The Cat and Custard Cup: What ? A 4 -Star Restaurant in La Habra? Yes!
In a modest town such as La Habra, one expects to go out of town for fine dining, at least immediately east to more chic Fullerton and Brea. This would be the case if there was not The Cat and Custard Cup on historic Whittier Blvd. A truly delightful culinary establishment is well hidden in the middle of the nowhere that is La Habra. This is an Orange county town of which even some local OCers have not heard, so the buzz about this restaurant, owned by the Salisbury family who formed Los Angeles' El Cholo, is not as big as it should merit. At least, the Cat can maintain a dedicated quiet following- that is, unless everyone reads this review!
Here, California innovation meets English elegance. Entrees like Grilled Filet Mignon are classic creme of the crop. The Cat's menu offers originality especially with starters such as Grilled Sonoma Quail and Proscuitto Wrapped Sea Scallops.
Looking from the outside, one sees a kind of fairytale setting, like Alice in Wonderland having a tea in the garden. Behind the fancy wooden doors is an English parlor reminiscent of the 1800s, achieving quite a swank look. Pictures of Cats are adored here , adorned all over the walls.
Come here for lunch, dinner and dessert- all of which are exquisite. If you indulge with all thre, the suggested dining price is about right or slightly underpriced. Choosing a few starters with a drink will satisfy enough for about $30.
If you want an after dinner swig, there is a full bar as well as live jazz music on certain nights. Check website for more info on this fabulous La Habra establishment, something of which this humble city can boast!
Favorite Dish: Wild Mushroom and Crab Enchilada
What a fancy way to dine on Mexican. This is a starter to wet the appetite, just enough for lunch or a light dinner.
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El Cholo: Eat Mex at Gorgeous El Cholo
El Cholo has a chain of beautiful and widely touted restaurants in L.A. and Orange counties. Gladly, modest La Habra can claim having one, located along the locally famous Whittier Blvd, known for its classic Latino vibe. The colorful eaterie is just off Harbor Blvd, the avenue leading to Disneyland.
Read El Cholo's story on website. very interesting timeline of the restaurant!
Favorite Dish: enchilada suiza- creamy, rich ample plate (with pinto beans, a heaping spoon of sour cream and rice
burrito (con carne)- huge burrito, with a bed of pinto beans, lite salad, lots of sour cream and rice (this is really suitable for 2-4 people!
- Food and Dining
El Taco Nazo: Have the best Fish Tacos in Town!
Taco Nazo is a city favorite of mine. There are a few other locations (I believe no more than 6) but the one in La Habra is the one I know and the best overall location, off Beach Blvd.
Choose from tacos, burritos, tortas (sandwiches) and mariscos (seafood). I almost always get the popular taco pesado (see below).
If you love spicy food, you must visit the salsa bar to top or fill in your food choice. There are pickled carrots, chiles and wide variety of hot sauces-- red, orange and green!
Inside Taco Nazo, there is a simple and comfortable feel, almost like a diner but latino style. There is an entertaining jukebox here, that plays a variety of music, but anout 60-70 percent latin music from the rock pop sounds of Mana or the ranchero croons of Vicente Fernandez. If you don't know him or Mana, well, there is some good ol' gringo music as well from the 80s to today.
Se habla espanol
Favorite Dish: taco pecado (fish)!
The fish (redsnapper or pollock) is beer-battered fried to perfection and is flavored with cilantro, onions, a creamy white sauce and lemon slice. I guarantee that you would not be disappointed!
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Cafe El Cholo: Un Poco de Mexico
Even if you have been to the other El Colos, this one is the BEST! The full menu is available in the bar, and they have the greatest margaritas.
In the picture, you might notice the mariachis behind my friends and me. They're there every Friday and Saturday. And on most Fridays there is an outside grill for the cantina tacos (75 cents each)!
Favorite Dish: The LA Lemonade and the Patron Desert Berry are outstanding, but the Original Margarita is pretty good too. They will cook any dish to order, and many of the "trraditional" dishes can be made vegetarian.
Niko Niko: The Hip Place to be in La Habra
On any given night, the dining room and patio Niko Niko is packed with regulars and first time guests dining on fresh sushi, seafood,salad and more. Like everywhere else in Southern California, sushi and Japanese restuarants are thriving and why not. There needs to be healthier and gourmet alternatives here !!
Favorite Dish: Baked Salmon Roll!
Fresh salmon layered atop the sushi rolls , filled with avocado
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It's a Grind: Coffee and Customer-Friendly -Forget Starbucks!
For So California visitors and those already here, head to this independent coffeehouse . There are various locations, but I just visited this one in La Habra. There is very genuine friendly customer service to go along with your coffee or tea. Also there are very delectable desserts- like the banana "motobar" pastry which is quite nutritious!!
Favorite Dish: Get the Iced Mocha drink your first time there(a small size is enough) or the special drink of the moment which is often exotic (i.e., Tahitian Crunch with coconut). Any pastry there is sure to not disappoint.
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Close your eyes...(figuratively, or else this is going to be very boring, which it might be anyway) For those of us who didnt grow up with Krispy Kreme, just bare with me and try to use your imagination and fix your thoughts on a 40's retro green and white box of heaven sitting on the coffee room table in front of you. Lean gently forward and breathe deep; smell the warm sweetness of leavened yeast, glaze, a perfect doughnut. Ahhhhh..... :o) Run your tongue across your lips, slowly and give them a little smack. Stretch out your hand and touch the box with a whisper, feel the warmth in your palm as it hovers just out of fingers grasp. Trembling, you reach to open the box, anticipation rising as the steam from your just brewed cup of coffee, the perfect companion for this dulcet delectable. Slowly, open your rolled eyes, a sultry grin on your face. Lifting the lid, your heart palpitating out of control immediately screams, 'They're all gone!' (along with several other superlatives) hahahaha....... that would totally kill me!!!!!!!! Krispy Kreme doughnuts cannot be compared to any other doughnut in the book and I'll wager to say I do not stand alone in this sentiment. Personally, I'm not a traditional glazed doughnut kind of a gal. I prefer chocolate. I never understood what people saw in a plain old boring glazed doughnut until I was introduced to these tiny delights while living in California, watching TV one afternoon I hear a show on 'Krispy Kreme Craze'..... with nothing good on TV on Sundays (by the way, does this happen to be true everywhere in the world? LOL) I kept on watching..... they were talking about this chain of doughnut restaurants that were so popular in the South East.... and how now California was gonna get their very first one!!!!! Found out all about it (because wherever there's a mess, controversy, you name it..... I'm there!) and went to check out the new Krispy Kreme in La Habra.... drove 45 mins to get to it, waited in a line longer than Disneyland lines on a Summer day, for a long time!!!!! but man, oh man.... was it worth it!!!! fresh and warm out of the cooker, these gems melt in your mouth and leave gooey glaze in your hands (perfectly finger licking good) There is something magical about the simplicity of a Krispy Kreme doughnut..... the perfect roundness, the perfect hole.... ehmmmmm ;o) the just right glaze, the smooth velvet melt in your mouth texture. Dunkin' Donuts don't stack up, Publix can't hold a candle to them, even the local bakery doesn't have the right stuff. This sacred delights have to be concocted through pixie dust and fairy magic!!!!!! Luckily before I left California they opened the second store in Van Nuys, in the San Fernando Valley, and thank goodness... a lot closer to me!!!! (about 20 min drive) I decide to go to that location on their opening day!!! news helicopters and all!!!!! TV cameras, lines...... CRAZY!!!!!!! Finally made it to order..... a friend had gotten 2 dozens (they're about $4 per dozen) and as we are going out.... some dude in line screams: 'I buy you a dozen!!!!!!' My friend turns around and smiles..... but the guy insists he gives him $20 for the dozen.... UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! I'd heard on the news and websites about this insanity, but then I was living it in the flesh!!!!!! Friend sold (scalped) his dozen of course! :oD I suggest if you have a Krispy Kreme close to ya..... you go! go now! don't ever drive by that little shop without going in one more time. Get a dozen, maybe two and take them home. Brew a pot of coffee and enjoy, but be forewarned, you'll need a cigarette after you're done.
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