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111 W. Avenida Palizada, San Clemente, CA 92672 ....."Click on the Banners Below"
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SPRING 2007 Costa D'Oro Magazine

Blue Danube, Old city plaza, 111 West Avenida Palizada, San Clemente, Phone (949) 218-5186

The famousal Spanish colonial plaza in which the Blue Danube is located dates back to early San Clemente when Ole Hansen was building his Spanish Village by the Sea. Originally it was the site of the jail and fire station. After that followed a series of restaurants. Then, in 2002, Chris Toufanpour and his wife Parvin arrived in San Clemente from Austria via New Jersey. The couple rescued the by now somewhat dilapidated 8500 square foot site. After two years of amazing renovation the Blue Danube opened. Decor was rustic with touches of elegance. But the Toufanpour's kept renovating. Two more fireplaces were added along with the beautiful wedding chapel and a new banquet room. Two jail cells were converted into unique private dining rooms, a large patio gained two bars and was enclosed in custom wrought iron.

The journey has been like watching a butterfly emerge. Now the Blue Danube has become quite elegant with a few rustic touches like the exposed beam ceiling. And still the metamorphosis continues unabated. Eight custom stained panels have been delivered. They are in the style of Viennese artist Gustov Klimt whose work is featured on the menu and the wall. They are being installed along the main entrance facing the plaza.

There are many additional interesting touches besides banquet friendly size and unique decor. Executive Chef Ali possesses thirty years of experience in Orange County at such places as the original Newport 17 and Chez Carrie. The newest staff addition is Neil Wallace with twenty-one years experience as the food & beverage manager of the Queen Marry. Chris was a concert pianist in Austria so the sound system is outstanding and the musical entertainment from jazz to classical is always well chosen, of high quality and at the appropriate volume. There is live entertainment almost every night. George, the Italian hunk, plays guitar and croons love songs on Friday and the concert guitarist Ricardo from Chile dazzles on Saturday. Then there is the Las Vegas Review and Dinner Mystery Theater. All this and prices are amazingly low!

The continental menu includes Austrian schnitzels, Hungarian Goulash, French Chicken or veal Cordon Bleu, Duck a la Orange, Chicken Marsala, Peppersteak and Filet Mignon. These long time favorites are being expanded to include more seafood and other entrees.

The Blue Danube Cafe next door to the main facility is newly opened for lunch inside or on the patio. Prices are also amazingly reasonable, starting at $5.90. Half a dozen lunch salads range from Chicken Breast $7.90 to Grilled Salmon $10.90. Soup & Salad combinations range from $7 to $8. Two of my favorite pasta dishes are the Blue Danube anytime are Spinach Ravioli with sundried tomato sauce and Spaghetti Bolonaise $8.90 lunch, $11.90 dinner. Miscellaneous European entrees include German Bratwurst $7.90 with fries & sauerkraut, roasted pork loin as Schweinsbraten and Chicken Marsala.

Dessert crepes offer a variety of fillings and toppings involving fresh fruit, hot chocolate, almonds, brandy and fresh whipped cream. Austrian Iced Coffee involves hot espresso and rich ice cream topped with whipped cream. For extra kick, add a splash of your favorite liquor.

The wine list contains some interesting European selections and is reasonably priced with many available by the glass at $5-$7. Outstanding German beers, some on draft. Martinis $7. Full bar. Outside patio.

Mystery & Murder Dinner theater (prix fixe menu approximately $59) on alternating Saturday nights is a blast for a full evening of entertainment. The constantly changing plot features local professional actors.

The Las Vegas Show & Dance Review is scheduled to open May 12th with three shows nightly on Saturdays starting at 10:00. Call for reservation details.

Twice weekly dance classes followed by an evening of "clubbing" commence in April. Open mike night is weekly. Call for expanding live entertainment schedules. Dancing.

Easter features regular menu & specials. Mother's Day 5 course prix fixe menu. Exit 5 freeway at Palizada towards the Ocean. Just below Camino Real.

Who Put the “POW” In Kung Pao?

by Maggie Zeibak

For decades America has had a passion for Chinese food. When the craving strikes, we simply rush out to dine, or pick up the phone to order take-out. We all have our favorite dishes and preferences of fried or steamed rice, but preparation varies from restaurant to restaurant. Perfecting the art of offering a varied menu of hot, sizzling dishes is the spacious New Mandarin Garden tucked away in the Old City Plaza.

Owner, Jack Cheng, bought the restaurant from a friend 19-years-ago, but hadn’t any idea that San Clemente would grow the way it has. “I didn’t know it was so nice and I am very lucky to be here. When I first took over I decided to remodel and paint the place in softer colors. I changed the menu to reflect a blending of Cantonese and Szechuan flavors which appeal more to American tastes. Cantonese cooking is not spicy and most of my customers like spicy dishes, so I add hot peppers to create more of a unique Szechuan-region style. You can spot those dishes on the menu by the chile pepper drawing next to the item. We’re a family-operated business and I have nieces, nephews and cousins working here and my cook, Charlie Chen, has been preparing meals for over 18 years. Often, we cater corporate parties, sometimes for over 100 people – just tell us what you’d like.”

Lunch time is a bustling time with workers from neighboring businesses and the nuclear power plant, coming to dine in a limited amount of time. Almost immediately upon sitting down, a pot of hot tea is served and in no time at all, a cup of steaming Hot and Sour Soup, guaranteed to wake up those sluggish taste buds.

After that generous serving, you’re not so ravenous any more – but wait – there’s another plentiful portion coming your way. Served on blue and white oval plates your entrée arrives piping hot straight from the kitchen. This is when you don your eyeglasses to identify the peppers hiding in the mound. If you’ve ordered a spicy dish – they can be hot, so deftly push them to one side with your chopsticks or you’ll be experiencing the ‘pow’ in Kung Pao.

Popular dishes include Orange Chicken or Beef, crispy meats smothered and cooked in a tasty sauce that encourages you to take bite after bite and leave nothing to take home. The Chow Mein (it means “soft noodle”) isn’t spicy and you can choose between beef, shrimp, chicken, pork or vegetable and only spend $8 or less. Now that’s a lunch time bargain to chow down. Be sure to check the specials on the board at the entrance of the restaurant – these are Mandarin Garden’s special dishes and include Sizzling Scallops and Beef ($14.95) and tasty Sesame Chicken ($8.95).

There is a Health Menu featuring choices for vegetarians and assuring us that these items are Low Fat, Low Sugar, Low Salt and No MSG added. As we become increasingly more aware of what we put into our mouths, this is a menu selection we should check out first.

Is anyone in the mood for a plate of crunchy steamed vegetables accompanied by your choice of a Hot Garlic or Ginger Dipping Sauce?

Reminding us not to miss the ($12.95) Sunday Champagne Brunch, Canton-born Cheng mentioned that Family Style dinners are also available starting at $14.95 – it looks like a whole lot of food, but great if you have a tribe of teenagers to feed. That’s the best part about Chinese food, with such a variety, there’s something for everyone.

He also said, “Next time you come in, try the Honey Walnut Shrimp. We make it a little different from everyone else, as I like to have subtle lemon undertones, rather than the shrimp being overpowered by honey. Once you’ve tried this dish you’ll order it again and again. That’s why whenever I say goodbye to my regular customers I always say ‘See you tomorrow’ as I know that they will come back and I will be pleased to see them.”

Garlic features prominently in some dishes – welcomed by some, shunned by others. Change the taste by chomping down on your obligatory fortune cookie (did you get a good fortune?) or help yourself to the complimentary mints. Either way, you’re going to leave the restaurant feeling satisfied.

Much of the Chinese New Year celebrations revolve around food and giving children the traditional red envelope containing money. Everyone at the restaurant wishes San Clemente “Gung Hay Fat Choy” (Happy Chinese New Year) and if you want to know who put the “Pow” in Kung Pao – well, Jack did, of course. b New Mandarin Garden: 492-7432


Adele's Hollywood Cafe HAS BEEN DESIGNATED THE BEST Breakfast in San Clemente

The BEST Breakfast in San Clemente can be found at Adele's Cafe. Adele Lux, was born and raised in San Clemente and spent 20 years as a waitress in local establishments. She saved her money and in July of 1998 she accomplished her dream of establishing Adele's Cafe. It didn't take long for "Adele's" to become a local's favorite for both breakfast and lunch. Adele's Cafe is located in Old City Plaza, the site of the original San Clemente jail house. As Adele says, "We're only hard to find the first time." Once you try any of Adele's breakfast specials, you will go back again and again. The next time you want a great breakfast accompanied by great service and a very pleasant and friendly environment, head for Adele's and find out for yourself why Adele's Cafe has been designated the BEST Breakfast in San Clemente.

Eye on SC
Breakfast Hot Spots

By Christina Scannapiego San Clemente Times

San Clemente is home to some great morning eateries. Here are 15 favorites...

Adele Lux likes to hug. In fact, free hugs are actually prizes on her Web site that customers can print out and present at Adele’s Café to collect on. This type of friendliness isn’t just a marketing gimmick to gain patrons, though; there’s a real intensity and excitement in her eyes that says she really wants to hug. Born and raised in San Clemente, Adele worked for 20 years as a waitress all over in town, namely Sunrise Café. Two decades is a long time to collect a good customer base and put a chunk of money away—which is what she did.

“People wouldn’t say ‘Hey, Adele, have you ever thought of opening a restaurant?’ Adele recalls. They would say, “When are you opening a restaurant?’”

Finally in 1998, she gave herself a year to meet her goal. “The first restaurant I saw, I thought, This is the one I want. I didn’t get it.” Fifteen potential restaurants later, Adele opened the doors in July of 1998 with $2,000 in the bank. “Some people would call that financial suicide. But I could live with failure—I just couldn’t live with ‘What if?’” Without advertising dollars, Adele took the grassroots approach: with enough food to feed about eight along with a menu and a business card, she went straight to the bank, the gas station and the grocery store to wrangle her first customers. “I get business from those people to this day,” she says. According to Adele, her many regulars often tell her, “Adele, this isn’t your restaurant—it’s your kitchen.” She says that since she opened, she hasn’t lost a dollar, which she attributes to her passion. “I don’t have to come to work,” she says. “I get to come to work.”

While Adele is definitely a unique character, her story isn’t necessarily one of a kind. Behind all of the breakfast spots in town are people who took chances on their restaurants and have pride in the quality and labor they’ve put into them—be it a longtime dream or chance opportunity. The following is a sampling of San Clemente’s favorite local spots (not including chain restaurants such as IHOP, Denny’s, Bakers Square and Carrows) whose owners have built a place for residents and visitors alike to spend their mornings.

Adele’s Café 111 Avenida Palizada, Suite C, 949.366.1121, Breakfast served: 6 a.m.–2 p.m. “I wanted to create a place where you could come in and be by yourself and, in a few moments, you’d be joined in the conversation around the room,” says Adele Lux of her restaurant located in the Old City Plaza. Her café is bright with an unintentional retro vibe and huge outdoor patio. Her blueberry pancakes, omelettes and hash browns are must-haves.

Chef MOZ Dining Guide

LOVE THIS PLACE! I have been eating here for the last year and I have to say...I have yet to have ANYTHING I don't like! The food is awesome, the service is wonderful and the climate is great! I highly recommend this place to anyone. [28 Feb 2006 20:10:05]
Recommended Dishes: All breakfast plates...or burgers...or salads... ­Matt vog2000 at hotmail dot com

Getting Out
Restaurant Review: Los Patios
¡Muy Delicioso!

Compiled by Christina Scannapiego San Clemente Times

4 1/2 Stars LOS PATIOS

111 W. Avenida Palizada, 949.492.0162

Los Patios, located in the Old City Plaza near Adele’s Café, has always been a Mexican restaurant of some kind. But when Carlos Frutos took over the spot in 2003, he revamped the entire place. What some used to describe as “Mexican take-out” became completely renovated, redecorated and doubled in size. Now, the family-run business offers extensive inside dining-room seating as well as outdoor patio seating and caters receptions and events. Dollar Tacos are the special all day on Tuesdays, and Thursdays offer $1 enchiladas all day. Regulars stand by their seafood dishes like Alida’s Favorite: chicken breast and shrimp with a garlic chipotle sauce, rice and veggies. Portions are huge—and that includes the margaritas. Breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros are popular among the morning crowd. And interestingly enough, lunch guests can even find a Philly cheese-steak sandwich with jalapenos. A live acoustic guitarist plays every Thursday night.

About our reviews: We don’t claim to be expert food critics, so instead of faking it for a free meal, we ask five real customers about their dining experience, then share that with you. All of our reviews are unannounced and unbiased. This information is intended to be useful and is obviously not scientific. Five stars is the maximum score available.


"We are called to belong, not just believe.." - EWB

Stores Include: Blue Danube - Restaurant and Banquet Facilities European Food, New Mandarin Garden - Chinese Food, HOLLYWOOD Cafe - American Food - Breakfast, Los Patios - Mexican Food, Aloha Spirit - Hawaii collectibles, Fifi Lala - Custom Jewelry, Paradise Creations - Full Service Bridal Salon, Art Glass Studio of San Clemente - Glass Art, Carla's Cosmetics, Skin Card and Accessories, Kenn Hare - Black and White Photography, Design Vision -Professional Interior Designers, Exquisite Gold Smith - Intricate and Stunning Jewelry and Repairs, Americal Windows and Doors.

Copyright 2007 OldCityPlaza.com, 111 W. Avenida Palizada, San Clemente, CA 92672