Somewhere around late 1988, I drove down to San Diego County from LA to rob banks. That morning I told myself not to return home until I had $50,000.
At one point on the drive down the 5, I passed surfers at San Onofre living the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ U.S.A.” life. I love that vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean on t
As in fashion and music, trends in dining and cocktails recycle with the times. Voracious mixologists, having already mastered those speakeasy-style cocktails made popular during the Prohibition era, are forever seeking the next hot trend.
Take tiki, for example. Liquor snobs who once regarded these drinks for being too kitschy are now r
Even at peak times, when more than 1,000 guests fill the Tuscan-style villas and bungalows strung across the undulating Newport Coast, the Resort at Pelican Hill seems to operate with tranquil, clock-like efficiency. Guests lounge poolside, overlooking the ocean, or chit-chat beside the hearth in the splendor of the Great Room, scarcely aware of
Four hours’ drive from his dental practice in Newport Beach, Dr. Douglas Hauck moonlights living every wine-lover’s fantasy: He runs his own winery. He plunked down $2 million eight years ago to buy the rolling acreage on the prime western flank of Paso Robles. Grapes there, cooled by nightly sea breezes, are considered ideal for pro
Years ago, I was researching a piece on the Orange Coast College School of Sailing & Seamanship and visited one of its beginning sailing classes. I met Brian, a guy whose plan was to sell everything he owned, buy a boat and sail around the world. Brian told me this as he mis-tied a bowline and failed to properly fold a sail. Brian said he pl
The hospitality business in Orange County is back. Hotel occupancy and revenues are up. Spending is soaring. Industry watchers say 2015 is shaping up as the best year on record for hotels – better even than the boom year of 2000.
That’s good news for local resorts, which have been on a spending spree lately in pursuit of that
Artist Elizabeth McGhee favors realism; her portraits and still lifes, while often fanciful, convey mood mainly through composition and detail. The white-haired woman in “Hecate,” a 2014 oil-on-panel work, regards the viewer with a hard, inscrutable look and is set against a backdrop of jagged shadow. An accompanying synopsis notes t
In many ways, 45-year-old Billy Long is your typical bachelor. He surfs a lot. He owns a small beachside restaurant, the Secret Spot in Huntington Beach, that’s frequented by fellow health-conscious surfers. He doesn’t stress.
Where Long’s typical bachelor status goes a little sideways is on Tuesdays, when you’ll
It’s opening night of the Neil Simon classic “The Odd Couple” and I’m sitting fourth row center at the Laguna Playhouse, the theater packed with excited patrons.“The guy from ‘Grease 2’ is playing Felix!” an expensively coiffed woman in a tasteful black sheath dress seated next to me whispers
“Irasshai!” shouts a hostess as she leads me to my table. The sushi chefs and waiters respond in kind. Most are cheerily enthusiastic, although I can’t help but notice one waiter rushing through the room with an armful of food who mumbles the greeting under his breath in a way that suggests the Japanese-to-English translation i
When Huntington Beach’s Peter Townend, best known as PT, sees what professional surfing has become in the four decades since he became the sport’s first world champion, he is both stoked and amazed. Today, professional surfing’s champions are millionaire celebrities, flying first class, staying in beachfront manses and pampered
Fri Jul 31, 2015
The Crab Cooker
By: Lawrence Christon | Photography by Sandy Huffaker, ed crisostomo, Paul Rodriguez
Nobody goes to the Crab Cooker for its eccentric charm. Not only, anyway. You go for the fresh fish, cooked on open rotating charcoal grills visible to anyone who wants to watch: oysters, Alaskan king crab, king crab killer claws, Maryland-style crab cakes, soft-shell crab, chilled cracked Dungeness crab, Australian lobster and Atlantic salmon f
What tops buying a luxury home with a view of the Pacific Ocean? That’s easy. Finding one that’s newly built. Three of the five Orange County homes recorded in the Multiple Listing Service as selling for the heftiest sums in the first half of 2015 were completed this year or in 2014. Their vintage aside, each home on the list is exce
White’s Cove, four miles from Avalon on the leeward coast of Catalina Island, is a shallow inlet of tall palms framed by scrub-covered hills that jut sharply from the sea. Yachters from Newport Beach have sought out the idyllic spot for more than half a century. They tie up at moorings offshore, set out their deck chairs and fill tranquil
Catch the rich glow of varnished mahogany in the morning sunlight, notice the sleek, simple lines, and – if you score an invitation – step into a wooden boat for an up-close experience, and very likely you’ll be hooked.
Wooden boats have a special attraction; many are five, six or seven decades old or olde
Two singular experiences frame the breadth of Dan Duling’s writing career. One, the 1997 sci-fi movie “Last Lives,” featured a man grappling “against time, space, and his own mortality,” in the words of the review website Rotten Tomatoes, and starred “a criminal from an alternate universe who has a psychic lin
Gastropubs aren’t new to the Orange County dining scene, but what is new is the mindset. Gone are the days when grabbing a drink with friends meant nursing a flavorless bottled beer with an apathetically plated appetizer. More than just bars that serve food, today’s gastropubs delight in delicious inventions. “I don&rsquo
On Christmas morning when Dana Point’s Chris Hemans was 6 years old, he ran downstairs to get a look at what Santa had put under the tree. To his amazement, he found an 8-foot Sabot sailboat (how Santa got it down the chimney wasn’t questioned). By Christmas night, Hemans was a sailor for life.Decades later and now the father o
Among local culinary wizards, a handful of veterans rise head and shoulders above the rest. Brimming with creativity and proven leadership ability, each has the physical stamina and strength of character to put out fires — sometimes literally — and leave it all behind the kitchen door when he walks into the dining room to graciou
Newport Harbor and the Balboa Peninsula embody the endless-summer lifestyle for which coastal Orange County is justly famous. And what’s not to love about the wide-open beaches, The Wedge, the idyllic pace of Balboa Island, the impressive yachts in the harbor, the bustle of Oceanfront Drive…? More than 100 restaurants and bars s
Houses on Balboa Island tend to the quiet or small when it comes to touches of character. Packed close together on the narrow island lots, they don’t have a lot of room for grand statements, so most make do with grace notes and accents – a calm patio between the sidewalk and the front door, a picket fence, a softly burbling fo
It’s a Saturday morning inside Lulu Bandha’s airy yoga studio on a downtown Ojai side street, and our instructor, Katie, asks if anyone wants to share community announcements. A woman pipes up that today is Tomatomania!, with heirloom tomato seedlings available at Flora Gardens Nursery. Another woman announces that the Ojai Valley Mu
Kolohe Andino comes out of the water at Lower Trestles, his blond hair and orange jersey dripping wet as the sun starts to make its way closer to the horizon.
It’s the first round of the Oakley Lowers Pro, a surf contest in late April that brings some of the world’s best surfers to the beaches south of San Clemente. An
ROCKIN AT THE OC FAIR
Willie Nelson & Family - July 19Alison Krauss and Union Station will join Willie Nelson at the Pacific Ampitheatre as he performs classic hits like “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind” and recent favorites such as “It’s a Long Story,” released