For beer-forward dining options, Nagel champions Haven Gastropub (HavenGastropub.com, 190 S. Glassell St., Old Town Orange) for its “perfectly balanced craft draft selection along with an ample bottle list. Chef Greg Daniels prepares gourmet comfort food such as crisp braised pork belly cooked in a saison ale reduction.” Make reservations a week in advance and you can order a whole suckling pig for the family to enjoy together. Try it with the Dopplebock from nearby TAPS brewery.
Among the food trucks, Nagel singles out the winner of The Great Food Truck Race on FoodTV, The Lime Truck (TheLimeTruck.com) offering organic food such as its Ultimate Taco, “made from 12-hour slow-roasted pulled pork, homemade guacamole, chipotle honey slaw and cotija cheese—a steal for $3.” Chef/owner Jason Quinn just opened a brick-and-mortar version called The Playground (Playgroundtsa.com, 220 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana). “The menu changes daily,” Nagel says, but “the real draw for local beer geeks is the hiring of Jarred Dooley, formerly of the Bruery. The skills he learned for a Cicerone certification fill this new restaurant with a tempting draft list of pan-California breweries. This drool-inducing spot is another must.
If you overdo it on beers, Nagel has a hangover cure: the Menudo soup from Los Sanchez (LosSanchez.com, 11906 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove) about two miles from Disneyland. But only if you are adventurous enough to eat tripe.
Finally, since this is Southern California, make sure you get to the natural place for recreation—the beach. The closest to Anaheim are Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Before heading out, pick up sandwiches and some bottles to go from Hollingshead’s Deli (HollingsheadsDeli.com, 368 S. Main St., Orange). Sandwiches such as the hero start at $5 (get the $2 add-on avocado; it’s California after all)There are 21 taps and the deli sells more than 500 bottled beers, so it’s no wonder it hosts many California brewery events.
Brian Yaeger recently moved to Portland, OR, where he homebrews and is exploring the beers of the Pacific Northwest.