Red Hill Cafe is a diner in Santa Ana. There is no pretension here: The baked goods are muffins wrapped in cellophane; the orange juice, Rockview. The eaters, almost all working-class heroes or retirees, pass the Tapatío to one another or leave copies of the Orange County Register or La Opinión for other folks to read. It's classic diner food—omelets and short stacks and sandwiches and breakfast burritos befitting of the honest-to-goodness counter. The chicken-fried steak special on Thursday would please anyone in the Panhandle; a two-egg, two-pancakes, two-sausages-or-bacon special for five bucks is manna for anyone. And the chorizo scramble is something all mamis make.
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I get tired of covering downtown Santa Ana's gentrification wars: on one side, you have hipsters who openly wish for all the Latino vendors on Fourth Street (especially the quinceañera shops. Ask a Gentrifier: Why do quincea&...