Brunch a Bunch Across OC!

OC's best brunches: The ethnic, the gorgeous views and the bottomless booze!

King Lobster Palace
King Lobster Palace's dim sum carts are filled with an immaculately prepared array of morsels as epic as you'll find in any of those San Gabriel Valley places with Ocean or Harbor in their name. The prices hover around the $2 to $4 range for items such as har gow, chicken feet and sticky rice steamed in leaves. After 11 a.m., you can transition to the lunch specials, which include a dish of your choice served with rice, soup, an egg roll and a pork shu mai—in case you didn't already get one from the carts. 2045 N Tustin St., Orange, (714) 282-9788; www.kinglobsterpalace.com.

Champion Food Co.
For a different, non-dim sum Chinese brunch experience, try Champion Food Co. The choice beverage to sip isn't tea, but rather steaming soy milk, which becomes the thing for dipping foot-long, flaky, oily golden crullers called "Twist Dough" or you tiao. Onion pancakes—essentially nothing but flour, salt, fat and scallions rolled thin and layered over one another—are pan-fried with an egg cracked over the top. The sesame pie with beef, which is more like a shredded beef taco than a pie, is savory enough for lunch. But the best things to munch are the rice rolls: gummy and glue-y because of the glutinous rice, crunchy and savory thanks to the filling they put in the center. When it seems a bar brawl between Snap, Crackle and Pop has broken out in your mouth, you've got the right dish. 17090 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, (714) 841-0398.

Tacos el Chavito
There are high-end brunches and low-end brunches in Orange County, but the county's cheapest late-morning meal is at Tacos el Chavito, a popular taco truck that moves between two locations in the Slater Slums of Huntington Beach. While the draw is the tacos—two of them will set you back a dollar, and there are usually eight or nine choices of meat, from spicy carne adobada to tender cabeza— the truck sends out its share of tortas and even a few burritos. The red cups you see people drinking from contain nothing more than agua de piña (pineapple drink), so sweet it will give you a pseudo-caffeinated kick. It's free with purchase; just ask. Six or eight small tacos garnished with the self-service pickled vegetables located near the front of the truck, plus the aforementioned pineapple drink, eaten on the curb? The perfect budget brunch. On Morgan Street between Slater Avenue and Speer Drive (Mon.-Fri.); or on Queens Lane at Barton Drive (Sat.-Sun.), Huntington Beach.

Ramos House Cafe
Meranda Carter
Ramos House Cafe
River's End Cafe
Meranda Carter
River's End Cafe

Location Info

Map

The Ritz-Carlton

1 Ritz-Carlton Way
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Dana Point

River's End Cafe

15 First St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Seal Beach

Bruxie

292 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > Belgian

Region: Orange

The Restaurant At the Tustin Ranch Golf Club

12442 Tustin Ranch Road
Tustin, CA 92782

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Tustin

Storytellers Cafe

1600 S. Disneyland Drive Anaheim, CA
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Rick's Atomic Cafe

3100 Airway Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Costa Mesa

Irvine Certified Farmers' Market

Campus Drive and Bridge Road
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Retail

Region: Irvine

Sugar Shack Cafe

213 1/2 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Taqueria Zamora

3121 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92707

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Amorelia Mexican Cafe

2200 Harbor Blvd., C110
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Costa Mesa

El Cabrito

1604 W. First St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Crystal Jade

6511 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92614

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Irvine

King Lobster Palace

2045 N. Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92865

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Orange

Champion Food Co.

17090 Magnolia St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Fountain Valley

Tacos El Chavito

301 E. Florida Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Huntington Beach

Tacos El Chavito

Morgan St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Huntington Beach

Kareem's Restaurant

1208 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Pinoy Fiesta

160 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Restaurant > Filipino

Region: Anaheim

Irvine China Garden

14825 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Irvine

Pho 86 Restaurant

14576 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Westminster

Jang Mo Gip

9816 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Loreley Restaurant

1340 S. Sanderson Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Anaheim

Plum's Café and Catering

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

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Costa Mesa

Break of Dawn Restaurant

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

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Laguna Hills

Ramos House Cafe

31752 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: San Juan Capistrano

Taco Rosa

2632 San Miguel Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Newport Beach

Taco Rosa

13792 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Irvine

Taps Fish House & Brewery

101 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brea

Lucca Cafe

6507 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92603

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Irvine

Nick's Laguna Beach

440 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Old Vine Cafe

2937 Bristol St., Ste. A-102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Costa Mesa

Avanti Cafe

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

Category: Restaurant > Fusion

Region: Costa Mesa

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Kareem's
While Kareem's is well-known for some of the best falafels in the county, its menu includes a huge section labeled "breakfast." Unfortunately, it doesn't open until 11 a.m., so the so-called "breakfast" menu is really a brunch menu. Try fuul mudammas, like a creamy hummus made of fava beans, or get an omelet made with onions and plenty of parsley. Shakshuka, the Levantine mixture of spiced tomatoes with eggs cooked into it, will require an entire basket of pita bread to soak up all the garlicky sauce. For a lighter, more traditional Arabic breakfast, order tea, labneh (creamy cheese), olives and pita bread, then sit in the warm sun. 1208 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 778-6829.

Pinoy Fiesta
Whichever Filipino genius invented the concept of a silog ought to be nominated for sainthood; the tradition of your choice of fried eggs, garlic fried rice and your choice of protein, all in huge portions alongside coconut vinegar, atchara (pickled green mango) and fresh tomatoes is a gut-busting way to kick your brain into overdrive. Pinoy Fiesta, a long turo-turo, or steam table, joint in downtown Anaheim, has several types. While cured or vinegared whole fish such as tuyo or daing nab angus may be out of reach of the typical non-Pinoy, anyone should be able to enjoy the tapsilog with sweet cured beef or the tosilog with sweet cured pork belly—bacon's Pacific Island cousin. The sticky longganisa sausages, a holdover from the old days when it was Kalesa Grill, are a winner. Amd none of this should set you back more than $5 or so per plate. 160 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 778-1250.

China Garden
Because China Garden serves dim sum every day, you'd think some of the folks who line up every weekend would take advantage of a less-busy workday. But people have been queueing for years at the grand dame of Irvine's Cantonese restaurants because the carts get filled with more items on weekend brunch hours and turn over quicker. Sure, such usual suspects as baked or steamed char siu bao, shiu mai, har gow, and sweet tofu are there any time. But Saturdays and Sundays are when you'll find various seafood dumplings, the xiao long bao (known in English as soup dumplings), and the live seafood specially trucked in for the weekend's crowds. Check the handwritten menus for specials on live shrimp and lobster, as well as seasonal seafood such as live king crabs, Dungeness crabs and geoduck clams, if you want to splurge on your dim sum meal. 14825 Jeffrey Rd., Irvine, (949) 653-9988.

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7 comments
Ben Baysic
Ben Baysic

Eric Rosenthal, Heather Filsinger-Cunliffe!!! What's for brunch???

OCLocal
OCLocal

A taco truck is not a brunch spot.

JP
JP

Jang Mo Gip is Korean....not Vietnamese.

VickieChang
VickieChang

Read the blurb again, it doesn't say it's Vietnamese.

 
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