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is orange county a culinary wasteland?

wow i'm a dog | Apr 20, 200408:51 PM

please prove me wrong. it's my annual where to have mother's day dinner dilemma. i get to organize this because somehow this falls to the one who has borne no fruit. and all this in orange county, what i like to call a "culinary wasteland" (it's also where i'm from, so don't get all huffy). all i see are chain restaurants and so i desperately need your help.

compounding this:
in one corner, we have me. the vegetarian turning vegan (i so hate that word) who hasn't *quite* yet come out of the closet to her mother, the daughter of a butcher. (perhaps i might find an appropriate mother's day card?) along with me, comes my better half, who is a true carnivore.

in the other corner, we have the mother, who likes to have plans *made*, not discussed. no suggestions from her. the end.

in the other corner, we have sister one who is so disenchanted with food and what it does to her (actually quite fit) body that her eight-year-old daughter checks labels for fat content. add one bil, just recovering from a heart attack and an 11-year-old son who thinks ordinary items such as mustard, mushrooms and sesame sticks are gross.

and finally, we have sister two, pencil-thin with a boatload of "intestinal problems" who finds eating more of a chore than a pleasure. accompanying her are two children, two and seven and one husband who eats like clogging his arteries is a life goal.

last year, per your recommendation, we ventured to kitayama in newport beach, which was pleasant enough even through the silly portraits they took upon entering the restaurant, but i yearn for something more unique. more interesting. more ambiance. more character. and better food (i think the krab with a k did it in). and no chain restaurants!

our disparate tastes make this "a challenge," which is a euphemism for "we can barely agree on an everyday meal let alone a special occasion set to honor those people that have graciously allowed us to walk the planet."

i think these options would be safe:

these locations would not cause heartache for the family who apparently lost their driving gene:
newport beach
santa ana

this price range would be ideal:

and, please, let there be a bar. after all of this, i'll need a drink.


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