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Blind-Rabbit_watermarkedThe Saturday Night Foodies blog posted a positive and comprehensive review of the atmosphere, service and drink offerings at The Blind Rabbit, the cool speakeasy on the bottom floor of the new Anaheim Packing District. My wife and I have hit The Blind Rabbit ourselves more than once, and each time are impressed by the drinks, the food and the friendly, engaging staff.

From the review:

We came across The Blind Rabbit located at the recently opened Anaheim Packing District, a revitalized historical hot spot that has more than 20 food and beverage shops.

We approached a propped opened door that had red vinyl tufting on the inside and was camouflaged with Japanese sake barrels on the outside, that when closed, lined up perfectly with the rest of the barrels on the wall. We walked into a small dimly room, with a three-sided bar, about 10 bar stools, a few winged back chairs and an upright piano.

Whenever we try a new speakeasy, we typically start with an order from the menu. This time was no different. I started with the namesake drink, The Blind Rabbit sour: Four Roses yellow label bourbon, sweet vermouth, amaro, lemon juice, cane syrup, and egg white. Jason ordered the bacon-infused old fashioned.

By now we’ve become acquainted with Phillip, the friendly bar tender, and the conversation we’ve had about spirits gives us the comfort to place the creativity of the next round in his hands.

You can read the rest of the review here, and visit The Blind Rabbit every day of the week.

anaheim 1888From the Anaheim Brewery Blog:

Anaheim 1888, our flagship beer, won a Silver Medal at the 2014 California State Fair Commercial Craft Brewing Competition. This competition is limited to beers brewed in the State of California.

Greg Gerovac, one of the brewers and owners, says “We are thrilled that our flagship beer placed so high among such outstanding competition.” Over 850 entries were submitted in 30 categories.

Anaheim 1888 earned the Silver Medal in the Amber Hybrids category.

You can read more about this winning brew here.

packing district grand oepningThe grand opening of the Anaheim Packing District is this Saturday, May 31 from noon to 10:00 p.m.

After what seems like an interminable wait, the public will finally get to see the old citrus packing house enjoy what the OC Register calls “a culinary walkabout, inspired by Old World food markets, in the heart of the city’s historic downtown.”

The excitement about this example of adaptive reuse of a historical property makes one a bit melancholy to think of how vibrant downtown Anaheim would probably be today if the old downtown hadn’t been redeveloped out of existence in the 1970s.

The Packing District Facebook page has a lot of great photos of the interior space and some of the eateries like Georgia’s Restaurant and bars like The Blind Rabbit speakeasy.

The Anaheim Packing District is a public-private partnership between Lab Holding (developers of The Lab and the Camp in Costa Mesa) and the City of Anaheim, and its development was subsidized with taxpayer money. To my knowledge, the city isn’t getting a “fair return” for using tax dollars to make this project pencil out, such as a percentage of Lab Holding’s revenues from the enterprise. But something tells me there’ll be plenty of critics of such “taxpayer giveaways” on hand to bask in the glow grand opening and enjoy what this cool new venue has to offer.

The unifying power of beer will be in evidence tomorrow at the Anaheim Brewery.

From the Anaheim Brewery Blog:

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to tap Unite Pale Ale, the result of International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day!

You can feel good about each pint of Unite Pale Ale, since a portion of the proceeds will go to support the Pink Boots Society, a professional organization for women in the beer business, and to the Orange County Family Justice Center. The Family Justice Center does amazing work for our community. Read more on their website:

International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day was the brainstorm of Sophie de Ronde of Brentwood Brewing Company, Essex, UK. She came up with the basic recipe for the beer, and encouraged breweries to donate the proceeds to both Pink Boots and to a local charity.

You can read the post of the post here.


The consensus media line on Sunday’s anti-police protest in Anaheim is that it was “peaceful.” As someone who spent the entire afternoon at the protest, I contend that is a misleading description because it gives those who weren’t there (especially those dependent on the OC Register‘s pasteurized account) the impression it was placid. In reality, it was angry and belligerent – peaceful only in the sense there was only one arrest and violence was (for the most part) absent.

A reader e-mailed a link to this video from an “Anaheim Exposed” Flickr photostream. It shows youthful anarchists taunting the police at the Anaheim Police Department with obscene chants and gestures — protected by the wall and restraint of the officers they are jeering:


Here’s another picture from the photostream, of a young boy writing “F–k the police” in front of the police station.


He was following the example of the “grown up” protesters who were doing the same thing. Fine role models.

Many protesters gleefully joined in blanketing the police station with graffiti, offering the universal rationalization of  “it was only chalk.”  I only saw one marcher try to intervene: a matronly lady who yelled at the kids to stop – but she didn’t tell them what they were doing was wrong, but that they might get caught by the police. Other than one Brown Beret who half-heartedly tried to erase some graffiti with his shoe and a bottle of water, I didn’t see a single marcher make any attempt to clean up their mess.

After witnessing what I did all afternoon, it boggles my mind to hear or read anyone thanking the protesters for being “peaceful.” Apparently, respectful, mature and self-controlled is too much to ask of adults.

National Brown Berets stand at attention at July 21 anti-police demonstration in front of Anaheim City Hall.

National Brown Berets stand at attention at July 21 anti-police demonstration in front of Anaheim City Hall.

I endured the long march of anti-police demonstrators through downtown Anaheim on Sunday, and my chronicle of what I saw is forthcoming.

The OC Register, the Voice of OC and the OC Weekly all published accounts of the protest, and Adam Elmahrek’s article provides – by far — the best account of the event:

Sunday’s protest was organized by Answer LA, a Los Angeles-based activist group that demonstrates against war and police brutality throughout the state. Many of the protesters were not from Anaheim, and some even had to depart early to catch a bus back to Oakland.

For two hours, friends and relatives of police shooting victims from cities up and down the state gathered outside the Police Department headquarters on South Harbor Boulevard and told stories of young men who had been gunned down by police.

The rally brought together a range of progressive interests and included members of leftist groups some of which have been around for decades.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anti-police graffiti spray-painted on Anaheim City Hall by protester.

Anti-police graffiti spray-painted on Anaheim City Hall by protester.

The OC Register has a few photos from yesterday’s anti-police protest in front of Anaheim City hall and the Anaheim Police Department.

It’s amazing (but not really surprising) how the OCR managed to almost completely avoid posting pictures of the red flags emblazoned with the likeness of the murderous Communist thug Che Guevara; the plenitude of signs (often carried by children) calling the police (Anaheim and otherwise) murderers and racists or the many placards supplied by the Party for Socialism and Liberation; or even a single photo of the omnipresent platoon of National Brown Berets, who seemed to be function as protest security.

Instead, the OC Register article by Jessica Terrell described the scene this way:

Carrying signs with words like “We are not anti police, we are anti police brutality” and “protect and serve, not attack and kill,” local protesters said they hoped the event would raise awareness about police tactics and inspire more residents to attend council meetings and become politically active in the city.

Was Ms. Terrell at the same protest I was? You really had to make to make an effort to cherry pick out such atypically milquetoast placards from the more typical ones like “APD Are Known To Murder Young Fathers.”

Click on this link to the AnaheimBlog’s Flickr photostream and view photos I took at the protest, which will provide you with a much more complete and truthful portrait of the nature of yesterday’s protest – which may have been mostly peaceful in terms of violent or belligerent behavior (excluding the incident where one of the protesters grabbed my iPhone and threatened to fight me for it), it was definitely not peaceable in attitude.

Rioters of the World, Unite!

Rioters of the World, Unite!

The weekend incident between Donna Castro and the Anaheim police is a vivid illustration at how differently political progressives view the issue of crime.

This screed by Vern Nelson on Orange Juice Blog is a good example. Every death from an officer-involved shooting is termed a “murder.” The criminality of those shot by the Anaheim police is glossed over. Nelson paints a Manichean picture of trigger-happy rogue cops recklessly blasting away at young Latino males who are minding their own business.

Nelson also lauds the rowdy crowd that quickly gathered around the scene where Anaheim police officer Kelly Phillips ticketed Castro for impeding traffic – although he fails to mention the mob taunted the police and angrily pelted them with bottles and eggs.

Members of the mob took videos and uploaded them to Ustream – a tactic Nelson salutes and encourages. You don’t see much of the police, but you do get an earful of obscenity-laden threats and hectoring of the police. [It’s interesting how the witnesses who claim to see all manner of Anaheim police misbehavior never have any pictures or video to back up their claims, despite the ubiquity of camera phones.]

What’s instructive is this behavior strikes Vern Nelson and other progressives as a good and worthy. Progressives tend to be romantics, inclined to see behavior like that in the videos — or last summer’s “unrest” — as more akin to the Parisian workers manning the Commune barricades than what it is: an unruly mob trying to provoke the police.

A riot isn’t a riot – it’s “civil unrest.” When the woman on the video screams, “Keep Kelly Phillips off of our street! This is what you’ll have to deal with every time. We’re all going to come out here, and we’re all going to protest your asses,” the progressive ear hears the thrilling opening chords of an uprising against The Man. It’s exciting.

The average Anaheim resident on the other hand, viewing civic life through the lens of ordered liberty and placing due value on tranquility and lawfulness, is more likely to react very differently to scenes like that in the Ustream video. This is precisely the kind of disorderly conduct and incipient lawlessness they don’t want in their neighborhoods, let alone in their city.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anaheim rioter meme 1I encourage you to read today’s Voice of OC article on last night’s forum organized by the East Street Community Renewal Initiative (ESCRI), a project of former (and potentially future) Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.

It contains many jewels. Let’s start with this one:

“The consensus from the forum attendees was clear – the police department is still racist, and city government still can’t be depended on for services.”

What a shock that would be the “consensus” at a forum organized by this group.

If the Republican Party of Orange County organized a community forum on “Obamacare: Three Years Later,” the consensus of forum attendees would be that it’s an unconstitutional monstrosity that ought to be repealed. If the Democratic Party of OC organized a form on the same question, the “consensus” would be that at long last, the Americans’ right to access to health care is guaranteed for all.

In other words, the “consensus” is virtually pre-determined, given the nature of the organizing group and who it consequently invites.

Look at the VOC headline:

“Anaheim Residents Still Frustrated Nearly A Year After Unrest.” 

Really? All Anaheim residents are frustrated? It’s a fair bet that the 50 or so rounded up by ESCRI feel that way, but a headline claiming that is a widespread feeling? “Some Anaheim Residents…” would be accurate.

I liked this one:

“Tensions continued to escalate until three days later when about 1,000 demonstrators were denied access to a City Council meeting.”

“Denied access”? The council chambers were already full – there was no way to fit them in. That’s like someone trying to buy a ticket to a sold-out movie and then complaining about being “denied access” to the show.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jay Burress

Jay Burress

The OC Register published a profile today on Jay Burress, the new president/CEO of the Anaheim/OC Visitor & Convention Bureau. Burress has been on the job for a month, now:

The top of his list is getting the word out about all of Orange County’s attractions that people may not be aware of, he said. International travelers, who make up 10 percent of the visitors to Anaheim and Orange County, are a prime target. Burress is particularly interested in Chinese tourists, who are increasingly traveling to the United States after eased visa restrictions.

“We have a major opportunity to capitalize on that and we want to be a leader,” said Burress, who started wooing Chinese visitors to Texas 15 years ago when he was in sales with the Dallas Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Read the rest of this entry »

PackingDistrictLogoIt doesn’t get the headlines  but one of the most anticipated additions to the Anaheim scene is the opening of the Anaheim Packing District in downtown Anaheim this spring, as the OC Register writes about today.

It’s a public-private partnership between The Lab Holding LLC and the City of Anaheim that promises a true revitalization of downtown. The old downtown Anaheim was torn down and redeveloped back in the 1970s, back when it was still considered smart urban development to replace cool old buildings with glass-and-steel boxes.

Fortunately, the old packing house and environs were left standing, and under the experienced hands at The Lab Holding, could form the foundation of a real night-life in downtown Anaheim.  It’s worth noting this project is a legacy of the era of Mayor Curt Pringle, which certain disgruntled elements are fond of deploring as a terrible dark age.

It did occur to me that taxpayer dollars have been spent on this project, essentially subsidizing a developer. Shouldn’t the “Take Back Anaheim” coalition be demanding this project be placed before the voters for their approval, since they believe city council government incompetent to make spending decisions absent recourse to the voters (unless, of course, the developer has been shaken down for sufficient goodies).

Obviously, that would be ridiculous — which is the point.

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