So Bush visited Europe last month, trying to make nice with the very continent he is increasingly trying to make irrelevant. But to get a true sense of our leader's mendacity, we pull up on our web browser the Feb. 22 edition of the NewYorkTimes.Reporter Elaine Sciolino wrote that when he sat down to enjoy dinner with French President Jacques Chirac, Dubya saw one of the side dishes and "announced that they were 'French fries,' one participant said. No longer would thin slices of potatoes cooked in oil be 'freedom fries.'" Isn't that precious? Not only is our leader one who backs down from WMD claims, but he also can't even maintain his culinary insults! Let's see Bush give cutesy names to the following cuisines—oh, wait, he's trying to make nice again.
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!
$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20
$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40
$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .¡Eres muy rico!
ALEGRÍA COCINA LATINA
The Spanish-styled brocheta vegetariana isn't like any bruschetta we're used to. The bread is replaced with corn tortillas and topped with skewers of grilled vegetables in a light sesame sauce on a pile of Peruvian corn, fresh-chopped tomatoes and tofu. That's right—tofu! 115PineAve.,LongBeach,(562)436-3388.$$
Order at the counter—their succulent braised-beef-and-lamb gyro is a good choice—and the food is brought to your table. Their secret-recipe tsatsiki provides a creamy condiment in many of the already flavorful foods. 580AntonBlvd.,CostaMesa,(714)556-6555.$
BONJOUR CAFE & BISTRO
Despite the overhang that advertises otherwise, this cute, tree-shaded bistro doesn't do dinner anymore; it now offers only breakfast and lunch. The worthwhile offerings—quiche, crepes, omelets—are all served during the day anyway. Try the omelet de Provence with eggplant, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Or la crepe bonne maman, filled with strawberry preserves and dusted with powdered sugar. 24633 Del Prado, Dana Point, (949) 496-6368; www.bonjourcafe.com. $$
Britta's is a quaint, European-style café where servers offer you individual pieces of bread (baguette or pumpernickel?) and a savory rustic tart isn't some old queen sashaying through a gay Parisian bistro but an appetizer you'll completely enjoy. Cheese lovers will freak out over the calzone packed with goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella, proscuitto and tomatoes. 4237 Campus Dr., Ste. B-165, Irvine, (949) 509-1211; www.brittascafe.com. $$
If you appreciate Laguna Beach's renowned Ti Amo restaurant, you'll more than likely appreciate this slightly less expensive but equally tasty relative. Recommended is the tagliolini caprini or the veal sorrentino. 111 Ave. del Mar, San Clemente, (949) 366-1040; www.carbonara.com. $$
The décor amounts to tables, chairs, some pictures of Babe Ruth and a few TVs. But the fish-and-chips plate is English-style: hot, slathered in tarter sauce, and chased down with a cold beer. 1025PacificCoastHwy.,SealBeach,(562)431-5266.$
Over the course of colonized centuries, the Romanians picked up cooking tips from each—grilled kebabs and searing coffee from the Turks, unctuous beef Stroganoff from the Russians, goulash and paprika from the Hungarians, and the sarmales, reminiscent in their pungency of Mediterranean stuffed grape leaves. All are present at Dunarea, and all are magnificent. 821 N. Euclid Ave., Anaheim, (714) 772-7233; www.dunarea.us. $
The kitchen is right out in the open, so it's not like they're hiding anything. This place hearkens to the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Italian diners with its elegance and distinct dishes such as risotto and salmon. Make sure to get a plate of carpaccio, thinly sliced raw beef topped with shaved Parmesan and lemon-herb dressing that melts immediately upon touching your tongue. 5645E.LaPalma,Anaheim,(714)779-1777.$$$
It's bright and manly, with paintings that scream Fatherland. The menu includes duck, elk, wild boar—and the sauerbraten kicks ass. Sauerbraten rules! Parents: ask to be seated in "The Pit," where your demon spawn won't bug diners noshing on Bambi's mom. 2525E.BallRd.,Anaheim,(714)520-9500.$$
IKEA's insane mealtime bargain includes not only food, but also free baby-sitting! So, hightail it upstairs for the manager's special: a godsend that includes a large portion of Swedish meatballs with creamy gravy and two steamed red potatoes. 1475SouthCoastDr.,CostaMesa,(714)444-4532.$
Located in Anaheim's German-American Phoenix Club, but there are no oompah bands or boars' heads on the wall. Good breaded veal, though. 1340SandersonAve.,Anaheim,(714)563-4164.$$
Reasons to go to the Mad Greek: this place supposedly began the zucchini stick "craze"; the Greek salad comes in Herculean portions; uncouth vegetarians have proclaimed the falafel sandwich as "Fuckin' radness"; and anything on the menu above $6 you won't be able to finish yourself. 12120BeachBlvd.,Stanton,(714)898-5181.$
Everything looks great coming out of the kitchen of this bona-fide supper club, and we can personally vouch for the Martini Blues Favorite—a rotelli pasta with chicken or shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers in a spicy chipotle Alfredo sauce. Like all dinners, it comes with soup or salad; steamed vegetables; and a choice of garlic mashed potatoes, angel-hair pasta or rice pilaf. 5874 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 840-2129; www.martiniblues.com. $$
No one said sausage was health food, but if you're in the mood to down a few cold ones by the barbecue, oust the Ball Park Franks and take home a trio of Mattern's premises-made links to sample. 4327E.ChapmanAve.,Orange,(714)639-3550.$
Molly Bloom's interior has the standard Irish pub features: low lighting, Guinness posters and bricks. Lots of bricks. Both bar and restaurant offer sizeable menus featuring such traditional Irish dishes as fish and chips, bangers, beans, and mash (a surprisingly tasty combination of sausages, baked beans and mashed potatoes). 2391S.ElCaminoReal,SanClemente,(949)218-0120.$$
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In the middle of the Tustin Marketplace, the greatest big-box retail pavilion our county—our country—has yet erected to Soviet-style shopping sits this honest-to-goodness Italian trattoria. They excel at the four basic Italian sauces—marinara, Bolognese, pesto and arrabiata—and each is offered with a choice of seven pastas. 2991ElCaminoReal,Tustin,(714)731-7480.$$
For those who haven't been satisfied with a lamb stew since Belisle's was bulldozed, Skosh Monahan's is a godsend. Meals range from splendid to very good, with prices and styles from family fare to froufrou specialties, and the Irish root beer is a sweet shot of oblivion. 2000NewportBlvd.,CostaMesa,(949)548-0099.$$
View our complete dining guide at www.ocweekly.com/food.