Monday, May 7, 2012

Johnny Rebs' Orange, Orange County, CA

I must be on some type of barbeque kick as this is the second place I've hit with it this month. So it's midday and I'm not looking forward to the long drive back home to San Diego, but I've got my, now, wife by my side and a hankering for some good ol' grub to fill me up before I head home. It's then that I remember a little barbeque place over in Orange where I had my first smoked omelet. At the time those around me did not quite take to the taste of smoked eggs, but I thought it was one of the best things on the menu.

We got there a little before noon, and the place was pretty much like I remembered it. The outside done up in country-hick chic, like it had been before chic was added to it, but the inside was pleasantly clean and cool. We were sat down immediately, and seeing the subsequent guest to the restaurant seated in a similar fashion, I quickly came to the conclusion that Johnny Rebs' took the term "Southern Hospitality" to heart. Everyone there was kind and gracious. The man covering the front door that might or might not have been the manager had no trouble coming over to the our table to take our order when our sever was busy grabbing food in the kitchen.
After perusing the menu for much too long my wife ordered the Lonestar Burger with a side of mac and cheese and I ordered the Cajun Sausage Sandwich with a side of mashed potatoes and seasonal fresh veggies.  Then we spent the 15 or so minutes waiting for the food talking about Disneyland and watching a little girl who had just turned four jump up and down  on peanuts.  Apparently it is a thing they do there for people's birthdays, and I endeavor to go back and see if adults were also allowed to do the "Peanut Dance" as I have dubbed it.

Finally our food came out, and just like the Johnny Rebs' itself it didn't look like much on the outside but in the first bite was a fair amount of flavor and good old southern cooking.  My first bite was of the seasonal veggies.  Years of dining at other restaurants had prepared me for a collection of slightly hard carrots, broccoli, peas, and a few pieces of  squash and zucchini for color.  As you can see I got the zucchini, and corn, and...  Well I guess that served me right for ordering vegetables at a BBQ restaurant.  Still they weren't half bad.  Then I had a bite of the mashed potatoes, and a dreamy smile came over my face.  The potatoes were smooth as silk and the gravy was definitely up there with the best I've ever had.  I even made the mistake of sharing some with my wife, after which I continually had to ward off her attempts to scoop the remainder onto her plate.  I don't remember that in the wedding vows.  Finally I took a big bite of the my sandwich.  It was the perfect blend of meat onions and green peppers, and the sauce... It had a nice tang to it, a sweetness that I find myself leaning towards the more I partake of good barbeque sauces.

Leaning over I snagged a bite of my wife's mac and cheese, and was met by the only let down of the meal.  The elbow macaroni was cooked perfectly but the cheese sauce left much to be desired.  Then I pointed to something behind her and snuck a bite of her hamburger.  It was the precedent burger.  It wasn't seasoned all that much, which might have been a let down for some, but it has been a long time since I've tasted what a good piece of ground beef taste like without add anything to it.  That along with the sauce, onion ring, and a bit of avocado for good measure, made it a pleasure to eat.  Before my wife snatched it back out of my hands.

Overall I am happy I stopped back here, and there are quite a few items I want to go back and try (I'm looking at you Chicken Fried Chicken). Feeling satiated and happy I exited Johnny Rebs' and stumbled home. A warm smile on my face, a few memories for the road, and a slice of key-lime pie.

Johnny Rebs'
2940 E. Chapman
Orange, CA 92689