Story and photos by Miles Furuichi
As the summer quickly comes around the corner, everyone’s grabbing their beach gear and flocking towards the ocean to soak up some sun and enjoy the refreshing coolness of the water. While everyone enjoys the beach, food is always a necessity and compliments the flowing breezes of the salt air. For those that will be around Orange County over the summer here are five of the top choices that come highly rated from Yelp users all over the OC.
Le Diplomate Café
4237 Campus Drive B 161
Irvine, CA 92612
Le Diplomate Café is located in a small food strip mall next to the University of California Irvine campus. This hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop has great prices for college students looking for a bang-for-their-buck.
Greeted by a very nice staff, they help guide you to the fan favorites posted on the side of the wall next to the register.
The Bacon Chicken Club comes highly recommended and there’s a reason to that. At only $4.50 before tax, a nine inch baguette is filled nicely with bacon, chicken, ranch, tomato and Swiss cheese. After that, it’s grilled panini-style and wrapped up to be served immediately to the customer. As soon as you open up the wrapping, the baguette still maintains its wonderful exterior crunch while the whole sandwich remains chewy.
Though it was generous with the chicken and bacon, Le Diplomate Café may have been a little too generous with the ranch. Still it’s hard to find a better deal than this for any college student looking to splurge a little on their way to or from the beach.
All in all it took about 22 minutes to get there from Chapman University and coming from Newport Beach it will take around 18 minutes.
6060 Scholarship Dr.
Irvine, CA 92612
438 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
For avocado lovers, look no further. However for non-avocado lovers, some sandwiches are served without any avocado.
While located in an apartment complex, the place isn’t hard to find and there’s ample parking. As it’s named, the café style in Irvine allows for some nice outdoor seating and a way to escape from the noise of traffic.
The sandwiches highly recommended are the Chuy and Tower 9, $9.50 and $8.50 respectively. The Chuy was the perfect amount of sandwich and health nuts will go crazy but not vegetarians, sorry. Turkey, bacon, avocado, goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo and honey mustard are well-layered on squaw bread which is a rye and molasses bread. While some might be turned off by the thought of rye, it’s actually not that bad and the molasses and honey mustard help to sweeten it for a nice lightly savory sandwich.
Overall it’s a sandwich shop perfect for all the health conscientious people of Orange County. Cafés are conveniently located in Irvine and Huntington Beach with the shop in Irvine 22 minutes from Chapman University.
Bahn Mi Che Cali
15551 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683
Located just a bit on the outskirts of Garden Grove’s Little Saigon, Bahn Mi Che Cali is a tiny shop in the parking lot of a small strip mall. Parking is usually hard but if you spent your stayed to watch the sunset at the beach, Che Cali has you covered. They’re open 24/7.
Made from the blend of French and Vietnamese cultures, the Bahn Mi is essentially a soft but crunchy baguette filled with certain meats, pork live pâté, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro and sliced chilies. While it might seem hard to get used to, for those foodies who are into trying new things, this is right up your alley.
For those just starting out with a Bahn Mi, the Thit Nuong, which is only $3.00, is the way to go. Filled with BBQ pork, it’s a comfortable mix of familiar and exotic. If you don’t like spicy though make sure to avoid the chilies, however, it’s recommended that you try them. It helps to make the sandwich what it is.
If you end up liking the sandwich feel free to buy another, Che Cali offers a deal of “buy two get one free” for any sandwich. So for $6.00 any college student is getting a deal. If you do want to experiment, try the classic Dac Biet Thit Cha which is filled with ham and meat loaf.
You won’t be disappointed. If you feel like making the trip it’s 17 minutes from Chapman University and 18 minutes from Newport Beach.
292 N Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866
180 5th St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Every Chapman student probably has heard about Bruxie. Located less than a block from campus, it’s the classic stop for anybody that is looking for something a little different from the average sandwich. Especially when the sandwich is made with waffles. Bruxie offers a great mix of vegetarian and meat-lover, healthy to calorie-buster.
A favorite is the Roasted Turkey Club for $8.95. Filled with turkey, bacon, avocado, gruyere, tomato and pesto aioli, this sandwich just begs to melt in your mouth.
Each waffle is perfectly flavored so as not to overrule the flavors of the other ingredients. The texture it provides is an airy yet slightly crunchy waffle that makes it seem like any other sandwich bread, yet somehow more. Everything pairs perfectly and the amount is just right that you won’t feel bloated. If you’re looking to eat before going to the beach or if you’re coming back. Reasonably price, this place is great for all ages as can be seen by the lines during peak dining hours. Since it’s within walking distance of Chapman University, there’s no need to drive and parking is limited as well.
In Huntington Beach, you’ll run into the same problems as all parking will usually be filled as beach-goers flock to the sea. Your best bet is to find parking in the residential areas. You’ll have to walk but just think about that waffle sandwich waiting for you when you get there.
John’s Philly Grille
16061 Goldenwest St
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
John’s Philly Grille is a one of a kind sandwich shop. Located in a small shopping center, it appears to be a hole-in-the-wall. However, once you walk in, it looks like you stepped into a sports bar. With the plasma screen TVs playing ESPN, the stool seats and all things sports hanging on the wall, this is any meat-eating, sports lovers’ paradise.
The sandwiches help to bring the atmosphere to a whole. Even Kobe Bryant, a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, is known to stop in every once and awhile.
From the classic cheese steak to the “The Works” cheese steak, the shop tries to separate itself from its East Coast counterparts but it still maintains the taste and look of a true Philly Cheese Steak.
“The Works” is a delicious choice at $9.95 for a whole; the sandwich is filled with steak, provolone cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and hot peppers. It truly is “The Works.” The sandwich is served in a soft baguette that soaks up all the juices of the meat and onions and makes for an easy to eat sandwich. Be careful of going right at it though because it’s served hot off the grill so you’ll burn your mouth if you’re not careful.
After you’re done it’s a straight shot to the beach or if you’re coming back from the beach it’ll take 21 minutes but let that sandwich relax in your stomach and enjoy the ride home.