There was once a place in Santa Ana called Café Chiarini. It was fabled for its soups, salads, giant cookies and, most of all, enormous tri-tip sandwiches made from inch-thick, crusty, homemade sourdough and meat slowly cooked in a backyard smoker. Although open a few short months, it quickly became a popular lunch-time refuge for those who worked in and around the city. In an interview for our Stick a Fork In It food blog, chef Judy Fleenor revealed that cops and judges had developed an affinity for the egg-white omelets. The place was an unqualified success. I read reports that there were no days when there wasn't a line that snaked out the door at noon. Customers ate lunch shaded by sails in an outdoor patio. The brick building even had its own art gallery of sorts. Then, last April, a little less than a year after it opened, Café Chiarini abruptly shuttered with... More >>>