Orange County Guide

Updated: September 18, 2017 (added: “list of other places we’ve been”)

THINGS TO DO AND EAT IN OC:

Continue reading below to see my recommendations!

THINGS TO DO:

Laguna Beach – One of my absolute favorite beaches in SoCal. We spent hours here just enjoying the scenery and watching the sunset. There’s also some eateries and boutiques nearby if you feel like doing a little shopping.

Top of the World – If you’re already in Laguna, you can also drive up to this scenic lookout point, which offers one of the best views in Laguna Beach! Be sure you go on a clear day. We’ve always made it to the top after sunset, so I didn’t get a good picture 🙁

Huntington Beach – A beautiful beach in Orange County. Take a walk on the boardwalk and enjoy the views!

Anaheim Packing District – A food hall with numerous dessert and food selections, as well as bars and areas to just chill. The atmosphere is really nice and they play live music on weekends. It gets extremely packed on the weekends though, so going during a weekday is recommended, if you want to try the places in there.

4th Street Market – Another food hall in Orange County where you can find trendy eateries! Grab a snack or meal, and just enjoy it on the patio outside.

Little Saigon Night Market aka Asian Garden Night Market – An open-air night market in front of Asian Garden Mall, where you can enjoy Vietnamese street food and drinks, as well as free music and entertainment. It usually runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months.

Mitsuwa Marketplace – A Japanese supermarket chain that can be found all over SoCal. There’s also a location in San Jose, San Diego, Chicago, New Jersey, and even Dallas, Texas! Here, you can shop for groceries, find fresh produce, or shop for Japanese snacks and drinks. There’s also a food court that has a number of places offering traditional foods. You can even find kiosks and other novelty stores. Each Mitsuwa location offers something a little different.

OC Night Market – If you’re ever in OC at the beginning of summer, definitely try to go to the OC Night Market, if your trip lands on the event dates. Especially if you can’t make it to the 626 Night Market. It’s the smaller version of the biggest food festivals in SoCal, with hundreds of food, merchandise and entertainment options. I recommend going in a bigger group so that you can share and sample everything. It just wasn’t the same when it was only the two of us.

The LAB Anti-Mall – A hang-out spot with numerous cafes, restaurants and retail shops “for those who love art, music, fashion and hip cuisine”. You can also find a cute Disney Tsum-Tsum filled trailer called, Honey & Butter, which sells macarons here. Each day, they have a different theme of macarons that are available.

PLACES TO EAT:

Ritter’s SKC – This isn’t Vegas’ Palace Station Casino’s Oyster Bar, but it comes close! Chef Ritter spent 12 years at the Oyster Bar, so you can expect the pan roast here to be just as good. If you like tomato based soups, this is definitely a must try!

Popbar – I’d recommend asking them to “create” a combination of flavors for you, rather than getting a plain gelato popsicle. The first time we had it, it was mind-blowing because it tasted so much like green tea Kit Kats, strawberry Pocky, and Girl Scout cookies! I’m not sure what other creations they have but try one of the above or ask them what else they have to offer.

Cream Pan – The strawberry cream pans here are a must! I love croissants so the flaky pastry went perfectly with the semi-sweet cream and strawberries/bananas. The Japanese curry here isn’t too bad either! This bakery also offers many other items.

Matcha Love – If you like matcha and soft serve, this is the place to go. They even offer black sesame and hojicha! It’s definitely a treat when it’s hot outside.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen – Before going to this restaurant (in 2012), the only ramen we ever tried were Mama Instant Noodles in the bag. This place was what started our ramen addiction for a few years after we first tried it (we’re no longer obsessed about it like we used to be.) What we loved about Shin-Sen-Gumi was that it was fully customizable! It allows you to choose the firmness of your noodles, the amount of soup oil, strength of soup base, and of course your toppings. I loved that they offered half sized bowls because I can never finish a whole bowl! The only thing I wished was that the eggs were soft-boiled instead of hard.

Tebo Tebo Tea Lounge – We never had brick/honey toast until we tried it this day in ’12. It was so massive we couldn’t even finish it between 5 people! It was tasty and the crispy honey toast pieces inside were my favorite part. This specific one also came with bananas and ice cream. We took it “to go” and ate it outside because we didn’t want to wait for the tables to open.

Snow Monster – You can’t go wrong with the Thai tea here! There’s also a variety of other flavors to choose from. They also have macaron ice cream as well as other desserts!

Van’s Bakery – I loveee eating bánh pa tê sô (pâté chaud). It’s a French-inspired Vietnamese savory puff pastry, with a flaky exterior and meat filling. I can’t really remember how it tasted at Van’s Bakery, but I do remember that they offer bite-sized pâté chaud, as well as regular sizes.

Brodard – One of the very first places we tried, on our first trip to California back in Fall ’12. It’s also one of the most popular Vietnamese restaurants in OC. If you’re looking for authentic Vietnamese cuisine, this is one of the places you should check out.

Honey & Butter – 

Other places we’ve been:

Food: Bánh Cuốn Tây Hồ 4, GD Bro Burgers, Kang Hodong Baekjeong, Gen KBBQ,
Desserts: The Dirty Cookie (cookie shots), Mochi Cream, Mochilato (mochi ice cream), Beard Papa’s (cream puffs), Afters Ice Cream,
Drinks: Lollicup, Tastea

If you have time to drive to Los Angeles, check out the LA Food & Travel Guide here:
https://sherryvu.com/la-guide/

or San Diego Guide here:
http://sherryvu.com/sd-guide/

For more photos or places I haven’t listed, you can find it on IG under the hashtag #sherrytravelscali

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/sherrytravelscali

I haven’t split up the Cali locations yet, so there will still be posts for all of California in one hashtag. I’ll update the links if I get a chance to change it.

Check back later for more updates on this guide!

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