MARTINI 1. Habana.There are a slew of tourist-trap restaurants throughout Europe that hang out their shingles saying they were a favorite of the esteemed author. People, he was a suicidal alcoholic. If you had a bar, he probably drank there. If, however, Hemingway had made his way to Orange County and was, instead of a suicidal alcoholic writer, some purveyor of supreme hep, then he would have drunk at Habana. Cozy, unique and home to one of the best damn Lemon Drops around, Habana is frequented by many who frequent it often, as well as many others who wander in and quickly become more frequent. Try any one of the drinks they have steeping in the oversized glass vats that grace the bar (Sour Apple Martini, Lemon Drop or sangria), and you won't be disappointed. We'll see you there. You'll be back—trust Papa on this one. 2930 Bristol Blvd., Ste. A110, Costa Mesa, (714) 556-0176. 2. Mark's.The Sexy Martini is pure alcohol, made with Smirnoff vodka, peach schnapps and melon liqueur. Don't know if they call it Sexy because of the cool color or because it is so strong that once you drink it everyone looks sexy—hell, even the barely-of-age bartender. Also check out the Bikini Martini, a refreshing mix of raspberry-twist vodka, Alize Red Passion Liqueur and a splash of lemonade, and the Mango Martini, an off-the-menu selection. 858 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-6711. 3. The Yard House. Try the Miami Icemade with Zone peach vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple schnapps, sweet and sour, and blue curaçao. Substance and style! 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (949) 642-0090; other locations in Costa Mesa and Long Beach. 4. The Club House.Its Chopin Vodka Martinicomes with garnish, but that's about all. A straightforward, natural martini, if you will, that's smooth and refreshing with the tang of olive to provide a nice finish. On the other end of the spectrum is the Lemon Meringue Martini(Skyy citrus vodka, Triple Sec and cream). A 10 on presentation—with cream piled pie-high-in-the-sky—it tastes just like a pie too. So save this one for dessert. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-CLUB.
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MARTINI BLUESThere's no denying the comfortable and classy ambiance of Martini Blues. The décor is soaked in deep colors—burgundy booths with black tablecloths against terra-cotta walls trimmed with burnished wood and consumed with huge renderings of iconic stars like Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and John Lee Hooker. There is a full bar and a filling menu, which ranges from supper-club classics like filet mignon, entrée salads and pasta dishes to an assortment of sandwiches and a diverse tray of desserts. Prices mostly sway between $9 and $16, peaking with the $24 filet and dropping to $4.50 for a cup of soup with crackers and bread. Everything looks great coming out of the kitchen, and we can personally vouch for the Martini Blues Favorite—a rotelli pasta with chicken or shrimp (we took shrimp), sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and bell peppers in a spicy chipotle Alfredo sauce—which, like all dinners, came with soup or salad; steamed vegetables; and a choice of garlic mashed potatoes, angel hair pasta (yep!) or rice pilaf. We guzzled coffee for dessert. 5874 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 840-2129. MARUKAI MARKET The 34,000-square-foot store, which costs $10 per year to join, hawks Japanese, Hawaiian and other Asian/Pacific Island foods, as well as fountains, massagers, knickknacks, rice cookers, Asian remedies and even furniture. The store also boasts a ripping food court. 2975 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-8433.McGRATH, MARK Singer/window dressing of band Sugar Ray. OC rock's equivalent of a hood ornament, with the brains to match. Finger-banged Madonna and bragged about it; nobody cared. McNUTKIN, NUTTY 1.Anaheim high school district trustee Harald Martin just loves Latinos. Last year, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Martin, who doubles as an Anaheim police officer and triples as an anti-immigration activist, spoke before the California Coalition for Immigration Reform. In that speech, he called illegal immigrants from Mexico a threat worse than Osama bin Laden. "The fact of the matter is that when you allow millions upon millions of people to come into this country, their objective is no different than Osama bin Laden's," he railed. Martin also predicted a Turner Diaries-style racial apocalypse in Southern California, a nightmare scenario he blamed on "diversity" and illegal immigration. "We're going to have an enclave of Muslims here, an enclave of radical Hispanics here, an enclave of blacks here—and everyone will be fighting for what should have been voted for," he said. "But there will no longer be votes; there will be bullets." See also: Radio talk-show host Rich Agozino; Bob Dornan; musician David "Double Zero" Holtzman; the Reverend Lou Sheldon; Gloria Matta Tuchman Match the above nutty people to the nutty statement below: 1. "They [undocumented Mexican workers] are having four or five or more children. Christian women are having one, maybe two [children]. You do the math. They are going to take back the state and change our laws!" 2. "I can understand if you are not there, you are at the Main Street Electrical Parade, and you're the guy who's writing stories about freakin', uh, Purina Cat Chow or something. I don't even know. But for a guy to do a song that goes straight to No. 1 . . . I am going straight to No. 1 on KROQ, I'm from OC, and you wrote the other story on me, and to not follow up on it or at least get anything in there, to me, is just . . . is beyond comprehension, okay. . . . Okay, well listen, you have a good time at Disneyland, Mickey Mouse motherfucker." 3. "I'm calling to apologize for that Double Zero guy. He is totally out of control, okay. . . . He just doesn't understand, you know? He thinks he's really hot shit or something. He's just, you know, a typical rock star guy. Please excuse him, okay? He just . . . He had a hard rehearsal last night, he had a fight with his girlfriend, his dog ate his cat's homework, his uncle's brother's son's, uh, nephew had to get his hair cut, and they knew someone at the hair salon who had a deal on a used Ford. So he's a little confused, okay? But he would never insult you like that, okay?" 4. "There is, says Solomon . . . 'a time to kill and a time to heal.' For America, it is a time to kill." 5. "If there is a one-word definition for 'Christian,' it is 'love.'" (Answers: 1. Agozino; 2. Holtzman; 3. Holtzman; 4. Sheldon; 5. Agozino) MECCA When it comes to Latin music, Miami has the record-label headquarters but hasn't been the center of Latin music since Jackie Gleason ruled the town. Los Angeles has Los Lobos and little else. Anaheim has nothing—except concert venues that regularly host every important artist of every Latin genre imaginable. A rundown: the Anaheim Convention Center hosts Mexican regional giants like Los Tigres del Norte and Banda El Recodo. So does JC Fandango, and the rest of its time, it's the best Latin alternative club in Latin America, while featuring tropical titans like Oro Sólido and Celia Cruz as an afterthought. The House of Blues has a strong roster of Latin alternative shows, but always trumping it is the Grove of Anaheim, which outside of JC Fandango has the best Latin alternative shows in the Southland. And the big boys—Juan Gabriel, Vicente Fernandez, Jaguares—ignore Los Angeles completely in favor of the Arrowhead Pond. Now all the scene needs is home-grown bands. Sorry, No Doubt, español es requerido.
1. Long Beach-based maker of
some of the most popular,
reliable (workhorse DC-3 and DC-9) and
well-known passenger jets in aviation
history. 2. Bought out by bitter rival
Boeing which immediately broke up DC tooling
to eliminate the any further manufacturing of said planes.
3. Now available in sign language.
4. Sign rumored to be on the chopping block.
Photo by James Bunoan. MEMPHIS SOUL CAFÉ & BAR Just when you thought there wasn't a hipafied, West Coast-cool restaurant around, this café opened. Specialty cocktails, ambient electronic music and a midcentury vibe await inside. The menu offers an excellent choice of regional America with a Southern slant. The grilled pork chop with a cherry glacé and an okra gumbo is a brilliantly prepared delicacy. A seafood special is offered daily. On the lunch menu, try the turkey-breast-and-pesto sandwich with the house salad or the catfish po'boy. 2920 Bristol, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-7685; 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 564-1064. MÉNDEZ VS. WESTMINSTERIn 1944, Gonzalo and Felicitas Méndez tried to enroll their children in Westminster's 17th Street Elementary School, only to suffer humiliation at the hands of school officials who ordered that their children attend the dilapidated "Mexican" school several blocks away from their house. Enraged, the Méndezes (along with William Guzman, Frank Palomino, Thomas Estrada and Lorenzo Ramirez) filed a federal lawsuit against the Westminster, El Modena, Santa Ana and Garden Grove school districts seeking to end school segregation in Orange County. Three years later, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ending segregation in California. Filing an amicus curiae brief for Méndez vs. Westminster was Thurgood Marshall, who seven years later was the lead lawyer in Brown vs. the Board of Education, which ended school segregation nationwide. This important bit of history was unknown for decades even in Orange County, but it is now being taught in elementary schools (most important, in Santa Ana's Gonzalo and Felicitas Méndez Fundamental Intermediate School) as one of the first blows against segregation. MEZZANINE, THEThis is where you go to get hip and stylish women's clothing without the added expense. The store owner buys only six of each item—two smalls, two mediums and two larges—and new inventory arrives every Wednesday, so you don't have to worry about walking out the door and passing someone on the street wearing the same outfit. This is also the place to go for funky, current jewelry that looks expensive but generally costs less than $20. 4900 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 433-4585. MOSSIMOClothing/lifestyle brand created by Corona del Mar-bred Mossimo Giannulli. He started out making action-sports apparel in his garage, then got so hot he set his sights on becoming a major clothing designer. When that didn't pan out, everyone figured he was toast (including this august publication). Mossimo's multiyear licensing agreement with Target Corp. was reported to be an act of desperation by a company on the brink of financial disaster, but Giannulli got the last laugh by spinning his men's/women's/boy's/girl's apparel line off into footwear, cosmetics, jewelry, watches, handbags, belts, neckwear and gloves which has helped to make it cool to shop at Target. MOUSE, MICKEY Closeted rodent/Disney icon who was much funnier in his early days, when he was a psychopathic rat who lied, stole and beat the crap out of seagoing cats while trying to nail some sweet, sweet mouse poon. MIDDLE CLASS, THE 1. Any of a number of people who shop at South Coast Plaza, only to be immediately profiled when they walk into Tiffany's. 2. Persons who hire expensive private coaches for marginally talented children in hopes of defraying the cost of expensive college tuition. 3. Neck-and-neck with DC's Bad Brains in the who-released-the-first-hardcore-record race, OC's Middle Class were pretty much the first kids on the West Coast to push punk to artery-popping speeds on their 1978 "Out of Vogue" single. Later releases veered off toward an artier-but-still-punchy Wire sound; guitarist Mike Atta now runs a charming Fullerton vintage store called—yes—Out of Vogue. 4. People who move to Chino Hills, Moreno Valley, etc., claiming, "You get more house for your money there." MIGHTY DUCKS It has been 10 years since Disney brought a National Hockey League to Anaheim and insulted the sport and OC fans alike by naming the team after one of the studio's B movies. The camp-and-cartoon appeal wore off long ago, leaving us with a very sad and crappy—and even more lamely named—hockey team. MILE SQUARE PARK It's not all golf courses . . . much. 16801 Euclid, Fountain Valley, (714) 962-5549 MILLER, TIMPerformance artist Miller's Fruit Cocktail is a gay coming-of-age-in-OC tale involving much nakedness and juice. The San Francisco Examiner called Miller's performance "irrepressible but undisciplined." We called him at home. MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Founded in 1776, the mission is just about the oldest building in California and remains one of Orange County's most popular tourist destinations. And contrary to what you might think, the mission is a lot more than an old building with a creepy statue of Father Serra fondling a Native American minor. With 10 acres of lush gardens and pools—lined by beautiful adobe walls—it isn't just a museum; it's a great place to relax or simply wander around. There's music on most summer weekend nights, but things get even more interesting in the autumn. On Oct. 27, for example, there's a Pirate Festival on the mission grounds, which is a re-enactment of the daring raid on the mission in 1818 by those pesky buccaneers—a day of fun for the whole family that even includes a costume contest. Speaking of costumes: on the second Saturday of each month, there's Living History Day, which features authentic demonstrations and costumes from California's glorious era of Spanish-Indian "cooperation." 31522 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 234-1300; www.missionsjc.com.
1. When trawling for honeys at Pierce Street
Annex, Chester Drawers' Inn or
Live Bait, one should remember that
it's impolite to demand a woman's name and not offer your own.
2. Do not wave a lady over to you. She is not a dog.
3. Ladies, it is unnecessary and in bad taste to sneer
in men's faces when you shoot them down.
Photo by Jack Gould. MISSION VIEJO Oh, benighted land! Offspring of the Philip Morris Companies Inc.'s interest in portfolio diversification! Created at a time when capitalist imperatives for profit maximization overrode all other considerations—like the need for humans to gather organically in a public space—and shaped by the Philip Morris marketing department's promise that in the product hereinafter referred to as Mission Viejo, residents "Live the California Promise"™. Mission Viejo is, in fact, a city in hell hacked out of salt. Public spaces are rare. Sidewalks are post-nuclear-war empty. Strip malls rarely offer something you can't find everywhere else in the nation. It's as if every good and unique thing has been sifted out, and you are left in Mission Viejo with the least common denominators. Much of what's good about the place seems accidental (see below); anything intended to produce a feeling of community (the various recreation centers, for instance, the Mission Viejo Country Club or Lake Mission Viejo—carved and filled in the 1970s even as Mono Lake was flushed to slake SoCal's thirst) reinforces through user fees and memberships the feeling that there are no people here, just members, buyers and homeowners. But such shortcomings only make a tour of Mission Viejo more enticing for the truly adventurous, like a kid's game in which you're supposed to spot the almost indiscernible things that don't fit—the camel smoking a cigarette, the chickens driving a car. Let us go then, you and I, while this brown city is spread out to the distant sky, and see if we can find real life in Mission Viejo. MOLE Oaxacans, ridiculed for their short stature, bronze skin and adherence to indigenous ways (oaxaco is commonly used as a pejorative term by other Mexicans), have found success in the United States, improving their lives possibly more than any other recent immigrant group by opening outstanding restaurants featuring the cooking of their homeland, and El Fortin is the county's first full Oaxacan locale. You can try the entomatada—two folded flour tortillas drenched in a tangy tomato sauce and topped with repollo and quesillo (the Oaxacan variety of cheese, famous for its stringiness and sharp, salty flavor); the cheap combos (including a fabulous chilaquile rendition) come with your choice of quesillo, chorizo (spicier than you're accustomed to), tasajo (sliced, grilled, salted beef round) and cecina enchilada (a spicier version of tasajo). Get past the shock value of the chapulín (that's grasshopper) quesadilla, and you'll discover a delectable morsel, with the salty, spicy yet sour insect crunching nicely along with the thick cheese. But El Fortin's greatest asset is its mole dishes. In a country where each state has its unique version of the curry-like dish, Oaxaca is king, and El Fortin offers four varieties of the royal family. The coloradito has a subtlety that can only be appreciated after the meal is finished, while the amarillo's fire will have you licking sand. The mole negro is simply stunning. A work of art involving more than 20 ingredients, it's slathered over your choice of chicken or pork and has a smoky sweetness defying analysis but partly explained by the chocolate bits sprinkled throughout. And I won't even bother describing the house mole, as my tongue cannot possibly articulate this creation—only eat it. 700 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 773-4290. MONTOYA, JOSIE Right up until her untimely death from complications of diabetes on March 16 of this year, the Anaheim activist was busy doing what she did best: trying to improve the lives of her city's least fortunate residents. The unofficial mayor of Anaheim's predominantly Latino Jeffrey-Lynne neighborhood—since rechristened Hermosa Village—Montoya helped establish the area's first and only community center, provided literacy classes for local children, and even established a program that provides free food to low-income families. The Anaheim Police Department rewarded her efforts by spying on her and other Latino leaders in Anaheim as recently as last year. Study questions: 1. Why do the good die young? 2. Will Bob Dornan live into his early 1,200s? MYSTIC GARDENS So the sugar cube's just about melted and you've got five minutes to get someplace serene and comfortably cosmic. Truck on over to Ortega Highway and La Novia in San Juan Capistrano and immerse yourself in the Mystic Gardens' green foliage, manicured lawns, flowing fountains and stony garden ornaments—the tasteful kind—leaving no chance of attack by a flock of crazed pink flamingos. Theoretically, it's a place of business. But nobody will hassle you to purchase something. If they do, simply say, "There are no possessions; we all belong to the Earth." Then offer them a sip of Kool-Aid. 27401 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 488-0074.