Being one of a few restaurants in OC that's perched on a high-enough mound of earth, Orange Hill is still, after all these years, making a killing on that view. The valet is still mandatory and if you eat at the actual restaurant, it's going to cost you about $40 for a 14-ounce New York steak and another $30 on top of that if you add a lobster tail. But Orange Hill does have its bar, which has windows that look out to the same view the restaurant boasts, and a Happy Hour menu with which you could conceivably construct your entire dinner. Get the $4 beef sliders with an avalanche of fries, and the great $4.50 wedge salad that would've cost twice as much if you eat in inside the restaurant during a regular meal. And the normally $9 cocktails? They're $6.
The bar makes a good mojito, but it's the Gin-Gin Mule you want. What's a Gin-Gin Mule? Why, it's a recent invention credited to a woman named Audrey Sanders who opened The Pegu Club on SoHo, which is yes, in New York, where drinks like this are often invented. And yes, not unlike a real mule, it's a hybrid--a cross between a Gin and Tonic and a Moscow Mule. There's fresh lime juice in it, also simple syrup, but most importantly a spicy ginger beer and that Bombay Sapphire, which together is more refreshing than Gatorade on a hot day.
But also, it's the perfect drink to sip as you peer out to the twinkly lights of suburban Orange County, which, to be honest, isn't ever going to be as impressive as, say, the view atop Seattle's Space Needle, or even any random office building in Manhattan. Still, it's ours, and if you do the Happy Hour, it'll be worth the cost of valet. To catch the last drops of sunlight before it disappears below the horizon, get here early, and be thankful there aren't any pesky buildings to block it.
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