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Creative Director of Rodeo 39 Public Market Shares Big Ideas

O.C. native Andy Nguyen worked with his team to make Rodeo 39 a dynamic food hall experience, a new gathering spot, and a place to nurture budding talents and business owners. The Afters Ice Cream co-founder is also opening two boutiques at the market: Orng Cnty, a clothing brand celebrating our community, and WNTD, an eclectic shop of curated collectibles, ranging from toys to sports cards. “I’ve always loved the underdog story,” Nguyen says. “I’ve always enjoyed finding the hidden gem of a new, talented chef or the guy that never got his chance. The guy that works really hard, but he doesn’t have this opportunity. If I could be a part of helping them and catapulting them into another spectrum, or giving them new opportunities, I’m going to be that person.”

What sparked the idea of building Rodeo 39?
For 15 years, that Stanton Plaza was nothing. No one went there. It was empty. Even when I first heard about it, I was like “Are you sure?” Dan Almquist (the managing partner of Frontier Real Estate Investments and developer of Rodeo 39) pitched us the project of how he wanted to (improve) Stanton. We wanted to do something for the community and help elevate people’s perception of Orange County.

What is your role as co-creative director?
Collectively, we worked on curating the tenants and on separating ourselves from just being another food hall. We added the elements of the arcade, the tattoo studio right smack in the middle, the clothing store that represents Orange County, the streetwear store that brings the youth in, and curating the murals and artwork that you don’t really see much of in Orange County.

What was your goal when curating the tenants?
The biggest thing we wanted to do was bring together super unique concepts that you weren’t finding anywhere in the area. We also wanted to find a collective of people that could work (well) together. So even though everyone owns their own concepts, if one concept runs out of rice, someone will help them. There are no egos involved. That was a big part, which was more of the community aspect. We’re all trying to push each other. The better someone does, we all benefit from it.

How do you want to boost the perception of O.C.?
I was born and raised in Orange County. I’ve lived here my entire life, and I’m probably never going to leave. I think Orange County is a melting pot of so many different cultures. There’s so many things going on and so many different pockets of places, and I don’t think a lot of people outside the area understand that. I just want to help shine that light. Even a cool industry like streetwear. Streetwear is huge all around the world, but it was born in Orange County with Stussy. It’s crazy how our sense of style has become a worldwide thing, and people don’t know it.

What are some of your team’s design elements?
There was a place called Golfland down the street that had an arcade, which actually inspired our arcade at Rodeo 39. We worked with a great architecture company who helped us with the flow of things. Our partner Jasmine Gonzalez was great at understanding the feng shui of things. We wanted the roll-up garage doors because we wanted to bring that outdoor-indoor feel: You’re in California, and you have a lot of air coming in.

Is there a vendor you’re particularly excited about?
Kra-Z-Kai’s, a Laotian barbecue concept. The owner has a location out in Corona and our team went and tried the product, and we fell in love. We’re like, “You need to open in Orange County.” We begged him, and when he said yes, I knew that he was going to crush it. When he decided to join, we were super stoked.

Describe your past few weeks.
Soft opening has been a surreal blur. It reminds me of the early days of opening the first Afters. We’re very excited that everyone finally gets to see it. It’s fun to see the progression of the project. We hope that everyone enjoys the space. We want to make sure that it’s a space that’s here for a long time.


Mission Viejo Author on Latest Suspense Novel “Seven Deadly Sins”

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

She has tackled lust, wrath, sloth, and envy since the first book in the series appeared in 2017. Now in “A Pinch of Gluttony,” Boris focuses on Honey Wells, the stressed-out chef and owner of a Laguna Niguel cooking store who finds a dead body while hiking with her firefighter husband in Black Star Canyon. As her anxiety worsens, she encounters a reclusive “prepper” hoarding food and supplies at his nearby compound, and befriends the pretty young woman who lives there.


I started in magazines, and I did a lot of marketing and advertising. Then when I became a mom, I went back to school and got a degree in physical fitness because it seemed a good mom career. I was a personal trainer, a weight management coach. My clients said, “You should write a (fitness) book.” So I wrote my first book, which is called “The Wine and Chocolate Workout.” That got me back into writing, and I moved back into magazine writing. I interviewed two authors for an online magazine, they were both fiction writers, and I was like, you can do that? I thought I would try. That’s how that happened.


Generally speaking, psychological suspense stories have an everyman kind of protagonist. You have a person who is not a cop or an FBI agent or a superhero or anything like that. It’s Joe Blow runs into danger. I wanted a series; that meant that I had to have a different protagonist for every book. I thought as long as I
was changing protagonists, maybe it would be fun to change tropes a little bit. So each book is inspired by a different movie or novel. The plot isn’t the same, but the feel is the same. For me, “A Pinch of Gluttony” was inspired by “Strangers on a Train.”


I think the biggest theme is that we all have our own what I call B.S. That’s our besetting sin. This is my theory: Each one of us is more inclined to struggle with one of the seven deadly sins than we are with the others, and it depends on your personality type and your background and your upbringing. But we all struggle. Each of them, if we give into it, it’s ultimately harmful. No, it might not bring us into the arms of a murderer, but it is going to hurt you. … Whichever book I’m writing and I’m researching the sin, I feel like, I’m the worst person in the world; this is me. When I was writing envy, several authors who are friends of mine had great things happen to them. I was like, OK, this is rough.


I do feel like southern Orange County is a character in the series. All the locations in my books are real except for specific houses or businesses where crimes are committed because I didn’t think that was very nice. All the (historical) stuff about Black Star Canyon is accurate. There have been a lot of crimes there. It is considered by some to be the most haunted biking trail in California because of the Native American massacre that happened there.

Review: An Imaginative Menu Meets Positive Atmosphere at Nova Kitchen & Bar in Garden Grove

Aren’t you weary of no? No indoor dining; no service without a face mask; no sitting at a sushi bar let alone sipping whiskey in a dark bar while chatting up the bartender. Aside from whining, is there any respite?

Nova Kitchen & Bar is a sure cure for pandemic blues. I renamed it the House of Yes after my first visit to the yearling pan-Asian venue hiding in the shadow of the Hyatt Regency in the Disney resort zone. Despite its glossy appearance, the handsome spot has been open since July 2019. That means it’s too old to make our next Best New Restaurants roster, but if I could invent a retroactive list, it certainly makes the cut.

O.C. was deep into the outdoor-only phase on my summer visits. All dinners were served in the roomy, dedicated patio open to afternoon breezes and the setting sun. My only contact with the 11,000-square-foot interior was a brief stop in the lobby for a temperature check before being whisked onward to a roomy 35-seat covered patio. Umbrella tables on the adjacent grassy lawn accommodate overflow diners.

Alas, the dazzling surroundings were still off-limits, which is a shame because the Las Vegas-glam rooms are based on the five elements of Taoism: earth, water, wood, fire, and metal. There’s also a secret whiskey room that holds 18. Nova’s bold, sweeping concept is meticulously executed by a top-tier team that includes executive chef Abel Vargas, sushi chef Kenji Haruki, and general manager Drew Dizon.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Arriving just as midweek Social Hour ended, we dumb-lucked our way into Wine Wednesday’s 50 percent discount on bottles. A fast look at the menu reveals so many distinct flavors, a chilled bottle of Oregon rosé gets the nod. Starters include the likes of chicken ginseng soup, and fresh wontons slick with feisty chile oil lead the menu, overlapping a list of seasonal small plates often starring vegetables. Do not leave without sampling the corn tempura—just-fried fresh corn off the cob fashioned into fritters, with chipotle aioli on the side. It sounds mundane as I write this: It is not, trust me. Share plates include on-point noodle dishes and bright, fluffy fried rices, one studded with scallops and lobster. Entrees are main-event proteins, say miso cod or wagyu beef medallions abundant with fresh shimeji and shiitake mushrooms.

In addition to the imaginative menu that takes culinary cues from Japan, Korea, and China, there’s another menu devoted to showy sashimi plates, familiar sushi, and deluxe specialty rolls. I stuck to the main menu with one notable exception. Toro tartare is a signature splurge worth having, even if you’re only scanning the sushi menu. You won’t find better than this uptown stack of ruby red toro with caviar, crème fraîche, in a pool of soy dashi crowned with gold leaf.

Another visit yielded what my guest characterized as the “perfect menu.” We started with edamame sizzled in garlic lemon butter. Next, bouncy dan dan noodles set off by spicy minced pork, followed by an elaborate cold chicken cabbage salad I still crave today. Then on to possibly perfect tempura shrimp before one grand coriander-braised short rib with sprightly fixings for assembling lettuce wraps, if that appeals. Oh, and dessert. A textbook molten chocolate cake, and the even better strawberry takeover trio of panna cotta, mousse, and sorbet. It’s dangerously easy to over-order here, but dishes are so fresh and vivid you’ll be happy to see them again for lunch.

Cocktails get lots of attention. They’re inventive and flashy. Most important, they’re balanced and strong. Often, there’s a secret drink available with clues posted on Instagram. Service is gracious and Covid-conscious. The polished crew is anticipatory and unflappable; I encountered zero missteps.

High-glamour sleeper Nova Kitchen & Bar is a terrific antidote for an overdose of no. It scores high on every point that matters despite facing awfully stiff headwinds. Don’t wait for the next permission slip when there’s plenty of yes being served here right now.


12361 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove,


Starters and sides, $5 to $19
Mains $17 to $56 Cocktails $15


Toro tartare
Corn tempura
Chicken cabbage salad
Panna Cotta
Hibiscus Zest cocktail

Social Hour discounts Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

This Week’s O.C. Food News

From Oktoberfest specials to the grand opening of Rodeo 39 Public Market in Stanton, here is our weekly guide to the latest in O.C.’s dining scene.


Rodeo 39 Public Market
The oft-overlooked O.C. city steps into the limelight with Rodeo 39, a lively and diverse collection of eateries, boutiques, and everything in-between. The 41,000-square-foot market is vibrant, spacious, and inviting, with neon signs, colorful murals, and patios. There’s also plenty of seating to enjoy offerings such as Kra Z Kai’s Laotian barbecue or Oi Asian Fusion’s Filipino rice bowls and desserts. You can also grab a brew from Bearded Tang, Stanton’s first brewery, take a bouquet home from My First Kiss, or even get a tattoo from Skin Design Tattoos. Stop by this weekend for the official grand opening, and stay tuned to read more about Rodeo 39. rodeopublicmarket.com/


Corona del Mar
Through October 31, indulge in German-inspired sips and bites on the Oktoberfest menu. Seasonal items include the beer-braised pork shank with spaetzle, caraway pickled onions, and apples, Bavarian sausage, and pretzel with Welsh rarebit cheese sauce. Pair it with one of the craft brews on tap. fivecrowns.com

Patty’s Cakes & Desserts
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the award-winning bakery is offering guests a free cupcake with every purchase on October 14. Expect a wide array of iced-to-order cupcakes with vegan and gluten-free options. pattys-cakes.com

A&O Kitchen + Bar
Newport Beach
The waterfront restaurant at Balboa Bay Resort has prepared a menu of Oktoberfest-themed dishes and brews, from housemade pretzels and bratwurst to Spaten Oktoberfest beer. The specials are available through Oct. 18. balboabayresort.com/dining/

Newport Beach
Enjoy dishes such as Käsekrainer Bratwurst paired with Oktoberfest brews while overlooking Newport Harbor. The restaurant also has live music on the outdoor patio as well as the newly reopened Bayside Lounge. baysiderestaurant.com/

Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs
Get your corn dog fix at the reopened Downtown Disney cart. Try the coconut crusted corn dog served with orange marmalade jam, a tangerine, and an orchid garnish. Every corn dog is hand-dipped to order. instagram.com/blueribboncorndogs/

Hula Girls Shave Ice
Huntington Beach
Specializing in flavored Dole Whip, the shop unveiled new Halloween-themed frozen desserts this week. Try the Boo-Berry Witch, a raspberry Dole Whip with blueberry puree or the Sally’s Stew, Hawaiian-style shave ice with sour raspberry syrup. hulagirlsshaveice.com

Dana Point
On October 18, the seafood restaurant is hosting a brunch featuring bottles of Notorious Pink, a rosé from the south of France. Pair your glass with brunch favorites such as eggs Benedict or smoked salmon avocado toast. Reservations are recommended. glasspar.com

Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge
Rancho Mission Viejo
Get into the spirit of fall with chef Paige Riordan’s East Coast-inspired fall menu. Maine lobster stars in many of the dishes including the lobster avocado toast. For dessert, try the butter Bundt cake with spiced apples and caramel or the cheesecake with lemon curd, strawberries, and figs.  scarletkl.com

What to Do in O.C. This Week (Oct. 12 to 18)

Ryan Autry of Garrison Brothers Distillery

From a cocktail making class to Halloween fun, here is our weekly roundup of things to do in O.C.  For more curated events, head to orangecoast.com/events.



  • Starlite Movie Nights is presenting a robust lineup of classic Halloween films this month at its drive-in theater pop-ups at Brea Mall and the Outlets at San Clemente. This Thursday, you can catch a screening of “Insidious 2.” Check out the full movie listing at starlitemovienight.com


  • Take a cocktail making class at Prep Kitchen Essentials in Seal Beach. O.C. local Ryan Autry of Garrison Brothers Distillery will be sharing the secrets of preparing his favorite whiskey libations. You’ll also be able to taste samples and enjoy bites infused with Garrison Brothers’ small-batch bourbon. $80. prepkitchenessentials.com/book-a-class



  • Join the Environmental Nature Center’s virtual 45th Annual Fall Faire for virtual nature games, performances, and cooking demonstrations. encenter.org/visit-us/fall-faire/


Coming Up

Oct. 19 through 31
Stop by any Newport Beach public library for a grab-and-go Halloween craft kit (while supplies last). newportbeachlibrary.org

Oct. 19
Dine at Bistango for the Sunset Jazz series featuring music from the husband and wife duo Calabria Foti and Bob McChesney. Reserve your table at bistango.com

Oct. 21 and 28
Get a guided walking tour of downtown Fullerton’s haunted history organized by the Fullerton Museum Center.


Oct 23 and 24
Discover the spooky side of nature during “Eerie Evenings in the Gardens,” a Halloween-themed affair at Sherman Library and Gardens. thesherman.org/calendar/

Oct. 24
The Oktoberfest event at the open-air food hall Steelcraft Garden Grove includes craft beer, special menu items, and live music. instagram.com/steelcraftgg/

Oct. 28
Watch a free screening of “Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story,” a crowd-funded documentary about an obscure, sci-fi rock band that once performed at Disneyland, in Anaheim. Note: Tickets are currently sold out, but you can get on the waitlist at thefridacinema.org/halyx-encore-interest/

Oct. 28 through 31
Walk through a Halloween trail at Santa Ana Zoo for the family-friendly Boo at the Zoo event. Each child will receive a goodie bag to take home. Tickets must be purchased online at santaanazoo.org/boo.htm

Costa Mesa Resident Kim Fox is the Owner of Fifi Venezia, an Italian Shoe Line

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Kim Fox came across a pair of velvet shoes in Venice, Italy, which gave her the idea for her company, Fifi Venezia. Now the shoes are sold at A’maree’s in Newport Beach as well as online. Customers can choose from a variety of colors—the most popular are maroon, navy, and black—and can have the shoes monogrammed. This holiday season, look out for a pair in vibrant red.

How did you start Fifi Venezia?
I have a friend who lived in Venice, Italy, and I used to visit her periodically. They have these wonderful shoes that she introduced me to. I researched them and found out their cool history; they’re post-World War I and (the soles were made with) bicycle tires from the war bikes, and they would hand stitch the fabric to make an actual shoe. Over the years, they have of course perfected it, and they’re still handmade. I just really like the whole look, the feel, the style; and in Europe they’re basically a house shoe. I had met my manufacturers, and they were darling and had a store at the Rialto. I put together a 200-shoe order and talked to them about exclusive rights in the United States. My grandmother was a world traveler and just super chic. I decided to name the company after her.

How did you partner with Lynn Pyle?
Being who I am, I always like doing something with someone else to bounce ideas off of and kind of have a partner going through this. I sat with one of my dear friends from college and said, “You’re doing this with me.” She had been a sales rep for the leather goods for Ralph Lauren, so she had a great merchandising background. She’s more the visual, and I’m more the people person.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

What styles do you offer?
We basically have two styles that come from Italy, and it’s the shoe version, the Gritti, and the slide, the Canal. About two years ago, we thought the Adidas (slide) was so popular. We talked to Italy about making them, and they didn’t want to. So then we came out with our little sport line (made in Mexico) that we call Fifi Sport. It really took off with younger people because they retail for $55 instead of $270. We started with three colors; they’re the black rubber shoe and then they have the velvet strap that goes across.

Do you run into people wearing your shoes in public?
I was at a wedding in Miami, and I had this beautiful Christian Dior dress on with heels. I basically couldn’t walk so I went up to my hotel room, grabbed my black velvet Fifis, put them on, and I looked around the wedding and there were four other people doing the same thing. It was great.

Tell us about your work with Bringing Change to Mind.
We’ve done different things for Bringing Change to Mind, which is our philanthropic charity that we work with. It’s (focused on) getting the word out about making mental illness something you can talk about. So we worked with Glenn Close, who founded it, and Oprah Winfrey. We’ve gone to events in New York and (sold) our shoes, and some of the proceeds go to that.


Q&A With Huntington Beach High School Alumna and Singer-Songwriter Olivia Ooms


When did you start pursuing music as a career?
When I was 11, I got really close with a Kidz Bop audition; I was actually in the top 11 of thousands of people who auditioned. I didn’t end up getting that, but it pushed me to get singing lessons and learn how to play guitar. It was kind of a pivotal moment where I was like, “OK, I am going to actually take this seriously.”

Can you describe your sound?
I am still finding my sound, and I am always learning and finding new music that I like and want to sing. Right now, I’m focusing on this Americana-country, kind of rock-country, that has my coastal roots—because I’m from California and I want to embrace the fact that I am not from the South and that I didn’t grow up on a farm or anything.

Who inspires you?
I always say Shania Twain because she is just so powerful, and I love covering her songs. They fit my voice really well. For songwriting, Old Dominion and Luke Combs are absolutely spectacular.

Tell us about your new music.
My new song is called “Hideaway,” and it’s about that saying: Let go and let God. It’s not a worship song at all, but it’s based on just taking your hands off of your life and letting the universe kind of guide you. My other song is “Name on This Town,” which originally was referencing me going out to Nashville, but now it has morphed into me and my friends going off to college and leaving our safe space here in Orange County. It’s a banger.

Hear more!
Watch music videos and learn about upcoming shows at oliviaooms.com.

4 Takeout Spots in Westminster to Try

Try the porchetta sandwich at newcomer Pastars, with pork belly, pesto, Swiss cheese, and fig jam. Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Handmade pasta takes the spotlight at this restaurant, which opened in the spring. Tossed with classic Italian sauces such as Amatriciana and Bolognese ($14.75), it’s ideal comfort food. But don’t overlook the savory watermelon salad ($9.75) with chunks of pistachio-crusted watermelon and heirloom tomato or the crispy buttermilk chicken sandwich ($11.75). 14250 Beach Blvd., 714-622-4538, instagram.com/eatpastars/

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Roasting Water
The dozens of fruit teas, smoothies, slushies, milk teas, and lemonades ($4.50 to $5.80) on the menu at this popular cafe are made-to-order with fresh fruits and juices. The result: Refreshing drinks that are just sweet enough. The tiny shop often has long lines, but the adorable potted succulents and Sanrio and Rilakkuma collectibles lining the walls provide plenty to look at while you wait. 7925 Westminster Blvd., 714-893-1800, roastingwater.com

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

SoCal Wings
Chicken dominates the menu at this mom-and-pop restaurant, where the wings come in more than 30 flavors, from mango to honey garlic sriracha. Treat yourself by adding a side order of corn fritters, waffle fries, onion rings, or fried zucchini and a milk tea. Feeding a crew? The family meals come with 20 to 50 wings and two sides ($27.50 to $53). 14502 Beach Blvd., 714-773-2664, socal-wings.com

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Poke Haus
Design your own poke bowl at this fast-casual spot, which caters to the indecisive: If you can’t choose between, say, rice and mixed greens as your base, you can go half-and-half. Same goes for the protein; bowls come with two, three, or five scoops ($9, $10.85, $14.49). The ample choices include ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp, and octopus. 14006 Beach Blvd., 714-891-3568, 

Erosion Winery: Made in Napa, Rooted in Orange County

There’s a scene in the 2012 wine docu-movie “Somm” that has stuck with me all these years: A Court of Masters sommelier-to-be is breaking down a flight and notes one is like “a freshly opened can of tennis balls.” That thought crossed my mind as I opened up the long and slender tennis-ball-sized sleeve of wines from Erosion Winery: a vibrant box filled with three cans of wine produced up in Napa by a familiar face: O.C. native and master cicerone Patrick Rue.

For those that don’t know Rue, he started a north O.C. brewery in 2008, The Bruery, which has a national reach and now boasts two side-brands: Offshoot Brewing, which produces Hazy IPA, and Bruery Terreux, which focuses on wild and funky beers, mostly beers aged in wine barrels.

With so much happening this year, it was time I reached out for a quick chat:

What’s the story behind the name Erosion?  

Rue: The goal of this endeavor is to change the way people think about wine, which requires eroding some pre-conceptions most people have about wine. A bit less romance, a bit more science, changing how a wine is described and categorized, and breaking a few rules here and there. If I can use a beer reference, wine is still in the “Rheinheitsgobot” stage, so any deviation from the norm is seen as bizarre. Erosion is also part of the natural cycle of how the earth has evolved, and many of the world’s greatest vineyards are a product of various soils merging that formed from the result of erosion.

Some of your wines use non-traditional ingredients alongside grapes, like cherry, vanilla, cacao, etc., is this something revolutionary in wine? What was your inspiration?

There aren’t many examples of the use of non-grape or non-oak additions to wine for the sake of significantly changing the flavor profile of a wine, particularly in the luxury wine market. The inspiration is certainly craft beer, particularly in the expansion of flavor profiles that we’ve seen over the last decade in craft beer. As a craft brewer, the sense of discovering a flavor profile I’ve never had before is extremely rewarding, and I’m bringing that sense of curiosity over to wine. I don’t want to try to make sub-par wine delicious with the use of foreign ingredients, I want to bring a new dimension to excellent wine.

Do you grow your own grapes or source them and process on site?

We don’t own any vineyards, we work with many growers all over Napa Valley that grow great fruit with distinctly different flavor profiles that allow us to make a wine range of wines. We process everything ourselves, from grapes to putting it in the can.

At the Bruery, you’ve collaborated with some of the nation’s best brewers, when and what will the next Bruery/Erosion beer/wine be like?

I’ve learned so much from collaborating with other breweries, wineries, and producers of great food products, and I look forward to bringing this to Erosion. Our next collaboration with The Bruery is from Cabernet Sauvignon we brought in last year from the Mt. Veeder appellation of Napa Valley. We were able to process the grapes at Erosion so that The Bruery was able to receive destemmed, sorted berries to utilize immediately in a beer fermentation. I look forward to many more!

The format is very unique: why cans?

I love wine, but opening a bottle of great wine tends to be a once in a while indulgence.  Is it the right occasion?  Do I want to commit to finishing the bottle tonight, or within a few days? Is it the right pairing for my meal?  The enjoyment of most delicious beverages don’t require this amount of decision making.  Our 250mL cans are a great size for a generous single serving of wine, or two small glasses of wine if you’re into sharing.  It’s convenient, fun, and doesn’t require a lot of contemplation.  There’s no chance of cork taint.  While our pricing is at the very top for canned wine, it is a downright steal compared to wines of similar quality coming from Napa Valley.

Check them out for yourself: Purchase directly from Erosion Winery, or buy locally at Mr. K’s Liquor or Windsor Homebrew Supply in Costa Mesa and Anaheim.

These 4 O.C. Spots Take Cocktail Service Outdoors

Remember a time when you could get arrested for drinking in public? Now you can enjoy some of the county’s best cocktails outside in plain view—and the government is practically mandating it!

Hello Kitty sanctions it, too. Fans can enjoy drinks alfresco from Hello Kitty Grand Cafe’s Bow Room at Irvine Spectrum Center on Friday and Saturday evenings. Consider the elegant Matcha Sour, with rum, lime, coconut matcha syrup, and bow-imprinted aquafaba, or Let’s Taco ’Bout Kitty, a Kitty cup filled with tequila, mezcal, blood orange agave, lime, and … taco bitters! 860 SPECTRUM CENTER DRIVE, IRVINE, 949-536-5357, sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe-grand

Vacation plans on hold? Consider a trip to Vacation Bar, which offers cocktails on weekends inspired by international cities at tables that, thanks to special dispensation from the city, spill out onto the street. Owner George Bernal made the cool furniture. Consider the Morocco (mint tea vodka, chartreuse, simple syrup, lemon, and cucumber) or London (gin, vermouth, blackberry, lemon, and sparkling rosé). 204 W. 4TH ST., SANTA ANA, 657-266-0855, vacationdtsa.com

Several restaurants at The District have unveiled patios, but none more fetching than the one at Stowaway Tiki bar: Each table in the covered corridor is like a little thatched-roof tiki hut. Warp back to mid-century with Poly-fusion fare such as soft-shell crab sandwiches and tropi-cocktails including a sensational Painkiller and less traditional Lava Tube, aflame with Aga Vie tequila-cognac, Papa’s Pilar blonde rum, passion fruit, and more. UNION MARKET, 2493 PARK AVE., TUSTIN, 657-208-2088, stowawaytiki.com

Tiki nights were already on fire Thursdays at The Recess Room when the restaurant launched a speakeasy night on Mondays—whereupon the pandemic demolished both. Now, the innovative spot takes the events outdoors. Don’t let the modest tent fool you: On Mondays, barman Dany Maldonado goes from cut-above to cutting-edge in terms of customization, coursed cocktails, and fascinating presentations. Reservations and advance requests: dany@therecessroom.com. 18380 BROOKHURST ST., FOUNTAIN VALLEY, 714-377-0398, therecessroom.com