O.C.’s Best: Fusion Cuisine

It was only a matter of time before the diverse mix of culinary tastes here in Orange County began blending—sometimes, all in one dish. Korean BBQ tacos? Yakisoba hot dogs? Yes, please! These restaurants offer dishes that represent a clever and delicious melding of cultures.

Best of 2013: Local Candies

C SALT, the handmade-with-love confections by self-taught Courtney Dudman Donley, has long been O.C.’s candy company to beat. But Donley may have outdone herself with her latest creation—luscious, soft butter caramels with sea salt. We can’t describe them without drooling on our keyboards, but you can pick up your own at any Mother’s Market location. $11 for six pieces; $18 for a dozen. csaltgourmet.com

O.C.’s Best: Power Lunches

When it’s time to impress important clients, it helps to have the right atmosphere. Our advice? Do it over a lunch that shows you mean business. Break bread at any of these five restaurants in Orange County—don’t forget to wear your best-looking suit and, of course, bring the company plastic.

Tamales in Orange County

Undoubtedly in the kitchen of someone’s abuela. Honestly, naming the “best” tamale would be an impossible task (although we try here). The next-best thing...

O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

Get your vegetables and booze in one convenient—and delicious—serving with what’s been hailed as America’s murkiest and most complex cocktail. Traditionally made with tomato juice, vodka, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, its origins are widely debated. Here are five superb O.C. renditions of the world-famous drink.

O.C.’s Best: Elixir Soups

There’s nothing like the warmth of soup to soothe the misery of a cold or flu. Whether it’s a light broth or hearty porridge, it’s a universally nurturing remedy. If mom’s not around to prepare her famous homemade chicken soup, these five Orange County options are the next-best thing.

O.C.’s Best: Meat on a Stick (Skewers)

Meat cooked and served on sticks is classic to many cuisines, and Katherine Nguyen finds six worthy Orange County examples to suggest, including Japanese yakitori, Turkish doner, Mediterranean shawarma, and the kebabs from countries such as Iraq.

O.C.’s Best: Charcuterie Boards

The perfect course to graze on with friends or enjoy as a feast for one, charcuterie boards typically entail a combination of cured meats,...

O.C.’s Best: Summer Sippers

The weather may be blessedly mild most of the year, but Orange County can really sizzle in the summer. When the sun’s blazing, you’re not limited to the ocean or a swimming pool to cool down. Try deliciously ice-cold libations from these seven places to slake that summertime thirst.

O.C.’s Best: Inspired Salads

Fresh, hearty salads get serious love in health-conscious Orange County, whether complementing a main dish or prepared as stand-alone meals. Here are seven restaurants where the humble salad reaches its full potential—packing a delicious mix of flavors and textures to a light-but-satisfying end.