This Week in Pork
Sorry, Jews and Muslims: we eat pig this week. Yes, there are other delicious non-pork items at the following restaurants, but the rest of us goyim and kaffirs should concentrate on the sweet, infidel hog at each location.
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢..............Less than $10!
$$$.........¡Eres muy rico!
Santa Ana's finest used to crack down on Latinos who would cruise around this quasi-1950s diner, but why drive around slowly in circles? Inside is Bristol's Monster Burger: three patties topped with buttery avocado, fatty bacon, crunchy lettuce and onions, and two slices of Cheddar. Make sure to top off the burger with splashes of Tapatío and pickled jalapeño slices. A close rival is Bristol's pork tamale covered in sweet chili beans, a surprisingly appetizing combination of spice and sweetness and warmth. 2640 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 241-7166. $
No matter where the Vietnamese diaspora might take people, they return to Little Saigon for Brodard's hallowed BBQ pork rolls, a culinary beacon that attracts legions with its ruddy meat and the sweet sauce of heaven. There are other meals here, but everyone focuses on those pork rolls, and you should too. 9892 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 530-1744. $$
CAFÉ CASSE CROÛTE
This modest diner is the only place in OC to find authentic specialties from the Great White North. Try the tourtière: a mixture of slow-cooked ground pork and beef seasoned with garlic, onions and cloves that has been turned into a lidded pie crust and baked.656 S. Brookhurst, Anaheim, (714) 774-8013. $HUSH
Hush is a wonderful eyesore, an anomaly among the run-down boutiques and faceless office buildings cluttering the southern portion of Pacific Coast Highway. Elegance also is prominent in Hush's menu, a New American take on standards such as rack of lamb, salmon and pork chops that reminds me why people would plunk down $50 for a dinner. But when you've just gnawed on veal from heaven, with port wine slowly soaking through your soul, racial and class warfare tends to dissipate like the sun into the Pacific. 858 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-3616; www.hushrestaurant.com. $$$
LIGHT TOWN HOUSE
Korean BBQ rules here—pork belly, beef, eel, what have you. But don't overlook the mushroom tofu stew—not that spicy but containing enough chile to make you sweat and all the mushrooms you could want. 8902 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-5757. $$
Pot roast. Macaroni and cheese. Pork and beans. Meat loaf. These are American staples, but the Lodge expands upon them in ways you'd expect from talented owners Tim and Liza Goodell (of Aubergine and Troquet fame)—like a velvety roasted-squash soup, creamy polenta and a lineup of prime, aged steaks. 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-1700. $$$
Here they set the standard for more-bowl-for-your-buck. A bowl of rice and one selection from the steam table will knock you on your ass for less than $3. The sweet-and-supple barbecued pork somehow stays tender under those harsh fluorescents. The kung pao chicken has kick—maybe even too much. Bitterly cheap gluttons, this is your place. 18527 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, (714) 962-4221. ¢
Juicy salsas, succulent shards of porcine goodness and steaming homemade tortillas make for delicious tacos. The beans, long on pork-lard flavor, have piquant roasted chiles de arbol woven throughout. And don't start us on the pickled carrots. 125 N. Rancho Santiago, Orange, (714) 771-5527; 838 E. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 542-3913. ¢
The eatery's appellation derives from the famous Cours Mirabeau, a tree-lined avenue of bistros in Aix-en-Provence dear to the restaurant's proprietors. And the food offered here—lamb osso bucco with a North African bent, fine wines, and an addictive pork-and-duck confit—is just as renowned. As the French Revolution-era orator Mirabeau might have shouted, "C'est magnifique!" 17 Monarch Bay Plaza, Dana Point, (949) 234-1679. $$$
PICANTERÍA ARIQUEPEÑA EL MISTI
Little more than a long dining hall adorned with WPA-style farmer murals, El Misti prepares the diet of Arequipa, a city of about 750,000 acclaimed for its desiccated, hearty dishes and thunderously flavored drinks. El Misti offers Peruvian standards as well for the unadventurous: coconut-milk-based chupe soups, the buttery stir-fried chow meins known as tallarines and savory pollo a brasa. All good versions, really—but why would you eat anything else on the planet when the prospect of pig knuckles is but a request away? 3070 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 995-5944; www.elmisticuisine.com. $
Pita Wraps' namesake aren't so much edibles as they are a construction project on the level of washing out the Aegean stables—herds of wonderfully spiced lamb and beef chunks; valleys of tomatoes, onions and lettuce; all placed on a pita the size of a hamster velodrome and welded with a brazenly tart tzatziki cucumber sauce. And the Acropolis of Pita Wraps is the souvlaki gyro: fat-free pork marinated in a zippy red-wine sauce, the best hog you'll chew on outside the South. 415 E. Ave. Pico, Ste. H, San Clemente, (949) 492-7779; www.pitawraps.net. $
Quan Hy serves country-style Vietnamese—a lot more flavor and eccentricity than food like pho. They sell a lot of mixed bowls—one is like a seafood medley, an assortment of pork and beef and shrimp and fish and vegetables.9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 775-7179; 10212 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1652. $$
There's nothing pretentious or nouveau about the service or cuisine, no-nonsense Italian fare based on three kinds of pasta: fettuccine, linguine and penne. And you won't find veal, lamb, rabbit or anything else too far off the main Italian grub drag—pasta, beef and pork make Roman Cucina the simplest, most delicious Italian since Sonny Corleone. 211 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 680-6000; www.romancucina.com. $$
Gabachos can dabble with meats like goat and beef tongue just like they do south of the border. You're not feeling experimental but you like spicy food? Try the chili verde plate with pork. It's out of this world. 2949 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 437-1824.$
TAI BUU PARIS BAKERY
Order a bánh mì ga at the takeout counter, and you'll get a shredded-chicken sandwich. If you sit down and order cari ga bánh mì off the menu, though, a waiter will carry out a bowl of chicken curry stewed in turmeric-scented coconut milk; the bread comes as a half-baguette. Make sense? No? Ah, just chomp on the bánh mì thit nuong, barbecued pork seasoned with a restrained hand. 9039 Bolsa Ave., Ste. 101, Westminster, (714) 895-6114. ¢
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