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.
Just like the real Paradise, filled with edible angels and knowledge of good and evil trees, Paradis's flavors change with the seasons and the mood of its cows. No day is ever the same, but it will always have inventive flavors for even the most discerning: 2009 saw the introduction of silky ice cream concoctions such as strawberry buttermilk and peanut crunch chocolate chip as well as effusive sorbets such as mint lime and orange chili. One scoop goes for $3.50, milkshakes with two flavors go for $5, and ice cream by the pint ($10) and quart ($20) for parties and Arctic picnics.
One of the original pioneers of the yogurt industry, Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt has been whirling yogurt since the early 1980s. A bevy of rotating flavors includes tastes such as just chocolate, peanut-butter cup, café latte, butterscotch, and mango tart. Sample a small bit with a mini ($1.85 for 4 oz.), or take 32 ounces home to share in a quart ($6.15). Traditionally conical edible yogurt containers (small cone $2.40, waffle $3.50) make it possible for hands to hold the frozen delight. At 25–29 calories an ounce, health-conscious consumers can enjoy licks without translating each tongueful into the quantity of jumping jacks or flying starfish impersonations needed to offset it.
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.
The bakers at Frosted Cupcakery employ old-fashioned elbow grease and quality ingredients to condense gigantic gourmet-cake flavor into tiny bite-sized confections. With 14 daily flavors, a handful of seasonally rotating specialties, and a constantly replenished fresh-baked stock throughout the day, Frosted Cupcakery features ample treat opportunities. Royal white cupcakes are crowned with a choice of chocolate, vanilla, nutella, or coconut vanilla buttercream, and red velvet cakes are shrouded in rich cream-cheese frosting. Seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, orange, strawberry, and October flavor-of-the-month orange chocolate chip, topped with orange chocolate buttercream, are only available until the weather cools, forcing cupcake trees to hibernate for the winter.
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.