This week in noodles

Noodles! Slurpy, filling, long. Thin as a spider's thread or thicker than a Sharpie. Boiling or cold. Italian, Thai, Vietnamese or Filipino. Served in a soup, with a salad or wrapped around meat. Yum!


¢…….………………..…..Less than $10!



$$$………………………¡Eres muy rico!


Most rib places content themselves with giving patrons a couple of twigs, but Aloha BBQ carts over four massive things that appear to have been torn from a hippopotamus. You can also enjoy that pork as part of their saimin-noodle bowl, a boiling tureen of udon-style noodles served with a complimentary side of kimchi. 24000 Alicia Pkwy., Ste. 4, Mission Viejo, (949) 581-0976. $


Order the Sicilian-style linguine with basil, oregano and anchovies blended into a marinara sauce and poured over a healthy serving of flat spaghetti. And you'll also find delicious the accompanying salad and warm, crusty, homemade bread. 24301 Muirlands Rd., Ste. H, Lake Forest, (949) 837-3850. $


Established in 1952, this award-winning Italian restaurant received Best Pizza honors in the Entertainment Book for five straight years. It offers a huge menu selection, including American dishes; you'll want to try the enticing chicken piccata, fettuccine Alfredo, lasagna, shrimp and pastas. Plus, they sell Fernet Branca, which will cure your cholera. 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461. $$


This restaurant is a sleek ramen mecca that serves miso ramen, a curative soybean-flavored elixir, poured over a tangled cake of supple noodles rife with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, hard-boiled-egg halves and scallions. 18930 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, (714) 964-5993. $


This tiny joint has restored the art of fast food to its original intention: serving grub as quickly and tasty as possible. Choose from more than 20 different entrées such as adobo and lechon, but all are so delicious it's really a matter of deciding which one you want spilling over the Styrofoam plate it's served on. Regardless of choice, every order comes with two scoops of pansit bihon, tiny tasty noodles combined with tiny tasty cabbage, celery and carrots. 4544 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 739-4479. ¢


Far away from the familiar confines of Little Saigon, Kim Loan prepares boiling cauldrons of pho that could sell from a Da Nang street corner tomorrow. Their hearty pho brims with noodles upon which juts a promontory of rare beef you can dip into the bubbling, anise-flavored broth for a well-done finish, or you can leave it be if you like meat undone. Throw crisp bean sprouts and mint leaves into the pho, along with a dab of tart hoisin sauce, and the madness of Bolsa vanishes as the pho gently overwhelms your senses. 1651 N 1653 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 773-0374. $


Lotus is the county's second Chinese Muslim restaurant and does a fine job of preparing that culture's emphasis on meat, magazine-thick noodles and sesame breads large enough to double as a Frisbee. Like almost every northern Chinese restaurant, Lotus trots out so-so egg rolls and egg-flower soup as appetizers, so it's better to start with chilled ox tripe. 16883 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-4940. $$


Topped with berry-infused butter, the ginger-and-lemon-perfumed ricotta pancakes are creamy and moist. Also, try the Shanghai chicken salad; it's a towering bed of gourmet greens, shredded carrots, rice, noodles, won tons and chicken. 320 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-0137. $


Mì rice noodles are actually Chinese, but many Vietnamese places have incorporated them into the menu. Funny how 1,000 years of colonization can do that. Mì La Cay is continuously one of the most popular restaurants in the genre of mì cookery. Bring your appetite, and order a heaping bowl of mì la cay dac biet (the house special). 8924 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714) 891-8775. $


Mitsuyoshi, a humble, rock-solid Stanton restaurant patronized by the North County Japanese community, makes a particularly alluring version of sukiyaki, with a heavy, sweet broth packed with thin slices of beef, green onions, cellophane noodles, mushrooms, tofu cubes and bamboo shoots. And in traditional fashion, there's a bowl of raw egg in which to dip the beef strips. 12033 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-2156. $$


If you want spaghetti and meat sauce accompanied by Chianti in a straw-bound bottle, you're in the right place; the Dominic Corea family has been operating this colorful red-sauce joint in Tustin since 1961. 611 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 544-0273; 25254 E. La Paz Rd., Laguna Hills, (949) 581-2780. $$


Dduk bo sam—which means “wrapped in a rice noodle”—is the $30 hamburger of Korean cookery, a trendy Korean barbecue style that originated recently in downtown Los Angeles and can be found locally only at the recently opened Shik Do Rak. It's just like regular Korean barbecue, except you play around with a rice-paper wrapper and make your own grilled-on-the-spot burrito. If you do it right, each mouthful will be crunchy, spicy and slippery with beef fat: grease-dappled bliss. 9691 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 534-7668. $$


Home of a monster marinara sauce that is nearly orgasmic. The sauce is ladled atop your choice of spaghetti, mostaccioli or rigatoni, with Italian sausage or meatballs the size of your fist on a plate big enough to feed three. 429 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 498-2540. $


Opened in late '97, this sleek newcomer has a great personality. Chef Ray Anady, formerly of the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, puts his personal spin on such classics as fettuccini in garlic-cream sauce with blackened Cajun chicken. 378 Camino de Estrella, San Clemente, (949) 496-4356. $$


You probably won't go to Win Thai for its cheesy Asian-pop background music, but you would go for the deep sweat its notoriously spicy dishes stimulate. Win Thai offers more than 100 items, ranging from traditional rice dishes to more exotic fare such as the spicy green mussel salad and a kick-ass pad Thai. 1151 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 778-0940. $


Vietnamese cuisine includes a proud tofu tradition, and Van Hanh's menu represents its full, finest flowering. Best way to enjoy it is with a bowl of bùn: vermicelli noodles covering a small, chilled salad. It should be the meal of the moment for hipster OC, but hipster OC wouldn't know good food if it bit them in the Wahoo. 9455 Bolsa Ave., Ste. D, Westminster, (714) 531-4661. ¢


The lasagna is a great example of why meat—or the absence of it—is a nonissue at Zinc Café. A mixture of ricotta, ginger, shallots, garlic and spinach is lavished between noodles, making it rich and filling. Served on a soft bun with all the trimmings, the vegetarian Zinc burger imparts that certain meat-lust satisfaction few meatless burgers do. 350 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-6302. $

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