As recounted in the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch, it was a hot day in July when JoAnn Buday's daughter ran into the house, breathlessly gushing about a newly discovered frozen treat called a "sno-ball." JoAnn was intrigued. She spent the day on the computer, her face illuminated in the glow of hundreds of shining reviews of sno-ball shops in New Orleans, where the dish originated. JoAnn had often dreamt of opening a frozen treat shop that would stand out among all the other yogurt and ice cream joints in southern California. Now, at last, she had a plan.
Today, JoAnn captains her own shop, whipping up the frosty snacks lauded by reporters from The Orange County Register. Beneath shelves of colorful syrups, JoAnn and her staff top fluffy shaved ice with more than 30 different types of syrups—including root beer, wine cooler, and coconut. They blend flavors and add layers of creamy ice cream to create imaginative combinations such as peach cobbler and caramel apple pop. Guests snack on frozen treats, hot dogs, and fresh baked goods on the tabletops that speckle the seating area. A colorful mural sweeps across the wall, depicting typical scenes from famous cities around the world, including diners lingering at a cafe in Paris and employed citizens paying their U.S. federal taxes in Seattle.
The Taco Surf empire grew from the dream of a father and son who, in 1988, decided to found a restaurant that captured the distinctive flavors as well as the festive spirit of Baja California. Basing the menu on generations-old family recipes, the duo stick to tradition by making everything from crispy tortilla chips to tamales in-house. Charbroiled flank steak, slow-cooked pork, and grilled chicken appear throughout the menu; however, the ocean's influence is unmistakably prominent. The iconic Baja tacos arrive brimming with breaded white fish and drizzled with a signature spicy Baja sauce, which the restaurant generously sells by the bottle and by the thimble.
Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt has been here for years––30 years, in fact. At first Jeff Barnes began serving frozen yogurt as an offshoot of his health food store. Soon thereafter, he couldn't keep cups filled fast enough; so in 1983, he began serving the chilly delight exclusively. The rich flavors, which include pistachio, s'mores, pumpkin pie, and salted caramel, all made with real milk and real fruit and available in low-fat and nonfat options. The staff also works to be as eco-friendly as possible, which includes filling cups that bio-degrade within 21 days and spoons that self-destruct in 60 seconds.