5 OC Food Places to Take Non-Californians

Here's that picture again
Here's that picture again
Photo by Michelle Woo

You're waiting for your out-of-towner relatives at John Wayne. It's the first time they're visiting Orange County, and, in the midst of looking for familiar faces, you realize, "Oh shoot. Where do I take them to eat?" Because if one thing's certain it's that they will be hungry.

Figuring out where to eat is a daunting task -- it forces you think deep and hard about Orange County's food culture. What's so special about it? What would entertain guests?

But save the stress. Here's a starter list to ease your planning so that you focus on what's important: catching up and eating.

1. A Vietnamese-Cajun Joint

Like the Big Catch in Long Beach!
Like the Big Catch in Long Beach!
Photo by Dustin Ames

I've taken two different New Yorkers to Vietnamese-Cajun joints (à la Boiling Crab and others), and both were floored. Each considered the sauce to be crack, and one said it had convinced him to move here. They were both amused by the whole concept: the dorky practicality of wearing a bib, ability to draw with ketchup, and usefulness of using paper tablecloths to clean the damage. One of them said that it was like being a kid again.

2. In-N-Out

Here's that picture again
Here's that picture again
Photo by Michelle Woo

In-N-Out is one of the best places to take someone after picking them up from the airport. For one, there's one at least 10 minutes away from John Wayne, and two, it's a cheap way to give visitors their first taste of California.

Don't expect all of your guests to love it, though. In fact, hate poses a fine opportunity for state burger vs. other state burger banter. In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack, for instance, is a classic (Charles' spoiler:: In-N-Out wins, but Shake Shack's fries are magical). Now get your arguments ready!



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