2015 Features Archive Stories

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  • The Bank Robber and the Sea By: Joe Loya
    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
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • Don the Beachcomber celebrates the Aloha culture By: Jenn Tanaka | Photography Ralph Palumbo
    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
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • How Pelican Hill Resort reaches for its stars By: David Ferrell | Photography by Leonard Ortiz and courtesy of Pelican Hill
    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
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • Notes on a Winery By: DAVID FERRELL | photography by mark rightmire
    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
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • How to Sail Off into the Sunset By: Terence Loose | Photography by Andy Turpin/Latitude 38; Suzanne Fults
    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
    Fri Sep 25, 2015
  • Check in here for Luxury By: Tom Berg
    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
    Mon Aug 31, 2015
  • Fall Arts Guide By: Lisa Fung
    THEATERCirque du SoleilOct. 15-Nov. 29Orange County Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa :: cirquedusoleil.com/kuriosNo matter how many Cirque du Soleil shows you have seen, you’ve und
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Laguna artist Elizabeth McGhee finds beauty in the past. By: David Ferrell | Photography by Nick Agro
    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
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Inside Laguna's Pacific Marine Mammal Center By: Terence Loose | Photography by Mindy Schauer
    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
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Oscar Madison Saved My Marriage By: Jamie Rose | Illustration by Chris Morris
    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
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Substance meets Style at Sushi Roku Fashion Island By: Brad A. Johnson | Photography by Cindy Yamanaka
    “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
    Wed Aug 26, 2015
  • Peter Townend - The Original Surf Star By: Terence Loose | photography by: Cindy Yamanaka, Nick Agro, Peter Townend files
    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
    Fri Jul 31, 2015
  • The Hottest Homes in coastal Orange County By: Marilyn Kalfus | photography by David Heath, Toby Ponnay and Jeri Koegel
    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
    Fri Jul 31, 2015
  • White's Cove on Catalina Island By: David Ferrell | Photography by Matt Masin
    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
    Fri Jul 31, 2015
  • Wooden Boats By: Nicole Gregory | Photography By Mark Rightmire
    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
    Fri Jul 31, 2015
  • Behind the scenes at the Pageant of the Masters By: David Ferrell
    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
    Fri Jun 26, 2015
  • Dig in and bottoms up at Orange County's inventive gastropubs By: Jenn Tanaka
    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
    Fri Jun 26, 2015
  • Local skippers manage their hopes, strategies and fears for the 48th Transpac By: Terence Loose
    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
    Fri Jun 26, 2015
  • Who are Orange County's Super Chefs? By: Anne Valdespino
    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
    Fri Jun 26, 2015
  • Where to eat now? Top 10 spots along Newport Harbor and Balboa Peninsula By: Brad A. Johnson
    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
    Thu Jun 25, 2015
  • Balboa Bright By: Peter Larsen | Photography by Cindy Yamanaka
    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
    Mon Jun 08, 2015
  • The Spirit of Ojai By: Sherry Stern
    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
    Thu May 28, 2015
  • Prince of Tides By: Laylan Connelly
    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
    Thu May 28, 2015
  • Summer Guide By: Jenn Tanaka
    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
    Thu May 28, 2015