It began as a little cafe between the dirt airplane runway of Crawford (Seal Beach) Airport and the tidal channel. Glide'er Inn owners Nina Bennis and Jim Arnerich dug their own clams for chowder and reeled in fresh fish. This year, the Glide'er Inn celebrates its 60th anniversary.
In 1944, the restaurant moved to its present Coast Highway location, still bordering the airstrip. Though it has since been enlarged, it has retained much of the original ambience, including high-backed booths and dozens of model planes hanging overhead. Current owner Karla Benzl has kept the accent on seafood, though the menu these days is more continental. During September, the Glide'er Inn's dinner specials will include lobster in white wine/garlic sauce over pasta, $9.95; scallop brochettes, $11.95, and fried shrimp, $9.95. All dinners include soup and salad. The inn is at 1400 Pacific Coast Highway. (213) 431-3022.
Gone: Nearby in Seal Beach, but not nearly so long-lived, Cafe Swiss has closed.
If Little John's pizza in Rhode Island was good enough for Esquire magazine, it's got to be good enough for California, reasoned William Poulos. So he has brought what Esquire termed the best pizza in the nation to San Juan Capistrano, where he opened Little John's Pizzeria a month ago.
"Pizza originated in Greece, you know," says Poulos, smiling. "But we let the Italians take the credit." The Poulos family, however, gets the credit for "breathing, eating, smelling pizza" since Dad opened Little John's in Rhode Island 17 years ago. Prices range from $5.75 for a small cheese pizza to $15.95 for a large with the works. Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, calzone and pastas are available as well, both to eat in the casual restaurant with its Italian music or to take out. They also deliver within San Juan Capistrano. Located at 32341-A Camino Capistrano, it's open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 12 to 9 p.m. Sunday. (714) 240-7095.
Mandarin Taste recently replaced La Chinoise in Lake Forest/El Toro. Gone is the French approach to Chinese food. In is Chinese-Chinese, with the accent on Szechwan. New owner Charlie Feng also has Mandarin Taste restaurants in Diamond Bar and Anaheim. The most expensive item on the extensive menu is $10. The restaurant is open for lunch daily, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner, 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and till 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It's at 23600 Rockfield Blvd. (714) 830-9984.
If you'd like to learn to cook like John McLaughlin, chef of the Golden Sceptre award-winning JW's restaurant in the Anaheim Marriott, here's your chance. For $50 you can spend three hours working at his side in JW's kitchen in one of two remaining Saturday cooking classes on Sept. 8 and Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members choose which menu items to prepare. Possibilities include lobster and scallop consomme, sauteed eggplant with goat cheese and red peppers, breast of chicken stuffed with roquefort and sweet pepper vinaigrette. And yes, you get to eat the fruits of your labor. Reservations: (714) 750-8000.