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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE
| Sunday Brunch

So Many Choices, So Many Cuisines

May 21, 2000|KAREN NEWELL YOUNG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's Sunday, and there are so many crepes and croissants from which to choose. Here's a sampler of recent Sunday Brunch destinations in Orange County.

Favori Restaurant

Favori is a French-Vietnamese restaurant that offers enough variety for the hungriest carnivore or the pickiest vegetarian. Much of the appeal here is the right-from-the-garden smell of fragrant mint, cilantro, parsley and other fresh herbs tossed on nearly everything you order.

Good starters include spring rolls wrapped in lettuce leaves, escargot and the shrimp-and-beef salad. Try the crispy fried BBQ pork, the chicken curry and the fabulous filet mignon with bearnaise sauce.

Prices range from $1.50 to $26.99, but most dishes are $8 to $10.

Favori Restaurant 3502 W. 1st St., Santa Ana, (714) 531-6838, open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

Gustav's Jagerhaus

For five generations, Gustav Riker's family has cooked bratwurst, wiener schnitzel, spaetzle and strudel to families hungry for authentic Old World cuisine. Jagerhaus is also known for its big, hearty breakfasts.

The restaurant serves giant plates of German-style fruit pancakes covered in powdered sugar, and meat-stuffed omelets with bratwurst or bacon on the side.

Of the more than 30 choices, select the dishes served with crunchy hash browns, garlicky polish sausage, lightly smoked knockwurst or spaetzle. Omelets come with various combinations of either Polish (mildly spicy) or bratwurst (finely ground, not smoked or spiced) sausage, onions and potatoes, vegetables and cheese. And don't pass up the omelets with knockwurst and sauerkraut, the sour in the kraut softened by lengthy cooking with sugar and onions, or the chunky and crisp potato pancakes.

Sunday breakfast price range: $3.60 for French toast to $10.95 for eggs with New York steak.

Gustav's Jagerhaus, 2525 E. Ball Road, Anaheim, (714) 520-9500. Sunday hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Corner Bakery

Corner Bakery is a cafeteria-style shrine to home-style baking. The restaurant produces 31 specialty loaves daily. It's the kind of place that appeals to yuppies accustomed to ordering tall lattes, low fat, no foam.

Morning choices include homemade granola with slivered almonds, raisins and brown sugar; potato egg pies and stratas; assorted bagels with smoked salmon and various cream cheeses; scrambled eggs with herbs and cheese in a croissant; French toast custard; and other brunch items.

Bakery items include small rustic berry pies, pecan rolls, luscious raisin walnut crisps and a variety of muffins, lemon bars and cookies.

Nearly everything tastes fresh and homemade, and many of the baked goods are exceptional. The muffins taste like they are made with a buttery almond paste, and the rustic fruit tarts feature the real deal: raspberries, blueberries, cherries.

Brunch with one hot item, a bakery item and drink costs about $12; egg dishes run $4-$5.

Corner Bakery, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 546-1555. Sunday hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Canyon Lodge

Perched high among the pine trees overlooking Aliso Creek and a public golf course, Canyon Lodge is as unpretentious as a pair of old Hush Puppies. And just as comfortable. A fireplace and rustic furniture make the dining room a homey spot to settle in for a long brunch.

Everything on the menu is recommended, except the oatmeal, which seemed too boring to bother with. Try the chicken in pastry, blueberry pancakes, bagel with smoked trout and huevos rancheros.

The house potatoes are mixed with onions and peppers and cooked until crispy. All of the side dishes are fresh and original, like the caramelized onions with the steak sandwich and the fresh strawberries and whipped cream with the Belgian waffle.

Entrees are about $12 for large portions and a basket of freshly baked banana bread. Canyon Lodge, 31106 Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, (949) 499-2663. Sunday brunch: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

El Adobe de Capistrano

This landmark restaurant, with its mariachis and festive patio seating, is a fine spot on a warm Sunday. Just keep in mind that the cuisine is overshadowed by the building's history and Mexican decor. Try the carnitas--deliciously crunchy--the pork tamale with soft-cooked eggs and cheese, or the Presidential Plate: a mix of traditional standards served to President and Mrs. Richard Nixon on their many visits here.

It almost goes without saying at this sort of cantina, but do try the homemade tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. Which, of course, means you'll have to order the margarita, even if it is Sunday morning.

Brunch runs $5.75 to $10.95, which includes fruit and champagne.

El Adobe de Capistrano, 31891 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 493-1163. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Felix Continental Cafe

With its sidewalk tables and exotic dishes, Felix in Old Towne Orange feels like a European cafe. Cuban and Spanish cooking are its specialties, so choose accordingly: picadillo criollo (ground beef and pork in a tomato sauce with raisins and green olives), the Cuban sandwich (roasted leg of pork with ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard) and roast chicken with garlic and lemon are good bets.

Also available are nearly 32 breakfast items, generally composed of tortillas, vegetables and eggs. Try the tropical fruit milkshakes and tostada Latina, an English muffin filled with guava jam and cream cheese, dipped in egg and toasted. Breakfast is $6 to $10.

Felix Continental Cafe, 36 Plaza Square, Orange, (714) 633-5842, Sunday hours, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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