Best of 2018 – Winners

Best of 2018

Shopping & Services

  • Best Downtown

    Garden Grove’s Historic Downtown

    This up-and-coming historic district is most popular for two things: the well-known Strawberry Festival and California’s only Elvis Festival (during August, Garden Grove’s self-appointed Elvis Month). But these events aren’t Garden Grove’s Historic Downtown’s only claim to fame. During California’s longest-running Friday car show, shiny, classic vehicles cruise past the vintage shops and thrift stores that embellish Main Street. And the many independent coffee shops invite you to chat with their owners. Despite the city’s sleepy reputation, this downtown is worth a stroll.

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    Main Street and Euclid Avenue
    Garden Grove

  • Best Trend

    Tiki

    We’ve had an influx of island lifestyle in OC not seen since the summer of 1963, when Walt Disney brought his Enchanted Tiki Room to town. The power of the Polynesian islands has been calling hard to the mainland: If you’ve been invited to a party this year, chances are it’s been tiki-themed. Tropical baptisms, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bank openings—you name it, there’s a colorful plastic lei and pour-your-own mai tai bar waiting for you.

  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Black Umbrella Tattoo and Art Gallery

    Garden Grove native Kurtis Gibson has built Black Umbrella Tattoo and Art Gallery into the quintessential art studio: local artists of all styles are featured, art workshops are offered, and tattooers collaborate with clients to create unique works of art. Adding recognition to Gibson’s reknown are Cynthia Flores, Marco Gomez, Blake Aiken and Steven Rascon, who are well-known for their black-and-gray as well as American traditional tattoos.

    blackumbrellaart.com
    12951 Main St.
    Garden Grove – 714.638.4644

  • Best Bookstore

    Bookman

    Bookman, son of the late Book Baron, has been slinging used books for just shy of 30 years from its Tustin Avenue storefront in Orange. When news hit this year that Bookman was being forced to move because its long-term lease was ending, pearls were understandably clutched with dread. You’ll have to forgive bibliophiles if they seem a bit triggered by the news, but they’ve been down this road before, losing beloved brick-and-mortar booksellers as each new chapter in the Amazon age unfolds. But in a delightful plot twist—and with the help of the community it has served for a few generations—Bookman lives on in new digs in the same city. We’re looking forward to reading the next book in the beloved Bookman series: Bookman III: Tales From Katella Avenue!

    www.ebookman.com
    320 E. Katella Ave.
    Orange – 714.538.0166

  • Best Manicure/Pedicure

    All About Nails

    A chalkboard display with the day’s deals and “Have a nice day” scrawled across it invites you into All About Nails, a husband-and-wife-owned salon in downtown Brea. Teetering on the edge of the Orange County line, Amy treats every customer as though they’re Jesus in disguise. She is aware of your presence the moment you walk in, and she does whatever she can to make sure you are relaxed—including offering a free coconut cookie and a bottle of cold water—as she herds you toward a massage chair. And this is all before you even utter what kind of service you want. Whether you want general upkeep on your nails or a bold fashion statement, Amy and her husband, Calvin, will take care of you.

    592 S. Brea Blvd.
    Brea – 714.908.6172

  • Best Car Wash

    Beach-Lin Hand Car Wash

    Beach-Lin Hand Car Wash in Anaheim is so much more than a standard service—it’s an experience. While “Beach-Lin” (for its location on Lincoln Avenue and Beach Boulevard) doesn’t have the same ring to it as the neighboring “Linbrook” Bowl (Lincoln and Brookhurst Street), both are surviving, authentic relics of midcentury space-age architecture. This retro-futuristic building has more boomerangs than a De Castro Sisters song. Done in the popular Googie style, this car wash not only sudses your ride, but it also sucks your vehicle into a time-warp-like vortex.

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    126 S. Beach Blvd.
    Anaheim – 714.952.3718

  • Best Pet Supply

    Feed Barn

    Unless it’s sound asleep, a cheerful, Flemish, giant breed of rabbit named Bubba will greet you at the Feed Barn’s door. Bunnies from across the county send their owners here for the Timothy Hay, the best of all varieties. But it’s not just for the cotton-tails: Feed Barn is a one-stop shop for all your pets, be they standard poodles, goats, cockatiels or horses. Buy your chicks here, too. Locally owned and operated by in-the-know folks, Feed Barn is the opposite of a big-box with even better prices. You can even give Fido a bath for a small fee at the wash station. Then reward your clean pal to such fun stuff as Critter Toys’ Atomic Nutball or a raw lamb femur, so it can get stinky again right away.

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    34192 Doheny Park Rd.
    Capistrano Beach – 949.445.6713

  • Best Massage

    Taralai Thai Massage

    Thanks to word-of-mouth raves from its regulars and walk-ins, Taralai Thai Massage expanded its hours and began offering couples’ massages as well as a five-massage package deal for frequent visitors. What hasn’t changed are the smiles that greet you in this elegantly tranquil space. If you’ve never tried traditional Thai massage, it’s something different that diminishes stress, improves circulation, and reduces muscle duress and strain. Taralai’s highly trained practitioners are also adept at Swedish and deep-tissue massage, so be candid about what ails you for a customized combination that will cure, relax and free your body and mind.

    www.taralaimassage.com
    31681 Camino Capistrano, Ste. 101
    San Juan Capistrano – 949.388.4400

  • Best Used Bookstore

    LibroMobile

    It has been years since SanTana has had a local bookstore helping to nourish the minds of its residents. When author Sarah Rafael García returned from Austin, Texas, she wasted no time in creating LibroMobile. The literacy project first took the form of a traveling bookcase before finding a nook in a staircase at 4th Street Market. But with used-book donations filling crates, LibroMobile literally outgrew its digs and is now occupying a garage in downtown Santa Ana. From there, García has published zines for local poets and hosted readings with visiting authors. Its humble shelves are filled with the best in Chicanx literature, poetry, science fiction, children’s books, history, politics y libros en español! Gracias to Garcia, all these tomes have a place to call home.

    www.libromobile.com
    220 E. Fourth St., Ste. 107
    Santa Ana – 657.205.9907

  • Best Furniture Store

    Stewart Roth’s Furniture

    What is Fountain Valley if not the furniture capital of Orange County? Along the bend of the 405 freeway, there are stores galore for those looking for a new bedroom set or dining table. Amid the multitude, Stewart Roth’s Furniture distinguishes itself with the precious woodwork of the Amish. The low-tech, rural religious folk live largely as they did a few centuries ago, and that includes making quality furniture from sturdy hardwoods. Having been in the furniture-selling business for 45 years now, Stewart Roth networked with Amish craftsmen to bring their wares to Fountain Valley. The best part is you won’t have to travel all the way out to Amish Country for that perfect rocking chair, as Stewart Roth’s is close enough for a buggy ride!

    www.stuartrothfurniture.com
    18218 Euclid St.
    Fountain Valley – 714.751.8922

  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

    Tricky Dick may have been a sonofabitch, but he’s our sonofabitch. Right down to his Yorba Linda boyhood home, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum is a conservative tourist haven. But even the most liberal among us have to admit the White House replica rooms are pretty neat and the grounds immaculately kept. Besides, the Jowls-in-Chief was a worthy adversary, and this museum is less of a historical whitewash than in years past. There’s rock-throwing Venezuelans, the House Un-American Activities Committee and presidential meetings with Mao Zedong to recount. Oh, and that whole Watergate thing, too! Complete your visit by heading over to Nixon’s headstone and whispering sweet curses for all the ills in the world he inspired. Can’t do that at Disneyland!

    www.nixonlibrary.gov
    18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.
    Yorba Linda – 714.993.5075

  • Best Canine Party Planner

    OC Dog Party

    Throw your pup the most bitchen birthday party ever. The Bacon & Champagne bash comes with, yes, a pound of bacon in a designer dog bowl, an irresistible Poochie Charcuterie Platter, a fire-hydrant-shaped drink dispenser, custom digital invites, swag bags for 10, a “NO CATS ALLOWED” sign, too-cute décor, treats for humans and more. Yappy Hour or a Wag-N-Weed party with legal cannabis treats celebrate whatever you want! Throw a fundraiser with a pooch kissing booth! Any idea you have, these party animals will throw down a shindig not soon forgotten. And potty clean up is always complimentary.

    www.ocdogparty.com

  • Best Surf Shop

    Frog House

    If you win an award twice, you’re great; three times, you’re a legend. But if you win four times or more, you’re the undisputed GOAT. After being named OC’s top surf shop in 2010, 2012 and 2017, Frog House might as well keep its Sticky Bumps-coated OC Weekly Best Surf Shop trophy permanently on its premises—if it has any room for it. Open since 1962, the shop is filled wall to wall with new, used and vintage surfboards of all sizes, plus a barrage of T-shirts, wetsuits and sunglasses. Don’t be startled by the plaster shark’s head jutting through the wall, the buck-toothed Popeye mannequin or the lock-less bathroom covered with pictures of legendary Frog House parties gone wrong. Frog House’s knowledgeable staff are there to help get you into the water.

    6908 W. Coast Hwy.
    Newport Beach – 949.642.5690

  • Best Hotel

    La Casa del Camino

    Looking for a romantic spot to celebrate an anniversary? A weekend getaway to forget the stress of everyday life? This beachfront boutique hotel is a veritable Orange County landmark. Built in 1929, it was a hotspot for Hollywood stars. Today, you can choose among 36 rooms, including 10 “surf suites,” each paying homage to local surf culture. Spend your days relaxing on the beach and your nights enjoying happy hour at either the hotel’s Rooftop Lounge or the K’ya Bistro Bar.

    www.lacasadelcamino.com
    1289 S. Coast Hwy.
    Laguna Beach – 949.497.6029

  • Best Library

    Santa Ana Public Library

    Under the helm of senior librarian David Lopez, Santa Ana Public Library has become one of the best in not only the county, but also the state. With thousands of books and daily events, Santa Ana Public Library shows how libraries remain important community centers that can’t be replaced by Amazon.

    ci.santa-ana.ca.us/library
    26 Civic Center Plaza
    Santa Ana – 714.647.5250

  • Best Skate Shop

    Focus Boardshop

    For kids who grew up skating at Etnies Skatepark in Lake Forest, Focus Boardshop is the only place to buy a deck, fix hardware, hide from the cops, or hassle a local pro for that extra pair of unreleased shoes they stole from the Sole Tech warehouse across the street. Independently owned and operated by a handful of talented and knowledgeable skaters, Focus sponsored the (in)famous Goofy vs. Regular competition and groomed the impressionable kids of Etnies to become fearless animals who wouldn’t hesitate to tre-flip the 11-stair at any moment. Local legend—and Focus rider—Aidan Campbell recently turned pro for Foundation Skateboards and Etnies shoes. But fret not, as Campbell and former Focus kids still swing by—if only to siphon free gear just like back in the day.

    20025 Lake Forest Dr., Ste. 103
    Lake Forest – 949.595.4389

  • Best Swap Meet

    Long Beach Antique Market

    Whether you’re looking for great deals or just a fun way to spend a weekend, the Long Beach Antique Market is the place to be. On the third Sunday of every month, more than 800 vendors selling everything from furniture to art to clothing fill the 20 acres around Long Beach Veterans Stadium that make up the market. You’ll never leave empty-handed.

    www.longbeachantiquemarket.com
    Long Beach Veterans Stadium, 4901 E. Conant St.
    Long Beach – 323.655.5703

  • Best Place for Shopping

    The Market Place

    The best thing about the Market Place? The ability to access nearly all stores from two driveways. The Target is open until midnight every day but Sunday. Sprouts is convenient for produce. Orangetheory, 24 Hour Fitness, Bike 2 the Beat and Corepower can get your sweat on. Current movies at the Edwards cinema and browsing at Barnes & Noble keep you entertained, while Nordstrom Rack and newly built Sephora give reasons to avoid all the other malls. Bonus points for restaurant expansions such as Snooze, an A.M. Eatery and Texas de Brazil.

    www.shopthemarketplace.com
    2961 El Camino Real
    Tustin – 714.730.4124

  • Best Adult Store

    Pink Kitty Boutique

    Sure, you can find butt plugs, ropes, nipple cuffs or yoni eggs on the shelves of any adult store, but what if you don’t know how to actually use them? Not only does the Pink Kitty provide said risqué items for your pleasure, but it also offers special classes to help curious couples and kinky individuals of all levels of expertise learn how to maximize their bedroom time. If you prefer to stay vanilla or don’t have the time to take a class, the congenial staff will field your questions and recommend items in-store for all your sensual needs. The main aim for this Irvine-based store is to spread a sex-positive outlook and provide everyone the right education for the best consensual experience possible. Besides that, you’ll find a wide selection of lingerie for bodies of all sizes, DVD smut, and classic bachelorette supplies to give any bride a “One Penis Forever” send-off party she’ll never forget.

    17955 Sky Park Circle, Ste. A
    Irvine – 949.660.4990

  • Best Clothing Boutique

    Gunthers Supply Co.

    Sometime within the past five years, men’s workwear became a hot look for young men with discerning sartorial tastes. Enter Gunthers Supply Co., who’ve carried on this punky blue-collar aesthetic since opening a brick-and-mortar store in 2014. Reflecting a style that intersects workwear and streetwear with SanTana pride, the small shop hosts a collection of brands, including Loser Machine, Pendleton, Brixton, Dickies, Suavecito, Dr. Martens, Ben Davis and more, as well as Gunthers’ own line of hoodies, tanks, coats and accessories. What’s even better is the prices are damn affordable for the demographic it represents, attracting gents (and even ladies) from Southern California and beyond.

    gunthers.co
    324 W. Fourth St.
    Santa Ana – 714.702.5002

  • Best Comic Book Store

    Comics Toons N’ Toys

    Considering how small this shop is, it’s a wonder it can fit so many books in one space. Not only will you find a wide selection of variant editions, but you’ll also come across plenty of classic and contemporary graphic novels, back issues, manga, collectibles, action figures, clothing, cards and more. Hell, you couldn’t find a selection this good unless you trekked to Comic-Con. Thanks to its incredible organization (and friendly staff), you can get almost every genre of comic book there is to find—and at prices that give Amazon a run for its money.

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    13542 Newport Ave.
    Tustin – 714.730.2117

  • Best Costume Store

    Gasoline Alley

    Halloween isn’t the only time of the year this strip-mall-located costume store is packed with locals looking for exceptional costumes. Everyone from young punks to stars of The Real Housewives of Orange County have browsed the many racks of vintage, retro and used outfits for any and every occasion you’d need a disguise for. Its small exterior belies the enormous expanse that waits inside. In addition to animal prints and accessories, you’ll find records, memorabilia, old movie posters and all manner of eccentric signage adorning the walls like a wild patchwork quilt. Outfits and styles are arranged by theme and era, from Renaissance to Miami Vice, and even after you find what you’re looking for, there are plenty more fashionable pieces you’ll covet for your everyday wardrobe.

    gasolinealleycostumes.com
    3804 E. Chapman Ave., Ste. D
    Orange – 714.639.6550

  • Best Vintage Store

    Joyride Vintage for Men / Elsewhere Vintage for Women

    There’s no better way to pad out your wardrobe with one-of-a-kind pieces than by buying vintage. The problem is finding them. That’s where Joyirde and Elsewhere come in. The two stores, owned by married couple Robert and Kristine Houston and conveniently situated next door to each other, offer a highly curated selection of mostly pre-1970s vintage clothing. Located in a 1920s storefront in the heart of Old Towne Orange, the accessories, decorations and tunes playing over the speakers will transport you back in time. And the highly savvy owners will gladly help you find whatever you need—be it an evening gown for an elegant night on the town or a 70-year-old field jacket to keep in your car in case of unexpected rain.

    joyridevintage.com
    elsewherevintage.com
    Joyride Vintage, 109 W. Chapman Ave.
    Orange – 714.771.2118

    Elsewhere Vintage, 105 W. Chapman Ave.
    Orange – 714.771.2116

  • Best Nursery

    Laguna Hills Nursery

    Gary Matsuoka’s Laguna Hills Nursery is a botanical wonderland for novice and professional gardeners. Its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location off Tustin Avenue carries a large array of ornamental and rare plants, annuals and perennials, fruits, vegetables, and trees, as well as pots and products for all your gardening needs, including a potting soil mix that Matsuoka makes himself. The family-owned business also offers weekend classes, so wannabe green thumbs can learn how to make those tomato plants grow.

    www.lagunahillsnursery.com
    1829 N. Tustin Ave.
    Santa Ana – 714.542.5600

  • Best Used-Clothing Store

    DeeLux

    Thanks to how well it stocks its store with gently used items that are both on-trend and timelessly chic, DeeLux continually gets Best Of love. Now that it has moved to a larger location in Old Towne Orange, even more items can fit on the racks to suit a wider range of tastes, all without sacrificing DeeLux’s mission to provide a well-curated selection. The buy-sell-trade process is less strenuous here than at other shops: Browse freely through the boutique or simply walk around Old Towne until you receive a text from the store letting you know your sale is ready, allowing the buyers a chance to scope through your garments in a timely manner and without wasting your time. Although the inventory at DeeLux is mostly recycled, you can find some ultra-hip new clothing as well, along with knickknacks, funky housewares, eyewear, jewelry, hermetic books and other eclectic items.

    mydeelux.com
    132 S. Glassell St.
    Orange – 714.202.5483

  • Best Bike Shop

    The Cyclist

    The most awesome thing about this place is how much product—bikes, parts, accessories—the staff manage to stuff into the rectangular space (including from the ceiling). Second in most awesomeness is how it’s set up for all levels of riders, from kids just off training wheels to boozy beach cruisers to daredevil mountain bikers to marathoning corporatists to eager elderlies hanging in thanks to electric bicycles. Making sure you stay stuck to your seat is the expert service staff that turns repairs around faster than you can say, “Fix my flat?”

    www.thecyclist.com
    1785 Newport Blvd.
    Costa Mesa – 949.645.8691

  • Best Place to Get Pierced

    Outer Limits Tattoo

    When the owner of your tattoo and piercing parlor is one of the most legendary figures in the tattooing world, your reputation will probably precede you. Such is the case for Kari Barba’s Outer Limits Tattoo. Its Long Beach location is the flagship studio, acquired in 1983 from the family of the equally legendary Bert Grimm, who in the 1920s opened the Long Beach shop, which carries the distinction of being the first tattoo shop opened in the United States. The Costa Mesa location came around in 2003, and its professional staff strives to give visitors the best experience possible. Piercings are walk-in only, and you can choose from a collection of beautiful jewelry to adorn your bod. All jewelry undergoes a serious sterilization process before it touches your skin. Pro-tip: Call ahead to inquire about the wait time, and make sure to eat beforehand; the only thing worse than being squeamish at your visit is being squeamish and starving, increasing your chances of fainting at the sight of the needle!

    www.outerlimitstattoo.com
    22 S. Chestnut Place
    Long Beach – 562.437.9121

    2981 Bristol St., Ste. B4
    Costa Mesa – 714.241.8287

  • Best Liquor Store

    Hi-Time Wine Cellars

    It’s more than a store; it’s a bunch of stores that could each be considered the best in its category. The namesake wine cellars, which have crushed grape elixirs from the very highest end to the stuff the rest of us drink, snake around the back. But there is so much wine product it spills onto the main floor, where you’ll also find aisles and aisles of liquor, mixers and soda. One corner is dedicated to gifts and edibles, while another is lined with tobacco products leading into one of the region’s top walk-in cigar humidors. A wine bar that hosts regular tastings and special events is downstairs, and an attached building handles all things beer, with stocked shelves behind glass fronting a large walk-in cooler, which is not to be confused with the room-sized fridge for kegs. Don’t worry, the friendly and expert staff will get you where you need to be.

    www.hitimewine.net
    250 Ogle St.
    Costa Mesa – 949.650.8463

  • Best Body Shop

    Fountain Valley Bodyworks

    There’s a reason Fountain Valley Bodyworks and its baby sister, Bodyworks Express, are the most trusted by Orange County: With 44 years of experience, its service remains honest, fast and fairly priced.

    www.fvbodyworks.com
    Fountain Valley Bodyworks, 17481 Newhope St.
    Fountain Valley – 714.751.8812

    Fountain Valley Bodyworks Express, 18125 Euclid St.
    Fountain Valley – 714.540.2111

  • Best Lawyer

    Joel Garson

    Perhaps there’s no better sign of a defense attorney’s skill than how much fear he or she strikes in dirty Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies. If that’s the case, then there’s evidence that Tustin-based lawyer Joel Garson, a veteran of 29 years, ranks among the local elite. Deputies illegally recorded hundreds of Garson’s attorney-client conversations using a secretive jailhouse-telephone-monitoring system. More impressive? Garson unearthed the budding law-enforcement scandal.

    1432 Edinger Ave., Ste. 240
    Tustin – 714.258.7200

  • Best Union

    Coalition of Resort Labor Unions

    Getting shortchanged on their own by Disney time and time again, cast-member unions banded together two years ago to form the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, shaking the House of the Mouse in ways not seen since the Disneyland Strike of 1984. It all began with an anonymous survey last fall charting the working poverty of cast members. In February, the results turned into a shocking report that made international headlines and provided momentum for a living-wage ballot measure for subsidized corporations in the area known as the Anaheim Resort, including Disney. The Mouse started scurrying, giving big raises to some union workers, but not all. Then, it called on the city of Anaheim to cancel its most recent subsidy agreements, a move assailed by Disney critics as one seeking to dodge the living-wage measure that was poised to pass. But the ordinance’s author says the fight is still on thanks to a 1996 Disneyland expansion deal. In November, voters will decide whether the coalition’s muscling of the Mouse will pay off for thousands of cast members. Oh, boy!

  • Best Record Store

    Dyzzy On Vynyl

    Plenty of record stores can make you feel as if you’re walking into a time warp; being surrounded by walls full of ancient technology will do that. But walking into Dyzzy On Vynyl, there’s something that makes that stale experience come alive. The two-room record store on Seventh Street is packed to the brim with hidden treasures, making the experience akin to a sonic spelunking expedition in your uncle’s garage. Leaning mostly toward music of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, the stacks hold jazz, funk, rock, folk and a smattering of classic hip-hop ranging from classics to wonderfully weird randomness. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll always come away with a handful of ultra-cheap gems you didn’t know you wanted. Guiding you on this journey is LBC’s ultimate uncle of vinyl, Kevin “Dyzzy” Diehm, who is as prone to tangents on concerts he saw 30 years ago as he is to pointing out the best stuff you can buy from the ever-popular 50-cent bin. When he’s not slinging wax or gabbing about music, Dyzzy also hosts a fair share of in-store performances by locals who shake the shelves.

    3004 E. Seventh St.
    Long Beach – 562.438.8928