Q: Any advice on how to stand out in O.C.’s saturated food-truck market?
A: The gourmet food truck craze gets several things right: clean trucks, friendly service, changing menus, and quality ingredients. Stick to those. But fusion and freak-show cuisine has been done to death. (Who thought Asian tacos would so quickly go from novelty to cliche?) Surprise everyone by making well-executed versions of foods everyone loves. For instance, if you’re going to make pizza, don’t make a tofu faux-pork-belly pizza with Assyrian woodchuck cheese, seaweed, and kumquat sauce on a wheatless crust. Just make the best possible version of the traditional kind.
Q: Isn’t it true that Fountain Valley is, and always has been, Orange County’s finest city?
A: The O.C. Answer Man thanks author, relentless Fountain Valley booster, and notorious leg-puller Dann Gibb for his unbiased question. I love Fountain Valley, Dann, but let’s be reasonable. It’s only been a city since 1957. So chronologically it couldn’t always have been our finest. Whether it’s deserved that title post-1957 depends on your criteria. People always ask historians for superlatives. That sort of thing goes over a lot better when mixed with qualifiers. For instance: Fountain Valley is the finest city in O.C. in which the two central thoroughfares—in this case Talbert Avenue and Bushard Street—are named respectively for the families of a city father, and the man who ran off with said city father’s wife.
Q: Was Orange County always this nuts about Halloween?
A: As late as 1890, October goblins and ghouls were scarce here. The earliest local Halloween reference yet found—in the Nov. 2, 1894, Los Angeles Times—describes a party for a couple dozen young people at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall in Santa Ana: “The mysteries of ‘ye olden time’ were delved into … Many were the happy surprises … At a late hour, refreshments of tamales, coffee, and sandwiches … were served.” The evening ended with a series of toasts. Historical chatter and late-night Mexican food? Sounds like the Answer Man’s kind of party!
Illustration by Devon Bowman
Chris Jepsen is the O.C. Answer Man. Have a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.