I’ve always been a fan of the food court. On weekends, dragged away from morning cartoons for a full day’s worth of mall shopping, the food court was my only saving grace (with the exception of a stop at T-Shirts Plus). There, I could get a plain double cheeseburger and a corn dog; a slice of pizza and a vanilla cone, my colorful stack of trays revealing how adventurous I’d been on a given day. Despite the fond memories, eating healthier and doing most of my shopping beyond the mall in recent years have limited my food court outings significantly.
Until now. A friend and fellow food luster of mine recently told me about the grand opening of the Anaheim Packing house, an au courant clustering of local restaurants slanging such delights as waffle sandwiches, poutines, craft beers, indulgent chocolates, and gelato on a stick in a facility that was once a commercial hub of the citrus packing industry of the OC. Of course, I had to check it out.
As usual, I arrived with an earnest appetite and a willingness to release dollar bills freely to any delicious dish able to get my attention. There was just too much to conquer, however; which is fine because that means I have an excuse to return. Soon. The planner in me had already decided to order a buttermilk fried chicken waffle sandwich from The Iron Press. But don’t I love spontaneity too – walking about, I couldn’t help but notice the healthy-sized fillets of deep fried fish served up by Chippy Fish & Grill (and the long line there, telling me this was one of the go-to places). Thankfully, my work son William wanted the same plates I did, so we agreed to split a fish & chips platter and a waffle sandwich.
The fish was phenomenal – tender and perfectly cooked, the batter light, satisfyingly greasy and sweetly briny, an archetype of fried fish right here in Southern California. Awesome too were the Iron Press tater tots, topped with minced garlic. We regretted the fact that we’d been born with just one stomach each as we ate. Really, vacuumed is more appropriate in describing how I sucked up that chicken sandwich, with flavors that wowed, especially the jalapeno syrup I poured over the chicken. My only wishes were that the waffle would have been warmer (that was my bad – I was still over at Chippy waiting for our fish when the waffle order was up) and a tad browner on the outside (perhaps that may have made it too crisp?). But I’m still a believer. Next time ’round, I’ll ask for my waffle well-done and eat it hot off the press.
This visit wouldn’t have been right without a sweet ending. Since I’m an overachiever, I had two. The first was a vanilla gelato ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts from Pop Bar; then I shared an affogato from Dark 180 with William and my chow pal Kristina. Both desserts were rich, decadent, cool, creamy, and rapturous.
Besides the food, the place itself set the scene for an idyllic afternoon, with lots of light, outdoor seating, live music, and plenty of greenery – a great date sort of a place. Or a group outing, as I had with my ever-famished posse. I advise against going solo as you need someone with whom to split the waiting in line (since you can’t just eat at one spot). Next time, aside from getting a fresh waffle sandwich, I hope to make my way into the Packing House’s own speakeasy, The Blind Rabbit, and to taste my first poutine at The Kroft. And I’d like to pick up some spices and candy to take home from Buy’N Bulk. And likely another ice cream bar. More tater tots. Also gotta get the fish again. And a soul food place called Georgia’s is opening soon.
Better figure out how I can get another two or three stomachs before heading to the Packing House again.
Anaheim Packing House
440 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim