Reintegrating into a new version of society can bring uncertainty. Professor Jose Cervantes of Cal State Fullerton’s department of counseling shares some insight. “The anxiety is due to several factors: the still unknown conditions of infection, the worry about the consistency of cleaned public spaces, the distrust of social engagements, the worry about increased infection rates, and the reestablishing of a new … daily routine and work schedule.” Cervantes suggests that reconnecting with friends and seeing familiar faces in reopened public spaces will help with coping.
Restaurants “My buddy’s company, Super Color Digital, took high-end medical-grade Lexan and it basically looks like plexiglass. We went through all of our dining rooms and looked at the typical areas where these (dividers) would make sense for us. We think it goes a step beyond for the protection of our guests because it really creates a barrier that’s still very aesthetically pleasing. It almost looks like it’s been there since the beginning. What we’re trying to do is just take the initiative and be proactive and go above and beyond so that our guests feel comfortable and confident. The dining experience has changed and changed for good. You can sit, gripe, complain, and not be happy with the guidelines, or you can try to jump the gun. We want to do everything in our power to be one of the restaurants that makes it through during this difficult time.” JC Clow, founding partner of The Winery in Newport Beach and Tustin
Schools “We’re committed to teaching essentially all our undergraduate courses remotely. We have developed a program for our graduate students, which involves training remote instruction and best practices, as well as working with faculty to go over and prepare all the courses … in case we have to be remote for winter and spring as well. We’re opening up the dorms at a much lower density—only singles and (modified) doubles. We have significant plans about what to do if students end up testing positive in terms of isolation spaces and protocols around that. We’ve created the Anteater Agreement for students to help them understand what will be expected to come back to campus. One of the things we’re really hoping to do since we’re in Southern California is leverage our huge central park and other outdoor spaces. We’ve also already opened our research labs utilizing strict protocols to conform with public health requirements.” Michael B. Dennin, vice provost for teaching and learning and dean of the undergraduate division at UC Irvine
Stores “We have two roll doors that you can drive through. Most people come in a car and they’re welcome to get out and shop. There’s usually not more than a couple people in the store at a time. … We’re happy to help people through their window as well. … The staff wears masks and we sanitize the store regularly. I haven’t enforced that customers can’t come in without a mask, but we absolutely prefer it.” Deborah Talanian, co-owner of Eastside Mini-Mart
Gyms “We have 6 feet of distance between the bikes. We take the staff’s temperatures, they’ll be in gloves, a mask, and a face shield. … The instructor will stay on the podium. … There’s touchless check-in, wipes, and we’re asking you not to bring in your belongings. We won’t be renting shoes and you need to bring your own towel.” Marisa Wayne, president and co-owner of GritCycle
Amusement Parks “We’re taking a multipronged approach to our reopening … At (Disney) parks in California and Florida, this includes reducing capacity; temperature checks for guests prior to entering; increasing cleaning, especially in high-traffic areas; adjusting experiences to accommodate physical distancing; requiring face coverings for guests 2 and older; and empowering our guests with options like contactless payments and easy access to handwashing and hand sanitizer locations.” Pamela Hymel, Disney Parks chief medical officer
You’ll get sick if you go outside with wet hair when it’s cold. Eating chocolate causes acne. We’ve heard plenty of health advice over the course of our lives, but what’s accurate? Assertions can arise from pop culture, word-of-mouth, or Mom’s warnings. We asked Orange County doctors and experts to take a closer look at popular health claims and give us their take.
1 Peeing on a jellyfish sting cures it.
Jellyfish tentacles have these stingers called nematocysts that have sharp barbs on them and they’re microscopic,” says marine safety lieutenant of the Huntington Beach Fire Department Eric Dieterman. “They touch your skin, and they remain on your skin, and they’re kind of like a bee sting in that they deliver venom into your skin and cause irritation and redness. The compound of the poison in there is neutralized by certain things. One of those things that we use is a solution of vinegar and water, and it neutralizes that. Also, keeping (the affected area) in the sun (helps), and not touching it is really important because when you touch it, those nematocysts burst and cause more irritation to your skin. So, as it relates to peeing on it, no you shouldn’t pee on it because the pee has high levels of ammonia that could further irritate or exacerbate the problem. It could trigger the release of more venom onto your skin that could make it worse.” So go find some vinegar instead!
2 Surfing after it rains could make you sick.
“It should be noted that, for most of the time, the water quality in the ocean is really good and safe and the bacteria and other microbe counts are very low,” Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian pulmonologist Thomas Diamant says. “But after a rain, especially a heavy rain, the water runs off through the various creeks, rivers, and storm drains, and can even overflow from sewage drainage systems. At that point, there’s an increased microbial count in the ocean for up to three days, and there’s definitely an increased chance of infection. The most common type of infection (can lead to) upset stomach, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. But it can also cause respiratory infections including sore throats, sinus infections, bronchitis, and potentially even pneumonia. It can cause skin infections, especially if there’s an open wound … and eye infections like pink eye. If you submerge your head, you are definitely at an increased risk in comparison to people who are just swimming without putting their head in the water. As for the river runoff, usually if it’s not raining, then it’s definitely OK. They have done studies, and the microbial count is actually quite low there.”
3 The Santa Ana winds cause nose problems.
“The Santa Ana winds affect both people who have allergies and people who don’t just by the nature of them mixing everything that’s in the air around us,” saysAmber Burnette, Kaiser Permanente Orange County’s chief of service for allergy and immunology. “For people who have hay fever (or) classic nose allergies, the Santa Anas can stir up things they are allergic to, such as pollen or mold spores in the air. They will get more nasal symptoms such as stuffy nose, runny nose, itching, and sneezing. There are also a lot of people who have what we call non-allergy nose problems. So for some people, triggers such as turbulent air from the winds, higher pollution levels, perfumes, strong odors, and smells are all irritants to their noses and can produce symptoms that look just like nose allergies. In that regard, even people who don’t have classic nose allergies can still be affected when all the stuff starts blowing around. About half of the people we see who have nose problems have allergies and about half have this non-allergy condition, but the symptoms are very similar.”
4Everyone should consult air quality reports before going outside.
“For the majority of the population that doesn’t have underlying medical conditions or lung disease, the air quality—though important— is not as vital to pay attention to, unless it is severely abnormal,” says Robert Goldberg, pulmonary physician at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. “In Orange County, we usually don’t get severe abnormalities of air quality that are seen in major cities. For those with underlying pulmonary diseases like asthma, the air quality is a more important aspect of the forecast to pay attention to. We do have issues related to pollen release, which is another aspect of the air quality report. That can affect underlying allergies and asthma and cause worsening breathing. The best way to minimize exposure (to poor air quality) is by staying indoors where the air is being filtered.”
5 You don’t need sunscreen indoors or when it’s cloudy.
“Sunscreen use on a daily basis in large population studies … where they looked at people who wore sunscreen every day versus people who wore it just when they thought they needed to … showed a significant difference in the cases of skin cancer,” says Michelle Aszterbaum, dermatologic surgeon and dermatologist at The Dermatology Center of Newport Beach, adding, “1.5 percent of those folks who used it on a daily basis developed melanoma versus 3 percent of the people who weren’t instructed to wear it on a daily basis. If you’re working indoors … you might be working near a window or you might decide to go outside for a short time and do something. Most of the UVB rays are blocked through windows, but the UVA rays are not. Now UVA rays are not what cause you to burn, but it is the wavelength of ultraviolet light that penetrates deeply in the skin, causing aging, brown spots, and wrinkles. A lot of skin cancer can be associated with UVA rays as well. We know that sun damage and skin cancer is a cumulative effect, so if every day you take a break and go outside, then you’re getting that amount of sun on a daily basis.”
6 Short-term fasting can be a healthy way to lose weight.
“In the few years we’ve been looking at it, we saw that short-term fasting was (a better method for weight loss) than total calorie restriction where (patients) reduce portion sizes or use apps to monitor calorie intake,” says Bavani Nadeswaran, bariatric medicine physician at UC Irvine Medical Center. “Short-term fasting is voluntarily reducing calorie intake during a certain period of time. Historically, this is what humans did when we were hunter-gatherers. There are two well-known methods. One is called 16:8, when you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. The second method is called 5:2, where there are two days of the week when you really cut calories down (around 500 for women and 700 for men). During the eating period, you would eat the way you normally do, but you don’t want to binge and make up for not eating. Other benefits of short-term fasting include controlling sugar, diabetes, and insulin resistance. When you eat throughout the day, your body burns glucose. When you fast for more than 12 hours, you go into this metabolic switch where you’re now using fatty acids and ketone bodies as fuel. Ketone bodies prevent oxidative stress on cells. That improves cardiovascular health. It has also been shown to improve memory, reduce symptoms in multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, and maintain muscle mass.”
7Certain detox diets can promote health.
“There are many different ways to detox,” says Rajsree Nambudripad, internal medicine physician at St. Jude Medical Center and founder of OC Integrative Medicine in Fullerton. “There’s detoxing through your gut. So, people who are constipated, one of the ways is just to get their bowels moving. You can detox through your skin by exercising and sweating. Or you can detox by your diet. By eliminating common inflammatory triggers and food sensitivities, the chances of (patients) feeling better and losing a few pounds is high. It forces them to be mindful of what they are eating. It starts with those basic principles, and then we layer in vitamins and supplements as needed. I use pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are third-party tested. The products in the supplement industry (in general) aren’t FDA-approved. It really helps to go with a doctor’s guidance. With my patients, we do blood work beforehand, and I have objective ways to see that they really benefited not just on how they feel, but their weight, blood pressure, and follow-up labs on liver enzymes and insulin. Juice and broth cleanses are nice because your gut is not having to digest (solid) food, but you’re still getting hydration and vitamins and minerals into your system. The main thing to make sure is that they’re all organic. I recommend minimizing the amount of fruit juices because that’s a lot of sugar.”
8 There is a proven link between cancer and cellphones.
“It seems that all the studies are pointing to the fact that cellphones do not lead to increases in cancer,” says Ravi Salgia, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research at City of Hope and the leading physician at the Newport Beach location. “Radio-frequency radiation (emitted by cellphones) causes heat toward the body and the site that is radiated. It’s also important to realize that this is nonionizing radiation (as opposed to ionizing radiation that is harmful). (Because of the heat generated), it is a good common practice to keep your cellphone away from your body as much as you can. Even your laptop generates heat, and you don’t want to keep it on your lap for a long time. Other good common practices include texting and hands-free talking. You have to have some downtime from your cellphone and especially at night. The take-home message for me is that radio-frequency radiation levels in cellphones have decreased over the past 20 years. They’re making better and better ones that are more digital and not analog.”
9Excess screen time is harmful to kids’ health.
“(Screen time) is not necessarily harmful if used appropriately,” says Reshmi Basu, pediatric physician at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. “Especially in today’s current situation, it’s such a necessity not just for schooling but to stay connected with others. The important thing is to know what the boundaries are and set appropriate limits. The American Academy of Pediatrics on its website (healthychildren.org) has a Family Media Use plan. You’ll input your kids’ ages, and it’ll give you a list (to help) your family sit down and come up with guidelines. The main thing to consider is the amount of time spent. In the short term in younger kids, we see that if they are in front of a screen for a prolonged period of time, they’ll become more emotional. In the long term, (too much screen time) could affect language and emotional development. Mood swings and insomnia manifest in older kids depending on what they’re actually viewing. We also see things like attention problems, anxiety, depression, and obesity. Depending on how your family is functioning, you should set media-free times—whether it’s mealtimes, car rides, or before bedtime.”
10 Blue light from screens damages your eyes.
“Right now there actually isn’t any good, strong evidence that says blue light damages our eyes. Blue light alone doesn’t cause eye strain either,” says Jason Ng, associate professor at Marshall B. Ketchum University. “You do get eye strain from … staring at your screen for a long time, but the blue light itself is not a cause of that, as far as we know. (Studies) have not found that filtering it with glasses helps; it doesn’t change anything in terms of eye strain. Blue blockers, the ones with yellow lenses, block a lot more blue light than any type of clear filter that is trying to block blue light. So if you’re worried about blue light, you’d probably want to wear a yellow filter. But again, you probably don’t have to worry about blue light all that much. And even if you’re blocking a ton of blue light with a yellow filter, it doesn’t have any effect on eye strain.”
Oliboli Donuts, Tustin
JD Flannel Donuts, San Juan Capistrano Sidecar, Costa Mesa
The Donuttery, Huntington Beach
OC Crafted Donuts, Fountain Valley
Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Seabirds, Costa Mesa
Nice Guys Vegan, Costa Mesa
Gracias Madre, Newport Beach
Vibe, Newport Beach
Mead’s Green Door, Orange
Naughty Panda, Santa Ana
Thuyen Vien (Vegetarian) Restaurant, Anaheim
Taquiero Taco Patio, Irvine
Pour Vida Latin Flavor, Anaheim
South of Nicks, Laguna Beach/San Clemente Taco Maria, Costa Mesa
Best Boba Milk Tea
The Boba Junkie, Santa Ana
Ding Tea, Multiple Locations
Kaffeine Alley, Anaheim
Cha For Tea, Irvine
Boba R Us, Rancho Santa Margarita
Best Virtual Workout Class
Fitness On Fire, Irvine
Enerji Barre, Tustin Gold Barre, Newport Beach
Union Ryde, Tustin
OC Cyber Barre
Best Takeout Family Meals
Fork in the Road Catering
Zov’s Restaurant, Multiple Locations Panini Kabob Grill, Multiple Locations
Jalapenos Mexican, Multiple Locations
The Recess Room, Fountain Valley
Chaak Kitchen, Tustin
Full Moon Sushi, Multiple Locations
Best Museum or Gallery
The Heritage Museum of Orange County, Santa Ana Bowers Museum, Santa Ana
Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Laguna Beach
Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach
OC Museum of Art, Santa Ana
Best Holiday Event
Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch & Christmas, Orange
Fireworks at the Dunes, Newport Beach Newport Beach Boat Parade
Pelican Hill – Building gingerbread houses, Newport Beach
Pacific Air Show, Huntington Beach
Best Local Band or Musician
Hannah J Hart Tijuana Dogs
Congratulations to all the winners and a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who voted!!!
The Dish Vegan puff pastries stuffed with garbanzo, potato, and onion with tamarind sauce The Details They are served atop shot glasses of mint-tamarind water. The Price $6 The Place Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen in Fullerton Stay Tuned for our review.
With the world in the grip of a pandemic, I stay at home. My kids and grandchildren visit me in the front garden, most often spaced out around the glass wrought-iron dining table saved from my childhood home. Cautious? Absolutely.
So how do I create my monthly videos with local chefs, sessions taped standing shoulder to shoulder at the stove? I consulted with my editor and friend, Alan Gibbons. We agreed that I would take center stage cooking alone with the camera rolling—until safer times prevail.
I’ve been writing about cooking, food trends, and chefs for more than three decades. Before that, I taught cooking classes, rounding up groups of culinary students to watch and listen as I prepared myriad concoctions. I conducted culinary tours to Europe and Asia long before culinary travel became a thing, and I have written three cookbooks.
Along the way I’ve gathered recipes that I consider old friends, formulas for tried-and-true dishes that I’ve prepared many, many times. Each of these dishes brings back memories of delicious gatherings: fun parties, showers, and holidays.
I’ll start with the Chocolate Candy Box Cake. Unapologetic in its decadence, this almost-flourless chocolate cake looks like a box of candy. Covered in a buttery chocolate glaze, assorted chocolate candies are pushed into place while the shiny glaze is soft. It can be heart-shaped or square, round or rectangular, depending on the theme.
Unfrosted, the cake can be frozen up to two weeks, but be sure to pour the glaze on with the cake defrosted and at room temperature. And don’t refrigerate the cake again. Frosted, it will keep for two days left at room temperature. The glaze takes on a pretty patina, and it stays really moist.
Candy Box Cake
Yield: 12 servings
3/4 cup ground pecans (ground the consistency of cornmeal)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, room temperature, separated
Optional: 1 tablespoon rum or raspberry liqueur or orange juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Chocolate Butter Glaze:
6 ounces German chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cut into about 12 pieces
Garnish: assorted chocolate candies (cream centered candies are easier to cut)
Position oven rack in the lower third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch heart-shaped cake pan with solid vegetable shortening or butter. Dust generously with flour; invert and tap out excess flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Use the pan to trace a heart on cardboard; cut out heart and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine pecans and flour; set aside. Melt butter and chocolate in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over very low heat. Stir in water and blend until smooth. Place chocolate mixture in a large bowl and stir in 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Cool 5 minutes.
Separate eggs, placing yolks in a small bowl and whites in a large bowl or large bowl of electric mixer.
Stir egg yolks, a little at a time, into chocolate. Add rum or liqueur and nut-flour mixture; stir to combine.
With an electric mixer or electric hand mixer, whip egg whites on medium-low speed until small bubbles appear and the surface is frothy. Increase speed to high and add 1 teaspoon sugar.
Whip until soft, white peaks form. Scoop 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate and fold with a rubber spatula. Add remaining egg white and fold.
Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with spatula. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until it feels soft but not liquid in center. Do not overbake because chocolate firms as it cools.
Place cake on cooling rack for 20 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife between cake and sides of pan. Place cardboard heart on top of cake and invert. Peel off and discard parchment. Return to cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet
Prepare glaze. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler (water below should be just below a simmer or simmering very gently. Stir in powdered sugar (it will seem like a paste). Stir in butter one piece at a time, stirring to melt. Once all chocolate is added, stir to combine. Spread the glaze on top and sides of cake. Top with an assortment of chocolate candies, pushing them into the glaze to stabilize their position.
Source: adapted from “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking,” by Flo Braker (Chapters Publishers) and “Simca’s Cuisine” by Simone Beck (Knopf)
Cathy Thomas is an award-winning food writer and has authored three cookbooks: “50 Best Plants on the Planet,” “Melissa’s Great Book of Produce,” and “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce.”
The marine layer hasn’t yet cleared at the Orange Home Grown Farmers and Artisan Market on Saturday morning, and the line to get into the lot stretches nearly a block. Just beyond the ropes, bins topple with bright zucchini, melons, sweet corn, and peaches.
A man tells the entrance guard that he has a medical condition and can’t function with a mask. Then, walking to the end of the line, he hisses: “Sheep! You don’t need those masks. Take ’em off!”
Megan Penn’s voice is muffled through a hand-sewn mask printed with oranges. Her raised eyebrows speak louder. She says 98 percent of the customers comply with the new rules. “It’s just the 2 percent who are vocal.”
Penn, executive director of the foundation which runs the market, was among the first to reopen for business in April. “Controlling the total amount of people is key,” she says.
As we sort out how to co-live with COVID-19, local officials have been forced to grind out novel rules governing our behavior, with mixed results.
Although masks were still scant in March, Irvine mayor Christina Shea says members of the community were able to source them and donated thousands of masks. She enlisted other council members over several weekends to visit commercial centers and pass out the masks.
Not everyone agreed with mask orders. Some social media users chastised Costa Mesa mayor Katrina Foley when the police issued misdemeanors at a popular restaurant where staff refused to wear masks. “I was getting hate mail from all the anti-maskers—(saying) I’m a whore and they hope I die,” Foley says.
Nevertheless, Foley says she sees most residents complying with social distancing, even while engaging in outdoor fitness.
Irvine tried to encourage recreational separation with one-way arrows on paths. The arrows don’t always work, especially in narrow and indoor spaces. The Orange farmers market abandoned them after it became apparent too many shoppers were doubling back. Newport Beach found them successful on Balboa Island and Corona del Mar’s blufftops, where they created a sort of loop, but the city stopped using them when crowds diminished.
Newport Beach has taken a more hands-off approach to social distancing enforcement, although the city temporarily closed the Wedge, the piers, the boardwalk, and the beach parking lots in the spring.
“The city has been very welcoming, very tourist-driven, and now to have to tell people, ‘No you really can’t come here right now’—that is a big challenge,” says the city’s new spokesperson, John Pope. Newport Beach leaders felt stung when the city was criticized as the nation’s problem child, cameras catching throngs of people mingling on the beach.
“It was a bad image, but it didn’t exactly show what was on the ground,” Mayor Will O’Neill says. “We can tell the distance solely looking at the lifeguard towers. (The photo showed) about a mile of beach … (but it looked) like a hundred yards, like people were all over each other.”
The county’s beaches had just reopened. The governor, calling the images “disturbing,” shut down the sand again.
As other beach cities prepared to go to court, Laguna Beach mayor Bob Whalen hammered out a plan quickly, got it to the governor’s desk, and opened his beaches right away.
“The Pageant of the Masters began in the 1930s as a way to help the artists. But it isn’t showing here for the first time since World War II,” Whalen says. The city is pushing for tourists who can drive to Laguna Beach, and trying to open what it can. To keep the restaurants alive, Laguna offered temporary permits allowing customers to spill into parking lots and some streets. Part of downtown has been shut down to cars entirely.
Foley also anticipates a financial hit from the loss of beloved traditions, such as the O.C. Fair, and she had to start making decisions in February. “The federal government got the grand idea to put the Princess Cruise people in the middle of Costa Mesa at the Fairview Development Center,” she says. Her team had a few days to fight the decision. The battle, which was successful, got the city moving earlier than others on pandemic-prevention measures.
“We’re taking the safe approach,” Foley says. “My husband grew up here. We raised our family here. There are so many families like that. We have many generations who stay in Costa Mesa. They still all stay connected, like a small town. The reason to be compliant is because you care about your neighbor. You can only stay home for so long, granted. We’ve had the challenge of finding that balance, finding ways for businesses to open safely.”
The Scene Bouldering at Pirate’s Cove in Corona del Mar Getting There The secluded beach is just north of the Corona del Mar State Beach parking lot. Explorer Credit Harrison Voorhees; @harrisonvoorhees Behind the Shot “During the hot Southern California summers, many of the good climbing spots get too hot to climb. So we like to go down to the beach and climb at Pirate’s Cove, where the ocean helps keep the temperatures a little bit cooler.”