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Orange County eating adventures

Jim Zurer | Sep 15, 200208:22 PM

I have been remiss in not posting my experiences in Orange County while attending a recent business meeting in Anaheim. This is my third trip to the area and I continue to be very impressed with the depth and variety of dining pleasure available in the area.

I started with a quick lunch at Mos 2 in Anaheim...a big bowl of rice topped with nicely grilled pork strips, scsllions and teriyaki sauce. All for about $4.00--an auspicious beginning.

Dinner the first night was at an Italian restaurant in Orange....Allegro Ristorante on Tustin. Not too auspicious a begining--there was only one other table occupied and then they didn't have the highly anticipated osso buco as promised on the memo. But the waiter was a character and the food was quite good..especially the marinated seafood appetizer. The well cooked pasta with tasty sausage inexplicably also had a rich cream sauce which made it hard to eat more than a few forkfuls. The veal was very good. The dessert--peach sorbet packed in a fresh peach shell--was extremely refreshing. With a pleasant Chianti, it was a pleasant meal.

The next night was even better...we went to Pina's Bistro in Tustin. A very unique family run place, the pastas were excellent--linguine with grilled shrimp and the best manicotti I have had in many years. The steamed clams were inexplicably salty and a little tough, but the pastas made up for that fault. I would go back in a minute.

The last night, a bunch of the conference attendees headed for a Filipino restaurant--the Mangga Grill-- also in Tustin. An unprepossessing diner, the helpful waiter gave us some guidance but didn't adequately explain how big the portions were. In any case, we had a beef shank soup which was rich and meaty, a tongue dish in a very savory sauce, a fish that came in a slightly too sweet coconut based sauce, and an enormous plate of garlic fried rice--very good. The highlight of the meal was something called fried spinach leaves and they were completely unique as well as being delicious. Spinach leaves are flecked with a light tempura batter and flash fried--so fast that the leaves remain green and uncrinkled. They are slightly crunchy to the bite, with lots of spinach flavor. A great dish.

Filipino flan is too heavy for my taste but there was some other Filipino ice cream concoction that someone in our party had and enjoyed. The colors were too weird for me.

Anyway, a very satisfying eating experience in the Anaheim area...which was capped off with my Chowhounding expedition on the west side of LA with my son Mike the next day.

Jim Zurer
Washington DC

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