By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By Nick Schou
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
Pinkberry—or "Crackberry," if the dessert franchise has managed to sink its icy sweet teeth into your flesh—was once only found in Los Angeles, but has now managed to melt over into OC. Inspiring a cultural phenomenon, the addictive frosty mush turned out to be . . . well, no one really knows what it is. Pinkberry's not technically frozen yogurt, and it's definitely not ice cream. As for the brand's claim to be "all natural"? Turns out they lied. But really, when the summer heat reaches triple digits and turns your mind into the consistency of hot mayonnaise, who gives a flying crap about minor details like that? Especially when you can have Cap'n Crunch sprinkled on top? (ED) Eight locations in Orange County; visit www.pinkberry.com for addresses.
If there's one image that has signified Orange County over the decades—especially for tourists—it's Heisler Park, the palm-tree-loaded, oceanfront public park in Laguna Beach. Yes, it contains relatively small beaches—coves, really—but that's not the only reason the place is a gem. You can also enjoy a picnic, toss a Frisbee, lawn bowl, play shuffleboard or dive. Though not massive, it's the one spot where Hollywood fiction about breathtaking coastal California meets reality. Take out-of-town visitors here, and you'll hear them sigh in pleasure if for nothing other than the sweeping ocean views. Get there early enough, and metered parking won't be too much trouble. (RSM) Heisler Park, 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach.
Your neighborhood corporate supermarket of choice has a serious problem. And not just that the grocers don't look you in the eye, or say hello, or even care that you've been standing at the seafood counter for five minutes waiting for a pound of halibut. These big-box markets lack an assortment of produce—and rarely stray from the usual suspects of cauliflower and apples. Sure, they're starting to sell some "exotics"—what the hell is bok choy?—but it's usually marked up and really not all that fresh. But in recent years, there's been a welcome revival of farmers' markets—places where local farmers gather to sell their freshly picked veggies, fruit, eggs, meats, flowers and more. Cities from Brea to San Clemente have these—click up www.orangecounty.net/html/shop-produce.htmlfor a nicely detailed list—but we think the best of these is in Irvine on Saturday mornings. Bring a couple of canvas totes and pick up everything from baked goods to pluots to freshly shucked white corn to Asian greens to ramps. Trust us on the ramps. (VC) The Irvine Center Farmer's Market, on the corner of Bridge and Campus (across from UC Irvine). Every Sat., 8 a.m.-noon (rain or shine).
SK8RBOIZ N GRRLZ
Call them skate rats, and call the cops on them for doing nothing but breaking their own bones in an empty parking lot, but skaters work a hell of a lot harder at honing their craft than most kids who are only hellbent on mastering Guitar Hero. These are some of the most unshakably determined people out there, and mastering the sport requires genuine perseverance and passion. If you're looking for instruction, or someone who is, Etnies Skatepark in Lake Forest actually offers lessons and summer camps (and free concerts, film screenings and more) in addition to free skate sessions. Places such as the Vans Skatepark at the Block charge up to $15 per session—but there also are plenty of parks around like the Volcom Skate Park and the Etnies Skatepark that are absolutely free, thanks to some marvelous sponsors and plenty of fund-raising. Just remember, police do drop by often to hand out citations to those not wearing helmets. So either wear one, or learn to outrun the cops—another learned virtue of the skateboard. (VC) Volcom Skate Park, 900 Arlington, Costa Mesa, (714) 754-5326; www.volcom.com/skatepark. Etnies Skatepark, 20028 Lake Forest Dr., Lake Forest, (949) 916-5870; www.etniesskaterparkoflakeforest.com.
THE TOURIST IN ITS NATURAL HABITAT
One free thing that's always fun to do, any time of the year: talk shit. About anyone, really. But now that you're older, it's probably best that you don't do this about anybody you actually know. And there's no one better out there to idly pass blind judgment on than chunky tourists from Iowa in NASCAR T-shirts and acne-riddled prepubescent couples on their first dates who were dropped off by their moms. And there's no place in OC better to pass this judgment than Downtown Disney—our pick for the best people-watching spot in the summer. There's a pretty large movie theater and a handful of mediocre restaurants (though if you must indulge, we recommend Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, but strictly for their Café du Monde décor and beignets) and tourist-trap shops, but it's the actual tourists who are worth braving the Mouse for. Ever see a morbidly obese grown man in Crocs and a Mickey varsity jacket try to balance a monster-sized Jamba Juice and a Häagen-Dazs double-scoop cone over his beer belly? We have. And so will you. (VC) Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort, near Katella Avenue and Disneyland Drive, Anaheim; disneyland.disney.go.com.