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The Feast Days of Summer

And Winter and Fall and Spring! Where to eat, drink and be merry during the most important holidays

 

 

EID AL-ADHA
The 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic calendar; this year, Nov. 16

Muslims around the world traditionally commemorate this holiday (meant to memorialize the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son at Allah’s command) by slaughtering an animal and distributing the meat to friends, families and the poor. And although health codes prohibit such an activity in your back yard, do the next best thing: Order one of the many sphihas at Forn al-Hara and split it with friends. Sphihas are the Middle Eastern flatbreads that unimaginative food critics liken to pizzas, and Forn al-Hara has carnivorous, omnivorous and vegetarian versions alike: baked with cheese and spicy soujouk sausage, smothered with the wondrous spice rub zaatar, enlivened with spinach or creamy labneh. Little Arabia has a couple of worthy joints, but Forn al-Hara is the best choice because its neighbor is a hookah lounge, and they also stock sweets for that post-dinner sugar craving. 512 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 758-3777.

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

85 Fortune Dr, #329
Irvine, CA 92618

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

Alebrijes 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: Bars and Clubs

Region: Anaheim

Loreley Restaurant

1340 S. Sanderson Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Anaheim

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, Ste. 5
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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THANKSGIVING
The fourth Thursday in November

Avowed carnivores already know where to gorge on turkey for Thanksgiving, but vegans and other non-turkey-eaters have fewer alternatives. For you, we submit Zen, a vegetarian’s refuge in Little Saigon that doesn’t make a big deal of your dietary choices. They serve food that just tastes good. And on Turkey Day, as well as every day, they offer a feast that may allow you to forget about the gravy and dressing. You’ll marvel at the fakery of it all and revel in the flavors. The shrimp have tiger stripes. The shaken beef stir-fry smacks you with a peppery kick. And if you’re feeling like you still need to mack on a piece of poultry, try their soy-fried chicken, which looks and tastes like a hen, molded to look like it has wings and plump drumsticks. That Tofurky can wait until next year. 9329 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 895-3637; zenvegetarian.com.

 

HANUKKAH
Starts on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar; this year, Dec. 1-9

Hanukkah in a German restaurant? Well, when said German restaurant—Jägerhaus in Anaheim—serves the best potato pancakes in the county, it all starts to make sense. While the décor, full of beer steins, photos of German castles and cute curtains, won’t evoke the Maccabees any time soon, the latkes will put the surroundings right out of diners’ minds. Crispy on the outside and impossibly tender on the inside, the discs have a subtly onion-y bite. Top with sour cream and scarf. For a real treat, ask if there’s any housemade plum jam to be had. It’s untraditional but an excellent substitute for the applesauce. Once done, treat your fellow diners to a round of “Khad Gadyo” or “Dayeinu” while you wait for dessert. If the fantastic strudel or black-as-night chocolate cake won’t replace the traditional sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts that symbolize the lamps that burned for eight days on one day’s supply of oil), Sunkist Donuts is just a few doors down. 2525 E. Ball Rd., Anaheim, (714) 520-9500; www.jagerhaus.net.

 

CHRISTMAS
Dec. 25

It’s a question that has plagued non-Christians for 2,000 years: Where can you eat on Christmas, when nearly everything is closed? The answer is to go to a place that specializes in kosher or halal food. Since the former is rarer than hen’s teeth in OC, a restaurant specializing in food deemed acceptable to the Muslim diet is the obvious choice, and Ma’s Islamic Chinese is perhaps the preeminent Chinese halal restaurant in the county. Order a plate of da bing—large round flatbreads stuffed with green onions and studded with salty sesame seeds. The bread comes in two varieties; while the thick variety is filling, the thin variety gives more sesame-salt topping per bite. Try dao xiao mian, the famous knife-cut noodles of western China, with vegetables, and for large groups, try a “warm pot,” featuring meat and vegetables to swish in a simmering, spicy broth. The adventurous should order lamb with suancai, preserved cabbage that is the Chinese answer to sauerkraut. The strongly lactic vegetable takes the gamy edge off the lamb. 601 E. Orangethorpe Ave., Anaheim, (714) 446-9553.

 

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE
Dec. 31

Before you get hung-over enough to warrant a visit to El Cabrito, you have to get soused. And before you get soused, you should eat as much as possible to hope against hope that fifth Manhattan won’t push you into the land of pink elephants. Helping you at every step of the way is the Crosby, which will celebrate its first full year with a liquor license. This place is guaranteed to be packed for the midnight countdown, so arrive early, eat the gourmet creations of chef Aron Habinger, get smashed on any of its boozes, then stumble over to the rest of downtown Santa Ana. The coming year is your oyster, amigo; just don’t leave it on the streets. 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 543-3543; thisisthecrosby.com.

 

 

This article appeared in print "The Feast Days of Summer (And Winter and Fall and Spring): Where to eat, drink and be merry (and besotted) during Orange County’s most important holidays."

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