County of Orange Adds Second Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Super POD Site
Santa Ana, Calif. (January 20, 2021) – The County of Orange is opening its second regional COVID-19 Vaccine Super Point of Dispensing (POD) site at Soka University in Aliso Viejo on Saturday, January 23, 2021, starting at 8:00 am.
“Orange County is working around the clock to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone who wants it,” said Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “This second vaccination site at Soka University will allow us to vaccinate thousands more residents every day.”
Orange County is moving quickly to make the COVID-19 vaccination available; however, the County faces ongoing supply limitations. The Orange County Health Care Agency is continuously requesting more doses from the State every day.
Named Operation Independence, the County is setting up regional vaccine points of dispensing (POD) sites. Due to the scope and size of these PODs, based on the high demand for vaccine, these sites are being referred to as County Super PODs. Since the Disneyland Resort Super POD site opened on January 13, there have been approximately 21,782 vaccines distributed to eligible Orange County residents and those working in Orange County.
“I am truly proud of all the work the Operation Independence Incident Management Team has done over the past two weeks to stand up the Super POD sites,” said Vice Chairman Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “We understand that there are many residents who are anxious to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and we encourage people to remain patient as we work to dispense our limited supply of vaccine to eligible individuals.”
New Super POD sites will open as the supply of COVID-19 vaccines available in the County increases. The County anticipates the need for at least five Super PODs located throughout the county. Additional Super POD sites will open in a phased approach, ensuring access to all Orange County residents.
“I am very pleased that we were able to partner with Soka University, located in the City of Aliso Viejo, to stand up the second Super POD site in the Fifth District,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “My district has a large number of seniors eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1A, and having a location in South County will prove extremely helpful in providing greater and more convenient access to the vaccine. I strongly encourage all residents to visit www.COVIDVaccineFacts.com for the latest information on who is currently eligible to receive the vaccination, and learn the facts about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy.”
Vaccines dispensed at County Super PODs are currently available for individuals who live and work in Orange County and fall within the State’s Phase 1A, all tiers, including persons age 65 and older. Appointments are available through Othena.com based on vaccine availability. Eligible individuals with 2 an appointment must present identification and proof of eligibility at the Super POD site to receive a vaccine. To view a list of those who are eligible to receive a vaccine, visit the OC Health Care Agency’s website: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/phased-approach-vaccine-distribution.
“Soka University has trained as a County Point of Distribution (POD) site since 2007, so as we mark our 20th Anniversary in 2021, how appropriate that we can start this year in solidarity with the County to support our front line workers, first responders and community members in this important endeavor,” said Archibald E. Asawa, VP, Finance & Administration, Soka University of America.
Visit: ocgov.com to read the entire press release. For questions related to COVID-19, visit ochealthinfo.com, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).
Fermentation Farm Costa Mesa The shop specializes in all things fermented. Choose from flavors such as guava and raspberry. $15 for a 64-ounce fill. fermfarm.com
About the Owner: “I am a Doctor of Chiropractic and have had a practice in Orange County for the past 20 years with my husband, Dr. Derek Mason,” says owner Yasmine Mason. “Our practice is called LifeSpring Chiropractic, and it is located just a few suites down from Fermentation Farm.” Year Established: 2014 Inspiration: “I began fermenting vegetables, kombucha and yogurt at my home in 2008. Once my friends found out that I was making gut-friendly, fermented foods and drinks, they all wanted some! Fermentation Farm grew out of necessity. I began making more and more fermented products and soon my kitchen was overrun! I had to move the production to a commercial space to get my home kitchen back.” Definition of Kombucha: “It’s sweet and tart and fizzy like a soda. The difference is kombucha is a fermented gut-friendly beverage full of probiotics and sodas are just water, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavor and color.” Signature Flavors: “Some of our most popular flavors are Black Currant, Passion Fruit, Raspberry, Turmeric Ginger Tangerine, and Orange Creamsicle. We have 15 different flavors. All of them are made with organic fruit or organic fruit juice, organic black and green tea, and organic sugar (most of the sugar is fermented out in the 21-day fermentation process), and of course the SCOBY, the mother culture that contains all the gut-friendly yeasts and beneficial bacteria that turns sugar and tea into kombucha.” Navigating the Pandemic: “It has been a challenge conducting a food business during the pandemic. With new rules and regulations popping up every few weeks for months and months, it has been trying. Luckily, because we create the healthiest, organic fermented products, we have been busy helping and educating our community about keeping their immune systems strong.” Health Tip: “Keep your gut in great shape by consuming fermented foods and beverages everyday.” Looking Ahead: “We just remodeled Fermentation Farm and reopened Dec. 1 with a soup and chili bar. We are looking forward to a fantastic 2021!”
Rich Elixirs Tustin and Costa Mesa The brewery has two storefronts with a variety of flavors on tap such as blood orange and ginger lime mint. $12 for a 32-ounce bottle. richelixirs.com
About the Owner: “I grew up in O.C. and love to travel, design, and enjoy the sunshine!” says co-owner Brooke Rich. Year Established: 2018 Inspiration: “Rich Elixirs began as a hobby and passion project. My husband and I brewed kombucha in our garage for several years. As I went through some health issues, we realized how much probiotics helped my body and wellness overall, and this urged us to want to share our kombucha with others to enjoy. We began on a small scale of bringing our kombucha to friends and family gatherings. After seeing a good response and connecting more with others, I knew we should start this as a business!” Definition of Kombucha: “Kombucha is a bubbly fermented tea that has probiotics and is super healthy for your gut!” Signature Flavors: “Our grapefruit and hops and blackberry lavender were some of our first flavors and overall some of the most popular!” Navigating the Pandemic: “It has definitely been a challenge trying to navigate the business during the pandemic. I had to really switch gears with how we ran our business, and had to figure out the best way to serve our customers during this trying time. It was not easy, but I am glad that we were still able to bring a healthy product to people’s doorsteps, or make pickup available!” Health Tip: “Finding immune boosting products and staying in a consistent routine with it! I have found taking vitamins every night and drinking bone broth multiple times a week (or a booch a day) has kept me in a good, consistent habit, and helps my body overall.” Looking Ahead: “Right now, opening our second location in Tustin has been a big step in our business! We are getting into hard kombucha now, so I’m very excited to start doing that!”
Daily Kombucha Santa Ana The fermented tea from this 4th Street Market counter comes in unique flavors such as calamansi. $12 for a 32-ounce bottle. dailykombucha.com
About the Owner: “I graduated from UC Irvine and majored in computer science,” says owner Amber Hsu. “I got very sick after my second son was born and I started paying attention to what I ate and wanted to get well by eating nutritious food and exercising. In addition to utilizing regular gym hours, I took kundalini yoga classes. I read many books written by healthy lifestyle authors and loved keto diets. Before keto, I was very into juicing and wild edibles, and eventually I discovered a familiar taste, kombucha! It was a beverage that my mom used to make at home when I was in elementary school. I studied how to make it and the fun of flavoring got me hooked. I experimented with many different combinations with fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and shared them with family and friends.” Year Established: 2017 Inspiration: “At first I made kombucha at home, bottled them, and shared them with family and friends. Everyone loved it; they wanted weekly deliveries and suggested that I start a kombucha business. And I thought, ‘Yes, I want to do it!’ So, I began the application with the California Department of Health.” Kombucha in Their Words: “It’s not only a very healthy drink, but a delicious one too! It’s particularly good for your gut because of the probiotics. Kombucha is a fermented beverage so the smell may trick you to dislike it, but the taste is refreshing with a kick. You will fall in love with this beverage after trying it, and the health benefits of it are going to make you love it even more. You will gradually experience a change in your body and enjoy the extra energy boost. Kombucha is a functional drink and great for anyone who is on a dietary program and exercise regularly.” Signature Flavors: Turmeric ginger lemon, passion fruit, blueberry lavender, calamansi, and mango pineapple Navigating the Pandemic: “This has been a very scary time. Business has been tough and like everyone else, we didn’t know what to expect. We’ve focused on not only our 4th Street Market storefront, but also our booth at the Irvine Great Park farmers market, which transformed into a modified drive-thru market during the pandemic. We’ve been blessed with many friendly new faces at all of our locations, and we’ve enjoyed building relationships. Some of our newest customers have become our most regular ones.” Health Tips: “Healthy and mindful eating is very important with regular exercise; I particularly recommend yoga. Eating whole foods and foods in their natural form is best. Eliminate processed sugar, eat more vegetables and fruit, bone broth, and don’t forget to meditate. Remember, you are what you eat and what you absorb.” Looking Ahead: “We are planning on a soft reopening after the current stay-at-home order when we are allowed to eat outdoors again.”
Fermensch Huntington Beach Try culinary-inspired, year-round flavors: Bloom (lavender-blueberry), dry-hopped pear, and hibiscus ginger. $14 to $15 for a 32-ounce bottle. fermensch.com
About the Owners: “I’m a Huntington Beach native, a former cook, and a rock and roll music fanatic,” says owner Chad Huniu. “I’ve always loved creating things, and for the last eight years, I have been positively obsessed with food, fermentation, and how these things affect our health and well-being. My business partner, Norman Huniu, is also my father. He is the hardest working man on the planet. He can always make something out of nothing and is one of the most positive people I know. I’m convinced he lives on a plane of existence where there are four more hours in the day.” Year Established: 2016 Inspiration: “We started Fermensch Kombucha to make a kombucha that everyone can enjoy. Kombucha is this amazing thing. Fizzy, fruity, full of life. Entirely natural, fermented from an heirloom culture. It gives you energy and refreshment. It can give a boost to your immune system. It can even quell stomach aches and other digestive issues. However, we noticed some people would give the “stank face” when we offered them a glass of kombucha. While we may love strong, sour flavors, we realized that many people do not. We decided that we would make our own booch—a booch that tasted just as good as it is for your well-being. That’s why we craft each batch of Fermensch Kombucha to be balanced and delicious first, while still being packed full of probiotics, antioxidants, and detoxifying organic acids. Kombucha in Their Words: “At its core, kombucha is a fermented, probiotic tea. However, the tea thing sometimes throws people off because it tastes nothing like normal tea. It’s more helpful to think of kombucha as a healthy soda alternative. It’s fizzy and refreshing, but low in sugar and full of goodness. It’s got some punchy tartness to it and is usually flavored with fruits, spices, or other botanicals that add to its tastiness or benefits.” Signature Flavors: “Our fan favorite is Bloom—a delightful blend of ripe, juicy blueberries with lavender and chamomile. It’s our mildest, most delicate booch, so it really appeals to both kombucha newbies and advanced scholars. Best of all, it’s made with 100% organic ingredients like all of our products. We also do really fun, seasonal flavors throughout the year. One I’m particularly proud of was our Halloween special, Witch’s Brew. It was basically a tiki-inspired mocktail with pineapple, vanilla, and nutmeg combined with detoxifying, activated charcoal, which turned the entire kombucha a spooky black.” Navigating the Pandemic: “Well, let’s be honest. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of stress and anxiety. Truly a crazy year. We’re ready for 2021. *Insert crying laughing face emoji.* At the beginning of the pandemic, we immediately pivoted and added home deliveries and curbside pickup to our business. That’s been a really great way to continue providing to our customers and we have plans to add more to it! We’ve also added new farmers markets and expanded our bottle distribution throughout Orange County and L.A. We have our amazing customers to thank for all of this! They supported us from the very start of the quarantine and haven’t let up. I’d also like to give a shout out to the Paycheck Protection Program and the City of Huntington Beach. Both sincerely helped us stay afloat and employ our entire crew throughout the pandemic. We are really grateful to have done that without pay cuts or major reductions in hours.” Health Tips: “Don’t go on a crazy diet. Don’t put your body through those kinds of extremes. Incorporating a simple healthy habit into your life—however small it may be—is a real and effective step in the right direction. Something as easy as using turmeric and ginger in your home-cooked meals or choosing a kombucha over a sugary soda may reap benefits down the line.” Looking Ahead: “The good thing about the pandemic is it has given us a chance to experiment and think about where we want to go! We are working on some really cool adaptogenic and CBD-enhanced products that we are super jazzed about. We are also working on getting our great tasting booch onto grocery store shelves and into more people’s hands.”
Blessed Booch Laguna Beach This “farm-to-bottle” brewery began in a home kitchen. Try the signature Green Goddess flavor. $12 to $16 for a 32-ounce bottle. blessedbooch.com
The Hike: The out-and-back trail rewards you early with panoramic coastal views. Climb farther to explore Boat Canyon and Emerald Bay Canyon. Cool Factor: The trail highlights one of Laguna Beach’s large areas of land protected from development. Distance: 4 miles (round-trip) Difficulty: Moderate Start At: End of Dartmoor Street in North Laguna Parking: Free residential street parking You Might See: Blooms in the spring and grazing goats Pro Tip: Bring a hat, water, and sun protection as the trail is mostly exposed.
A twist on the poke bowl, each vibrant cup of sushi has multiple layers of protein, grains, and toppings such as shrimp tempura, lotus root, pickled radish, and tobiko (flying fish roe). Expect house-made sauces and unexpected bases such as curried cauliflower and putipa noodles (gluten-free and low-carb). There is also a vegan option. $10 to $14
Hermosa Taqueria Led by chef Philip Tangonan, who has worked at restaurants such as Chapter One in downtown Santa Ana and the Cannery in Newport Beach, this taqueria will serve signature dishes such as birria and al pastor tacos and duck confit pupusas. You can also expect house-made salsas and hand-pressed tortillas. Located inside Union Market, the 30-seat dining room features intricate tilework and paintings by local artists. Outdoor dining, beer, wine, and takeout will be available.
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Dolce Gelato The Laguna Beach gelateria is set to open another location next to AMC Tustin 14 in the spring. Choose from over 32 different flavors of scratch-made gelato, including 10 vegan options. The salted maple caramel, créme brulee, and coconut are a few of the crowd favorites. Look out for new themed flavors every month. $4.25 to $6.95 a scoop. Available in to-go pints.
The Academy OC Hit Factory, an on-site recording studio, is debuting acting, dancing, singing, and songwriting classes geared towards children and teens. Classes will be available in-person (limited to 6 to 8 per group) as well as hybrid (over Zoom and private one-on-one in-person) starting this spring.
Casa Del Sol This 6,000 square-foot, family-owned restaurant will have a bar, an outdoor patio, a private dining room, and live performances by Mariachi Sol de Mexico, the first mariachi ensemble to be nominated for a Grammy, and Reyna de Los Angeles, America’s first all-female mariachi band. Opening late spring.
Cluck Kitchen advises us to #getclucked, and we do. We order the Nashville Hot Sandwich: fried antibiotic-free chicken breast with unforgettable crunchiness and more topography than its namesake city—plus vinegar slaw, pickles, and comeback sauce on a pillowy bun. Five heat levels allow guests to choose their tolerance. Hot ticket: a side of Nashville fried pickles. Co-owner Steve Kim also partners at nearby burger spot The Cut. 17915 MACARTHUR BLVD., IRVINE, 949-418-9393, CLUCKKITCHEN.COM
The innocent-sounding Chicken Sandwich at Jay Bird’s Chicken is anything but: all-natural breast, six heat levels from Plain Jay to Reaper Fire, coleslaw, comeback sauce, dill pickles, and sides such as loaded potato salad. Blazin’ Fries are topped with mac ’n’ cheese, chopped chicken tender, and comeback and buttered cayenne sauces. Jay Bogsinske, also director of culinary at Shorebird in Newport Beach, is rolling out Jay Bird’s all over the area. 303 THIRD ST., HUNTINGTON BEACH, 714-594-3233, JAYBIRDSCHICKEN.COM
“Thicc thighs save lives” is the motto at Hotties Nashville Hot Chicken. But we opt for the modest slider, which instead accommodates a chicken breast tender, coleslaw, and pickles. There are six levels of heat and three a la carte sides, including the combo’s Cajun crinkle fries—never mind that Louisiana is a couple states from Tennessee—and a memorable truffle mac ’n’ cheese with sauteed mushrooms. 2202 N. TUSTIN ST., ORANGE, 714-363-3308
The word Nashville never appears on the menu at Spice-C.But if it looks like Nashville and tastes like Nashville, we’re singing country. The menu includes golden, crispy-fried, marinated-fresh-chicken sliders and tenders. Five levels of heat top out at a gut-wrenching reaper style for which roughly 200 people have signed waivers. Naked and no-heat tenders are also available. Combos come with kosher pickles and sides such as mac-and-corn salad. 2455 PARK AVE., TUSTIN, 714-673-6331, SPICE-C.NET
Old Town Tustin isn’t having any of that faux vintage created by redevelopers eager to erase crumbly curbs and oddball storefronts. A venerable heart of a settlement born in 1927, the intersection of Main Street and El Camino Real remains a mishmash of small businesses run by locals.
Centro Storico is the new kid on the old block, re-animating a venue that was fallow far too long. While we were fixated on distance learning, the vintage building was transformed to house a spaghetteria and bar plus a back-pocket cafe. Open since August, Storico is another project from the owners of Centro, the excellent micro pizzeria next door. Both outlets serve beer and wine—craft brews under the Pozzuoli family’s Archaic brand are made in Tustin, and Pozzuoli Family Wines are made from grapes grown on their Paso Roble vineyard.
This family likes a challenge. Enter Storico, a full-service restaurant showcasing fresh pastas, made in-house daily. The county’s first spaghetteria showcases its custom pastas in a dozen dishes, all devoutly faithful to old-country traditions. The menu bookends those cherished pasta recipes with several antipasti, salads, meats, and vegetable sides. Packed with choices, the menu’s cluttered design slows decision making. Relax over a stiff Italian Manhattan or classic Negroni to aid your studies.
Calamari fritti and polenta e ragu are easily the best starters. Golden crunchy bites of squid are piping hot with a flavor that needs no more than a squirt of lemon, though a spicy fresh tomato sauce accompanies for dippers. I fell hard for gently fried squares of hearty polenta ready for dribbling with a chunky rich meat sauce said to be a family recipe. Texts of happiness from friends and family follow after taking this suggestion. An antipasto board of artisan cheeses and sliced meats gets extra points for using deli cuts from nearby Claro’s, the finest Italian deli in the galaxy—or at least in O.C.
Thoughtful salads, peppy and fresh, are constructed to order. Full and half sizes are a gracious, uncommon accommodation. My visits were far outside tomato season, so I avoided the caprese. But oh, that chopped salad. Even without the salame upgrade, the deep bowl of dark romaine, radicchio, crisp fennel, red onion, and earthy garbanzo beans all glossed in mellow vinaigrette is a standout. And though the Cesare checks the boxes for house croutons, aged Parmigiano, and anchovy, all required for a salad worth finishing, it will always be tough to bypass that chopped salad on future visits.
Fresh pasta made on-site daily is the beating heart of this family affair. Paterfamilias Enrico Pozzouli rules the pasta realm. It’s rare to find extruded pastas made fresh in a neighborhood restaurant. Bucatini (hollow straws), casarecce (twisted scrolls), and fusilli (spirals) are typically purchased in dried form. Of the eight pastas used in the Storico kitchen, only penne and farfalle are not housemade.
Like salads, pasta has both half- and full-size portions. Sauces are made to order in the pan and not prepared in advance. The long-simmered meat sauce is the sole exception. Pasta here is never swimming in sauce, in order to flaunt each shape’s particular character. Every pasta is cooked al dente, as soft, soggy pasta is intolerable in first-rate Italian cuisine.
Ultra-thick spaghetti has the heft and surface texture to carry an eggy carbonara sauce, flecked with bits of pancetta. Salsiccia stars mighty good sausage in a deep tomato sauce with fresh garlic, bold oregano, and a splash of cream—it’s a divine sauce for hollow rigatoni and its flavor-grabbing ridges.
Cacio e pepe, a dryish, lean sauce in its classic form, needs more pepper and salty hard cheese to stand hefty bucatini. Aglione, a rustic sauce of San Marzano tomatoes and fresh garlic, is a better partner for bucatini’s roly-poly structure. Capperi e olive recalls puttanesca sauce, with its fragrant mix of capers, olives, garlic, and vibrant tomatoes, but it’s the fresh, swirly casarecce pasta that makes this dish exceptional.
Considering the attention paid to pitch-perfect pasta, you might assume non pasta dishes hold no surprises. Much delight awaits in the secondi lineup of meaty entrees. Cotoletta alla Milanese issatisfying dish of chicken breast, pounded flat, dipped in egg, and dredged with Parmesan breadcrumbs before frying. Tender white meat doesn’t get any better than when it wears a crunchy, nutty overcoat. Or exchange frying for chicken roasted simply, with lemon and garlic. Tagliata for two is the undisputed winner in this category. Impeccably grilled with a dark toothy crust, this boneless, juicy 24-ounce porterhouse arrives hot, sliced, and ready to share. A mound of peppery arugula and wedges of lemon are traditional trimmings; a bottle of good olive oil can be requested for drizzling. It’s so delicious to find a swell steak outside of a steakhouse.
Desserts are made on-site and lack the trappings of purchased items. Housemade gelato or sorbetto is the best call—a four-flavor sampler is a bargain at $6.
Launching an artisan spaghetteria in the midst of this pandemic seems counterintuitive, but the Pozzuoli family fears not. Centro Storico and its cafe are a brave, timely bet on the future of quirky, remarkable Old Town Tustin.
★★1/2 405 El Camino Real,
5 BEST DISHES Polenta e ragu
Casarecce capperi e olive
Grilled porterhouse for two
PRICE RANGE Starters, $8 to $18
Pasta, $10 to $21
Entrees, $16 to $48
FYI Closed Monday. Centro Storico translates to historic center.
Newport Beach resident Catherine Rex started Rex Design in 2016. Now her pieces are sold throughout the country and in local boutiques such as Daydream Surf Shop in Costa Mesa and restaurants including San Juan Capistrano’s Mayfield, which is also home to Rex’s mural. In September, Rex opened her first brick-and-mortar shop, which houses her studio as well as a small boutique in the front. Customers can either make an appointment to shop Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or knock to shop if Rex is there. Check her Instagram page for upcoming Saturday pop-ups at her store.
Plates “I’m always working to capture the movement of a dancer, so that’s what you’ll see through all my dancer series,” Rex says. $65
Legs sculpture “As you can see in a lot of my work, I work with the female form. I blend being a woman and being in nature, so she represents Mother Earth.” $400
Mugs The playtime mugs are inspired by children, and each one is unique. $47 to $49
Marble Vases “My marble series is inspired by California. Every colorway is from a different landscape or ocean scape from my life here.” $88 to $108
Striped Vases “None of my lines are ever going to be perfect—I love a weird stripe or a little squiggly line.” $65
Easy goals to set … Do something active for 20 to 30 minutes a day, whether it’s morning or night, whether it’s walking or swimming or jogging. It’s not the longest amount of time to work out, but anyone can do something for 20 to 30 minutes—we spend it on Instagram already.
Tips on getting in shape … You definitely have to change nutrition, that’s the biggest thing—nutrition is 90 percent of achieving your goals. With adults, (I say cut down on) carbs, sugar, and alcohol. People typically say they consume alcohol four to five days a week, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but those days add up. Alcohol is empty calories, meaning there’s no nutritional value.
Tips for working out at home … Look for some type of product or equipment that is versatile and allows you to do multiple exercises and movements, like resistance bands. That way you don’t plateau on doing the same movements every time you work out.