The place best known for the Disneyland Resort has a surprise for adults.
If you're visiting southern California's Orange County, it can seem as though its history as one big citrus grove has been squeezed into oblivion. The county is home to Anaheim - best known for the Disneyland Resort - and a proliferation of hotels (some of which resemble faux castles) that house visitors flocking to the Happiest Place on Earth. Nature doesn't feature strongly.
Yet as I head to Anaheim Packing House (about four kilometres from my Disneyland-adjacent hotel), I spy healthy lemon trees in backyards, their branches dotted with ripe fruit and bowing over fences. It's a fitting sight before arriving at the former Sunkist citrus-packing factory that's now a popular dining destination.
The 1919 Spanish Colonial Revival-style building is now a charming food hall housing eateries and bars over two levels. I'm here on my favourite kind of adventure: to track down a "secret" speakeasy.
The Blind Rabbit is on the complex's ground floor, just past a homely porch-swing chair. A hostess discreetly waits beside a "wall" of sake barrels. I've booked a seat so she checks me off her list and reaches for a tiny rabbit statue tucked among the barrels.
It's the speakeasy's clever door handle. Inside, it's so dim it takes a while for my eyes to adjust as I settle in at the bar. When they do, I take in the atmospheric tiny space and don't bother keeping the grin off my face.
With seatings limited to 90 minutes, I hop to it and order a cocktail - the Absinthe Minded satisfies on both flavour and pun quality - and esquites (a roasted-corn salad with Spanish chorizo, pickled serrano and pequillo peppers). As time slips away I squeeze in one more cocktail, another absinthe number called the Green Beast, chat to the local couple next to me and toast my happiest place on earth. anaheimpackingdistrict.com; theblindrabbit.com
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