Best of 2014: Bro-Tastic Style

The company founded by the late Hobie Alter has been a leader in surf, water sports, and beach style for decades.
Locations in Laguna Beach, Corona del Mar, Dana Point, and two in San Clemente.

Home to all cool essentials, from graphic Ts and denim, to grooming and paper goods, plus anything else a gentleman of sports and leisure may need.
212 1/2 Main St., Seal Beach, 562‑594‑4800,

CLOTH & METAL This newly-expanded store carries clothing, hi-fi gear (treat your ears to the headphone bar), grooming supplies, and new or vintage watches. Look for O.C.-exclusive brands like Audeze, Grayers, and Naked & Famous.
OC Mix, 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, 888‑938‑4536,

In an unassuming industrial area, this store offers a huge selection of rare or limited-edition sneakers and clothing. Run on consignment, the collection spans Jordan to James, with a wide range of sizes and prices, all in pristine condition.
580 W. Lambert Road, Brea, 714‑757‑9001,

For the discerning and well-heeled gentleman, this French luxury lifestyle brand offers sumptuous bespoke footwear ($7,850 to $25,400) and prêt-à-porter goods.
South Coast Plaza, 3333 S. Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714‑641‑3582,

Best of 2010 1-20

01 Soda SelectionThe ruffled crown cap. The frosty glass bottle. The pop and hiss as you snap one open. A sundry selection of 100-plus vintage sodas—including diet and pure cane sugar varieties—awaits at Zlaket’s, each promising a carbonated dose of nostalgia and a sweet remedy for that summertime thirst. Mix and match your own $8 six-pack. 12921 Main St., Garden Grove, 714-534-2188,

Best of 2013: For Your Bird Buddy

We profiled bird whisperer Omar Gonzalez last year, but his chain of vibrant shops deserves mention here for being the best resource for parrot owners looking to care for their flighty pals—and to spoil them rotten.

Best of 2014: Earl Grey’s New Groove

Talk about a modern mash-up - for the Earl Grey Manhattan Cream Soda, chef Cathy Pavlos steeps the hergamo-scented black tea with sugar and vanilla, then adds half-and-half and fizzy soda water. She serves it over ice, then caps it with whipped cream. $6
2531 East Bluff Drive, Newport Beach, 949-718-0477,

Best of 2014: Chocolate Honeycomb

Honeycomb, seafoam, fairy food, angel food— whatever you call it, the best stuff is here. In the kitchen, melted sugar and baking soda are combined to create a magical foamy texture. Imagine if toffee met meringue. Chunks are coated in milk or bittersweet Guittard chocolate. At $28 per pound, it’s a splurge that’s worth it.
34513 Golden Lantern St., Dana Point, 949‑493‑4135; 1200 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949‑494‑4462,

Best of 2013: Jewelry With an Edge

Designer Stephie Tchamanian went from selling jewelry out of the trunk of her car, to Etsy, to her own website.

Best of 2014: Chai Delight

Pirates Chai is a handcrafted blend of matcha, spices, and dark muscovado sugar. It's robust and spicy, minus the overt bitterness found in most matcha teas, and definitely without the cloying sweetness of some chai beverages. This is the only place to find it in O.C. $5
2930 Bristol St. Costa Mesa, 714-549-7012,

Best of 2013: Swing Thing

The ATOMIC BALLROOM is the go-to destination for local Lindy Hoppers, but it also offers fun classes and evening dances in salsa, blues, and other styles. Its owners assure us that “two left feet” is a curable ailment.

Best Cozy Kicks: The Sandalman

Since 1976, brothers Scott and Patrick Strader have been handcrafting leather sandals. Built with integrity, the 30 styles display a craftsmanship that can’t be...

Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114,