If anyone out there is in search of a flannel-clad, Blue Bottle coffee-guzzling, scruffily-bearded gentleman of choice, consider your search over. The capital of all things nonconformist has recently sprung up in an unsuspecting city– Anaheim, CA (aka the OG lodging destination of a low key mouse who sometimes goes by Mickey).
A genuine prohibition era landmark rather than a contrived mock-relic of the past, the imposing mission style building once served as a former automobile showroom and citrus Packing House in the heart of Orange County. For those who have ever wondered where the OC found its namesake, consider yourselves enlightened. The landmark has since been restored from its early 20th century glory days, and continues in its tradition of pouring up dranks galore (although the availability of bathtub gin can neither be confirmed nor denied at this time).
The rebirth of the packing house can best be described as an enclave of du jour boutique bars and restaurants which predominantly specialize in craft beverages and comfort food items. Let me repeat…a mall of comfort food restaurants. There is a God. Expansive skylights brightly illuminate the entirety of the eco-conscious space, complete with compost bins galore and communal seating, and concurrently spotlight the endless culinary offerings of the foodie playground.
I would imagine that my experience at the Packing District was somewhat comparable to Jesus’ last supper. Many choices, little time, and much pressure to eat everything before it was time to peace out. But when there is a will and a seriously dedicated foodie at hand, there is a way. I managed to roll myself through the solar-paneled doors of the Packing House feeling full of both food and hope for the future of Orange County’s gastronomic establishments.
In a county chock-full of cookie cutter neighborhoods, chain restaurants, (un)Real Housewives, and strip malls, the Packing District has breathed about as much ingenuity back into the otherwise lifeless body of the OC as RHOWBH star Lisa Rinna has Restylane in those pillowy lips. You go, girl.