Otto Hasselbarth, Longtime Owner of La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, Passes Away

OC Weekly archives
La Palma Chicken Pie Shop's iconic neon sign

Last week, services were held for Otto Hasselbarth, who has owned Anaheim's iconic La Palma Chicken Pie Shop since 1972. The German immigrant had run the shop with his wife all these years, drawing in customers for not just the restaurant's flaky chicken pies, but also the most underrated German chocolate cake in the county.

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How an OC Food Blogger Is Bringing Back Naugles by Beating Del Taco

Brian Feinzimer/OC Weekly
Ziebarth: Saw the burrito for the beans

Noah Chillingworth must've figured that if the secret menus wouldn't stop Christian Ziebarth once and for all, then the Wayback Machine would.

For the past five years, Ziebarth has run an online campaign to bring back the legendary Mexican fast-food chain Naugles; the mere mention of it to anyone who came of age in Southern California during the 1980s provokes endless paeans (go ahead: try it!). Ziebarth--a web developer by day--has organized pop-up restaurants featuring entrées such as Naugles' beef-and-cheese burritos, a cup of beans and ramekins of the chain's Cal-Mex salsa; all of it was eagerly devoured by hundreds of eaters and drooled over by tens of thousands of fans online. He argues that Del Taco--which had acquired the company in 1988 and finally shut it down in 1995--had let their Naugles trademark claim lapse, leaving him free to bring it back from the dead. Del Taco, however, doesn't agree; it has not only sent Ziebarth cease-and-desist letters, but the company is also fighting him through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Naugles Comeback Even Closer to Reality Thanks to Key Trademark Ruling

Photo by Brian Feinzimer
Naugles bean-and-cheese

Naugles--the legendary Mexican fast-food chain that for Southern Californians who grew up in the 1980s was their manna--is one step closer to returning thanks to a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

See, all those Naugles pop-up restaurants we wrote about were NOT endorsed by Del Taco, the company that bought out Naugles in the 1980s and technically had the copyright to the Naugles brand. Challenging their trademark with those restaurants was Christian Ziebarth, one of the first food bloggers in OC, and a Naugles fanatic. How fanatical? He challenged Del Taco's hold on Naugles copyright, arguing the fast-food giant let it lapse. And...Ziebarth won, meaning a Naugles comeback is closer than ever.


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How Buffalo Bill Opened New York's First-Ever Mexican Restaurant--And Invented Celebrity Mexican Food

Buffalo Bill, won't you come out tonight...
Among the many crazy facts I discovered for my 2012 book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, none were crazier than the discovery of Buffalo Bill getting into the Mexican-restaurant game. It happened only once, in 1886 at Madison Square Garden as part of his Wild West Show, but still: what the hell was the American West's most famous showman doing offering Mexican food in the 1880s, a time where virtually no one in los Estados Unidos outside of the American Southwest knew what a tortilla was?

That question led me last week to Denver, to an amazing evening of lectures and food hosted by Kevin Grossi of Lola Mexican Fish House. The young chef set out to modernize the dishes that Buffalo Bill offered in his pop-up, not just because Grossi cooks Mexican food and is a fan of Buffalo Bill, but also because the building that Lola occupies used to be a mortuary in which Bill's body was kept--CRAZY!!!

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The Playground Burger Is Going Away... For Now (They're Opening a Burger Place)

Photo by Niyaz Pirani
Pictured: The Hatch Version

We really enjoy the Playground's burger here at Weekly World, so imagine our fear when we heard over Instagram that the restaurant will no longer be offering it after this Saturday.

Shock, horror, grief.

And then I read another two sentences, and it turns out they're discontinuing it because they're opening a burger joint.. very soon.

Read on for details.

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Surge, Legendary Cult Soda from the 90s, is BACK!

Coca-Cola Company

From 1920 to 1933, America experienced the dark days of Prohibition. Apparently forgetting the lessons taught by those 13 grueling years, America endured a similar dry spell of the nation's lifeblood from 2001 until today, this most historic and glorious of days.

Surge is back, you guys.

The legendary super-soda with a cult following reigned supreme in the late 90s with it's "fully loaded" citrus taste that came with a buzz fit for a rabid monkey, much to the chagrin of parents everywhere.

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Retired Lafayette Cafe Chef Writing Cookbook

Chef Edmond Sarfati and Joyce Sarfati
Lafayette Cafe was a legend. It opened in 1972 at what is now the location of Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove and fed the county coq a vin, steak tartare and other French delicacies for 30 years, finally closing in 2002 when its chef and owner, Chef Edmond Sarfati, decided to retire at 71.

Chef Sarfati is now 83 and his grandson, Remy Velardez, is helping him write a "Secret Recipes of Lafayette Cafe" cookbook that will put to paper at least 50 of his recipes.

There's a Kickstarter page, of course, which gives you the book when it's completed at the $20 level. At the $380 level, you get an invite to a planned dinner that Chef Sarfati is hosting at the Anaheim White House, which is billed as his "one final public dinner party."

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A Defense of Dunkin' Donuts

Photo by Robert Banh
I miss you so much

If you've never had Dunkin Donuts before, I feel bad for you.

Dunkin Donuts makes me happy. It's been there for me since day one. It's seen me after late nights with friends when things have been rough. It's seen me after late nights with friends when things have been great. It's dealt with me without any makeup on first thing in the morning, and it doesn't even care. DD has accepted me at my worst and embraces me at my best.

Moving to California a year ago was one of the best decisions I've made both professionally and personally. But when I realized Dunkin Donuts wasn't out here, my heart broke. A void was created that no Coffee Bean could fill. I questioned the meaning of life, because was a life without Dunkin Donuts worth living? To this day, I'm still not sure.

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Long Beach's Giant Donut is Going Down.. For Now

Photo by Charles Lam

Today is the day that Long Beach's giant donut, the pink donut sign that stands over the former Daily Grind on 7th street, gets taken down. It's been standing there since the 50s, when it was erected by the now gone Angel Cake Donut.

Look at it, it's such a sad sight.

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The 10 Most Important Burritos in Burrito History

Thumbnail image for elpacificoburrito.jpg
Photo by Sarah Bennett
Cylindrical God
Burritos have been on my mind as of recent, and not just because of the whole pendejada involving Chipotle putting short stories by authors on its cups and bags...none of whom are Latinos. I'm doing something with burritos that will come out...soon, and I think I'm going to have one tonight at 2 a.m. just for the hell of it.

But back to the Chipotle mess: while America loves to gorge on the cylindrical gods, they seem to not care about its past, its history, its pioneers (a topic I cover ad nauseum in my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America). So let's rectify that, shall we? In no particular order, behold the 10 most important burritos in burrito history!

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