With a name that's a riff on the French phrase for golden bread, Pandor Bakery and Cafe specializes in regional French pastries OC Weekly once said inspire "where-have-you-been-all-my-life epiphanies". Pandor is far from just a pastry shop, though, as it boasts an extensive menu that includes everything from breakfast plates to paninis. By morning, guests can be found digging into Nutella french toast or croque madames?and head in early for its Dornut pastry, which OC Weekly calls "obscenely good." At lunch, the kitchen sizzles with the sound of pressed sandwiches layered with pesto chicken or grilled zucchini. Though Pandor's flagship location can be found in the south of France, the California locations incorporate local goods such as coffee from Costa Mesa's Portola Coffee Lab and forks grown within Orange County.
From their oceanside locale, executive chef Katsuo Nagasawa and the staff at McKenna's serve up a menu of fresh seafood, oysters, sashimi, and natural organic steaks. As cool breezes drift in from Alamitos Bay or the giant snow globe in the back, live entertainment occupies eyes and eardrums amid happy-hour specials. McKenna's also regularly holds special events, such as packages that celebrate the Toyota Grand Prix or the Congressional Cup and other regattas.
Created by Patty Newkirk and her daughters, Laurie and Nancy, Creative Cakery began in 1983. Up until that point, the women had perfected their cake recipes inside the family kitchen, selling confections out of their home. Their designs are built upon bundt cakes with a fluted design that allows for easy frosting and decorating, in addition to nooks and crannies to add in birthday, holiday, or corporate-takeover-themed accoutrements.
When Sagi Rochman was drawing up the plans for his new restaurant, he knew he wanted it to be cool. So he named it Sababa, which is Hebrew for "cool"?a designation the chic lounge has easily lived up to. The space brims with plush curtains, modern art, and sleek couches, where groups sit as they sip on craft beers or one of Sababa's award-winning specialty martinis. The spa martini is particularly refreshing, a blend of cucumbers and freshly muddled strawberries that cools patrons as they sit on the outdoor patio under the rays of the Earth's only remaining sun. "The" Margarita is also popular with guests, an unorthodox mixture of tequila, Grand Marnier, freshly pureed passion fruit, and pineapple juice, which one regular swears is the best margarita outside of Mexico.
The cocktail list gets some stiff competition from the food menu. To build up the gustatory roster, Rochman enlisted the talents of celebrity chef Eric Greenspan, a contestant on Food Network programs such as The Next Iron Chef. Inspired by Rochman's heritage, Greenspan constructed a fusion of Mediterranean and Israeli flavors, resulting in dishes such as goat-cheese pizzas and seared ahi tuna with harissa mashed potatoes. There are plenty of small plates as well, including grilled eggplant with tahini and chicken kabobs with an olive-date sauce. As if the inspired tapas and lauded cocktails weren't enough, the lounge regales diners with a slew of events held throughout the week, including wine flights on Tuesdays and dance parties with live DJs on Fridays and Saturdays.
Residents of Long Beach in search of down-home barbecue can head to Buffalo Spot Wings & Rib Co. for some wings, ribs, and homestyle sides. Patrons order up 5, 10, 15, or even 100 wings in a sauce that runs the gamut from mild to Atomic hot and pair them with mouth-cooling aids, including creamy blue cheese or ranch dressing, carrots, and smooth hip-hop rhymes. Ribs arrive tableside with sides such as mac and cheese and baked beans. One of the eatery's most popular offerings, buffalo fries, piles chopped chicken tenders and crispy fries onto a plate and douses them in any of the 10 sauces, plus the special sauce.
As sunlight pours through the lace curtains of McKenna's lemon-yellow tearoom, hostesses deliver light treats and 37 types of tea to frilly, glass-topped tables. Triangle-cut finger sandwiches, cheese- and vegetable-filled quiches, and leafy salads flaunt their fresh ingredients on the restaurant’s chinaware, which sit alongside steaming teapots that transform lunches into sumptuous high teas or shift blame after ill-timed wolf whistles. The shop unfurls its tearoom and garden patio to a myriad of private events, hosting elegant celebrations for bridal showers and children's birthdays, which get magical enhancement with appearances by Snow White and other fairy-tale characters. After nibbling on teatime dishes, patrons can peruse the selection of gifts, accessories, and shabby-chic housewares in the gift shop to help commemorate their outing without filling pockets with Devonshire cream.