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Feb 27, 2009 06:10 AM

Need Dining help Orange County

I will be in Anaheim next week. I have Saturday night dinner open and all day Sunday. Thought about venturing to Santa Monica's Farmer Market Sunday Morning so, looking for great food (doesn't have to be expensive but can be) for meals Sat. night in OC and Sunday (Breakfast at Market but lunch and dinner Sunday. Also looking for some Asian Bakery rec'd in OC.
Thanks!!! Does anyone know if there are local/private eating tours for certain neighborhoods?

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  1. If you want an Asian bakery go to one of the Van's Bakeries -- the one on Brookhurst between Hazard and Westminster is the one I most often frequent, and make a stop a couple of lights up on Brookhurst toward the 22 at Banh Mi Che Cali for banh mi.

    The Sunday morning farmers' market in Santa Monica is not worth going to -- it's the Wednesday and Saturday morning markets. If you want a big market experience on a Sunday, go to Hollywood's farmers' market. And if you want one on Saturday, go to Irvine's, as you'll be in Anaheim anyway.

    What kind of food or price range are you looking for? Where are you visiting from (so we don't have a coals-to-Newcastle problem)?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Thanks so much. No price range issues. Visiting from East Coast- MD.
      In terms of food types, I like it all but looking for non-CHAIN restaurants of course. Thanks for the Advice on Sunday market. From online couldn't tell which was best. Maybe I will try Hollywood's Sunday.

      1. re: hammocc

        Just FYI, Hollywood is a good hour's drive from much of OC.

        I suspect there's not much of a Vietnamese presence in MD -- whereas we have Little Saigon. I'll give a few suggestions and you decide how much, um, you're willing to put up with.

        Most expensive option (will run you $20-$30 a head exclusive of wine): Xanh Bistro, in Fountain Valley. Very accessible (menus in good English, waitstaff speaks English fluently, descriptions are true to the foods); excellent Vietnamese "home-style" cooking in a nicely-decorated place. Standout dishes are pan-seared orange roughy with green mango salad; chicken cooked in bitter caramel-pepper sauce (excellent despite what its name conjures up); shaken beef; banana blossom salad. Excellent service by Western standards. Short wine list.

        Next up: Vien Dong (will run you $10-$15 a head, don't know if they have wine), in Garden Grove. Waitstaff speaks English, but service tends to be gruff (this is normal and expected in Vietnamese restaurants). Menu is translated appropriately but questions to the staff may result in blank looks. When you're done you walk up to the counter and pay (also usual). Standout dishes: cha ca thanh long (turmeric-marinated fish grilled on iron with dill, served with rice noodles and herbs and sauce); bun cha Hanoi (grilled pork and pork meatballs in a papaya-flavoured fish sauce also with rice noodles and herbs); the very best cha gio (Vietnamese spring rolls, far superior to the Chinese variety) you'll ever have.

        Quan Hy ($20 or so a head if you eat a lot) in Westminster. English can be a problem with the servers, and some translation problems on the menu, but honestly order what others are ordering (you can point, it's OK) and you'll do fine. Standout dishes: banh beo (little sticky rice paper wraps with shrimp and pork); bun bo Hue (noodles in spicy broth); goi mit (jackfruit salad). Service is, frankly, terrible, so go in knowing it.

        Banh Mi Che Cali (it would be hard to spend more than $5-$7 a head here), which is basically takeout only. Service is extremely gruff, but the prices are rock bottom and the food -- well, if you've never had a banh mi, you're in for a flavour explosion. Get the "dac biet", the combination, and get it on baguette, not on a roll. It's pate and a tiny bit each of a few types of Vietnamese charcuterie, with pickled carrots and radish, chili peppers and cilantro, garlic mayonnaise, and some "brown" sauce -- usually Maggi seasoning. If you buy the baguettes (10" per sandwich I think) they're $2 each. If you buy them on rolls, they're $2.25 each but if you buy two you get one free. The same deal is for the che, which is the mostly-coconut-based dessert puddings on the left. Point and shoot, $1.50 each (may be $1.75), buy two get one free, which is what "mua 2 tang 1" means. The place is an absolute scrum but unless you're Vietnamese you will stand out and they'll know you don't know what you're doing. That doesn't mean they'll be NICE, but it means they'll cope. Also you can get not-bad goi cuon (fresh, unfried rice paper rolls with pork, shrimp and herbs) here. Then go elsewhere and eat them, you don't want to stay in there.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek


          Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery
          8948 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

          Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery
          15551 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

          Banh Mi Che Cali Bakery
          13838 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843

          Vien Dong
          14271 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92843

          Quan Hy Restaurant
          9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

          Xanh Bistro
          16161 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

    2. Cream Pan/Japonais in Tustin. I went on the rec of exilekiss and found it to be fab! The strawberry croissant was my personal favorite...buttery croissant sliced in half and filled with fresh pastry cream and sliced strawberries. I did try the melon pan, and wasn't as impressed as it was not fresh out of the oven. The chocolate croissant was quite tasty, as were the regular criossants. I didn't have a chance to try the famous cream pan as they were sold out for the day.

      Cream Pan
      602 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

      1. For a great asian bakery, try 85 degrees celcius in Irvine at the Diamond Jamboree Plaza or Cream Pan in Tustin. The only thing about Cream Pan is that they only bake in the morning and they sell out quite quickly. 85 degrees continues to bake most of the day so you can still get freshly baked goods most of the day.

        For meals, it really depends on what what type of food, price range, etc.

        85 Degrees Celsius
        Irvine, CA, Irvine, CA

        5 Replies
        1. re: funkyshanna

          I have no food preferences just looking for a great experience through out Sunday and Sat. They don't have to dressy/ fancy and price is no problem. I love cheap eats and too fine dining is great if its a good experience.
          I don' t want to eat at Disney property or chain.
          Thanks again.

          1. re: hammocc

            Cream Pan is great!
            My favorite restaurant in the OC is Tulsa Rib Company in Orange.
            Not too much on the environment, but great ribs and awesome Tulsa fries.
            I used to live in Montebello and drive with some of my friends over there.
            Oh... Cafe Hiro in Cypress is wonderful as well. Great food at very decent prices.
            I take my mom there because she likes it when they play Okinawan music that reminds her of childhood times.
            A little more fancy is Park Avenue in Stanton. Good food. Not great, but good for the area.
            A little bit more authentic (and not so clean but good) is Van Restaurant (not to be confused with Van Bakery, which is just a few blocks further down) in Westminster. They make banh xeo the best in this area, and it reminds me of my travels to Vietnam. Hope this helps.

            1. re: hammocc

              Just FYI... I can think of maybe two restaurants in OC where I'd feel uncomfortable eating in jeans and a polo shirt. I've even, due to the "hey let's go try it" impulse, eaten at Marche Moderne (a tasty New French place in South Coast Plaza with a $25 lunch prix fixe) in shorts and flip flops... so don't plan on dressing up much here.

              Also, I understand about Disney property but one of the best restaurants in OC is at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel -- Napa Rose. Expensive, though ($50-$75 a head exclusive of drinks).

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Would you really feel comfortable going to Marche Moderne on a Saturday night wearing shorts and flip-flops? I certainly wouldn't...but perhaps I am too "old school". This is a very nice restaurant where on most evenings pretty much everyone is wearing stylish casual clothing or even sport coats. Sure nice clean jeans and an attractive sport shirt and/or sweater are fine here, and almost anywhere in southern CA...but somehow at dinner time in the really nice spots (which is what I consider MM), I don't think shorts and flip-flops are really appropriate. Others may disagree. Perhaps at lunch, but...

                In response to the original post, I definitely would consider Marche Moderne for dinner on Saturday night...or if you like sushi, Bluefin in Newport Beach (Crystal Cove) would also be an excellent choice. Although I've only been there for a drink, but I understand the food is quite good and the Newport harbor view is amazing, consider First Cabin at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport. If food is your primary concern however, I would stick to the first two recommendations; but if you want a wonderful view...

                1. re: josephnl

                  Well, I went for Saturday lunch while I was shopping at SCP, so it's not like I was planning on going there and decided to wear shorts and flip flops. My point was that nobody said anything and there were no pregnant pauses or weird looks either. You don't need to dress up (jacket and tie, etc.) to dine there or just about anywhere else.

                  I'm not suggesting he dress in shorts; I'm saying that having been raised with the sartorial standards of New York 30+ years ago, I know very few restaurants that require dress the way many East Coast places do -- and the OP is from Maryland.

                  Lighten up, you'll give yourself hypertension trying to "fix" people on the Internet.