Even if you’re not thinking specifically Oktoberfest, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re getting into a pretzel frame of mind. In this spirit, my Nibbles & Bits page in the October mag (on newsstands this week) spotlights Orange County restaurants where pretzel technology replaces conventional sandwich rolls. For its bold and balanced pastrami sandwich and its pastrami burger, Peter’s Gourmade Grill in Tustin employs the pretzel bun from Santa Monica’s Röckenwagner, which likely started the craze.
There are home-grown, Orange County pretzels worthy of our attention, too. Do you know about the incredibly good house-baked soft pretzels at Anaheim’s venerable Mr. Stox? The busy Mr. Stox bakery supplies all the breads used at the restaurant (try the intriguing magenta-hued beet), but the large, chewy pretzels (served in the lounge), with a savory, spicy mustard sauce are a wonderful surprise.
Think of Monday as prime time for a beer/pretzel pairing since all imported beers are half price during happy hour (4 to 6 p.m.) in the Mr. Stox lounge. And don’t forget there’s an artisan cheese plate available, too ($16.95), which includes Cowgirl Creamery’s triple-cream Mt. Tam and Cypress Grove’s rich, blue Humboldt Fog. Tequila drinks get the half-price treatment on Tuesday, wines-by-the-glass on Wednesday, and half-price martinis on Thursday and Friday. An extensive, elegant lounge menu is served 4 to 11 p.m. with choices the likes of lobster cappuccino, prime rib sandwich on Mr. Stox sourdough, and Maryland crab cake (you’ll recall that this is a restaurant that knows its crab cakes).
Just don’t miss those pretzels!