Guilty Pleasures

1901 Hiking the Trabuco Canyon valley. There's lots of wildlife and water flows through the streambeds pretty much year-round. The wooded areas are cool places to rest. Of course, getting there requires a 10-mile ride over a dirt road, but few undeveloped wooded areas are easily accessible by car.

1902 In New York, this kind of drinking and dining would cost you your firstborn. At the Laguna Beach Brewing Company, however, you can keep your children and even open a window to catch the ocean breeze. 422 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-2739.

1903 The balsamic-cherry-covered pork chopsat Memphis. 2920 Bristol, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-7685.

1904 And the gumbo.

1905 And the corn bread.

1906 Orange Coast College Repertory Theater. Most of the schools in the county put on very good shows, from Cal State Fullerton and UCI to Fullerton and Saddleback colleges, but none of them have theaters actually run by the students. OCC does, and that's good enough for us. 2701 Fairview, Costa Mesa, (714) 432-0202.

1907 Hugsnot drugs.

1908 But drugs, sometimes.

1909 Like when you're sick.

1910 And tired.

1911 Toasted ravioli at the Clubhouse. Several staffers of this upscale South Coast Plaza restaurant (in other words, they can't afford to eat there either) recommend this $5.45 appetizer, which features lightly toasted ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and dusted with Parmesan and Romano cheeses ringing a bowl of tasty marinara sauce. A couple can get away with splitting this, ordering salads and drinks and still get out the door for about $20. 3333 Bristol St., Ste. 2802, Costa Mesa, (714) 708-2582.

1912 Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. It's cool. Really. Whatever. 411 Olive Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-3483.

1913 “We have sympathy for the people of the United Methodist Church, which was destroyed with loss of life, but the United Methodist Church is one of the most liberal and apostate denominations. The pastor was a woman, and the Bible says, 'Let your women keep silence in the churches.' It is time to change 'God bless America' to 'God have mercy upon America.'” Letter to the Register, April 15, 1994.

1914 The batting cages at Homerun Park. 711 S. Beach Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 952-0497.

1915 The dry, hot Santa Ana(Santana, people! Santana!) winds may have made housewives finger the business sides of their kitchen knives in film-noir LA, but here they clear the air, seem to shift the mountains miles closer to the ocean, and transform the sun from diffused and fluorescent to direct and incandescent. Under such honest light, the meanest strip mall is a real place. Or maybe that's just the heat getting to me.

1916 The dainty seven courses of beef at Pagolacare an ethereal repast. 14580 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 531-4740.

1917 These lines of poetry, by Marcia Cohee: “Waiting for the thin trees to grow through the sidewalk/Where there's no room for roots./And how the dogsgather at sundown,/Remembering coyotes, like their former occupation,/ Remembering how the smokes align in the bright.”

1918 “I cannot vote for Kathleen Brown as I swore an oath never to vote for a female candidate. Females are on the attack and we males must oppose them at every point.” Letter to the Register, Aug. 5, 1994.

1919 The faded rural charm of Orange County can still be savored on the grassy quad of Saddleback College, where the best viewing for bunnies begins at dusk. 28000 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 582-4500.

1920 Warren G. Harding elected president.

1921 Weekends in the parking lot of Cook's Corner, which gleams with the polished chrome of Harleyswhile the combined tang of leather and beer hangs in the air. See it while you can; determined developers (is there any other kind?) have their greedy eyes on it. 19122 Live Oak Canyon Rd., Trabuco Canyon, (949) 858-0266.
1922 Heidi's Imports, the best place in the county to get all those German CDs you've been looking for. 7561 Center Ave., Ste. 47, Huntington Beach, (714) 373-4498.

1923 Todd Spitzer in golf togs.

1924 411VM. By now, people know skaters like to watch skate videos. Over and over again-as long as they're not busting some kickflips of their own or watching one another play video games. Back in early 1993, a few friends within the industry-including skateboard photographer to the stars Chris Ortiz-envisioned a video magazine that would go beyond the typical skate videos and magazines skateboarders were gobbling up. It was to be a skate video with a kick-ass soundtrack, littered with interviews of top pros, up-and-coming amateurs, company profiles, contests, road trips, foreign coverage, skate spot reviews, and mind-blowing action footage that left nothing to the imagination. They publish bimonthly and their distribution has grown 65 percent: compare issue 21's circulation at 14,000 to issue 27's at 23,000. Coming Oct. 25, they're on issue 37! And since a picture is worth a thousand words, it's much more efficient.


1925 The teenage mating scene on Main Street in Huntington Beach.

1926 Tower/Good Guys store by the Laguna Hills mall. Marvel at $7,000 flat-screen TVs and experience a home-theater room that looks and sounds better than a theater. 23541 Calle De La Louisa, Laguna Hills, (949) 465-5700.

1927 Mall exhibit of photos of Princess Di, seemingly chosen to showcase her many hats.

1928 Mall exhibit of drawings by John Lennon.

1929 Mall exhibit of animatronic dragons.

1930 Gwen Stefani's new British accent.

1931 Tattooed skate punks in their early 40s.

1932 The fish blimpthat floats above Sunset Ford. Don't call it a “fish blimp” in the presence of anybody who works there, though. To them, it's Willie the Whale. 5440 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster.

1933 Brown's Flowers in Laguna Beach and Flower Warehouse in Costa Mesa: where men can buy low-cost, last-minute gifts.

1934 The self-absorbed fucks.

1935 “When I was a boy, America was a beautiful place to live. We had no gang wars, divorces, welfare [or] abortions, and sex outside of marriage was illegal. Since then, we have let the American Civil Liberties Union kick God out of our schools and let the devil in. This can be changed. We have to amend the First Amendment so that the ACLU cannot use it to its advantage.” Letter to the Register, Dec. 16, 1993.

1936-1965Each of the 30 references, on average, to bowel movements, feces, excrement, enemas and sundry waste-disposal issues to be found in any given Buddy Seigal music story.

1966The one that got edited out.

1967 N espacio alternativois the best and coolest Latin rock, art and culture Spanish-language magazine. Xosue Meneses and company challenge an audience with daring open-mindedness and intelligence. The magazine features alternative bands not covered by other publications and also recommends other Latino periodicals. Made 100 percent in the city of Orange.

1968 Freddie Brooks: this guy comes from out of nowhere (well, Costa Mesa, actually) with One Little Word, a self-released debut CD that is a strong contender for best blues album of the year-and we're speaking in worldwide terms here, not just local. With writing skills to make Lieber/Stoller and Doc Pomus proud, harpsmanship so speedy and sly it induces involuntary toe-tappin', and a West Coast blues vibe from the Harman school-only turned way past 11-Mr. Brooks cooks hooks that look to carry him into the books (sorry).

1969 Silk Thai's red, brown, green or yellow curries. 19690 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 964-1151.

1970 Flirtingwith the waitress/daughters at Side Street Cafe (a true family business). 1799 Newport Blvd., Ste. A-105, Costa Mesa, (949) 650-1986.

1971 No Graceland!

1972 Garden of Eden AdultBook Store. 12061 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 534-9805.

1973 Joey Racano. Huntington's his current base, but the highways and railways of the nation have been his home. If any local musician can rightfully claim to have lived the blues, it's Joey Racano, who comes from the hard-livin' tradition of the noble hobo. His style is a unique blend of East Coast Italian-American Tin Pan Alley cool mixed with down-home, gutbucket country blues, and the remarkable Racano spends his gifts for tuneage on environmental and animal-rights causes more than for his own wallet. Racano's first CD should be hitting the streets right about the time you're reading this.

1974 The '70s crowd at Madeleine'sin Costa Mesa. They're not retro; they just haven't purchased new clothes since high school.

1975 Macho Nachos at Fresca's. 20060 Santa Ana Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-6822.

1978 Norm N Marty at Mesa West GermanRepair-good guys, great service, not a rip-off. 1654 Babcock, Costa Mesa, (714) 645-2374.

1979 The pros in thigh-high vinyl boots working Club Rubber at the Galaxy Concert Theatre. They have some bodies on them! 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-1133.

1980 Valerie Mitchell's homemade ginger peach preserves are exquisite. She sells them at OC Certified Farmer's Markets. For market locations and hours, call the Orange County Farm Bureau at (714) 573-0374.

1981 Jakarta native Richard at Shiki performs his teppan chef act like Animal in the Muppets' percussion section crossed with Bruce Lee. 1936 E. Katella Ave., Orange, (714) 633-1765.

1982 Outer Limits Tattoo Parlour. Kari Barba's award-winning designs are a sure bet for the convict or porn star. 3024 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, (714) 761-8288.

1983 Topped with berry-infused butter and maple syrup, the lemon ricotta pancakes at Madison Square and Garden Café are the creamiest, moistest flap jaquelines in town. 320 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-0137.

1984 Troy Percival's chin music.

1985 The Orange County MiningCo. serves up the juiciest piece of flesh around with a salad bar of equal stature. The variety of choice meats is enhanced by the beauty of the windowed walls that allow you to watch the hazy sunset over Orange County and the Southland. 10000 Crawford Canyon Rd., Santa Ana, (714) 997-7411.


1986 The alcohol-fueled fightsthat roll-yes, roll-out of Cassidy's on Saturday nights. 2603 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 675-8949.

1987 Nothing Shocking: all aboard for puncture junction! 519 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 744-8288.

1988 The always courteous, always helpful staff at Sid's.

1989 Unless you call them on the phone.

1990 “Hello.

1991 “Hi, Could you give me directions?”

1992 “No.

1993 “Huh?”

1994 “No directions.”

1995 “Is this Sid's steakhouse?”

1996 “Do you want the address?”

1997 “Okay.”

1998 “445 Old Newport Rd.”

1999 Click . . .

2000 “Just what is there to save our land from the fiery judgment that is coming?” Letter to the Register, May 23, 1996.

(Mmmmm . . . traffic.)

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