Five Great Places to Eat While Biking the Santa Ana River Trail

Orange County is a surprisingly bike-friendly place, and the crown jewel of north OC has to be the Santa Ana River Trail, which goes from the ocean at the Huntington Beach/Newport Beach border to Prado Dam in Corona, completely separated from cars. (It will eventually, when Riverside County gets off the dime, continue further up the river, too.) Weekdays see a lot of commuters using the trail; weekends are a blur of Lycra-clad speed racers and recreational bicyclists whose pace is less Tour de France and more Tour de Better Homes and Gardens. Regardless of your bicycling prowess, here's a guide to five great places to replenish those energy reserves, just off the 32-mile path:


Cucina Alessá: This Italian gem does serve breakfast on weekends, but
the real reason to go here is for the great homemade pasta like your
nonna (or the Italian nonna you wish you'd had) used to make. Head up
the trail in the morning, do a nice quick 60 miles on an out-and-back,
and reward yourself with a seafood linguine or homemade lasagne with
meatballs. If you're up for another few miles into downtown Huntington
Beach, they've just opened a second location at Sixth and Main. 6700
West Coast Highway, Newport Beach. (949) 645-2148. From the south end
of the Santa Ana River bike path, go a half mile south on the PCH bike

Pepito's: In a struggle between Pepito's and El Rincón Chilango,
Pepito's won because it's about a hundred feet off the bike path and
because they have an insanely good plate of chilaquiles and their
coffee is the rich, fragrant cafN de la olla, with cinnamon. For lunch
or dinner, try the enchiladas Oaxaca, with cheese and griddled Anaheim
chiles, or if they have tacos al pastor on the trompo (the rotisserie
spit), go for those instead. 840 The City Dr. South, Orange. (714)
663-9301. Exit the bike path at Garden Grove Blvd. and go west to the
first light.

Jägerhaus: The dNcor is Haute Cuckoo Clock, but the breakfast is
delicious. Try the Schwaben omelet, which is filled with spätzle
(German dumplings) and ham, or a German pancake with apples or with
lemon and sugar. Whatever you order, make sure you ask for some of the
Schwaigers' homemade plum preserves to go on your toast. For lunches
and dinners, besides being the obvious beer stop, there are hearty
German feasts that will stick to your ribs, ja. 2525 Ball Rd.,
Anaheim. (714) 520-9500.  Exit the bike path at Ball Rd. and go west,
just past the 57 freeway.

Wholesome Choice food court: Yes, technically it's a grocery store, but
it's a grocery store with an amazing array of food ready to eat and
some tables in the front on which to eat them. The best things are at
the Persian counter. Pick a lunch special with stew for $5 and upgrade
to a flavored rice for $1.50 more. And for even more of a carb kick,
ask for bread (free with a meal): it's the sangak flatbread from the
adjacent made-to-order counter with butter, a packet of ground sumac
berries, lemon and onion. 5755 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. (714)
779-7000. Exit the bike path at Imperial Highway northbound (turn left
from the wooden bridge if northbound on the bike path) and go north to the
first light.

Señor Baja: This requires slightly more work than the others, since
Señor Baja is about a mile uphill off the bike path, but the payoff for
a little aerobic exercise is some of the best fish and shrimp tacos in
Orange County. Also good are the seafood cocktails. Try and go easy on
the chiles güeros, though, because a numb butt and spicy food are a
bad, bad combination. 701 S. Weir Canyon Rd., Anaheim. (714) 974-8760.
Exit the bike path at Weir Canyon and go south (uphill) to the Ralphs
shopping center at Serrano.

Coco's: This isn't in the list, it isn't a recommendation and it isn't
in OC, but if you absolutely have to eat at the inland end of the
trail, about a mile up Green River Rd. you'll
find Coco's, Taco Bell and Jack In The Box. Of the three, the best
choice is probably Coco's, since the next restaurants are on Serfas
Club at the 91, another traffic-laden three miles past that. 4714 Green River Rd., Corona. (951) 734-0981. From the north end of the bike path, turn right on Green River Rd. and continue about a mile.

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