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Man, I'm seriously backed up on my magazine reading, so I'm just getting through the summer issue of Gastronomica, that fabulous food journal published quarterly by the University of California Press. In it is a great piece of historical journalism involving that oldest of Orange County clans: the Yorbas.
Former Los Angeles Times reporter Charles Perry tells the story of Piedad Yorba, the great-granddaughter of Jose Antonio Yorba, one of the first Europeans to travel through what's now Orange County during the 1769 Gaspar de Portolà expedition whose ancestors eventually owned about a third of the future la naranja. Piedad, unfortunately, got the short end of the inheritance stick so opened up Casa Verdugo, one of the first buzz Mexican restaurants in Southern California and what Perry claims was the first upscale Mexican restaurant in the United States. We'll see about that because my research for my upcoming book...well, I've already said a bit much! You'll have to buy the Gastronomica issue in which Perry's excellent article appeared, since no free online version exists, but that's a good thing: that rag is always wonderful and a keepsake. From Kogi to Taco Bell to Alebrije's, OC Mexican food continues to school our LA brethren...