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Hot O.C. Neighborhood: East Side Costa Mesa

This updated neighborhood doesn’t have to try hard to be interesting, original, surprising, and modern—it just is. Take the mile-long stretch of strip malls along 17th Street, between Newport Boulevard and Irvine Avenue, the heart of the renaissance. Foodies come for the Instagram-worthy Aussie-style meat pies at PieNot, coconut French toast at Plums Café, and braised pork panini at Pitfire Artisan Pizza. And that’s just the Ps. Other homegrown restaurants and shops tip toward lean-and-clean fare, such as the casual Jan’s Health Bar. Plus it’s the birthplace of Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Read more...

Hot O.C. Neighborhood: Downtown Anaheim

With a focus on food and community, downtown’s fresh look gets inspiration from the city’s rural roots. It takes resourcefulness to restore and imaginatively reuse old buildings, qualities the city’s founding farming families had, too. The new energy is centered on the Packing District, a two-block stretch of Anaheim Boulevard between Santa Ana Street and East Broadway: the restored 1920s-era Packard Building, now home to Anaheim Brewery and Umami Burger, and the 1919 Anaheim Citrus Packing House, with a food hall of locally based food-and-beverage artisans. Read more...

Neighborhoods: Costa Mesa

Chain restaurants and stores dominate most of the strip malls on Costa Mesa’s east side. But at Santa Ana Avenue and 17th Street, look a little closer and you’ll find indie boutiques and cafes tucked in among the usual suspects Read more...

Neighborhoods: Spiffed Up Shopping in Irvine

New facades and landscaping—part of a $10 million renovation—have gussied up Heritage Plaza, formerly a somewhat-tired Irvine strip mall with a few good places to eat. New tenants Habit Burger and Bruxie are breathing life into this place, along with these local favorites. Read more...

Anaheim's Growing Community

Nearly four years ago, Rose Homme rehabbed part of an Anaheim strip mall near Brookhurst Street and Orange Avenue to open a baby boutique, and invited other indie businesses such as The Makery, below, to move in. Now, the center known as Community draws shoppers looking for handmade, ecofriendly, artisan goods. Bonus: It’s near some of the county’s best Middle Eastern restaurants. Read more...

Neighborhoods: Laguna Beach

The downtown hub of Laguna Beach is filled every weekend with tourists, no matter the season. But go less than a mile south of Broadway, and you’ll find a quieter stretch of shops and restaurants, with mostly locals milling about. Some spots are new, and some are longtime neighborhood favorites—a good mix for a day of holiday shopping Read more...

Neighborhoods - Santa Ana

The foodie revolution in Santa Ana that began five years ago is picking up steam again. A half-dozen buzz-worthy restaurants have opened in the past six months, and a microbrewery, The Good Beer Co., is on the way. Try them for lunch, dinner, or dessert between gallery visits, or while celebrating at downtown’s annual Noche de Altares festival on Nov. 2 Read more...

Neighborhoods Map

If you love our Neighborhoods column every month, you'll really love this mobile-friendly map to all of our guides! Click on a pin to pull up a neighborhood we've covered near you. Read more...

Orange County's Indie City

A mini-map to Costa Mesa. Read more...

Neighborhoods - Old Towne Orange

Old Towne Orange has been a longtime favorite among locals, and for good reason: It’s a great place to spend an afternoon browsing the antiques malls and eating at the charming and often top-quality restaurants along Glassell Street. These days, there’s even more reason to head to the plaza, where a handful of new shops and food vendors is infusing the area with fresh energy. Read more...
  • Best of 2013: Speaker Series

    Newport Beach Public Library Foundation looks for the best speakers on topical issues—and boy, does it deliver. The Witte Lectures series has included playwright Edward Albee, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, and food writer Ruth Reichl. Renowned British novelist Zadie Smith is scheduled for OCt. 30, and O.C. novelist Peggy Hesketh on Nov. 7, in the intimate 215-seat auditorium, which makes the post-talk, question-and-answer session that much more fun. Read More
  • Brea Mall is Home to O.C.'s Second Kiehl's Store

    In addition to getting a newly renovated mall, Brea now has bragging rights to a Kiehl's boutique. Elevating the skin and hair-care routines of loyal customers since 1851, Kiehl's chose The Brea Mall as the lucky landmark to expand the chain's presence, making it the second Orange County location (the other is at South Coast Plaza). Paying homage to Kiehl's East Village New York roots, the store brings a modern Big Apple apothecary to north county, blending antique fixtures with modern neon flair. Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: East Side Costa Mesa

    This updated neighborhood doesn’t have to try hard to be interesting, original, surprising, and modern—it just is. Take the mile-long stretch of strip malls along 17th Street, between Newport Boulevard and Irvine Avenue, the heart of the renaissance. Foodies come for the Instagram-worthy Aussie-style meat pies at PieNot, coconut French toast at Plums Café, and braised pork panini at Pitfire Artisan Pizza. And that’s just the Ps. Other homegrown restaurants and shops tip toward lean-and-clean fare, such as the casual Jan’s Health Bar. Plus it’s the birthplace of Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Read More
  • 10 Great Hikes

    Cleveland National Forest: It’s long, it’s a climb, it hurts your feet, but it has amazing two-county views and loads of flowers. It’s worth it. Take Trabuco Canyon Trail through the woods with alder and large bay trees releasing their distinctive culinary fragrance. 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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  • O.C.’s Best: Power Lunches

    When it’s time to impress important clients, it helps to have the right atmosphere. Our advice? Do it over a lunch that shows you mean business. Break bread at any of these five restaurants in Orange County—don’t forget to wear your best-looking suit and, of course, bring the company plastic. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Elixir Soups

    There’s nothing like the warmth of soup to soothe the misery of a cold or flu. Whether it’s a light broth or hearty porridge, it’s a universally nurturing remedy. If mom’s not around to prepare her famous homemade chicken soup, these five Orange County options are the next-best thing. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Vintage Cocktails

    The revival continues for cocktails inspired by the golden, boozy pre-Prohibition era, along with variations on established classics, such as the Manhattan and the Boston sour. Here are six great bars in Orange County where old meets new in handcrafted cocktails. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Brunch O’Clock

    For many of us, weekends are for sleeping in and enjoying sumptuous breakfasts that can last until late afternoon—and perhaps a mimosa or two to round out the affair. Here are six restaurants where you can stroll in for a great not-quite-breakfast, not-quite-lunch experience. Read More
 
 
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