No, the Oc in this newbie’s name doesn’t stand for Orange County; it’s the Vietnamese word for snails, the specialty of the house. The menu offers several types, from escargot to Canadian whelks, along with clams, oysters, and mussels. Try them in a hot pot simmering with aromatic broth. 10212 Westminster Ave., 714-591-5482
Look for the hand-drawn stars on the chalkboard menu, which appear next to the names of the most popular drinks, such as the hazelnut iced coffee ($3.70), coconut Thai tea ($3.15), and mint cookies and cream smoothie ($3.50). Don’t miss the ice cream in flavors such as horchata ($2 a scoop). 10100 Westminster Blvd., 714-537-7014
Reptile Factory OC
In this small but well-stocked pet store, you’ll find reptiles—pythons, boa constrictors, geckos, monitor lizards, and bearded dragons—and everything you need to care for them, including terrariums, heat lamps, and food. The knowledgeable, friendly staff is more than happy to offer advice. 10108 Westminster Blvd., 657-206-6940
Vientiane Lao Thai
In a sea of Vietnamese restaurants, this popular spot offers something different: authentic Laotian and Thai food. Favorites include pad see ew ($8), crispy fried rice with pork and peanuts ($8), papaya salad with shrimp or crab ($8), Laotian sausages ($8), and more than a dozen hot pots and soups ($8 to $16). 10262 Westminster Ave., 714-530-7523
Good To Know
Don’t let the name fool you—Reptile Factory OC also carries arachnids and amphibians, such as this dumpy tree frog.