Disneyland’s Backyard

I’m flipping through the 2004 “Best of Orange County” book that came in the Register this morning. On cursory examination, it’s hard to tell the ads from the articles. I get the distinct feeling that this thing was put together more as a way to garner advertising dollars than something that is meant to be of real use to OC residents. Oh heck, it even says it on the bottom of the cover: “A SPECIAL ADVERTISING PRODUCT OF THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.” Ah well, so much for making an insightful and cutting comment in my first post!

As for the “Best of” lists included…well, they’re pretty uninsightful. Putting San Juan Capistrano on the “best place of historical significance” list doesn’t take imagination, nor does Disneyland on the “best entertainment venue” list. And Starbucks tops the list of “best coffeehouse” — if having the most locations qualifies as “best” then McDonalds should be a five star restaurant in the Michelin guide. It seems, in most cases, that they’ve just picked the most obvious three and stopped there. Which is a good way to keep from offending any potential advertisers, I suppose.

I jokingly tell people that I live in “Disneyland’s backyard”, but in truth the theme park is not what defines living in Orange County for me. There’s gotta be more to life than frappachinos and mouse ears, after all. That’s why I’m here. I’m hoping to find (and share) what is really best about Orange County, not what the glossy adverts tell what ought to be the best.

Now — if anyone can tell me where to get the best chai latte, I’ll be extremely happy.

7 Comments so far

  1. Terry Chen (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 3:01 pm

    Welcome! Also, the best Chai Latte is the one you make @ home…. because it’s made with love… and extra foam, but mostly love.

  2. Jason Cosper (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 3:17 pm

    Staci: Guten tag! The OC Weekly is due to drop it’s “Best Of Orange County” issue the third week of October if I recall correctly. They tend to not touch on McDonald’s or Fourbucks much, noting the smaller coffee houses and fast food joints. Keep an eye out for it.

    Terry: That’s not foam… I think it’s the “extra love” you mentioned.

  3. Derek Cramer (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 8:10 pm

    I have been looking for a decent coffee place since I move to OC from Washington. Starbucks is mass produced blah, and The coffee bean and tea leaf seems to be trying to copy Starbucks as much as possible.

    “Java City” on Culver in Irvine can make a decent latte, but there is a lot of variation from day to day. One day we got 2 lattes at the same time and they tasted completely different.

  4. mrhooks (unregistered) on September 18th, 2004 @ 10:44 am

    Michelin only awards up to three stars. But anyways…

    I don’t know about chai lattes (I drink neither chai, nor coffee), but you can get a great pie (rhymes with chai, get it?) at the Filling Station in Orange, on Glassell.

  5. Joel (unregistered) on September 19th, 2004 @ 1:02 pm

    Now you know why I don’t take the Register, staci. Or read many newspapers.

    Best? I would mark Dana Point as having more contemporary and varied significance for the history of the county, myself, being as it is the scene of trade described in Two Years Before the Mast and the origin point of the movement to preserve California’s coast from rampant development.

    No comment on coffee houses: I don’t do many of them.

    Best entertainment venue? Your local library, where you can create your own Magic Kingdom using the materials at hand.

  6. Staci (unregistered) on September 20th, 2004 @ 2:41 pm

    As Homer says, Mmmm Pie. Hey, a restaurant that served “Pie & Chai” would be pretty cool. And can’t I get it with extra foam AND extra love? Is that too much to ask?

    Joel: I’m disappointed that we didn’t make it to the Tall Ships Fest in Dana Point this year. It was one of my dad’s favorite events, and my mom hasn’t been back since he died. It was so hot that weekend, though, and the thought of tramping through crowds with two kids who probably wouldn’t be all that interested was not appealing. Maybe next year.

  7. Justin (unregistered) on September 20th, 2004 @ 4:13 pm

    There’s a Peet’s, in the little stripmall beside where the 1 meets Macarthur (iirc); it beats any other local coffee place with one hand tied behind its back. Starbucks! pshaw!!

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