Sunday, November 16, 2008

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 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
(714) 668-9090
2801 MacArthur Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Cafe Piccolo - Long Beach*

*Special Thanks to Monster Munching location scout Cecile for the tip on Cafe Piccolo.


At 12:59 AM, Blogger shavedicesundays said...

Darn, I missed my chance as I won't be back again in the OC for another 2 weeks. Still reeling from the 3 hour trip home to the eastern SGV from the OC Saturday night. That flatbread looks quite light, but alas I'll have to salivate over it from afar.

At 3:50 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

I would have ordered what you did, since I am a fan of Hawaiian think crust pizza. Call me crazy, but I would also add anchovies to it.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger Frequent Traveler said...

Good Monday to you Elmomonster !

I adore quesadillas.... Lucky you for getting the free meal :)

Hope you have a good week, and are safe from the fires --

At 10:32 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hey Elmo - That crust looks very ,very, thin. It's good to know that somewhere, out there, there is indeed a "free lunch".

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

Flatbread is the new 2009. There are many pizzaeria now serving thin crusted pizza too and I am wondering if flatbread is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a popular pizzaeria called Bollini's in Monterey Park that served thin crust pizzas. It's getting popular now.

BTW, love your Hidden Kitchen review. I might need to pop in there on a Thursday night.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yes, this was a hellish weekend I just hope you and everyone reading made out okay in the fires!


Anchovies would've put this thing over the edge. And I would've liked it!


You could be lucky too! The coupons are still out there! There are 20,000 of 'em! But still, probably too much gas to burn just to get to Santa Ana from South OC!


It WAS ultra thin. It actually got better when I reheated the leftovers in the toaster oven. Yummy and crispy all around!

Pepsi Monster,

I've been dying to try Bollini's, but never find myself up there that often anymore. I used to go every week. Now when we go there (to SGV) it's for dim sum. One of these days though, it's gotta be for that pizza! Hope you enjoy Hidden Kitchen! It's truly as good as I wrote!

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Wonginator said...

Nice review. Gotta pick up one of the coupons today.

I regularly shop at that Ralphs, and noticed the Sandella's when it opened a few months ago. I kinda forgot about it until now.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

I left a comment on Stick A Fork In It, but yes, I will definitely pick up the coupon. I'm always in search of new paninis and I like the combinations of ingredients on theirs.

Was the mango habanero sauce any good?

At 11:58 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


YES! That's where it is! Right across the street from Sushi Murasaki actually, which I reviewed last week.

And oh yeah, any news on Peruvian Kitchen? I haven't had a chance to call or visit them to check up. I HOPE HOPE HOPE they're not really closed!


Thanks for the comment on both blogs! But I had to chime in because the coupon is in last week's issue (The one with the Howdy Doody-like cartoon guy in the front). Pick one up now! Of all people, I wouldn't want you to miss out! There still should be a few left out there at the usual places.

As far as the mango habanero, I couldn't actually taste it past the cheese, bacon, pineapple, onion, and ham. I was almost surprised to see it listed on the menu (which I read AFTER I ate the pizza). Still...pretty darned tasty pizza!

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Wonginator said...


I haven't had a chance to check up on Peruvian Kitchen yet. I might go to Chicago's Best in the next couple of days, so I'll let you know.

On the OC Reg's restaurant closures article, somebody mentioned that Carm's Coneys closed abruptly last week. That's another place I'm sad to hear about, as they had a great variety of hot dogs on their menu.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yeah, that's so sad about Carm's Coneys. They've only been open, what, a year? I didn't even to try them.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Wonginator said...


Dropped by the food court today, and Peruvian Kitchen is open again. Looks like the closure was temporary or just for that one day when I visited a couple of weeks ago.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Thanks for the update! I made an addendum to the Stick a Fork In It post.


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