By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Fastest Man in Town Kenny Bernstein. The owner of the 26-year-old Budweiser King Racing team began his pro career in the late 1960s in Top Fuel dragsters and funny cars, reaching the funny car finals at the Winternationals at Pomona in 1973 and winning in that division at the NHRA Cajun Nationals at Baton Rouge in 1979. He began his association with Anheuser-Busch in 1980 and earned the title "King of Speed" on March 20, 1992, when he became the first NHRA driver to break the elusive 300 mph barrier (he was clocked at 301.7 mph). He later pushed that up to 310 mph and later still to more than 311 mph. And he's the only race-team owner to have collected wins in each of America's three major motor-sports series: NHRA Winston Drag Racing, NASCAR Winston Cup and IndyCar. A year before calling it quits behind the wheel in 2002, Bernstein set world performance records in speed (332.18 mph) and elapsed time (4.477 seconds). Besides his duties running the Bud team, these days Bernstein rides motorcycles, plays golf and—naturally—speed walks.
Best Place to Round Up a Bunch of Baptists Saddleback Community Church. At least, we think they're Baptists. Pastor Rick Warren told journalists in May that his 40,000-member church no longer is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. But on Aug. 20, he retracted that statement. "I'm Southern Baptist," he said. "Our church is Southern Baptist. And we are a leader in SBC missions support in our state." Whatever they are, they're big. Huge. A megachurch. And Warren's book The Purpose-Driven Life has sold a record 20 million copies. He started the church with his wife, Kay, in 1980, and its claims of 40,000 members and regular attendees make it the largest church in the country. 1 Saddleback Pkwy., Lake Forest, (949) 609-8000.
Best Place to Holla "Challah!" Abel's Bakery. One of OC's few Jewish bakeries, Abel Salgado's place keeps the challah coming, with trays buckling with rugala, small cookies moist with chocolate chips and the holy hamantashen. 24601 Raymond Way, No. 7, Lake Forest, (949) 699-0930.
Best Place to Drink to That The Wine Artist. You may not know wine, but you know what you like, and that's where the Wine Artist comes in. Located in an industrial park, of all places, the Wine Artist encourages visitors to describe what they like their wines to taste like, and the helpful staff helps them make it on the spot. Having a hard time putting that description into words? No worries: there are vats of elixir around for you to sample (and sample and sample) before screaming, "EUREKA! THAT'S IT!" Or collapsing in a pool of your own drool—whichever comes first. Either way, a fine way to kill time before you die. 21064 Bake Pkwy., Ste. 100, Lake Forest, (949) 297-3656; www.thewineartist.com.
Best Meat Market El Toro Gourmet Meats. Owner Bob Bacca has created a mecca of high-quality meats and seafood. The carne asada is artfully butterflied open, sliced very thin, and then marinated for one to two days in a mixture of soy sauce, orange juice and, of course, secret spices—one of which Bacca let slip out is red pepper. 23522 El Toro Rd., Lake Forest, (949) 855-0215; www.eltoromeats.com.