Remind yourself of just how delicious your recent trip to O.C. was with these edible mementos.
Ah, Orange County … it’s known for beautiful weather, laid-back living and a diverse population. In recent years, it has also become a mecca for health foods, gastropubs, breweries, artisan coffee shops and gourmet sweet shops. In other words, it’s not just about the citrus. Move over oranges and make room for sweet and savory souvenirs from local merchants. The next time you’re in O.C., mark these hot spots on your must-visit list. These beautiful destinations offer an unforgettable epicurean experience and they also offer a little something to take back home when it’s finally time to go. These incredible edible souvenirs are sure to remind you to come back soon!
You probably guessed that a candy shop would show up on our list of stops, but you’ll be blown away by B.Candy’s store in Huntington Beach. Oversized treats — cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles, ice cream cones, jumbo lollipops and gobstoppers hint at the fun beyond the brightly painted doors. Indulge in Snickerdoodle ice cream or pick out your favorite coastal-themed sugar cookie. Use the store’s colorful wallpaper or treat-shaped stools to create an Insta-worthy photo, or take your treats to-go and take a walk down the pier. Before you go, grab a few of their caramel sea salt cupcakes with caramel filling, and remember that there’s no such thing as too much cake.
Kick back and have a few beers — you’re on vacation, after all. Head to Barley Forge Brewing Co., Costa Mesa’s first-ever production brewery. The company brews Belgian, West Coast and German-style beers, blending flavors from different cultures together into one delicious drink after another. Visit their brewery and enjoy their kitchen and grill menu, and don’t leave without stocking up on your favorite brew — available bottled or in a growler. Opt for one of their fruity beers, like the Nom Nom, aka a Hefeweizen brewed with mango. Or try a classic India Pale Ale, the Orange Curtain. Get it, because you’re in Orange County?!
Californians certainly love their hot sauce; add a distinctly Californian flavor to your tacos or burritos with the ever-so peppery Gringo Bandito hot sauce. Gringo Bandito was created by Dexter Holland, singer of the rock band The Offspring. At first, the sauce made its way around town by way of gift, but soon enough Holland turned the DIY project into a business. Praise poured in for the spicy sauce and today the Gringo Bandito brand is well known around the world. Fun fact: Gringo Bandito teams up with Chronic Tacos every year at the Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival, where the two businesses host a food eating competition. Head to Chronic Tacos to experience these two Mexican flavors, and then go stock up on some Gringo Bandito hot sauce.
A trip to O.C. isn’t complete without a stop at the beach, nor a trip to a local market. Accomplish both goals by visiting the Dory Fleet Fish Market in Newport Beach. One of the only beachside cooperatives left in the United States, it is a registered historical landmark and local gem. The market sells an assortment of fish, crab, lobster and urchins, but arrive early because once they open the line moves very quickly. Fresh fish and live lobster are TSA approved, so don’t let your travel plans limit you. If you do decide to take seafood back home, freezing is the best method to preserve your fish and quench its stench.
You’ve probably heard the saying by now: Healthy Gut = Healthy Life. Dr. Yasmine Mason believes in the same philosophy and credits the saying when discussing the purpose of Fermentation Farm. Of course, Fermentation Farm offers a variety of flavored Kombucha and fermented sodas, and that’s enough to get most people in the door. But once you arrive, you’ll discover that the store has a lot more to offer than just a few types of drinks. Unique products, like coffee creamers and yogurts are readily available. But by far, Fermentation Farm’s organic veggies are the star of the show. Pick up a 16-ounce jar of Kraut, Kimchi, opt for a Pico de Gallo sauce, or choose a seasonal product. One thing is for sure: veggies have never tasted better!
Pop into Matcha LOVE for matcha soft serve, shakes, coffee, tea or boba. Matcha, or powdered green tea, has generated quite the buzz around O.C. Matcha is made with care and dedication; its leaves are grown in the shade to aid growth and enhance flavor. The leaves are then hand-picked, steamed, dried and finally ground into a concentrated powder. Matcha Love makes use of matcha in all of their dishes and drinks while promoting the vast health benefits of the ingredient. In fact, green tea contains 1/3 of the caffeine in coffee, but it is still considered an energizing drink. On your way out, pick up a bag of Matcha Love’s tea leaves or culinary matcha to create recipes in your kitchen.
The avid cooker is sure to have a field day inside of Olive Oil & Beyond. This Newport Beach shop, representative of the high-quality food scene you can find along the Newport coast, carries a vast selection of ultra-premium, artisan extra virgin olive oils and specialty oils, along with over 100 varieties of handcrafted vinegars. Dubbed by Olive Oil & Beyond as the best and most versatile olive oil, Tunisian olive oil will make a great addition to your kitchen cabinet. With a buttery texture and almond flavor, the oil adds another layer to every dish. If you’re feeling more adventurous, pick up a bottle of black truffle oil or roasted pistachio oil. Consider a dish that you enjoy making — but that could use a little something extra. The specialists at Olive Oil & Beyond are happy to help and bring you one step closer to the best home cooked meal of your life.
Here at Sauté Magazine, Valenza Chocolatier holds a special place in our hearts. Led by Master Chocolatier Amy Jo, Valenza sells Italian inspired artisan chocolates and confections. The shop is considered one of OC’s top luxury chocolatier companies, with numerous awards to attest to its praise. If you’re looking for a souvenir for a loved one, bring them a customized gift from Valenza. You pick the flavor and design and let Valenza create a beautiful gift.
Artisan coffee shops are emblematic of the West Coast, and Portola Coffee Roasters is a pioneer in the field. One of the premiere roasters in Orange County, their menu is simple and sweet, yet their flavors are sophisticated and top-notch. Modeled after a traditional Italian espresso bar, you’ll never be confused by their menu and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Whether you prefer drip coffee or espresso, Portola’s selection is exceptional. With multiple locations throughout Orange County, their shops are definitely worth a stop. Enjoy bar seating and conversation with the baristas at the OC Mix, or begin your foodie adventure through the Union Market with a cup of joe. Once you’re hooked, pick up a bag of their African or South American beans to take home.