Despite what society tries to tell you, many humans do not naturally function on what is today considered a “regular” schedule, especially in Orange County. In fact, before the advent of effective artificial light, it was common practice to sleep in two 3-5 hour blocks, with an hour of wakefulness in between. Back in the day, that hour would be used for reflection, relaxation, reading, etc., but who does any of that nowadays?
So, now that you’ve successfully shifted your sleep schedule, what are you going to with that hour in the middle of the night? The answer is, go and eat some really great food.
So where do all those hard-partying UC Irvine kids go after In-N-Out closes? Korean Denny’s (credit to a friend for hipping me to the ‘Korean Denny’s’ moniker)! Come here for your boiling hot Soon Tofu fix at any time of day or night.
Previously discussed in our 9 Best Donut Spots in Orange County. Start and/or end that romantic midnight walk on the beach with a donut, coffee, and ham and cheese croissant.
Great for those situations when you’re feeling like Martin Sheen did when he said, “Shit, I’m still only in Little Saigon” and it is also 3 am. And they do mua 2 tặng 1! That means buy 2, get 1 free.
4. Phở Vie II
Also great for the aforementioned situation, and if you would prefer a soup to a sandwich. Based on personal experience, I can say that phở is one of the best things you could eat in the middle of the night. It gives just the right balance of relaxation and energization.
5. Mae’s Cafe
Must. Resist. Rhyming. With. Bae. Good place to come if you’re into the the local late-night diner scene, but don’t want to be a mainstream Denny’s poseur. Could that be a skillet of loaded fries that I see there? That certainly warrants further investigation.
Amazingly enough, a second solid diner in the Little Saigon area. And I thought my thing about the local late-night diner scene was a joke (this whole 3 am thing is looking better and better). If you’re looking for chicken fried steak, they call it the Midnight Special, because, of course, midnight is the time to be eating chicken fried steak.
Known for large portions and being an oasis for those who hold odd hours in an area where everything else shuts down by 9 pm. And how about getting an actual prime rib dinner at like 2 am? That’s my idea of a fun night out.
8. Harbor House
Bookend that long walk on the beach with some Eggs Benny, house-made chili, or a crab sandwich! They’re known for killer hand-made milkshakes, too. You can add such ingredients as Oreos, fruit, and candy, and they come in 16 or 32 (yeah, that’s right) ounce sizes.
Despite the name, they most visibly hype their Torta Cubana (which is muy Mexicana, according to their billboards) and their carnitas. All I know is that both of those things are dang good here. And try the mango agua fresca, too!
The area around Alejandro’s is known for nightlife, but eventually, you gotta get some food to soak up all that booze, right? But what sort of food is good for that? Something with starch and protein, perhaps? I’m obviously talking about tacos.