Best Outdoor Dining - 2010
River's End Cafe
Truth in advertising: River's End Cafe is at the mouth of the San Gabriel River, at the absolute end of Orange County—the Pacific Ocean on one side, Los Angeles County on the other. Here, then, is Orange County's only true riverfront dining. And while the San Gabriel isn't as scenic as, say, the Mississippi or even the Santa Ana, it's still a pleasure to see a moving mass of water, with the requisite kiddies maneuvering their makeshift sailboats to victory, with surfers on the other side, while the sun sets on another glorious day. Outside a wooden building that must have been stolen from a Gidget set, with wooden flooring and fences and umbrellas to offer shade, this is beach dining at its finest. (Don't bother eating indoors—why would you with a view like this?) The actual food at River's End? A mixture of greasy spoon (Mike's Special, an egg scramble containing pastrami and Muenster cheese, oozing with delicious grease) and surfer Mexican (crispy chilaquiles fused together with Parmesan and mozzarella, sharper than the usual Mexi offering). Make sure to bring a blanket‚ but if you don't, they have some for you!