Read Our Editor’s Note on the July 2021 Best Of Orange County Issue

Photograph by Emily J. Davis; Letters by Alpha-Lit Orange County

I wrote in January that I was “ridiculously optimistic about this year … eager for days to get longer, weather to get warmer, and our community to gather together again.” Done, done, and done! I’m still elated from seeing friends and foodies at our Best Restaurants event in May. It was a welcome reunion after more than a year, and people seemed overjoyed.

That lighthearted spirit radiates throughout this issue: Our Don’t Miss listings are all in-person events again (Page 36); this month’s style finds are cheery tangerine-hued items (Page 50); and the cover story is our annual collection of the county’s Best (Page 82). We’ve gathered novel food and drinks, new places to shop and indulge, and intriguing things to see and do. We’re excited to get back to summer the way it’s meant to be enjoyed, which includes our Best Of party (details at, where we’ll celebrate what’s unique about O.C.

Speaking of celebrating, Orange Coast has been honored for the 10th consecutive time with Maggie Awards for publishing excellence. The categories the magazine won are best cover, best editorial layout, and—the most significant prize—best city, metro, regional, or state magazine. In a challenging year, we’re incredibly proud to have our work recognized.

Illustration by Martha Napier

Finally, dedicated readers will recall that we reviewed Café Jardin and chef Pascal Olhats in June. The day after that issue went to press, Olhats announced he was retiring from brick-and-mortar restaurants and closing the cafe. Ouch! We’re sorry for those who never got to dine there. Happily, the space will be taken over by chef Jessica Roy and rebranded as Cultivar, with her imprint on everything. We can’t wait! Meanwhile, check out tributes to Olhats by celebrated locals who have worked with him over the past three decades (Page 64). Bonne chance, Pascal!

Ms. Alan Gibbons

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