Inspired by PaulF's great question for LA, what about the OC? Again, this isnt your "special occasion" spot, but the place where you keep returning to, almost as if it was a unconscious habit. I live in Irvine, so most my choices are close and convenient, with a couple exceptions.
Here are mine
1. California Fish Grill - so cheap and delicious; The Tuna steak must be at least 12 ounces for a mere $8. Good french fries and grilled zuchini if you wanna be healthy.
2. Corner Bakery- cha cha chain! But have you tried the chopped salad? Man oh man, the perfect blend of blue cheese, chicken and avacado (I pass on the bacon)
3. Thanh My- Its open super late and they have a way with Pho Tai Sach. Though I made the mistake of ordering bo luc lac last week and learned that they dont do EVERYTHING well.
4. Oki Doki- Everything from Ramen to Korean Pancakes, this place gots what you are craving for cheap.