Monday, June 30, 2008

Tommy Pastrami Opens Today Next Week

Last Friday, the wife and I were very fortunate to get a sneak peak of the new Tommy Pastrami restaurant on 4th Street in Downtown Santa Ana as they hosted their soft-grand opening for invited guests, friends and family, though, we were neither.

On the night prior, we walked by the open doors of the restaurant as we were headed to Jason’s Downtown. There we saw the crew getting one of the several flat-screens ready for wall mounting. It really was amazing how much they got done in less than twenty-four hours (we honestly didn’t think that they’d be able to make today’s grand opening, let alone a soft one the next day).

Though you wouldn’t think that a joint with a menu consisting mainly of overstuffed sandwiches would be something to talk about, but this exciting addition to Santa Ana’s future restaurant row sports a very upscale décor; much like the neighboring Bistro 400 and Jason’s Downtown restaurants. If there's any place in Orange County that could be home to a New York-style deli, it's 4th street Santa Ana.

Food and drinks were on the house that night but I only got a chance to sample the regular pastrami sandwich and a small cup of chili. But from those few bites I can assure you that this place is going to be off the hook, much like the other new guys down at The Crosby.

The friendly staff was cool under the intense pressure of a loud house packed ass-to-ass as they made sure that all guests had a chance to cram their pie holes with the various free sandwiches being served that night.

With 6 wall-mounted flat screens located all over the restaurant, one can only hope pray that this restaurant is open on Sundays come football season (Go Chargers).

The hours for this Tommy Pastrami restaurant are listed here on their website, but I’ve heard that those times aren’t carved in stone as they will be feeling it out for the first couple of months (so go on weeknights folks).

Imagine–another restaurant in Downtown Santa Ana open late on a non-Friday weeknight? We might actually be earning that “Downtown Orange County” slogan that was just recently painted on the water tower.


Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen
Downtown Santa Ana
410 W. 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

STORE HOURS (It's up to you Santa Ana if you want them to stay open later):
Monday - Thursday: 7am - 7pm
Friday: 7am - 10pm*
Saturday: 1pm - 10pm*
Sunday: ???

*If it's still busy, the doors stay open

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2008 Sunset at the Zoo

Passing on the goodness:

Pack up a picnic supper, a comfy chair, the kids, and a few friends to come out to the Santa Ana Zoo this summer for the annual "Sunset at the Zoo" Summer concert series. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in a lush park setting, listening to great jazz, looking at displays by artists from 2 local artist districts, checking out cool animals, enjoying coffee and sweets from Parties by Panache, or riding the Zoofari Express train around the Zoo.

This year, there will be 3 concerts: June 8, June 29, and July 20 from 5:30 - 7:30.

June 8 features The Vega Band, jazz artists from the Santa Barbara Area. Featured at the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival, and also the Temecula and Camarillo Jazz Festivals, this talented band performs smooth jazz with a funky flair.

June 29, look for a great show from the Fabulous Peggie Perkins and her trio. Peggie was an opener for last year’s Salt Lake City Jazz Festival. In addition to the jazz and standards in her show, you’ll get a few surprises as she puts her style and spin on your favorite songs (Peggie is releasing her newest CD at the Coach House just a few days earlier, so this is a great opportunity to see her before she goes on tour).

July 20 features perennial favorite The Ron Kobayashi Trio. The Trio is one of our headliners every year, and we’re proud to bring the band back again this year. Featuring original contemporary jazz and amazing takes on standards, this trio performs in the finest Jazz establishments in Orange County.

In addition to a great concert, all “Sunset” shows include an art exhibition by local artists and the Orange County Gourd Society, displays and exhibits to help show you how to lower your carbon footprint, a kids area with crafts and fun, free train rides and desserts, animal encounters, and much more!

Come early for a bonus Blues concert on the front lawn with The Mighty Mojo Prophets on June 8 and July 20, and Mother Road on June 29, free with the price of regular zoo admission. The Blues shows start at 3:00, before the “Sunset” concerts.

Admission for the Sunset Concerts is only $10 ($5 for Zoo members)
The Blues concerts are free with your regular Zoo admission.
All proceeds go to help the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo (a 501 c3 non-profit) support summer programs, animal care and enrichment, and new animals and exhibits.

Save the dates now, and plan to be there for all 3 great shows!

Get info on the "Sunsets at the Zoo" Summer concert series at

For all other Santa Ana Zoo events see the website at
or call (714) 953-8555 ext. 4

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ooh! The Colors!

About a month ago, this "peace" caught my eye as I was driving south in the car pool lane on the 55 freeway. To get a better look at the work, I had to pull off the freeway and backtrack being that it wasn't exactly facing the commuting traffic.

Graffiti of this caliber is rarely seen in Santa Ana. Luckily, I had my handy-dandy point-and-shoot cause I knew this one was a keeper.

The businesses along the 55 freeway are frequently subject to gawdawful "attempts" at graffiti art. The Pool Tables USA building alone (facing the southbound side of the 55 freeway) is often abused by graffiti of sub-par standards (at best), which are eventually painted over only to be a clean canvas for the next amateur waiting in the bushes.

Note: In the last two years, I've seen this building having been painted over several times. I wonder when the property owner will consider a wall-crawling vine to help reduce the all too frequent attacks and help cut back on his/her trips to the Home Depot paint department.

If the "KND" (Kings Never Die) signature on the top right looks/sounds familiar to you, then you probably remember the infamous "22 Tagger" who a few years back, terrorized CalTrans and the 22 freeway with his mark.

Now I'm not trying to justify whether or not this should be considered art (though I personally think it is), or whether "nicer" graffiti should be condoned, but rather wanted to share an interesting photo of true graffiti culture existing in Orange County.

I'm sure if this artist were to shift their talent onto a stretched canvas, they'd be able to make some serious money at our monthly Art Walk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Get Gas, Get Tacos, Get Gas

Get two free tacos at Jack in the Box when you bring in any gas receipt on Thursday, June 26th.
Find the nearest "Jack in the Crack" here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George Carlin

Video NSFW. Watch at your own discretion.
Gotta love the First Amendment–unless you're the FCC.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June Art Walk

If you're looking for something to do tonight, come stop by our Art Walk starting at 7PM–and don't forget that next month's Art Walk is going to be HUGE!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mil Jugos

One of Santa Ana’s best-kept secrets is tucked away on a one-way street that channels the five 0’clock mass exodus from the Ronald Regan Federal building.

Mil Jugos (translation: one thousand juices) is a colorful hole-in-the-wall restaurant owned by the friendly and always full of smiles Norah Briceño, seen pictured below (left) with her mother, Solange.

The vibrant walls are covered with various photos from Norah's hometown in Venezuela, as well as interesting handcrafted Venezuelan-style building façades.

As a rule of thumb when trying new restaurants, I always tell the server that it's our first visit. Not because I expect special treatment, but I like to get the back-story of the establishment while it buys me some extra time as I peruse the menu.

Luckily, our server just happened to be Norah and she sat right down with us at our table to help decipher the menu while sharing the story of the fruition of her dreams and the difficulties one faces when starting a restaurant in downtown Santa Ana.

Though the menu wasn't complicated, I did need a little handholding from Norah being that I've never eaten Venezuelan cuisine before. She seemed familiar with my cluelessness of Venezuelan dining as she proudly claimed to be "the only Venezuelan restaurant in town" (yeah, it even says that on her business card too).

After helping us pick out some of the restaurant favorites, she headed back into the kitchen where her mother immediately began preparing the forthcoming deliciousness.

First up were the Arepas–grilled cornbread stuffed with either chicken or seasoned meat. The size of an Arepa is hard to tell from these photos, but each one is about the size of a Jr. Whopper (my mouth was salivating as I Photoshopped these two photos together).

The cornbread was light and sweet with just the right amount of crispiness, adding texture to a mouthful of overflowing steamy goodness from either the seasoned meat or the flavorful chicken. The Arepas come out piping hot, but the amazing taste makes one a glutton for punishment as I couldn't resist to continue to chomp and chew away, burning the insides of my mouth rather waiting a few minutes for them to cool down.

Just as we finished up the Arepas, our Cachapas were being delivered to our table. What looks like a burned omelette is actually a folded sweet corn pancake stuffed with white cheese and seasoned meat.

Though it may look like breakfast, this bad boy could be served at anytime of the day, bringing me to my only complaint about this restaurant–the hours.

Mil Jugos is only open from 10AM-5PM Monday-Friday, and from 10:30AM-5PM on Saturday. Norah said that after 5PM, the downtown just seems to die giving her no reason to stay open, especially now in these tough economic times.

Hopefully, with my boys just around the corner at The Crosby "killin' it" on what should be a dead night like Mondays or Tuesdays, perhaps the nightlife will pick up downtown and we'll all soon have an opportunity to sear the insides of our mouths way after the street lights have come on.

Oh yeah, the juices were great, but that's kind of a given.

Mil Jugos
318 W. 5th Street
714 836-4601

Need more convincing you say? Check out these fine reads:
OC Register
Washington Square Website

...and don't forget to check out The OC Weekly's review (like I did–sorry Gustavo ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The "One-Stop" Ticket

Whether you love him or hate him (or have no clue who he is), Don Cribb proposes the idea of a "One Stop" ticket between the Santa Ana and Orange stations in an article featured in the May/June 2008 edition of the Old Towne Orange Review.

The train depots in Orange and Santa Ana present exciting changes. Both areas are experiencing new residential loft development and new business and retail opportunities in these areas. Orange’s Depot Walk and Santa Ana’s Santiago Street Lofts have introduced fresh ideas and energy into established dynamics. In Orange, new loft development helps reinforce the importance of Chapman University’s growing role in the socio-economics of the area driven, in part, by its celebrated new film studio. The Orange Plaza is becoming a smaller version of “Westwood Village” near UCLA! In Santa Ana, the Santiago Street Lofts, one-hundred ten of them, with the launch of monthly art walks, have demonstrated the vitality and appeal of transient-oriented development and reinforces the role of the Downtown Artists Village as an urban interactive arts district. A new streetcar system is under review that would link the depot to the Artists Village, the Santa Ana public library and the Orange County Civic Center, where a new Court of Appeals is under construction.

What happens when these two depots better relate? New residents at Santiago Street Lofts soon discover that they have few restaurants and retail amenities nearby, even though Downtown Santa Ana has new cafes such as The Crosby at 4th & Broadway, an ultra-cool and tasty music cafe, and a stylish small development called “Art House,” a residential/professional address next to Chiarini Marble and Stone on Washington, as an example of new ideas moving into established, older areas. This said, it doesn’t take long for new buyers to recognize that a five-minute drive up Grand Avenue onto Glassell can lead to Gabbi’s, one of the best regional Mexican restaurants, or to a wealth of other good cafes and quality retail opportunities - in Orange!

The Orange and Santa Ana Depots have one important and unique feature they share; proximity! A special “One-Stop” ticket, created to encourage residents near either location to move easily back and forth by rail for educational, artistic or business benefit, would enable others to look at rail transportation more seriously in their daily lives. It means they could leave many cars at home!

Santa Ana is set to acquire county land near its depot. There have been discussions regarding more art, educational and residential development, near the depot. The first Artists Village boundaries included the Santa Ana depot and some land south of the depot reads “Artists Village influence” in terms of future development, to make use of light industrial properties.

Much as has been done in Orange. The two depots help to offer positive transportation consideration while discouraging automobile use. The more cars that enter Old Towne Orange and begin to congest the area, the less appealing the area becomes. No one wants to lessen the charm and attraction of Historic Old Towne Orange.

At a time when fuel costs are ever high and pollutants are becoming increasingly regulated, more MetroLink use could help ease vehicular demands! Much mutual benefit could be realized between two important Orange County cities with so much to share! They share a community college district, public school district boundaries and have city boundaries that move back and forth irregularly through neighborhoods and retail and office addresses. Both cities share so much! This relationship could become even more important when transportation opportunities become more important and are shared, too, to help preserve quality of life and ensure sustainable growth and maybe add a bit more interest and fun!

Don Cribb served on the Santa Ana planning commission for eight years, is currently sitting on the Environmental and Transportation Advisory Committee and is the President of the Santa Ana Council of Arts & Culture.

Would a "One-Stop" ticket encourage you to visit our neighbors to the north more frequently? If you haven’t been to Gabbi’s, my growing gut and I highly recommend.

Are there Any Depot Walk residents out there? Would this ticket encourage you to visit sunny, sometimes scary Santa Ana?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Look what arrived in the mail yesterday.
Goodbye social life :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Santa Ana Propaganda

You would never think that the Santa Ana featured in this clip is the same Santa Ana you read about in the OC Register. It’s amazing what good stock footage, editing using quick cuts, and super-saturating the footage can do for your city. Still, there's nowhere else in Orange County I'd rather live than here in Santa Ana.

Zapfino is arguably the worst typeface–EVER.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Thank you to all of the wonderful blog readers out there for helping me raise the first of many checks to be delivered to Pet Pro Life–the organization where I adopted my wonderful and loving doggie back in October of 2006.

By spending time on this blog, clicking on ads, or even buying something featured in one of the ads, you have helped raise this money to support a fantastic non-profit organization dedicated to helping furry friends find new homes.

Currently, animal shelters and rescue programs all across the nation are under great financial strain due to so many homeowners losing their homes and being forced to give up their pets in these tough economic times–as seen in this video featured on

Every penny counts and I couldn't have done it without you.
You guys ROCK–Happy Friday!

Save $25 at Lucky Owl Tonight

Passing on the goodness:

Come Join Us for our First Fridays event, this Friday June 6th from 7-10 pm, featuring Black and White Photography by Michal Pfeil. He will be showing and selling new work from his black and white architecture series. With a special performance from Violinist, Mathias Chaidez.

Lucky Owl will also be releasing it's latest Summer Line of tank tops. Be the first to purchase these HOT tank tops.

Stop by the City Place sales office to receive a $25.00 gift certificate for that night only. (while supplies last)

We look forward to seeing you!

Lucky Owl