Photo by Jeanne RiceShopping at Fashion Island for clothing can be depressing, since most of the non-department-store retailers consider 12 a plus size. When I inquired about the largest size available at BeBe, "a 10" is the response the salesperson/ spokesmodel gave me.
I'll give you a 10. Ten of Fashion Island's best reasons to be a size 12, Barbie!
1.) 59th and Lex CaféBloomingdale's West Coast café is sunnier and sassier than its New York counterpart. I like the 59th Street sampler, a salad combo that features fresh mozzarella and baked goat cheese on field greens with lemon vinaigrette. The mousse-frosted chocolate cake is pure devil's food, the sort that Satan would be truly proud to have his name on. 701 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-6600.
2.) Francoli Gourmet EmporioMy favorite sandwich is a steep $7.99 due to the imported Parma prosciutto, but the excellent ready-made panini in the basket by the register are just 2 bucks apiece. 1133 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 721-1289.
3.) Farmer's Market A sort of sophisticated descendent of the Cro-Magnon jujube, Gummi Bears were novel in the late '80s. But then came Gummi Boas, grit-covered Sour Patch Kids and, worst of all, the horrid-tasting Haribo Gummi coke bottles. Farmer's Market is one of the few places in OC that carries the Cadillac of gummy confections: Taffy Lites. The soft, lozenge-sized candies come in bulk bins, fresh as can be. They come in yummy flavors like pear, sour tangerine, chocolate fudge and creamsicle. 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 760-0403.
4.) The Sweet LifeTwo words: carrot cake. 553 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-8211.
5.) HomeChefWhat better way to meet someone than while kneading masa in a tamale workshop at this sleek kitchen store and cooking school? And who cares if you don't hook up? You've learned a skill that will impress all your friends, and you get to keep everything you make. 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 718-0114.
6.) ZodiacNeiman Marcus' tribute to the department-store tearoom of old serves the ultimate boutique luncheon. A scoop of white-meat chicken salad is topped with toasted almonds and accompanied by fresh fruit, a petite wedge of pumpkin cake layered with cream cheese, a creamy orange soufflé, and a billowing popover served with a swirl of strawberry-infused butter. 601 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1900.
7.) AnthropologieSpray on the new line of food-based Scents by Demeter in this home-accessories heaven, and you'll be good enough to eat! Be different. Make gin & tonic, orange juice or sugar cookie your signature scent. My fave: the ultrasensual fig leaf. 823 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 720-9946.
8.) Wine BarThe only mall food-court wine bar I know of. Since Farmer's Market owns it, the selection is huge, but for a bargain buzz, have a glass of the house wine for $2.75 during happy hour. 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 760-0403.
9.) Veg a Go-GoTo the horror of vegetarians who don't like the concept of faux meat, the veggie burger here looks, smells and tastes like real dead flesh—it's delicious! The one with caramelized onions and cheese masks any remaining trace of vegerific wholesomeness. 401Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 721-4088.
10.) Blueberry HillIf you don't do veggie, this Canadian-based addition to the Atrium Court serves up tasty chopped-beef burgers and has 12 free toppings. 401Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 644-4112.