I made the drive down south yesterday in record time. I was seriously mellow when I left San Francisco, like floaty mellow, like marsh mallow, like I left my heart there mellow, with caffeine not yet in my veins and the jazz station turned up high. No traffic. Gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky. And yadda yadda yadda, I found myself in hazy LA. The traffic wasn’t bad at all for a change, so I whizzed through and ended up swallowed by the Orange Curtain, where you can have both Disneyland AND a ball.
I lived in Orange County for three years, and to put it politely, didn’t feel it, but there are a handful of fantastic foodie finds that should be noted herein. They will not include the entire fast food industry, which was born here, or the orange groves, long gone and forgotten, or the grains, raisin grapes, almonds, apricots or avocados that preceded the oranges. If you still haven’t read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, try it sitting under a rat-infested palm tree hooked up with canned music issuing from a speaker in the fronds with a nice, hazy view of the 405. Think about Carl Karcher, native son, founder of Carl’s Jr., looking around at the fast food wasteland he helped create in the groves of his youth, thinking, now that’s progress! And don’t forget to breathe.
I’m staying in the lovely city of Orange, in the hearte of Olde Towne, to be exacte, with one of my very closest friends, so it’s all the more beautiful to me, but it sure ain’t Berkeley.
Still, we can walk to Felix’s, one of Orange County’s treasures. It’s a Cuban café that has been around forever, a place that still sells hunks of marinated fried meat with a mound of rice and beans and calls that dinner. And thank the heavens for that. God Bless America, etc. My husband was very upset to learn that I failed to buy pistachios on our wine country trip the other day, because that’s what we would *always* do, so I will not fail him by skipping Felix’s this time.