Lanta Thai Fusion is a Thai restaurant in Orange. It goes beyond the pad Thai to try to offer a more refined dining experience for mainstream tastes. Flat-screen televisions hang above diners; one wall supports a communal booth that spans the length of the L-shaped dining room. A pinboard at the front of the restaurant filled with photos of customers attests to its popularity, damn the location, and each table has a card offering different wines and beers. The staff can go easy on palates—chicken larb, glass noodle soup, tofu fried any number of ways—and there's stuff to please actual Thais, from the amazing khao soi soup to kang pah, a curry that eschews coconut milk so the emphasis is on the zing of basil and curry powder. The fusion here really isn’t much--just some pastas tossed with curry or chili sauce--but they’re all delicious, cheap and filling.
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For this column, I've reviewed restaurants based out of the loading areas of grocery stores. I've written about spots in gang-infested neighborhoods, in soulless South County cities, in shabby strip malls and abandoned shopping plaz...