Anaheim Hills REVIEW
From the Publisher
As another year comes to a close, we look forward to enjoying good times and tasty food with friends and family.
Residents of the vibrant city of Anaheim Hills know that our community is a festive one. Once the end-of-year celebrations are complete, a new year with all its possibilities will dawn.
Our upcoming year promises to bring wonderful opportunities for fresh starts and new beginnings. The business and community members featured in this issue reflect such dedication to progress and potential.
Within these pages, we highlight two Anaheim restaurants dedicated to satisfying hungry appetites and providing enjoyable places to gather. On page 6, meet the all-new Hive Sports Bar & Grill, complete with 24 televisions. Then on page 7, get to know the fresh, clean-eating offerings at True Seasons Organic Kitchen.
This issue of the Anaheim Hills Review also features businesses focused on serving the community. On the cover, get acquainted with Veteran Air. This dedicated company has brought airconditioning and heating comfort to residents and businesses since 2009. Then at the longstanding Anaheim Hills Saddle Club (pg. 10), you’ll find lifelong equestrians committed to ensuring that horses and their owners have a place to call home amidst our Southern California urban sprawl. You also have the chance to get to know West Coast Arborists, Inc. on page 11. A fixture of the community for 50 years, the company has expertly cared for Anaheim’s city trees for decades.
As you enjoy these winter months with cooler weather, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year brimming with joyous times and exciting possibilities.
Sincerely, Mike Escobedo
Jim Cain , Anaheim Hills Community Council 5753-G Santa Ana Canyon Rd / 714-342-5437 Jim@AnaheimHillsCommunityCouncil.org
Serving Our Fine City
When Jim Vanderpool first walked into Mission Viejo City Hall in the early 1990s as an intern, he knew he had found his calling. He received assignments in various city departments for the next year, getting a taste for public service in a variety of settings.
“I knew what I was doing was meaningful and changing people’s lives,” Vanderpool says.
His career continued to prosper in the coming decades, including 25 years with Buena Park, eight of which he served as city manager.
Vanderpool, who graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim, returned to his roots as city manager in 2020—making the leap from a city of 86,000 in Buena Park to one with more than 340,000 people, 3,000 employees and a $2 billion budget in Anaheim.
“I have been met with incredible open arms from within the organization and the community at large,” Vanderpool says.
Anaheim City Councilman Steve Faessel called Vanderpoolby Melissa Pinion-Whitt
the right choice to lead the city, given the similarities with Buena Park and the improvements he made there.
“He helped revive that city’s visitor economy, which is built around Knott’s Berry Farm,” Faessel says. “He also brought major improvements to Buena Park’s section of Beach Boulevard, which has been an inspiration to Anaheim as we address problems along our 1.5-mile stretch of Beach just to the south.”
Faessel also praised Vanderpool for how he has handled the challenges associated with the pandemic.
“He oversaw widespread testing and vaccination operations, community and business relief programs and skillfully worked through a devastating $350 million loss in city revenue in 2020 and 2021,” Faessel says.
Vanderpool witnessed city employees stepping up in droves to volunteer at vaccination sites, helping to reopen the economy.
“Not only was it helpful from a public health perspective, but it was immensely helpful to our economy,” he says.
Vanderpool sees budget stability as part of his short- and long-term goals.
The city has a solid foundation to improve public safety in the coming years, with the highest compliment of police officers in 25 years and added firefighter positions.
He has been working with legislators to address homelessness, the number one issue for which the city receives calls. In addition to providing support and wraparound services for homeless people, Anaheim wants to work with state partners to address Caltrans right-of-way areas occupied by the homeless, emphasizing compassion rather than enforcement.
The city has numerous projects on the horizon, including OCVibe at the Honda Center, the proposed expansion of Disneyland Resort and the revitalization of commercial corridors.
Vanderpool hopes he can continue to serve the city and see these projects come to life.
“It will be a golden moment to know that I was a part of all of that,” Vanderpool says. •
Veteran Air Founder Mike Andersen and his crew have provided their awardwinning HVAC services to Orange County for 13 years, and recently expanded to San Antonio, Texas. “We
At Veteran Air, staff often go above and beyond to help customers, even if it’s outside of their typical service offerings.
“If we find issues like plumbing or electrical problems during an install, we’ll fix it for the homeowner and not upsell them,” say Operations Manager Jeff Hall.
If you’ve ever needed air conditioning in a residential or commercial space, chances are you’ve heard of Veteran Air. Since 2009, the company has provided HVAC services to the greater Orange County community, specializing in repairs, maintenance and installation.
The company was founded by Mike Andersen, a veteran, who got his start in the industry after working for his father’s HVAC company, Denny’s Air Conditioning & Heating, founded in Orange County in 1954. Mike describes his father, Rick Andersen, as someone who clearly brought his own morals and values into his business and never strayed from implementing them.
“When I went on service calls with my dad, I could see the trust his customers had in him and the love he had for his customers,” says Andersen. "That was an important moment for me and motivated me to do the same.”
Today, Andersen strives to emulate his late father’s business values with his own team. Veteran Air is committed to giving back to the community beyond its repair and installation services. The team aims to donate $1 million in the next few years.
Finding Comfort with Veteran Air
Last June, Veteran Air expanded its services to Texas, celebrating its grand opening on June 5, Andersen’s father’s birthday. This business move is another example of the team’s goodwill and empathy. During the deadly Texas freeze in the winter of 2021, the Veteran Air community collected donations of food, water and personal hygiene kits and drove everything out to San Antonio.
“We fell in love with the area and the people we met,” says Andersen. “They were so grateful and polite, even though they hadn’t had fresh water in days and were dealing with a catastrophe. We decided we wanted to expand to San Antonio and continue to serve that area.”
Just a few months later, Veteran Air has already had a remarkable impact in the San Antonio community and has landed a contract with The Alamo.
The internal company culture is high on the Veteran Air teams’ list of reasons to be part of the organization. Over the past 13 years, Andersen and his crew have built a strong camaraderie and developed an almost familial, tight-knit community.
“My favorite part of the job is just coming into work every day,” says Operations Manager Jeff Hall, who has been with Veteran Air for seven years. “I love my crew, and we truly feel like a family, even pitching in to support a coworker with needs for a new baby or spending time with each other on our birthdays.”
Hall was the company’s third employee, and he shares that everyone is treated with respect and celebration, whether they’ve been with Veteran Air for almost a decade or almost a week.
“When we look for new
employees, we’re not looking for someone who just wants a job; we’re looking for somebody who wants to retire here,” says Hall.
“That shows in how connected we all are and how we cheer each other on. We’re all very family oriented.”
As Veteran Air heads into its 13th year of service, Andersen looks forward to continuing to serve the community beyond supplying its HVAC necessities. During the holidays, the company donates hundreds of turkeys and hams for Thanksgiving and Christmas and organizes toy drives for children.
“The way we help our community, and the way they give back to us, brings us purpose at work,” says Andersen, who is grateful to his team. “Everyone, including our employees, families, community and customers, all play a part in our team’s success story.” •
Veteran Air 2925 East Ricker Way, Anaheim / 714-206-3493 www. VeteranAirUSA .net
Last year, Danny Flores and his niece, Delilah Flores, won “Top Chef: Family Style .” At the time, Danny had just started Let’s Brunch Catering when the opportunity to compete came knocking at his door.
“I started the catering company about six months prior to the show,” says Danny. “When I opened, I was getting just enough bookings to stay afloat. But ever since the show, I’ve been getting a little more feedback.”
And that feedback has mostly been positive.
“Winning boosted our selfesteem,” says Danny. “When I first started the catering business, it was a risk. I worked at a private college in Claremont, but it felt like if I didn’t start the business now, then when?”
Like many who embark on what could be a risky endeavor, Danny had his doubts. “I thought, what if I fail? But the feedback I’ve gotten for the business confirms that I’m on the right track.”
The “Family Style” spinoff of “Top Chef” had him working with Delilah, who took up an interest in cooking at a very young age. She became proficient in the kitchen, helping her family and ultimately her uncle in his catering service. Still, she felt a bit overwhelmed when the competition started.
“I’m not going to lie; I was very nervous,” says Delilah. “It was my first time doing anything like this. I had no experience cooking professionally, and it was very different.”
Delilah says part of their success in the competition was sticking to traditional family meals.
“My grandma is from Mexico,” she says. “She taught Uncle Danny how to cook, and he taught me how to cook. We put our whole heart and heritage into in the competition.”
Cooking with Tradition
Danny says they’re holding onto Delilah’s winnings until she graduates high school, but he plans to use his portion for business expansion and upkeep for his materials.
Delilah, on the other hand, is looking into alternative career paths. “Cooking has a very strong place in my heart, but I still don’t know what I’m going to do in the future,” she says. “Maybe something in the medical field. I’m exploring my options.”
Her mother, Tina Vivian, says Delilah’s exploration of the medical field is driven by personal reasons, and she knows her daughter will do well with that path. “She maintains a high GPA while being active in cheer,” Vivian says. “She’s an overachiever and doesn’t let anything or anyone hold her back from her achievements and dreams. I look forward to seeing her success in the future. I know whatever she decides to do, she will be great!”
Delilah still helps Danny when she’s available, though. “The commute is a little rough sometimes but she’s still cooking with me,” he says. “Whenever she can, she’s chopping strawberries and whatnot, so she’s a big help.”
Post show, Danny says the experience has opened a lot of doors for him. Meanwhile, Delilah says she’s made lots of friends since the show, and she still keeps in regular contact with her fellow competitors. •
Danny agrees, saying people are amazed at the dishes that won. “People say, ‘The food we grew up eating, to make it on the big screen, I can’t believe our mole is on television,’” he says. “It’s a very humble dish for us. We serve it for every special event.”
Serving Up Customers
The Hive Sports Bar & Grill
Husband-and-wife business partners Bob and Melene Klentos have been in the restaurant industry for more than 25 years. They’re bringing a new venture to Anaheim Hills: The Hive Sports Bar & Grill, which officially opened in early November.
The couple is also part owners of Paul’s Place in Anaheim, where Bob worked for more than two decades as a dishwasher, cashier and cook. He introduced Melene to the business, and she also fell in love with the industry.
“We’re Greek, and it’s almost in our blood and DNA to be in the food business,” says Melene. “We love celebrating with food, making food, and having people enjoy our food.”
The Hive recently celebrated its soft opening, with an official grand opening to come soon. At its heart, the restaurant is a sports bar, but Melene says the environment makes it different from competing bars and emphasizes its family-friendly atmosphere.
“We’ve created a bright and cheerful ambiance with a more modern industrial take on a sports bar, so it feels warm and welcoming instead of traditionally dark,” she says. “We have 24 TVs showing almost every sports game imaginable, so we’re hoping to be the goto spot in the area.”
The Klentoses also focus on original food and drinks for this concept, offering classics like burgers and sandwiches, as well as new fan favorites, including queso birria tacos, gyros and loaded tater tots.
“We know the ins and outs of the restaurant industry, so we’re excited to share our menu with our neighbors,” says Melene. “In addition to our full bar, we’ll also have specialty craft cocktails that are super fun.”
Though they’ve been working on the business for the past seven months, Bob and Melene know the real work starts now. Already, they’ve had a full house during their soft opening days, and they expect the trend to continue as they fully settle into the location.
“We’re excited to get to work and start serving the community,”
says Bob. “As we head into the new year, we’re looking forward to providing good food and service to the great people in the Anaheim Hills area.”
As new customers try out The Hive Sports Bar & Grill, the Klentos duo aim to take on any constructive feedback and do what they can to create a better experience.
“We always welcome any suggestions, improvements or feedback,” says Melene. “We want to do what we can to serve our customers and make sure things run smoothly, so we’re open to listening to whatever we can do to improve.” The Hive Sports Bar & Grill
True Seasons Organic Kitchen
Jason Le has always been intrigued by the intersection of food and entertainment, so when he saw an opportunity to purchase True Seasons Organic Kitchen and consistently play host to customers, he took it.
“No matter what career I would do, I knew entertaining would be a part of it, and I love seeing people’s reactions when they come in and have a good meal,” he says. “It makes everything worthwhile for me.”
Two years ago, Le took over True Seasons from Saifon Plewtong, who is known professionally as “The Healing Chef,” and developed the restaurant concept. Since then, Le transformed the menu to be more focused on Asian fusion options, like hotpot, ramen and pho soup.
“I loved the idea of an organic restaurant that gives people the option to eat healthier, clean foods,” he says. “I bought True Seasons and made it my own, adding more Asian influences and expanding the healthier options.”
The eatery specializes in shabu-shabu, a Japanese hotpotstyle dish with flavorful broth, vegetables and thin-sliced meat. All the broths and side dipping sauces are made fresh in-house and feature a variety of vegan options.
“Most of the ingredients for our hotpot, soups and ramen are all organic, including our meat,” says Le. “It’s pretty rare to find organic shabu-shabu, which is why it’s my goal to source high-quality organic options that I can still serve to customers at a reasonable price.”
Because there are not many competing organic Asian fusion restaurants in the area, Le notes that he can cater his menu specifically toward wellness-focused customers and those who want to include more clean eating options in their diets.
“I absolutely love the quality of the food and the freshness,” says customer Irene Martinez. “Being health-conscious, I usually have to compromise on flavor, but I’m happy that I don’t have to at True Seasons because everything is delicious.”
A self-proclaimed foodie, Le worked his way through the restaurant industry, holding jobs as a server, cook, bartender and now owner. He also operates TAP24 Bar & Grill in Long Beach.
“I used to have a goal of owning 10 different restaurants, but now I want to focus on the ones I’m already running and expand those,” says Le. “I want to work on being consistent and building a well-known brand, as well as just getting more people in the restaurant to enjoy our food and have a great time.”
Le’s attention to consistency and quality service is what stands out to customers and turns one-time eaters into returning diners.
“I love how Jason takes pride in the cleanliness, quality and atmosphere for his customers,” says customer Analyssa Lizarraga. “It’s a relaxed atmosphere, and the staff is always so welcoming and friendly.” •
True Seasons Organic Kitchen 5675 East La Palma Ave. / 714-462-9223
www. TrueSeasonsKitchen .com
Brew Local, Drink Social
Horses are our Top Priority
The number of horse stables in Orange County has dwindled considerably in the last few decades. Despite this, the Anaheim Hills Saddle Club continues to proudly serve the local equine community.
“I’ve been here at least 43 year s,” says Andrew Edwards, Founder and Owner of the Saddle Club. “Developers have come at me over the years wanting the land for development, but I’ve never signed my name on the line. While some small ranchers have taken money to sell their land to build shopping centers or houses, for us the horses are a top priority.”
Andrew learned the trade from his father on a horse ranch in Tennessee. Ranch manager, Patrice Quinlan, grew up ranching horses in multiple locations across the country with her family. This makes nearly 100 years of ranching experience between the two of them.
“We don’t just host the ranch, we do it ourselves,” Patrice says. “We’re accomplished in the horse realm, including winning in the show ring. Those are hard-won buckles in our trophy case.”
The Edwards are currently boarding 130 horses and have between 10 and 30 head of cattle at any given time, both for practice and serving events. In addition, the Saddle Club has a covered arena, making it ideal for riding in inclement weather.
“The icing on the cake is our large, covered arena,” says Andrew. “It’s a 24,000-squarefoot freespin arena. Whether it’s 105 degrees out or pouring rain, riding schedules aren’t interrupted.”
The Saddle Club is very fond of its riders and clientele. They don’t share names for security and privacy reasons, but they have drawn the business of some public figures.
“We’ve had a really awesome customer base here over the years,” Andrew says. “Some that stand out in my mind are the Disney horses that you see over at the park. They were a great client. Probably my number one favorite client was Clint Eastwood and his family.”
The Edwards are horse reproduction experts and innovators as well, meaning their human
clientele aren’t the only big names to grace the property.
“We have three babies that came from the Hall of Fame, top-notch horse Dual Rey,” Patrice says. “He’s been dead for six years but we’re still able to make babies from his genetic material. The babies that we have were conceived in a petri dish and put into surrogate mares. That shows you how advanced equine reproduction has become.”
Horses stabled at the Saddle Club are treated as though they are the Edward’s own. They have a high standard of care on the property, including rules to follow for the safety of riders and horses.
“We are a boarding stable, so in that way we’re open to the public, but we don’t want people coming onto the property petting and feeding horses,” Patrice says. “I have had friends lose their horses from people unknowingly feeding them. In one case, the horse was intubated, and in the other, the horse was so insulin intolerant that the sugar killed him.”
Additional services offered by the Saddle Club include assistance with horse purchases, an equine ambulance service and riding courses. The Edwards are also available to perform CountryWestern music at events. •
Anaheim Hills Saddle Club 6352 Nohl Ranch Rd. / 714-397-2830 / http:// AnaheimHillsSaddleClub .com
K NOW T HE N EIGHBORS by Melissa Pinion-Whitt
“Seek nourishment from the good things in life—simple pleasures, Earth, fresh air, light,” Shamir wrote in his 2000 book Advice from a Tree Mahoney serves as president of Anaheim-based West Coast Arborists, Inc. , a family-owned company established in 1972. Mahoney, along with his brother, Richard, and sister, Rose Epperson, established the organization, which provides professional tree maintenance and management services for more than 330 cities and public agencies in California and Arizona.
“Trees are an asset. They provide a variety of quantifiable benefits to the city and its residents. Trees increase the value of homes and have become part of the infrastructure—much like lighting, streets and sidewalks,” Mahoney says.
The company maintains more than 50,000 trees in Anaheim alone, and more than 750,000 throughout Orange County.
It’s a story that began in Tustin in 1972 when a man named George Waldhauser, known by his company name, “George the Treeman,” came to Mahoney’s home to work on an eucalyptus tree that was damaged by Santa Ana winds.
Mahoney, a Tustin High School graduate standing at 6-feet-4-inches tall, says he received an offer to come work for Waldhauser, partly because of his height. Mahoney took out a $5,000 loan to purchase the business from Waldhauser in 1973. The company took on its current name in 1978.
His father’s experience as a 40-year manager with Eastman Kodak Company provided Mahoney with guidance for acquiring city and county tree maintenance contracts. That helped the business grow from a residential tree maintenance company to one that manages more than 30 million trees and employs more than 1,100 workers.
Mahoney considers the relationships he and his business have built through the decades to be the most rewarding aspect of his job.
“We have second and third generations working with us internally,” he says. “That makes me proud. Most of our city customers have been with us for more than a decade or even two.”
Amelia Menzel, business development supervisor for the company, is proof of this. Her father worked for West Coast Arborists, and she and her brother have been with the company for the last 10 years.
“Working for WCA definitely has a family feel, and as the leader in municipal tree maintenance and management on the West Coast, there is a definite sense of pride in what we do,” she says.
Mahoney says the company will continue to flourish.
“We’ve remained nimble over the last 50 years,” he says. “ As trees and communities continue to grow—so will we.” •
West Coast Arborist 2200 Via Burton / 714-991-1900
Election Brings New Faces to Anaheim
The 2022 election in Anaheim brings new elected officials to City Hall, with a new Mayor and three new City Councilmembers.
Natalie Meeks won 71 percent of the vote to become the new City Councilwoman for District 6, which consists of Anaheim Hills. A City employee from 1987-2016, she was Anaheim’s Director of Public Works from 2007 until retiring in 2016. Meeks succeeds Councilman Trevor O’Neil, who made an unsuccessful bid for Mayor.
Ashleigh Aitken won 43 percent of the vote in the race for Mayor of Anaheim, which had four candidates, all residents of Anaheim Hills. She has been Of Counsel at the law firm of Aitken Aitken Cohn since 2010, an Assistant United States Attorney from 2008-2010 and an associate at two law firms from 2002-2008.
Anaheim’s closest Council race was in District 2 (eastern half of West Anaheim), where Carlos Leon unseated Councilwoman Gloria Ma’ae by just a few dozen
votes. In District 3 (downtown Anaheim), Natalie Rubalcava won 58 percent of the vote to replace termed out Councilman Jose Moreno.
In addition to Meeks, Aitken, Leon, and Rubalcava, there will be a fifth new face at City Hall.
In District 4 (Anaheim Resort District), Councilman Avelino Valencia is leaving his Council seat mid-term because he was elected to the State Assembly. The Council will have to fill the vacancy by appointment by February 3 or call a special election.
Two Councilmembers will be continuing in office: Councilman Jose Diaz was elected in 2020 to a four-year term to represent District 1 (western half of West Anaheim).
Councilman Steve Faessel was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 to represent District 5 (area along the 57 Freeway).
The Anaheim Hills Review will have more in-depth coverage in our next issue after the new Council takes office. •
Hopefully all of you “Urban Farmers” are planting the right plant at the right time as I advise. The fact these articles come out every two months requires I cover those months. So, if you are following my advice and are not yet harvesting, you will be shortly.
That means you are harvesting or are about to pick cool-season crops like lettuce, kale, cauliflower and broccoli (hopefully you got them planted by the first two weeks of October), Swiss chard or whatever you planted. The chard will likely require some research to find out exactly how to use this very prolific leafy vegetable. Varieties such as ‘Rainbow’ or ‘Ruby Red’ are very colorful, so plant them strategically where you can enjoy their display. Carrots and beets may still be a few months away from full maturity, but if planted with the final thinning in mind, the inbetween plants can be eaten as “baby” veggies.
Remember to fertilize once a
month with a 2-2-2 organic fertilizer (or something close). I mentioned in a previous article that I use the first of every month as a reminder to fertilize. There are exceptions, however. Carrots and beets are good examples. If fertilized on this schedule, they will produce many small roots, making them look hairy, and who wants hairy food? So, skip the feeding regimen on these two.
December or early January is the best time to start potatoes, full size onions, onions from sets and garlic. Also keep in mind most lettuces are of the leafy variety and are best harvested from the outer mature leaf. If you harvest in this manner, the plants will continue to produce for months. But after a while they do wear out. January is a great time to start another crop. This applies to all cool-season crops to get a second harvest.
Keep in mind I can’t go over every detail on each plant noted, so research any plants you’re not
familiar with growing. Also keep in mind that potatoes and garlic should not be started from vegetables you find in the grocery store, as they are treated with sprout suppressants. To be successful, these crops need to be planted from starts found in nurseries. As for onions, buy them online to ensure you get the correct type for SoCal. What you want is short-day varieties. I receive my onion sets the first week of January, plant them as soon as I can, and by late May to early June I have onions that are up to 2 to 3 pounds. If you grow them in the garden, allow plenty of space between plants. If you’re growing them in containers, keep in mind that the resulting vegetables
won’t be as big.
Just a reminder that if you are growing in containers, it is important you check the plant labels. Whether you are buying 4-inch pots from the nursery or starting from seed, it is important to note the plant size at maturity, keeping in mind that the container size is your limiting factor.
Now go get gardening!
For help with any garden, landscape or pest problem, contact our Master Gardener Hotline at UCCEOCMGhotline@ucanr.edu and check out our website at www. MGOrange .ucanr.edu for scientifically researched, peerreviewed information. It is a great tool for gardeners at any level. •