Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Pub at Fiddler's Green (Los Alamitos, CA)

The Pub at Fiddlers Green at JFTB - Los Al
4745 Yorktown Ave, Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Thu 09/16/2021, 02:20p-05:00p

The Pub at Fiddler's Green Exterior

I spent a decent amount of time in the West Garden Grove/Cypress/Los Alamitos area during my younger years, and I was always curious about the large airfield located right in the midst of my old stomping grounds. The facility first opened in 1942 as a Naval Reserve Air Base, but was soon reclassified as a Naval Air Station in 1943. During this period, the NAS supported the World War II effort, as well as activities for the Korean War. 1973 saw it become an Armed Forces Reserve Center, while four years later, the site was transferred over to the Army and renamed Los Alamitos Army Airfield. In July 2000, it was rechristened Joint Forces Training Base - Los Alamitos, and is currently home to members of both the Army and the National Guard.

Now the JFTB is also home to The Pub at Fiddler's Green, which is apparently the last remaining military pub in Orange County. The Pub launched in 2002 as a drinking-focused establishment, but eventually turned into a proper restaurant (and the only dining option on the base) after the site's mess hall closed. I found out a couple years ago that this place was open to the public, and since I recently had to visit the JFTB for an unrelated purpose, I decided to check it out.

The Pub at Fiddler's Green Interior
Here we see basically the entirety of The Pub, which is of course centered around the bar. It's not a bad looking space, and was in fact nicer than I was anticipating.

The Pub at Fiddler's Green Menu: Starters, Salads, Soups, Burgers & Sandwiches The Pub at Fiddler's Green Menu: Favorites, Beverages The Pub at Fiddler's Green Beer, Cocktail, and Wine List The Pub at Fiddler's Green Shots and Spirits List
Pictured above is the menu, which lists a variety of fare that's appropriate for the setting. The beer/wine/spirit selection is also about what I would expect, while the cocktail list is the most reasonably-priced I've seen in years. Click for larger versions.

No Quarter Nachos
No Quarter Nachos [$10.00] | Tortilla chips, beans, cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo with your choice of chicken or steak
Given my well-professed love for nachos, I think it made sense to start here. I ordered mine with steak, and the beef was actually pretty tender, with a decent amount of smoke and char. The meat melded easily with the liquid cheese, while the beans lent a nice weight, and I really appreciated the brightness from the salsa. Great crunch on the chips, too--my favorite dish of the day.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest
For my first beer, I opted for the Samuel Adams Octoberfest [$5.00], served on draught. It was typical for a Märzen, with a subtly sweet, caramel-y character alongside a dose of nuttiness and light hops.

G.I. Joe Cheeseburger
G.I. Joe Cheeseburger (Inside)
G.I. Joe Cheeseburger [$12.00] | 1/3 lb. burger patty topped with red onion, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and Thousand Island dressing on a sesame seed bun
I needed to try the cheeseburger, and the one I got was decidedly of the old school style, reminding me of the burgers of my childhood. The combo of meat and cheese was certainly the most nostalgic element here, and married particularly well with the sheer zestiness of the red onion, while the Thousand Island brought it all together. As for the onion rings, they were spot-on taste-wise, though they could've used a bit more crunch.

Loaded Fries
Loaded Fries [$10.00] | French Fries topped with your choice of Carne Asada or Chicken, shredded cheese, bacon, green onions and drizzled with our chipotle ranch
The fries were a must-order item for me as well. The chicken came out tender, and had a somewhat char siu-like sweetness that sort of made sense with the smokiness of all the bacon. Green onion provided a welcomed touch of zippiness, but even more crucial was the chipotle sauce, which served to help integrate the various ingredients. I would've liked a bit more texture on the actual fries, though. Interestingly, this reminded me of a similar dish I had at Here & Now not too long ago.

Lieutenant's Long Island
Lieutenant's Long Island [$8.00] | Vodka, Tequila, Gin, Rum, Triple Sec, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice
It'd been a while since I'd had Long Island iced tea, so I decided to give the cocktail a go today. The version here was definitely lemonade-y up front, with the booziness coming in later and lingering, the vodka in particular being the most apparent.

Pepperoni 7'' Pizza
Pepperoni 7" Pizza [$10.50]
The pizza was also nostalgic for me, as its combination of sweet-spicy pepperoni and gooey cheese recalled the cafeteria pizzas of my elementary school years. Of special note was the crust, which was of the dry, crackly, crunchy variety.

Black Hawk Patty Melt
Black Hawk Patty Melt [$12.50] | 1/3 lb. burger with grilled onions, Thousand Island and Swiss cheese on sourdough bread
I'm a fan of patty melts in general, and the version here featured a dense, weighty patty that actually matched up pretty well with those deeply-flavored caramelized onions, all while the thick-cut bread kept things in check. The accompany coleslaw, meanwhile, ate crunchy and refreshing, though it could've used more dressing.

Common Space Warthog Lager
My final beverage was the Common Space Warthog Lager [$5.00], which is apparently brewed specifically for the JFTB. In fact, the beer's tap handle was shaped like a round of 30mm ammunition, a reference to the GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon used on the A-10 "Warthog" jet. As for the beer itself, it was definitely on the easier-drinking side, with its sweet, fruity, grain-y character balanced out by a restrained hop profile.

The Pub at Fiddler's Green Taco Mania
The Pub also offers "Taco Mania" on Thursdays from 4:00pm to 9:00pm. Shown above is the taco setup, helmed today by Chef Ron. According to him, they've be doing taco Thursdays for about six to seven years now.

Carne Asada + Chicken + Pastor Tacos
Carne Asada + Chicken + Pastor Tacos [$2.50/each]
I ended up sampling one of each meat, and began with the asada, which was fairly robustly flavored and my favorite of the three. The chicken, meanwhile, ate tender and pretty juicy, and had an almost curry-esque note to it. Last up was the al pastor, which was the most assertively seasoned of the bunch and featured a touch of sweetness from the inclusion of pineapple.

Having never eaten at a military pub before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect coming in here, but I did have a good time. The food was better than expected, and wouldn't be out of place at a typical casual dining establishment, while service was surprisingly friendly. Interacting with other guests--most of whom were either active military, retirees, or contractors--made for an interesting experience as well. There's also a Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter parked outside:

Bell AH-1 Cobra Helicopter Outside The Pub at Fiddler's Green


Blogger albuddah said...

how did you end up on the base???

Monday, September 27, 2021 8:48:00 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

Hey Kevin, OOOOLD time reader here I'm shocked and relieved you're still keeping the blog alive! I actually found your blog for Urasawa in 2007 when I was still in high school and made my first omakase experience dining at Sushi Zo in 2009 after reading your rave review. I've since gotten old and now at 31, lost a lot of interest in foodie adventures due to "adulting" and figuring out life. I did go back to the Sushi Zo review and found my comment from when I was 19 haha. Thank you for keeping up the awesome reviews and I'll be sure to continue tuning in for future reviews.

-Danny, a decade long enjoyer of your reviews.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Albuddah: Oh it's actually quite easy to get on the base. You just have to show up at the gate and show the guard your ID, then tell him you're going to The Pub.

Danny: Wow that's pretty awesome to hear! So I actually went back and found your old Sushi Zo comment as well, and the crazy thing is that I remember responding to it. How did that date go? And it's interesting that you mention "adulting," as I've noticed no decrease in my appetite for dining out over the years, but at the same time, I do wonder how long I can keep this up.

Thursday, September 30, 2021 1:38:00 PM  

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