Spending the day as a Costa Mesa local.

After two years of apartment life in Costa Mesa, I feel like I've been missing out of a fair amount of local flavor. Granted, I go to places like Plums, the Omelet Parlor, That Mongolian BBQ place (next to Plums), but it's been a while since I've ventured out for some solid local fare. Today, I found a comic shop AND a one-off sandwich place.

I usually buy my comics at my all-time favorite of comic shops, Comics, Toons N Toys near Old Town Tustin. But today, I didn't feel like making the drive. A quick search on comicshoplocator.com revealed JNJ Comics on Harbor & Edinger, in Fountain Valley, 4 miles closer to my Costa Mesa abode than CTnT. I wish I had the foresight to have brought my camera, cause this place is dank. Words don't really do it justice. The owner, Jeff, was a nice guy, albeit a little off. He was watching TV, screaming to the other guy in there if he had heard about the hermaphrodite African runner that's all over the news, and how she's got "both sets of parts."

There were no lights on, only indirect sunlight. Also, it was cluttered. Granted, being the only guy (seemingly) to run a comic shop for 15 years, you probably tend to leave stock sitting around an extra day or two. I found the new issues, with some help, bought my two, (Green Lantern Corps #40 & Blackest Night Batman #2), and made for the hills. Would I go back? Sure, if I couldn't make it out to Tustin. Or, if I lived closer to Harbor & Edinger, I'd probably go back on a weekly basis. But as far as friendliness of staff & quality of presentation, it's Comics Toons N Toys for me. Besides, google maps says 14 minutes by street to JNJ, and 15 by freeway to CTnT. I think the choice is apparent.

On my quest for lunch, I thought of a sandwich place close ot my place. A kid I work with told me about how incredible Frank's Philadelphia was. Located a mere 3 minutes from my place, on Fairview & Wilson, next door to the 7-11, it's this little shop, with maybe 10 tables, and 4 counter seats. Total family shop, one of a kind. They don't mess around at Franks. On the menu, near the top, it says "Please order by SIZE and ITEM NUMBER". Since they're specialty is Cheese Steaks, I went for a large #1. A 10 inch cheese steak with fried onions & hot (or bell) peppers, on presumably house-made Italian bread. I took it togo so I could make a mess of myself without the fear of ridicule from my fellow diners. This sandwich was fantastic. Cheesy, meaty, and salty-sweet from the onions & sliced pepperoncinis. I earned every minute of the itis that it caused. I can't extol the virtues of Frank's enough. If I ever get a night off, I gotta get the dudes over, get a case of beer, and make a cheese steak run. Maybe make a little Big Lebowski happen. It's the stuff that dreams are made of. Of course, I may go for the #4 next time, "Frank's Choice." A #1 with extra cheese with hot AND bell peppers. Only 50¢ more. What a deal!

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