Husband and wife team Ray and Heather Breitwieser opened Raymond’s California Bistro after many years spent in the restaurant biz, stocking up on experience at long-standing, popular restaurants such as The Rusty Pelican and The Yard House. They decided to open shop for themselves to serve hearty and wholesome California and Italian dishes that feature fresh seafood and crisp veggies in a space with, as they put it, an “at-home” feel. Their menu includes pasta dishes such as linguini with clams, grilled rib eye entrees, and Californian salads with poached pears and freshly panned nuggets of gold.
In 90-minute sessions, groups of no more than 20 people combine their choice of 15 styles of freshly squeezed grape must from Napa, Central Valley, and Italy, designing a customized collective concoction. Each batch needs to marinate for six weeks at Purple Feet before transforming into a pumpkin and then into a drinkable product, with two optional check-ins throughout the process to add yeast and coo words of encouragement. People can fill their own bottles with their blends at no charge or purchase a new ($18) or used ($10) vessel from the winery. Purple Feet takes the personalization process a step further by dressing bottles in custom-designed labels after receiving the designs by email, scan, or boomerang. Purple Feet's campus also features a wine bar with outdoor patio seating.
More than 100 whiskeys and a comparable bounty of beers flow at Johnny’s Saloon, an eccentric neighborhood bar that dubs itself a “twisted Cheers.” Opened in 1982, the bar emanates a charm stemming from its appreciation of the rock 'n' roll generation and a rejection of anything that represents the status quo, such as walls. The jukebox is stocked solely with vintage rock 'n' roll and country, steering clear of Top 40 pop and hip-hop, and in the spotless bathrooms, 20 scented lotions keep hands smelling fresher than the Snuggle bear’s dance moves. Though the bar doesn’t serve food, the staffers happily order in from the nearby famous Donuttery and pour libations from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. They serve up single shots of spirits such as Midleton Irish whiskey and Macallan 21-year, but patrons can also purchase a private bottle of liquor that’s held behind the bar under lock and key.
Situated in the heart of Old World Village, The Grubb Haus treats persnickety taste buds to a host of creatively styled comfort fare and decadent fried desserts. A spread of sandwiches and platters fills the lunch menu, abating midday cravings with a salisbury steak sandwich guarded by a moat of mashed potatoes and gravy ($10.95) or the Hillbilly burger, a half-pound patty battered, deep-fried, and buried beneath corn, bacon, and american cheese ($9.95 for lunch; $10.99 for dinner). International influences run wild throughout the dinner menu, with orders of pumpkin-filled ravioli with chicken ($15.99) entertaining taste buds alongside penne pollo porcini ($16.50) and goulash with German dumplings ($11.99). The Grubb Haus also offers diners sweet meal-making denouements via indulgent, deep-fried treats ($2.49–$4.99), including Twinkies and Oreos, which they can devour or smugly savor in front of salivating passersby on a pet-friendly outdoor patio.
Comedians Bob Perkell and Jeff Capri met through an act of deceit. When Perkell was gearing up for one of his first productions on the other side of the curtain, Capri called him to get a booking for one of the comedians he said he managed: Jeff Capri. But the charade didn't last long: the show was a success, Capri revealed his real identity, and, eventually, the two channeled their teamwork into a comedy club of their own. During Surf City’s shows, guests can order from a list of sweet, wine-centric cocktails and two dozen beers, including taps of Fat Tire and Shock Top.
A little piece of Germany lies on 8 acres of Huntington Beach. Traditional restaurants and grocery stores line the quaint cobblestone streets, and people decked out in German dress meander through their wooden doors. As the sun rises over rows of dangling shop shingles, the air becomes electrified with the sounds of puffing tubas, sizzling bratwurst, and traditional German toasts. This is Old World Village, a mecca of bakeries, bars, delis, and eateries that have been celebrating German heritage for more than 30 years. Sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, and spaetzle fill the air with savory aromas in Old World Restaurant as visitors to the bar raise their glasses to sip on such imported suds as Dunkel, Hofbr?u, and Warsteiner. Meanwhile, the European market lines its colorful shelves with not only German staples but also goodies from Italy, Poland, and other countries. Though the village is the perfect escape for individuals in need of European merriment, mass festivities are its specialty: weddings, family reunions, and other celebrations benefit from its banquet services, and festivals such as Oktoberfest open German traditions to the public better than a congressional lederhosen mandate.