos, the state named after the revolutionary hero. Celebrate the defeat of tyranny with the taco acorazado, a mammoth taco named after a battleship that finds a hand-patted corn tortilla topped with fluffy rice, grilled cactus paddles and strips of breaded beef cutlets fried to order. Alebrije’s is one of the few places in Southern California that stocks this epic dish, and just one bite will make even the most resolute anti-immigrant fool wish the Reconquista would begin mañana. On the corner of Main and Cubbon streets, Santa Ana. No phone number.

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