Sandella's Flatbread Cafe - Santa Ana
If you read last Friday's entry on OC Weekly's Stick a Fork In It blog, and followed up on the lead that I gave, then you would've scored yourself a free meal. If you haven't, then click on the link provided, and go get a copy of the Weekly already.
It will prove, once and for all, that there is such a thing as a free lunch.
And there's more:
The gift certificate may seem to limit you to their wraps, paninis, quesadillas, rice bowls, grilled flatbread (pizza), or salad. But since that's ALL THEY SERVE, it was a license to try practically anything on their entire menu.
Everything on it involves flatbread. Flatbread, it seems, is like the Swiss Army knife of breads, a multi-tasking and versatile workhorse that Sandella's -- part of a chain that started in the east -- is all too happy to exploit. They have every conceivable use and permutation of it...at least the edible ones.
Sprinkle cheese, fold it up into a semi-circle, stick it in the oven, and voila! A quesadilla! Fold it a different way, add cold cuts, and shazam! A panini! Crisp it up until rigid like a tostada-shell and bam! An edible vessel for rice bowls!
Or if you're a bit less adventurous, you can have it be wrapped around usual sandwich fillings for a...well...a wrap.
Because I never fully understood the wrap fad that went away mercifully a few years ago, I opted for what is possibly the best application of all: pizza. With my gift certificate in hand, I went for the most expensive topping: the Aloha, which consisted of the following:
Ham, bacon, fresh pineapple, red onions and fresh basil leaves over mozzarella cheese and Mango Habanero sauce
Since I'm a sucker for thin crust pizza, I enjoyed the dish, even if it was only crispy on the edges and structurally limp and soggy elsewhere. For all its versatility, flatbread just can't stand up to the moist assault of melting cheese and sauce. But because "Sanjaya's Papadum Cafe" has not been realized (think of it: papadum pizza!) this is as close to my dream of a gossamer-thin pizza pie as I'll ever get.
The fact that it was free was also nice.
Sandella's Flatbread Cafe
2801 MacArthur Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
Cafe Piccolo - Long Beach*
*Special Thanks to Monster Munching location scout Cecile for the tip on Cafe Piccolo.