At the corner of La Paz Road and McIntyre Street, tucked into a leafy Laguna Hills residential neighborhood, two strip malls offer upscale eats, surprising treats, and a fun space for kids to explore their artistic side.
Pengo Drink Station
Grab a signature sparkling drink—made to order with San Pellegrino, minced fruit and herbs, and chia seeds ($5.50)—at this cafe, open since August. It’s served in a glass bottle embossed with the shop’s cute penguin logo. 25292 McIntyre St., 949-374-0630, pengodrink.com
Settle in on the enclosed patio, take in the view of Saddleback, and indulge in rustic, comforting dishes such as Meyer lemon and honey duck wings ($12) or pan-roasted Greek sea bass ($24). 25250 La Paz Road, 949-446-8772, ironwoodlagunahills.com
The Silly Smock
Play with your little ones at this drop-in art studio, where they can paint on easels, draw on a huge chalk wall, and create with glue, glitter, stamps, markers, and crayons. The best part: You don’t have to clean up. $14 per artist. 25292 McIntyre St., 949-300-4844, thesillysmock.com
Heidelberg Pastry Shop
Linger at the sidewalk tables with a cup of coffee and a croissant or Danish, and pick up some cookies to take home from this European-style bakery, specializing in custom wedding and birthday cakes. 25260 La Paz Road, 949-581-7060, heidelbergbakery.net