Five Great Places to Eat on Black Friday

This week contains one of the most ancient and cherished traditions in America, where families get up at shockingly early hours to fight traffic just to be together for a day. Thanksgiving, you say? No, Black Friday, the day by which all retail business for the entire year is judged.

If you're headed out into the scrum of Orange County's shopping centers, you are going to need a bite to eat at some point (unless you're one of those people pressing your face on the glass of the door at Wal-Mart at 3:59 AM, in which case there is no helping you). Here are some ideas for ways to avoid the food court:

Brea Mall:

There's not a lot within walking distance of the Brea Mall; Brea is not
a particularly pedestrian-friendly city. That said, for the nostalgia
factor, head for The Hat and get a pastrami dip and, if your
cardiologist isn't already having a myocardial infarction by proxy, get
the wet fries with cheese. Make sure to do bicep curls with your
shopping bags on the way back across the intersection. 1210 East
Imperial Highway, Brea; (714) 257-9500.

Irvine Spectrum:

Anyone who's ever watched the Real Housewives knows about Javier's, and
while that's a good place to hang out if you're a hot young guy looking
for a sugar mama, the food (as Edwin and Gustavo discussed) is not up
to par. Leave it to the S&M crowd (that's “stand and model,”
thankyouverymuch) and head over to Veggie Grill instead. Unlike many
vegan places, which seem to think that you can't appreciate the
non-cruelty of the food unless you're completely unhappy eating it, the
folks at Veggie Grill aren't afraid of spices and flavor. 81 Fortune
Drive, Irvine; (949) 727-9900.

Laguna Hills Mall:

Need to recover from those doorbuster sales? Line up (and prepare to
wait) for the finest breakfast in OC at the Chowhound and Yelp cult
favorite, Break of Dawn. The restaurant's menu reads like the ethnic
history of la naranja writ small, but you can take a culinary tour with
Portuguese sausage and rice, or maybe oatmeal br├╗lNe. This place might
be worth making the so-depressing Laguna Hills Mall your Black Friday
destination. 24351 Avenida de la Carlota #N-6, Laguna Hills; (949)

Santa Ana Mainplace:

There are actually several decent places to grab a bite to eat, but
only one that can also give you the liquid courage you need to get back into
the fray. While Hollingshead's Deli is a little bit of a walk from the
mall, you can work off the calories from their home-style sandwiches,
their good deviled eggs, and the dozen-plus interesting, good beers on
tap (or the 400 types of beer in bottles). Warning: if you're a Vikings fan, don't
talk about football here. 368 South Main Street, Orange; (714)
978-9467. Closed weekends.

Westminster Mall:

Mall food courts are usually just depressing, and Westminster's is no
different. What is different, however, is the presence just across the
parking lot of S Vietnamese Fine Dining, one of the few upscale
Vietnamese restaurants in a sea of Formica-table pho shops. Why suffer
through another tasteless plate? Recover from the deadly stampedes for
the two TVs available at those fire-sale prices with a comforting bowl of pho, or a bowl of bun sao vit mang
(duck breast soup), or maybe a plate of turmeric-marinated roughy
grilled with dill and onions. 545 Westminster Mall, Westminster; (714)

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