Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Light Rail in Orange County

light railI just found an article published in the Los Angeles Times regarding a new light rail project planned in Irvine.

This particular project involves a short rail of only 5 1/2 miles...
The proposal, which won an initial endorsement from the Irvine City Council last week, would use millions in state money that the city had earmarked for CenterLine to instead help connect the future Orange County Great Park with Irvine's Metrolink station and the Spectrum shopping center.
This reminds me of another project called "Irvine PeopleMover" interestingly enough, that had also been proposed back in 1998, which was published right here on the old OCThen website.

I remember back in the 1980's the City of Santa Ana was mulling over a light rail project called CenterLine that would connect people from John Wayne Airport, to South Coast Plaza, to Santa Ana Civic Center, to Main Place Mall, and to Disneyland. I used to work at the Santa Ana City Library in downtown, and saw the plans. Apparently, this project is still in the works.

Of course, light rail is nothing new to Orange County. The Pacific Electric Red Cars ran from Orange County to Los Angeles County from 1904 to 1950. My mother-in-law took the red car from Santa Ana to high school in Long Beach at St. Anthony's, the only Catholic High School in the area at the time before Mater Dei opened.

You can visit some Red Car history at the Spaghetti Station restaurant in Fullerton, where they have plenty of stuff on exhibit.

In Santa Ana, there is a stretch of Red Car track still in place crossing Fairmont street, running adjacent to Spurgeon Intermediate School, and crossing over the Santa Ana River in the form of an old railroad bridge.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Annual Passport for Disneyland

Disneyland Annual PassportI suppose if you live in Orange County, there's a good chance you hold, or once held, an annual passport to Disneyland.

In the early 1990's, my wife and I bought annual passports. We would go out for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, and then cap it off with a evening visit to the Happiest Place on Earth.

What really made this convenient was that the cost of parking was included in the pass. We'd go to Disneyland two or three times a month.

We didn't do a whole lot during these evening visits. We'd start by jumping on board the Disneyland Railway there at the Main Street station, and usually rode a couple times around the park. Then we'd jump off at Tomorrowland Station and head over to the People Mover for a ride.

During the Summer months we'd try to time things perfectly so that we could ride the Skyway and watch the fireworks from up there.

And that was probably all the rides we'd take. We often perused the wares at some of the shops, and then relax on the bench on Main Street at the photography shop. We'd stay there until closing just watching the people go by.

We bought annual passports three years in a row, and then the whole experience just started to get old, and that was that.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Barn

Yesterday I mentioned some of my favorite OC restaurants, and it got me thinking about another one. The Barn.

The Barn was located in Tustin, on the corner of Edinger and Red Hill. It actually looked like a giant barn, but with several additions to it. It was basically a steakhouse. The employees there wore cowboy and cowgirl outfits.

I remember our first visit there, it was a Christmas party for my step-father's employer. I was 13 years old then. I remember at first being in awe of the place because it was big and there was so much stuff going on inside. The place had an upstairs area, but my folks wouldn't let me go up there. Later on in life, during other visits I got to up there, and it was a bar with pool tables.

Food-wise, it was pretty good. They gave you big portions. I always ordered the salad bar to go with my steak.

My wife and I used to go there once in a while, and one of the companies I used to work for held employee birthday parties there.

The Barn closed up something like 7 or 8 years ago. I don't know if it moved to a different location, or just went out of business. I think they finally tore the place down.

Friday, January 13, 2006

My Favorite Orange County Restaurants

There were several places to eat around Orange County that I would regard as favorites. Some of them are not around anymore.

Chicago Pizza Factory - I don't know if this was the correct name of the place. But it was located in Santa Ana, about a block east from 17th Street and Bristol. They served only chicago style pizza, of course, and some other dishes too. They had saw dust on the floor. (Update: This place was actually the first BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, before they became "BJ's")

Rubino's Pizza - Probably my favorite pizza joint of all time. They had several locations, including one in Santa Ana on the corner of Main & MacArthur. They had also a location in Mission Viejo, at the Portola Plaza off of Marguerite and Rancho Santa Margarita Pkwy.

Goro - For Japanese food, this was my favorite Japanese restaurant of all time. It was located in a shopping center in Irvine, on the corner of Culver and Alton. It had a "jazzy" decor. The food was probably the most authentic I experienced of any US-based Japanese restaurant.

Las Brasas - This was located in Santa Ana, right across the street from the old Zody's on Harbor Blvd, near Edinger. This is was a hole-in-the-wall type of Mexican fare. Quality-wise, it was ok. But for whatever reasons, me and a buddy of mine used to eat here a lot during our college days.

Ricardo's - This is located in Orange, on Katella, about a couple blocks west of Tustin Ave. It's actually part of the Don Jose's chain. My wife and I used to go here an awful lot, and every now and then we'd run into an old co-worker of mine who also loved going there. They have some really good margaritas, and great salsa.

Bob's Big Boy - Before Bob's started shutting down most of its restaurants, my wife and I used to go here for Sunday breakfast buffet. We'd always go to the one in Laguna Hills, right off the 5 freeway, caddy-corner to the Laguna Hills Mall. I think it's a Carrows now.

What were your favorite eateries in Orange County? Post a comment below.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ed Tunk's Country Store

Does anyone remember Ed Tunk's Country Store?

I believe it was located on the corner of Westminster and Magnolia in the City of Westminster.

It was a store that sold locally grown produce, and it had sawdust on the floor. Radio station KEZY would often set up a remote broadcast from Ed Tunk's.

The store has since gone, and there isn't much else on the Internet about it.

Below are a few comments we collected from the old days of OCThen.com.
By: Jerry Parker, 12 July 2001

In the mid-60's I recall Ed Tunks Country Store in Westminster or Seal Beach. I remember the location as bieng Golden West and Westminster. I could be wrong. On weekends, KEZY from Anaheim would broadcast from the store. As I was interested in radio then, I would hang around and watch the DJ play records and do his radio thing. Bythe way, KEZY was the Anaheim radio station "With studios and offices in the Disneyland hotel." Their studio was on the ground floor of the Disneyland Hotel, in the old building where the monorail station is, across from the drug/camera/card store where I worked in 1968.

By: Shirley Azvedo, 6 Aug 2001

I came to Orange County in 1963 and there was an Ed Tunk's Country Store on the corner of Westminster and Magnolia. There is a strip mall there now.

By: Eileen, 7 Dec 2001

I remember Ed Tunks also - I recall sawdust on the floor and real low prices on food. Sad to hear it is no longer there.

By: J. Russell, 4 Mar 2002

Oh my gosh! I haven't thought about Ed Tunks Country Store in so many years. I remember when I was little, my mother would take us there to buy fruit. They had the best cherries!! And my sister and I loved to run in the sawdust. Thanks for the memory.
If you remember Ed Tunk's Country Store, please click on "Post a Comment" below and tell us what you remember.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Santa Ana Valley High School

Santa Ana Valley High SchoolAnyone an alumni of Santa Ana Valley High School?

Well, I am. I went from 1981-1984, graduating there.

Valley High had the reputation of being the roughest high school in the city, and probably among the roughest county-wide. There were several gang fights there. I remember one black guy getting pounded to a pulp by a gang of Samoans. Nearby at Centennial Park, there were students and gang members that died in knife fights.

One time a guy got his throat slit while walking though Carr Intermediate School on his way into Valley High.

There was also a prankster club there called the "Crack Club". All they did was pull some unbelievable pranks, like hauling up some lunch benches up on to the roof of the Auditorium.

Watch out for Spirit Week! At this time, the seniors set their sights on the freshman and kicked their asses. I mean some kids got flat out beaten senseless. I imagine some lawsuits were filed between parents. I don't know how I managed to escape it.

At Valley High, they had a annual tradition called "The Kangaroo Court". The whole school went into the auditorium and watched a panel of judges (members of the senior class) pull some of the popular students out of the audience, and convict them of various sins. One guy was pulled up for having a reputation of dating a lot of girls. They blindfolded him, and told him that they would be bringing a mystery girl out, and that he would have to kiss her. Well, they ended up bringing his mother out! He grabbed her by the arms and laid a full-on open-mouth tongue-tickling kiss. Nobody expected such a thing; they thought it would just a peck on the lips. They pulled the blindfold off, and he just about wet his pants.

But due to political correctness, they cancelled The Kangaroo Court in 1982.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Santa Ana River Trail

Does anyone remember riding the Santa Ana River Trail?

I used the ride the trail frequently during the late 1970s and early 1980s. We lived in Santa Ana, on Richland Ave, near Bristol Street. I'd ride my ten-speed up Edinger Street all the way to the river.

Sometimes I'd head west to the beach, riding below the street-overpasses, and passing by other bikers and joggers. Most times there was no water. In fact back then, the river bed wasn't concrete like it is today, it was all natural sand.

Other times I'd head east towards Yorba Linda. By the time I got to Yorba Linda I was pretty exhausted and usually didn't continue.

These days I couldn't even ride a mile without running out of breath!

Custom Search