Yes, local restaurateurs: carry us, and we'll plug you in future editions of this august column! Send an e-mail to email@example.com with your owner's name, restaurant name, number of copies wanted and contact info! One caveat, though: your food must be delish.
You're tolerating brusque customer service here for the 10 choices of bánh mì, the foot-long sandwich that is one of the most delicious robberies in the gustatory world, at $1.50 per stickup. Barbecued pork is charred to a ruddy crispness, yet moist. Meatballs are densely herbed and juicy, not bitter like those found at so many bánh mi shops. And a breakfast bánh mì includes the perfect scrambled egg, oozing just enough yolk to liven up your morning. 14520MagnoliaSt.,UnitB,Westminster,(714)891-3718.¢
Only the Italians remain from Anaheim's Old Europe guard, and they're the ones who keep the business bustling at Cortina's Italian Market, a cozy landmark that's been baking and slicing since 1963. The emporium consists of three rooms: a bazaar stocked with Italian produce (imitation Alka-Seltzer!), a side deli slapping together some of the heftiest subs outside Little Italy, and a dining room to enjoy said goods and grub. 2175 W. Orange Ave., Anaheim, (714) 535-1741; www.cortinasitalianfood.com. ¢-$$
There are so many dosas at Dosa Place—dosas crammed with goat, stuffed with cheese, oozing with curried potatoes—that you'll probably overlook the rest of the platters. Don't. Once in a while, scan over the South India portion of the menu and devote a lunch to the idli, two rice-flour dumplings touched with a molten chile powder, or an uttapam, a flour Frisbee the menu advertises as a pancake but is really more of a veggie-gorged omelet. Besides, Dosa Place is also one of the precious few Southern California restaurants specializing in the tamarind-heavy cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. 13812 Redhill Ave., Tustin, (714) 505-7777; www.dosaplace.com. $
Everything at El Farolito, located in Placentia's historic Santa Fe district, is irregular and oversized. The chicken quesadilla is the size of a small hubcap, topped with guacamole and refried beans. Definitely order the sour cream. It has a tart, cream-cheese-like consistency designed to cool the palate after all the salsa and exotic cinnamon coffee they serve. 201S.BradfordAve.,Placentia,(714)993-7880.$
It's a permanent tailgate at Hollingshead's, and not just because of the Green Bay Packers garb for sale hanging from the ceiling or the pickled eggs and pickles kept in chilled brine. Hollingshead's is one of Orange County's premier booze barns, stocking drafts, ales, Heifeweisen and other brands from across the world (with a special focus on Deutschland and the former Soviet Bloc). The limited menu is stubbornly heartland: deviled eggs, boldly pungent macaroni salads and the sweetest baked beans this side of the Lambeau Field parking lot. 368S.MainSt.,Orange,(714)978-9467.$
Kaffa is a place where you can walk in for a pickup or lounge for hours, so its menu offerings are both elegant and portable. Paninis are the main attractions, and Kaffa crams theirs with a concentrated savor befitting the best Roman street vendors. For breakfast, you can choose from fresh pancakes filled with fruit on the weekends or a grilled-egg sandwich with Black Forest ham and tomatoes during the week. But whatever you may scarf down, chase it with a shot of Kaffa's rightfully renowned espresso: dark, earthy and lush, with berry caresses and a foamy, eye-popping top. 424 S. Main St., Ste. K, Orange, (714) 978-1992; www.kaffainc.com. $
Seemingly half of Little Gaza visits Kareem's three times a day, taking comfort in one of the few Orange County Middle Eastern restaurants to offer distinctive breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Owners Mike and Nancy Hawari are the sole employees of the tiny place, and the waiters/cooks/hosts coddle their customers from entrance to exit with wondrous hummus and a smile rounder than a pregnant woman's belly. 1208S.BrookhurstSt.,Anaheim,(714)778-6829.$
You can't go wrong with the combination plates, or even the less expensive “express meals,” wherein you get to select one or more entrées served with rice, naan and either salad or raita. 3705S.BristolSt.,SantaAna,(714)850-0595.$
Though smaller than the monsters hawked at John's Philly Grille in Anaheim or Costa Mesa's Frank's Philadelphia, Philly's Famous' cheese steak surpasses the two in the most crucial cheese-steak factor: the cheese. It overwhelms your senses like a good cheese should, like the best quesadillas: sharp, comforting, gooey. The cheesy cheese choice marries Cheez Whiz, American white and provolone into a tasty, wonderful triad, each fromage strong and distinct. And despite the dairy onslaught, the beef's savor doesn't wilt, remaining juicy like the finest shawermas. 648E.FirstSt.,Tustin,(714)505-6067.$
Like the magma-esque house salsa, Taco Adobe's impressive gourmet platters emerge from a seemingly mundane menu. The camarones con chipotle are butterflied, grilled and slathered with a creamy, sweet chipotle sauce that complements the beautiful pungency of the shrimp. The hefty Adobe burritos could stand proudly against anything rolled in the Mission District and feature three types of cheese within their flour tortilla wrappers. They even experiment successfully with the Adobe pasta platter, linguine sautéed with garlic and that wonderful chipotle cream sauce. 1319N.MainSt.,SantaAna,(714)543-2411.$
The nacho cheese steak—a U-boat of a sub, parts Philadelphia and East Los Angeles—is the Liberty Hall of Toober's, a clean-kept Huntington Beach hoagie haven that, in a moral world, would exist on the beachfront rather than the asphalt river that is central Beach Boulevard. Make sure to get an order of chips: shaved on the premises from massive potatoes, lightly fried so the skin is crisp while the chip's thin-as-tissue body is nearly translucent, and salted just enough to accentuate the tuber's earthy charm. 19092BeachBlvd.,Ste.T,HuntingtonBeach,(714)968-2299.$
Wahoo's makes the best fish taco. Ever. End of story. 1862PlacentiaAve.,CostaMesa,(949)631-3433;alsoat...really,wherearen'tthey?$
View our complete dining guide at www.ocweekly.com/food.