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Felix Continental Cafe: Non-Meat Lovers Can Enjoy Fare

* It's Sunday, and there are so many crepes and omelets from which to choose. Here's a sampler of Sunday Brunch destinations in Orange County, culled from recent stories. Other reviews can be accessed at

November 26, 2000|KAREN NEWELL YOUNG

Felix Continental Cafe, which specializes in Cuban and Spanish foods, is mostly about meat and potatoes. But combinations of flavors such as thyme with bitter orange or green olives with raisins and sofrito sauce elevate the humble roast to new heights. But you don't have to be a meat lover to enjoy the food. Our most sanctimonious vegetarian friends swear Felix has the best breakfast deals in town. But you should be fond of pimentos. They can be found in nearly every dish.

Felix is in the middle of Old Towne Orange on the southwest segment of the traffic circle at Glassell Street and Chapman Avenue. The restaurant's popularity has pushed the terrace seating up and down the street, spilling onto the patios of shops near the restaurant. If you're lucky, helpful waiters in white guayabera shirts will show you to a table quickly. More likely, you'll have to wait, especially if you want to eat outside (the dining room is dark with cramped tables bunched together).

Cuban cooking depends on the distinctive flavors of thyme, cumin, garlic, onions and other herbs to make spicy sauces for its long-simmered meats. Although the dishes are spicy, they are not hot (but any meal can be ordered spicy hot). The best dishes are the Cuban classics: 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 on Cuban bread); roast chicken with garlic and lemon; and arroz a la Cubana, a casserole of pork, chicken and chorizo (spicy sausage) with saffron rice.

The menu offers a huge array (32 dishes) of tortilla, vegetable and egg entrees, from simple Spanish omelets to complex casseroles. And the prices are a bargain ($6-$10). My reliable vegetarian friend says the pancakes, fried potatoes and Cuban toast are heavenly. And where else can you get tropical fruit milk shakes? Try the guava batidos.

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

* A new Sunday Brunch review will run next Sunday in the Orange County Calendar.

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