Its Not DiGiorno! Its Delivery!
photo by Amy TheligWhen I was living in New York's East Village and feeling particularly menstrual, I would walk to the window, look down the street, read the number of the Chinese restaurant off its awning, and dial. Within 10 minutes, an order of egg rolls would fly to my door, their steaming fat the perfect way to pad my screaming uterine walls.
What I'm talking about, in case you haven't the faintest idea, is delivery, and unless you like a thick, doughy, low-grade-cheesy pizza, there are not a lot of options in the county, especially in Santa Ana, where I live and work.
Enter Pangea. On a bike!
You call them on the phone. You ask them for a hibachi-grilled Atlantic salmon filet served with a zesty ponzu glaze (or as we like to call it, "yummy sauce") and crispy won tons. You order for the rest of the office, too: Nick wants the Ortega chili chicken melt—no sprouts—and other people go for the seared rare ahi tuna salad, or the Artist Village turkey wrap, or the Malaysian curry chicken breast sandwich, or any of the other fusion-style globalness that Pangea rocks out with its cocks out. A chap or chick pedals steadily up the street, handlebars weighed down by bags and bags of bready goodness, and delivers just a couple of minutes later. And everybody's lunch is $7 or under—including the salmon filet—so when one of you doesn't kick in properly for the tax and tip (most likely Nick), it's not that big a deal! You've got lunch money to spare! And they all come with salads or fries!
Deliciousness, yo! For reals!
Pangea has operated a modest little shop in Santa Ana's Artists Village for two years now and just three months ago started serving dinner Thursday through Saturday. But dinner isn't delivered, so we will speak no more of that.
Instead, we love Pangea for the lunch at our door while we're (and I mean "we're," as in the Weeklystaff, not "we're" as in my usual first-person plural) chained to our desks. Nick says his Ortega chili chicken melt has a "musky, teriyaki-y flavor" but insists that any description of the melt must include three words: "hold the sprouts." Don't hold it against Pangea: Nick is apparently a sprout-phobe. Food dude Gustavo says the Malaysian curry chicken breast sandwich possesses a "sneaky, bitter burn mitigated by delightful slices of red and white grapes." And Matt chimes in, saying the Artist Village turkey wrap is a "salad wrapped inside a wrap thing."
Perhaps you are not as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as we and you don't like foreign-flavored fusion food. Then for you there are burgers simple or fancy. The bacon cheeseburger is one of the best we've had. There are hot dog sandwiches or a flat-top grilled cheese or a baked garlic meatloaf sandwich. There's also a tuna melt, but we don't really recommend it. It's not gross or anything, but it's no Gypsy Den tuna melt, with its chunks of apple for sweetness and which you can get not more than 80 steps away.
Those are all well and good, and there are tasty soups and salads, too, and verily we enjoy them. But given the opportunity, why not go for something exotic? Why not have a mahi-mahi burger, some Big Island kalua pork, or Hawaiian-style katsu chicken? The only thing more authentic is the Spam Plate Lunch with macaroni salad—and I think you have to go to Kului for that.
PANGEA, 211 W. SECOND ST., SANTA ANA, (714) 834-0688; www.pangea-cafe.com. OPEN MON.-WED., 8 A.M.-4 P.M.; DINNER THURS.-FRI., 8 A.M.-7 P.M.; SAT., 4-7 P.M. DELIVERS FREE WITHIN TWO MILES; BEER AND WINE FOR THOSE WHO DINE IN. LUNCH OR DINNER, $6-$20, FOOD ONLY. All major credit cards accepted.
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