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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Photos

I'm updating this entry and bringing it to the top because I have just called Gabbi's and found out that they are closed on Sundays. Their official site doesn't mention this . . . yet. They are open every other day, Monday through Saturday, from 11am to 10pm. Gabbi's is now open on Sundays.

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen

This is not a review per se but just photos from my last visit to Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen. Met up there with my roommate Greg, his friend Meredith, and Chris and Kristanna. Ironically, I haven't yet taken pictures I'm satisfied with at either of my two favorite places: Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen and Taco Rosa, but these should do for now.

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
Carnitas Platter

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
Shrimp Enchiladas - Greg's trying to be a Seinfeldian hand model again

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
Mole Oaxaqueña - Ed explained that the recipe for this mole sauce came while him and Gabbi were visiting a family in their house in Oaxaca

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen Steak Tacos
Steak Tacos

UPDATE (August 20, 2006):

Stopped by Gabbi's yesterday for a very quick, impromptu lunch. Just ordered a bowl of soup and one of their appetizers. The pozole soup comes with a side plate of fresh onions, cilantro, cabbage, and lime to add to the soup as you desire. Also found out yesterday that in addition to their flan and ice cream brownies for dessert they now have tres leches and deep-fried ice cream.

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen Steak Tacos
Another interior shot

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Painting

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen Pozole Soup
Pozole Soup

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen Mini Mole Tostaditas
Mini Mole Tostaditas

UPDATE (August 29, 2006):

Went to Gabbi's again for a quick dinner after work and found out some helpful information. They are going to be closed September 1st through the 3rd for the Orange Street Fair and re-open on the 4th. On the last Saturday and Sunday of September they are planning on being open for breakfast then may be open on Sundays from that point on.

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Albondigas Soup
Albondigas Soup

Gabbi's now makes tortillas fresh on the premises:

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Making Tortillas

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Tilapia

This time I tried their new deep-fried ice cream even though it has almonds in it (which generally don't agree with me) and it was perfectly fine. It was the only deep-fried ice cream I've ever seen that was in a cylindrical rather than a spherical shape. They are still going to be developing their dessert menu some more as well as their overall menu and Ed outlined some more ambitious plans they have that will be implemented over time.

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Deep-fried Ice Cream
Deep-fried Ice Cream

Ed also said he's considering not putting up a sign out front because several people have told him they thought it was kind of cool having to find the place only by clues given to them by other people, as though they were on a scavenger hunt. The other thing I learned is that they are actively developing their restaurant's website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since this review we have covered Gabbi's several more times. Click HERE or on the "gabbi's" label below to see our numerous entries and better quality photos:


Chaz Lamrusco said...

3 questions:

Which side of the street are they on, and what store are they next to?

Are they open Sunday nights?

I tried to go there Sunday night, and did not find it.

ChristianZ said...

They are on the east side of the south spoke of the circle at just about the halfway point on the spoke (technically South Glassell). If I interpret my map of Old Towne Orange correctly they are in the spot formerly occupied by Muff's Restoration Hardware between the Army-Navy Store (immediately to Gabbi's north) and Plaza 42 Antiques (immediately to Gabbi's south).

They might still not have their sign out front but I know they are working on one and then it needs to get approved by the City Council. Even still you should see people at some of their outside tables when none of the other nearby shops have food or outside seating.

I haven't been on a Sunday night and don't think they are closed then but if they are I can easily imagine it not sticking out at all.

Chaz Lamrusco said...

Weird. That is exactly where I was
looking. I looked right at it, and
didn't see it. Now I know! I will try it soon. Gabbi has quite a resume'.

ChristianZ said...

If you looked right at it and didn't see it then maybe it was closed. Just hone in on the hustle and bustle and the outside seating. Maybe even call ahead of time. Gabbi and her husband are really nice. Ed seems to be able to get out amongst the customers more. He looks like a surfer in his early forties. Said he's had at least three people mention that they found out about their place from this site.

Chaz Lamrusco said...

While I was unable to eat at Gabbi's
today, I tried again to try to spot
it from the street in broad daylight.
I think Muff's Antiques is still there. I think it is the next address
south from Muff's.

I'm starting to think Gabbi's is trying to look inconspicous, like
Club 33 at Disneyland. Is there a
secret knock to be let in? j/k

ChristianZ said...

Okay, this is just weird. Maybe they are closed on Sunday. Another thing is that there may very well be times when they are open but just don't have any tables set outside at that moment, in which case you would step into the shop space a little bit before then going through some glass doors. Did you call them beforehand to make sure they were open? Did you go to whatever spot #141 would be at? Did you get a good look at the picture I have of their storefront from my original post? Their store is more "bricky" than surrounding stores. Also, the antique store just to their south is Plaza 42 Antiques, not Muff's (full name: Muff's Restoration Hardware). If you go a third time and you don't see it can you take a picture of the spot you suspect it might be? I'm trying to get back soon but it might not be until Aug. 21-26.

Johnny Automatic said...

went there this last Sunday on this site's recommendation. Same experience. Locked up tight as a drum with outdoor seating stacked inside behind locked doors.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for your comment. As soon as it came in I called Gabbi's and they confirmed what you and Chaz have been suspecting but I that I never guessed could really be the case: they really are closed on Sundays. There's still time left to go today.

the serrach said...

it's a particular lameness of old town, my hood. multiple places are closed on sunday. it's worth a trip though.. we've been there about 6 times now and i'm constantly impressed with the food quality although there is ALWAYS a long wait.

be sure and ask for the "other" salsa as their house salsa is really the only place they miss a beat.

oh, and ask em to open on sundays.

ChristianZ said...

Some people I went with liked the salsa they bring you out first because it is very mild, but you are right: they have a spicier kind they can bring you on request.

Chaz Lamrusco said...

Darn, I didn't make it to Gabbi's
yesterday (Saturday). Caveat to
anyone planning on going to Gabbi's
next Friday or Saturday. The Orange
International Street Faire will be
on. Parking if you can find it will
be $8 - $10. Don't get me wrong. I
love the Street Faire. My favorite
time to go is - you guessed it -
is Sunday afternoon.
My favorite booth is the Abelskyvers
on Glassell north of the circle.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for reminding me about the Street Fair. I want to post some information on that.

Chaz Lamrusco said...

Well, my wife and I FINALLY made it to Gabbi's, and it was well worth the wait. We arrived about 8:30, and the place was packed! We had to wait about 40 minutes to get in. I had no idea the residents of Orange dined this late.

The salsa they served with the tortilla chips was different. Not sure what else they put in it, but it has a slightly creamy flavor.

My wife had the Enchiladas de Camarones (Shrimp), and she thoroughly enjoyed it. I had Puerco Poc-Chuc, which is a thinly sliced pork chop that is grilled in a skillet with onions. Very tasty! The food reminded me of the dinners we had at the El Presidente hotel in Cozumel.

They provided a complimentary sampler of their side dishes. The refried black beans were exceptional. And the plantains were carmelized perfectly (Felix Cafe take note). The only item that was disappointing was the rice. It was so plain. No spices whatsoever. Just seemed like plain steamed rice that you would get in a Chinese restaurant.

Their small corn tortillas are exceptional. I really enjoy a freshly made tortilla, and the thickness of these make them great.

Even at that late hour, the service was great. People were overheard raving about the place as they left. "wonderful" "amazing" Ed was out in front, and was very nice to
meet him.

Since my wife is in a wheelchair, I would like to review Gabbi's from the handicap access point of view. The whole Old-Towne area in general is wheelchair un-friendly. There are stairs at the rear entrance to this restaurant, so if you park back there, you have to walk around the block to the north or south to get to the front door. There is no handicap parking nearby on the street on this side of the circle.
The tables in Gabbi's are fairly closely spaced, so getting around there on a wheelchair is a bit of a slalom course. The table height was a little high for the wheelchair.

Even with the challenges for wheelchairs, there is nothing that will stop us from returning. We especially look forward to when they serve breakfast!

P.S. We got to see the City of Orange workers scramble to get the streets clean for the street fair.

ChristianZ said...

Well, I am glad to hear that things worked out well. After your aborted attempts before I was hoping you wouldn't finally make it there and be disappointed. Ed did say that it usually takes about six months for a restaurant to get into the groove. Let's hope the handicapped access is improved by then. I like how Ed gets out and talks to all the customers there. The Puerco Poc-Chuc is something I've been meaning to try and now that you mention it might be the next thing I get there.

Alex said...

Gabbi informed me the other night that she also does not want to put up a sign because she doesn't want to jinx a good thing. She also told me that her tortillas use lard... but they're so amazing so I got over it very quickly.

ChristianZ said...

So, I guess they will put up the sign if their business drops.