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Neighborhoods: Rancho Santa Margarita
Tucked among the colorful bouquets and fresh-cut blooms that fill this tiny flower shop, you’ll find jewelry, handmade notecards, chocolates, and other perfect gifts. 22202 El Paseo, 949-766-7895, moonlightfarmrsm.com
The special-occasion restaurant offers all the steakhouse classics, from bone-in filet mignon ($52) to Skuna Bay salmon ($31), and has a long list of martinis ($11 to $13). Save room for the warm butter cake ($12). 22195 El Paseo, 949-709-2300, hannasprimesteak.com
Tea Leaf on the Loose
No doilies at this modern tea shop; just knowledgeable baristas who guide you through the menu of 20 loose-leaf varieties ($3 to $6 per ounce). Sample three before you settle on, say, Earl Grey Crème. 22312 El Paseo, 949-713-1209, tealeafontheloose.com
Uncorked Wine Bar
Friendly service, a warm atmosphere (think wood tables and candlelight, top), and reasonably priced wine flights—three 2½-ounce pours for $14 to $39—make this a good place to discover your new favorite vintage. 22342 El Paseo, 949-589-1156, getuncorked.com
Photographs by Main Photograph by Sarah Jean Smith. Moonlight Farm Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi. Tea Leaf on the Loose and Uncorked Wine Bar Photographs by Amanda DeFrancis.
This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue.