What's going on with That Iron String Blog?? I haven't posted anything in quite a few weeks now, but it's not for a lack of inspiration. Things are in the works. I admit, it's slightly easier for me to write when I'm on the road experiencing new sites and scenes so to being stationed here in my hometown does not always seem so exciting. I'm looking past the obvious however, going on mini-trips and approaching Orange County like a visitor.
Today, my destination is the Anaheim Packing House, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805. This restored citrus packing plant is now a two-story community gathering space and eatery, developed by the folks who brought us the Lab and the Camp in Costa Mesa. It's got a similar vibe, with outdoor bars and a grassy courtyard, and includes 20 some specialty food vendors. Fresh, locally sourced food is in right now. Finally a fad I can truly endorse.
It's not all health food here though. In the spirit of the Brits, The Chippy Fish & Grill sells fish and chips and a wide variety of craft beers. There is a old-world butcher downstairs, making fresh cuts for sandwiches on a selection of crusty breads and sauces. Noodles, sushi, pizza at an outdoor bar, and a speakeasy that I've only heard about, Cafecito Organico for extra strength coffee, and fresh fruit popsicles. This center is one of many new food-centric community gathering spaces to emerge in Orange County in the past few years, and consumers are eating it up.
I know you're all thinking of your favorite new word. The one commonly used to describe the resurgence of bearded men? Never fear Orange County-ians, the scene is as diverse as the food and furnishings in the place. I have to praise Lab Holding in cooperation with the City of Anaheim for the vintage restoration of the building and for bringing Orange County slowly and painfully out of the strip mall. The man behind the vision is retail developer, Shaheen Sadeghi, former fashion designer and president of Quicksilver (Woo, Michelle; OC Weekly). Though his vision is undoubtedly fresh for Orange County standards, his methods have been criticized by some who call him a "greedy land-owner" who raises rents beyond what small businesses can afford (Woo, Michelle; OC Weekly). In business, there will undoubtedly be naysayers and those unhappy with the means with which change happens, but it's the change itself that can powerfully shift culture.
So go see for yourself! And if you happen to find the speakeasy...do tell! I can keep a secret.
Meet Shaheen Sadeghi, The Lab Man
Ready for a new culinary walkabout? Anaheim Packing House is here