Southern Promise

Come for the food, stay for the beaches

Everyone loves a triumphant winner.

Which is why competitions in food supremacy between cities and regions are always couched in such combative terms: throwdowns, smackdowns and the lot.

To borrow from that language, ours is a city that likes to box in the heaviest class, fighting in title bouts like Los Angeles vs. New York, or L.A. vs. S.F. Our collective braggadocio causes us to treat Orange County like a scrawny pretender punching above its weight.

That's a terrible mistake. Because here's the truth about Orange County: It has far better Vietnamese food than we do, and arguably better beer too (click to see our Orange County eating and drinking itinerary–with photos!).

One of our more talented chefs, Joseph Mahon, previously of Bastide, has defected to Fullerton. He serves a heavily larded breakfast at his diner, Early Bird Café–one that would be welcome in any L.A. neighborhood. He just opened a burger joint, too.

You may drive south for an occasional visit to Disneyland or to take a trip to the beach. But if you're only dining at Downtown Disney or the In-N-Out closest to your favorite strip of oceanside sand, you're missing a friendly neighbor rife with culinary promise.