Just visited Bánh Mì Cho Cu, my favorite Vietnamese sandwich shop, and noticed there were no Weekly copies left. "Do they always run out?" I asked. "Of course!" the owner said with a laugh. Swing by for crunchy bánh mí that set you back an absurdly low $1.50. And stop by the following restaurants for good food and a copy of the Weekly. Bánh Mì Cho Cu, 14520 Magnolia St., Ste. B, Westminster, (714) 891-3718.
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!
$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20
$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40
$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!
While the Avanti menu is strictly vegetarian, with faux meats and even cheese, the steak-and-potatoes crowd will hardly notice or care. Every entrée, appetizer and dessert springs with flavor and heftiness; is there anything more mainstream than a morning cup of joe washing down crunchy waffles? 259 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-2224. $$
THE BLUE NILE CAFÉ
Blue Nile isn't just a place to soak up the spins with a sandwich or a great latte. It's like the best friend you don't deserve: stumble by late at night and get a sandwich so homemade (and healthy) you'll think of your fourth-grade brown bag days. The (soon-to-be-popular) chicken wraps—chicken, the usual veggies, whatever bizarre fetish items you wanna add—are great cold or warm, bulging like flexed biceps in their tortillas. 438 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 435-6453; www.thebluenilecafe.com. $
DELICIAS DE MÉXICO
Delicias de México (Delights from Mexico) is one of the county's precious few neverías: ice cream shops that specialize in resolutely Mexican flavors such as velvety mango, smoky mamey, sour guanábana and many other tropical, luscious fruits. Don't forget to order at least one of their paletas: frosty monoliths of vim, each balanced on a sturdy wooden stick and wrapped in a plastic sheet that requires a sensuous tugging motion to remove. 13466 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 636-7163. ¢
Everything at El Farolito, located in Placentia's historic Santa Fe district, is irregular and oversized. The chicken quesadilla that emerged from the kitchen was the size of a small hubcap, topped with guacamole and refried beans. Definitely order the sour cream. It has a tart, cream-cheese-like consistency designed to cool the palate after all the salsa and exotic cinnamon coffee they serve. 201 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia, (714) 993-7880. $
LA GALETTE CRÊPERIE
There are 17 crepes available in this beautiful little shop just a jog away from the Pacific—try the Kansas City chicken crepe beckoning with the promise of heartland-meets-Left Bank fusion: roasted chicken and caramelized onions tinctured with a maple barbecue sauce and sprinkled with Jack cheese. And the PPV crepe has whole slices of candied pears marked with thick, sugary mascarpone and a dollop of whipped cream on the side, with a spray of vanilla sauce on top of the crepe. 612 Avenida Victoria, Ste. E, San Clemente, (949) 498-5335. $
GENGHIS KHAN MONGOLIAN BBQ
Genghis Khan's stir-frying of various frozen meat shavings transforms the Mongolian barbecue into a time machine—the brusque force of the Mongol Empire rampages anew across taste buds, meat and vegetables. There are other choices, but stick to the Mongolian barbecue; the restaurant offers it as an all-you-can-eat option for a reason. 333 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 870-6930. ¢
GOKO CAFE & DELI
Goko is one of the last remnants of the old Laguna Beach, the Laguna Beach of longhairs, coastal conservancy and a holistic lifestyle. Granola isn't an epithet here—it's the breakfast special. Goko also advertises breakfast burritos, beet-heavy salads and about 20 veggie takes on the pita sandwich from a couple of pastel-colored chalkboard menus that loom over the heads of customers. Great, healthy smoothies! 907 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-4880. $
Kaffa is a place where you can walk in for a pickup or lounge for hours, so its menu offerings are both elegant and portable. Paninis are the main attractions, and Kaffa crams them with a concentrated savor befitting the best Roman street vendors. For breakfast, you can choose from fresh pancakes filled with fruit on the weekends or a grilled-egg sandwich with Black Forest ham and tomatoes during the week. But whatever you may scarf down, chase it with a shot of Kaffa's rightfully renowned espresso: dark, earthy and lush, with berry caresses and a foamy, eye-popping top. 424 S. Main St., Ste. K, Orange, (714) 978-1992; www.kaffainc.com. $
Beckoning you to the restaurant is the fragrance of cooked beef and chicken. Inside, you will discover its origin: two constantly rotating monster spits, essential to Sahara's pursuit of shawerma, the fabulous Middle Eastern technique of meat preparation. Each bite of Sahara's shawerma greets your mouth with the simple joy of good. 590 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 491-0400. $
at Sassoon Chicken, Armenian garlic paste reaches a blazing, triumphant zenith: raw garlic bulbs transformed into a frosting-like paste that's buttery at first but quickly rampages across your sinuses with its smelly wrath. Slather it on Sassoon's chicken—the golden skin crispy but retaining juices, the meat moist with the savor of smoke, so tender you can easily pick it off the bones with your fingers. 3440 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 516-9600. $
UGLY MUG CAFÉ
Funky coffee joint with hair-salon interior. Breakfast muffins and stuff to go with java. Open late, late, late for those Chapman kids next door. They've got bands at night too, and various desperate poets. 261 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 997-5610; www.theuglymug.com. $
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