O.C.’s Best: Shaved Ice

These light and downright lush desserts get tricked out with enticing toppings and mix-ins, many taking their cues from Asian favorites such as red beans, mochi balls, and lychee. But they also can be as traditional as orangesicle and strawberry shortcake. Here are six places in Orange County to get your brain-freeze on.

O.C.’s Best: Roast Chicken

Whether it’s cooked slowly over open flames on a spit-roast or stuffed with herbs and roasted in the oven to golden perfection, few dishes are as comforting as a simple roast chicken. While it’s hard to beat a home-cooked version, these seven diverse locales in Orange County do right by this ubiquitous classic.

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: 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.

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: Vintage Cocktails

The revival continues for cocktails inspired by the golden, boozy pre-Prohibition era, along with variations on established classics, such as the Manhattan and the Boston sour. Here are six great bars in Orange County where old meets new in handcrafted cocktails.

O.C.’s Best: Brunch O’Clock

For many of us, weekends are for sleeping in and enjoying sumptuous breakfasts that can last until late afternoon—and perhaps a mimosa or two to round out the affair. Here are six restaurants where you can stroll in for a great not-quite-breakfast, not-quite-lunch experience.

O.C.’s Best: Hot Pot Hot Spots

Chose your ingredients, swish them in a roiling pot of broth, then dip them in flavorful sauces for a communal dining experience that’s perfect for the season. From fiery and flavorful Taiwanese hot pot to simple and pristine Japanese shabu-shabu, these six Asian-style restaurants let you be the chef.

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.

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.