The mystery restaurant from across the street. (08/17/06)
As we were driving to Rutabegorz, one of the usual suspects, we impulsively decided to change plans and try out this new mystery restaurant that opened up a few months ago in downtown Orange. The reason it's a mystery restaurant is that it does not have a sign. Seriously. There is no sign anywhere in sight.
Upon entering, we discovered that the restaurant is Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen, an independently-owned Mexican restaurant that had so much character. The place isn't big — there were probably no more than 20 tables. But it was amazingly decorated, with colorful artwork, wood beams and lots of ornamental ironwork that looked great against what were clearly decades-old original brick walls (before this restaurant, the space was occupied by an antiques store).
You could tell that this was no corporately-managed chain restaurant. Yet it had an attention to detail and design that you don't commonly see in family-owned establishments. I wish I could have taken more pictures, but since we were expecting to go to one of our normal restaurants when we left the house, I didn't bring the camera.
A photo from last August when we tried eating there but didn't want to wait. (08/17/06)
And then there's the food, which was simply delicious. And the menu offered Mexican fare not commonly seen in most Mexican restaurants. I can't think of many other places I've been to where you can get Enchiladas Flor de Calabasa (pumpkin blossom enchiladas), Camarones en Mole Verde (shrimp in green mole) or Puerco Poc-Chuc (a Mayan pork dish).
Prices were slightly higher than what you'd pay at most garden variety Mexican restaurants, but the food, decor and presentation was worth it. If you're in the area, it's worth checking out.