While making our way south on The 57 to San Diego last Friday night, the idea of stopping into Anaheim’s M&M Donuts for a taste of their famous blueberry doughnuts popped into my head. With a sleeping baby in the back seat and possible long lines to consider, decisions needed to be made quickly and assuredly. The promise of glossily glazed rings, purple speckled and piping hot, proved too enticing to resist.
Archive for the 'Orange County' Category
Stuffed plump with crab, shrimp, and pork, then deep-fried twice for maximum blistering, these rolls induced swoons from everyone at the table. Even when tightly wrapped in lettuce and herbs and dunked with abandon in chili-spiked nuoc cham, the cha gio remained unbeatably crisp, the translucent rice paper wrappers shattering with each bite.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Pok Pok’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings since my trip to Portland last fall. The perfect marriage of crispy chicken and potent nuoc mam, these unforgettable wings left my fingers sticky, my lips lacquered, and my stomach craving more.
Since jetting off to The Beaver State whenever a hankering hits isn’t very practical, I am on a mission to find a local source for similarly delectable wings. First stop: Cafe Artist in Orange County. This spot came recommended to me by Anh, a Gastronomy reader.
Located in the same Little Saigon strip mall as Vien Dong restaurant, Cafe Artist is one of the most popular quan nhau (watering holes) in the neighborhood. The place opens at 1:30 PM and stays bumpin’ till late.
The Astronomer and I, along with my friend Anne, came in for lunch and snagged a table on the patio. I’d heard that it gets loud and smokey once the regular crowd files in, so I was quite pleased that we had the place to ourselves at this hour.
We ordered five dishes between the three of us and managed to finish them all. First up was a hefty platter of oc len xao dua ($11.99),
cockles sea snails simmered in an irresistible lemongrass, red curry, and coconut broth.
As instructed by our waitress, we sucked with all our might to release the cockles from their shells. Mmm! Bowls of steamed rice were requested to make good use of the fabulous broth.
The Astronomer and I crossed county lines for a taste of Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee, and boy was the trek worth it.
Located in a “nice” strip mall in Costa Mesa, Sidecar has been wowing Orange County residents with their yeast-raised, cake, and buttermilk old-fashioned doughnuts since debuting just a year ago.
The shop is a collaborative effort between Chef Brooke Des Prez, Sumter Pendergrast (an artist and clothing designer), and Chi-lin Pendergrast (a photographer). It’s no wonder that the space and design elements here are as impressive as the doughnuts!
Our friend and O.C. resident Kat showed us the ropes on our inaugural visit; lucky girl lives down the street.