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Best of 2014: New York Pizza

Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
142 Main St., 562-493-4430, asliceofnewyorkpizza.net

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Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114, bolsachica.org

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Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648, lilgreenwagon.com

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Best of 2014: Summer Cocktail

Vivid, fizzy, and a tad nectarous, Druid Divination is bar boss Drew Tripp's nod to summery quenching with its shaken mix of Irish whiskey, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil, plus thyme muddles with sweet strawberries from star producer Harry's Berries. Order two - one for you, and one for you. $10
227 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, 714-352-2225, chapteronetml.com

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Best of 2014: Key Lime Pie

Bonefish Grill makes one that’s refreshingly tart, just like Cousin Lois’ in Tampa. Whipped cream instead of meringue is a nice touch.
3040 El Camino Real, Tustin, 714‑368‑7613, bonefishgrill.com

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Best of 2014: Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Chicago-based Portillo's Hot Dogs offers its all-beef version with mustard, relish, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and a pickle spear, hitting every note down to the authentic poppy-seed bun and shake of celery salt on top.
8390 La Palma Ave., Buena Park, 714-220-6400, portillos.com

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Best of 2014: Asian Soft-Serve

There’s no better way to end a meal at Mitsuwa Marketplace than with a swirl of Japanese soft-serve ice cream. Choose from matcha green tea, black sesame, and roasted tea. All are delectable, but the roasted tea—unique in O.C.—tastes like delicate coffee. $3 to $4.75
Mitsuwa Marketplace, 665 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa, 714‑957-2933, mitsuwa.com

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Best of 2014: Indoor Climbing

With 50-foot walls, and a bouldering area that's 18 feet high, this 25,000-square-foot facility is perfect for the adventure-seeker or anyone up for a workout challenge. It's a fun environment with a knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful staff. Great for beginners as well as advanced climbers, classes and rentals available. $20 adult day pass
1441 S. Village Way. Santa Ana, 714-881-3456, senderoneclimbing.com

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Best of 2014: Vintage Vinyl

Burger isn't just a record store and record label, it's where long-haired teens, ratty rock'n'rollers, and obsessive record collectors go to feel at home. Flip through bins packed with lost pop classics, garage rock gems and the shop's own cadre of breakthrough bands.
645 S. State College Blvd., Fullerton, 714-447-4280

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Best of 2014: Lobster Roll

Maine-sourced claw meat, lightly dressed in butter, mayo, and lemon juice, letting the lobster shine. Piled high on a toasted bun, it makes a Mainer proud. At Saturday’s Peter’s Landing Farmers Market,
16400 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Harbour, 714‑655‑1838, winkslobster.com

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  • Best of 2014: New York Pizza

    Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
    142 Main St., 562-493-4430, asliceofnewyorkpizza.net

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  • Hot Shop: Popping With Petals

    Petals and Pop would be at home in a Paris street scene. Blooms and foliage spill onto the sidewalk from old aluminum buckets and vintage German pickling jars. Inside, a floor-to-ceiling library ladder slides along the shelves of this flower and home goods store, providing access to vases, table linens, garden and kitchen tools, specialty chocolates, and cookbooks. Read More
  • Neighborhood: Buena Park

    On the edge of what’s quickly becoming Orange County’s own Koreatown, the new Village Circle on Beach offers a mash-up of Asian cultures. Anchored by Taiwanese bakery 85C, Korean supermarket H Mart, and Japan’s dollar store Daiso, it’s Buena Park’s answer to Irvine’s Diamond Jamboree. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Shaved Ice

    These light and downright lush desserts get tricked out with enticing toppings and mix-ins, many taking their cues from Asian favorites such as red beans, mochi balls, and lychee. But they also can be as traditional as orangesicle and strawberry shortcake. Here are six places in Orange County to get your brain-freeze on. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Roast Chicken

    Whether it’s cooked slowly over open flames on a spit-roast or stuffed with herbs and roasted in the oven to golden perfection, few dishes are as comforting as a simple roast chicken. While it’s hard to beat a home-cooked version, these seven diverse locales in Orange County do right by this ubiquitous classic. Read More
  • O.C.'s Best: Afternoon Tea

    The ritual dates back to the 1800s as a snacking fix and social gathering for the aristocratic ladies of Britain. Today, afternoon tea has become a fashionable alternative for birthday parties, and bridal and baby showers. Here are five teahouses in Orange County where you can practice traditional etiquette while noshing on dainty pastries and finger sandwiches. Read More
  • How to Have Tea Like a Brit

    You call it afternoon tea, but in Britain it’s just called tea. Because you don’t just have tea in the afternoon. You have tea all the time. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

    Get your vegetables and booze in one convenient—and delicious—serving with what’s been hailed as America’s murkiest and most complex cocktail. Traditionally made with tomato juice, vodka, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, its origins are widely debated. Here are five superb O.C. renditions of the world-famous drink.

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