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Q: How long has the Shake Shack stood above Crystal Cove?

This beachfront landmark appeared not long after that segment of Coast Highway opened in the late 1920s, when...

OC Answer Man: Other than the library, where can I get my ‘Lord of...

To visit Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, and their friends, just take Ring Road to Middle Earth—at UC Irvine. In 1974, students voted to name the...

Is Tomato Springs a Real Place?

Tomato Springs is tiny but legendary. In 1769, Father Francisco Gomez of the Portola expedition—the first Europeans in California—discovered a source of fresh water...

O.C. Answer Man: I vaguely remember a restaurant sign with the Carl’s Jr. Happy...

True. In 1972, Orange County hamburger king Carl Karcher started a Mexican fast-food chain called Taco de Carlos. Menu items included California Burritos (chimichangas),...

OC Answer Man: What’s With the Wild Mustard All Over Orange County?

This non-native invader didn’t arrive the way legend suggests. According to lore, a Spanish friar, traveling between the missions, planted mustard seeds along the...

O.C.’s Saturated Food-Truck Market

Q: Any advice on how to stand out in O.C.’s saturated food-truck market? A: The gourmet food truck craze gets several things right: clean trucks, friendly service, changing menus, and quality ingredients. Stick to those. But fusion and freak-show cuisine has been done to death. (Who thought Asian tacos would so quickly go from novelty to cliche?) Surprise everyone by making well-executed versions of foods everyone loves. For instance, if you’re going to make pizza, don’t make a tofu faux-pork-belly pizza with Assyrian woodchuck cheese, seaweed, and kumquat sauce on a wheatless crust. Just make the best possible version of the traditional kind. 

O.C. Answer Man: The flood of 1938 killed more than 50 people. But...

Some would argue that the Army Corps of Engineers’ willful ruination of the Killer Dana surf break in 1966 was the worst, though that...

O.C. Answer Man: Anything interesting deep down in Irvine Lake?

There’s a Mancow lurking somewhere beneath the surface. In the early 1890s, a group of young men was annoyed to find that one had...

O.C. Answer Man: Nothing says California like non-native palm trees. Where’s the best place...

South Coast Plaza has an amazing collection of more than 50 varieties of palm trees from all over the world, including rare ones such...

O.C. Answer Man: Why are so many things in Newport Beach named Balboa?

The community of Newport Beach already was well-established at the foot of what’s now the Newport Pier when the neighboring town of Balboa was...