Best of OC

Best Of 2007


  • + Aliso Viejo
  • + Anaheim
  • + Arcadia
  • + Avalon
  • + Azuza
  • + Bakersfield
  • + Balboa
  • + Bellflower
  • + Beverly Hills
  • + Brea
  • + Buena Park
  • + Burbank
  • + Cabazon
  • + Capistrano Beach
  • + Carlsbad
  • + Carson
  • + Cerritos
  • + Chatsworth
  • + Chino Hills
  • + Claremont
  • + Colton
  • + Corona
  • + Corona Del Mar
  • + Costa Mesa
  • + Coto de Caza
  • + Covina
  • + Culver City
  • + Cypress
  • + Dana Point
  • + Diamond Bar
  • + Downey
  • + El Segundo
  • + Encino
  • + Escondido
  • + Fallbrook
  • + Fontana
  • + Foothill Ranch
  • + Fountain Valley
  • + Fresno
  • + Fullerton
  • + Garden Grove
  • + Gardena
  • + Glendale
  • + Granada Hills
  • + Hawaiian Gardens
  • + Hermosa Beach
  • + Highland
  • + Huntington Beach
  • + Indio
  • + Irvine
  • + Julian
  • + La Canada Flintridge
  • + La Habra
  • + La Jolla
  • + La Mirada
  • + La Palma
  • + Ladera Ranch
  • + Laguna Beach
  • + Laguna Hills
  • + Laguna Niguel
  • + Lake Forest
  • + Lakewood
  • + Las Vegas
  • + Lawndale
  • + Lomita
  • + Long Beach
  • + Los Alamitos
  • + Los Angeles
  • + Malibu
  • + Manhattan Beach
  • + Marina Del Rey
  • + Maywood
  • + Midway City
  • + Mission Viejo
  • + Montclair
  • + Mountain Center
  • + Mt Baldy
  • + Newport Beach
  • + North Hollywood
  • + Northridge
  • + Norwalk
  • + Oceanside
  • + Orange
  • + Out of Town
  • + Palos Verdes Peninsula
  • + Panorama City
  • + Paramount
  • + Pasadena
  • + Pioneertown
  • + Placentia
  • + Pomona
  • + Portola Hills
  • + Rancho Cucamonga
  • + Rancho Palos Verdes
  • + Rancho Santa Margarita
  • + Redlands
  • + Redondo Beach
  • + Riverside
  • + Rossmoor
  • + Rowland Heights
  • + San Bernardino
  • + San Clemente
  • + San Diego
  • + San Francisco
  • + San Juan Capistrano
  • + San Marino
  • + San Pedro
  • + Santa Ana
  • + Santa Monica
  • + Seal Beach
  • + Sherman Oaks
  • + Sierra Madre
  • + Signal Hill
  • + Silverado
  • + Solana Beach
  • + South El Monte
  • + South Gate
  • + South Pasadena
  • + Stanton
  • + Studio City
  • + Sunset Beach
  • + Temecula
  • + Torrance
  • + Trabuco Canyon
  • + Tustin
  • + Twentynine Palms
  • + Universal City
  • + Unknown
  • + Venice
  • + Villa Park
  • + Westminster
  • + Whittier
  • + Wilmington
  • + Woodland Hills
  • + Yorba Linda
Map It

Food & Drink

People & Places


Best Of :: People & Places

Tom Dumonts' Best

No Doubt may just be the most triumphant success story Orange County has to offer. Yeah, yeah, Donald Bren this, UC Irvine that—don't even. No Doubt is one of the biggest bands in the world.

It's no secret that the band has its roots firmly planted in Orange County's soil. But unlike many other bands that have made it, some members of No Doubt stillcall the area home.

Long Beach resident and No Doubt lead guitarist Tom Dumont is no exception. Having grown up in Irvine, Dumont played a role in helping to develop our burgeoning music scene. He played in OC metal bands up until he joined No Doubt in 1988—but his fondness for the genre played a definitive role in the expansion of that distinct No Doubt sound.

Dumont studied at Orange Coast College; has lived in Anaheim, Orange and Irvine; surfs at our local beaches; and eats in the restaurants of our county—in other words, he's one of us. Minus all that fame and fortune and stuff.

Dumont wrapped up producing the second full-length record of another local, Huntington Beach's Matt Costa, in June and is just "writing music with the guys" for the next No Doubt record. He's also composing his first musical score with longtime friend Ted Matson for an indie documentary covering the Providence-St. Mel School in Chicago.

Dumont's favorite places in Orange County:

1. Maple Sound Studios:"Cameron Webb runs the finest recording studio that I know of in Orange County. The vibe is comfortable and mellow, it's got fantastic gear, and Cameron knows how to use it to make great-sounding records. I just produced the new Matt Costa record there, which comes out early 2008." 2931 W. Central Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 751-1103.


2. Bolsa Chica Wetlands:"It's the biggest parcel of open space anywhere near my home in Belmont Shore, and the ocean view from the bluff is expansive. The bluff has some old military bunkers and gun turrets from back during World War II, meant to guard against a sea attack. Also, Indians lived there for thousands of years. I used to work on the bluff there in my 20s, on the archaeological dig. I sorted through dirt all day and cataloged loads of beads and arrowheads." On Pacific Coast Highway between Seapoint and Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach.

3. Tacos Jalisco: "Tacos Jalisco is the real thing, sitting in a mini-mall right behind Taco Bell. This was my local Mexican spot when I lived in Orange around 1990, and they have the best fish tacos. There is a LOT of great Mexican food in Orange County—and, of course, it's still there and as tasty as ever." 480 N. Tustin St., Orange, (714) 771-5819.

4. Corona del Mar State Beach:"This is where I went to the beach with my family as I was growing up in Irvine. I did a lot of boogie-boarding there in the '70s, and we always took the time to hike to the end of the jetty and also check out Little Corona on the Bay. There are caves in the rock at Little Corona, and it was rumored that Sigmund and the Sea Monsterswas filmed there." Ocean Boulevard and Iris Avenue, Corona del Mar.

5. Irvine Meadows Amphitheater: "It'll always be Irvine Meadows to me, not 'Verizon Wireless Amphitheater' or whatever. I got a job there when I was 16, making hamburgers and selling beer in the concession stands. I worked there for many summers, so I could see concerts for free. It was the greatest thrill for me to finally play there with No Doubt. I'm stoked to have played on that stage about six or seven times now, and every time I do, it always feels like I'm living out my teenage rock & roll fantasy. Oh, yeah, and I met my wife there while attending one of the KROQ Weenie Roast shows. Sad to say that someday it'll be replaced with tract houses." 8808 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, (949) 855-8095;


6. Orange Circle:"Small downtowns like the Orange Circle are scattered all across America, which I discovered while touring, and I'm drawn to the old buildings and the ideal of simpler times that they symbolize. I always wanted to live in the apartments above Sir Wicket's. I like to eat at the counter in Watson's and imagine what it was like to live in the '30s." Glassell Street and Chapman Avenue, Orange.


7. San Onofre State Beach:"Here is the perfect day in Orange County: Ditch work or school on a Wednesday and pack up the SUV with surfboards, food, beers and a charcoal barbecue; then camp out on the beach all day, surfing, eating and napping until the sun sets." Two to three miles south of San Clemente on Interstate 5.

Anh Dos' Best

Anh Do has no qualms about referring to her late father, Yen Do, in the present tense. "My father values people over profit," she says. " And he values the community over the individual. I have those sentiments. I think that's what he teaches me all the time."

Despite his death last year, theirs is an ongoing conversation that began in 1978, when Yen Do enlisted Anh and his other children to help bundle stacks of his nascent newspaper, Nguoi Viet Daily News, in the family's garage. Yen Do had been a reporter in Vietnam before coming to the U.S. with his wife and four children as part of the first wave of refugees after the Vietnam War. The family moved from one refugee camp to another before being adopted by a family in Santa Rosa, who helped them get on their feet.

Once they were on their own, Anh remembers a busy, vibrant home in constant flux. "There were lots and lots of refugees. My parents took in all these people coming over," she says. "We shared everything. We never had our own room or toys. For me, that was normal."

Throughout these years, her father harbored the dream of launching his own newspaper for the many Vietnamese refugees in the country. Anh says her mother worked full-time in the electronics business so that her father could hatch his first edition of the paper, whose name means "Vietnamese people," in 1978. "Her paycheck provided for all of us; the paper didn't provide any money," says Anh of the early years.

But her memories of helping her father bundle stacks of paper and the books and refugee friends that continually filled the Do home have served as her inspiration for the writing and community-relations work she does today. (In addition to writing for Nguoi Viet, she is a guest columnist for The Orange County Register.)

Anh is not editor in chief nor CEO of Nguoi Viet, preferring instead to maintain her close ties to the community as vice president of community relations. "I think I'm the public face of the company in the greater community," she says. People tie her and her father together, she says, and that helps maintain the paper's reputation as a place not only for news, but also for community.

"I see myself as a connector," she says. "I try to stay ahead of what's going on with the Vietnamese community, the greater Asian community and the greater community as a whole. . . . I offer Nguoi Viet as a solution to help [people] meet the people they need to meet and launch the ideas they want to launch."

Here are seven of Anh's favorite things about OC:

1. The soil: "Things grow here. People grow here. I've seen it all my life."

2. "Pacific Coast Highway on a SoCal day. Escaping with our dogs, peeking out of the window for a good whiff."

3. "The dessert case at Zov's Bistro." 17440 17th St., Ste. B, Tustin, (714) 838-8855.

4. Bolsa Avenue: "Mornings, in the embrace of Little Saigon, when your chances of finding a parking space increase so much more."

5. The abundance of grocery stores: "It helps to track down any ingredient on earth."

6. Plentiful restaurants: "Every week I try a new one."

7. "The fact that my parents live here."

Best Altarpiece

If you're going to fall to your knees in front of something representing the highest power, it better be something pretty darn bitchen. The folks at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano must have had this in mind when they commissioned 85 craftsmen in Spain to create the Grand Retablo, the massive golden altarpiece that adorns the mission chapel today. A very grand $2 million was poured into this masterpiece of Brazilian cedar and 24-karat-gold flakes, which stands more than four stories high and is adorned with swallows and saints. It brought tears to the eyes of parishioners when it was unveiled in March, and rightfully so.

Best Angels Player

Vladimir Guerrero gets the big money, Francisco Rodriguez sports the cool goggles, and Orlando Cabrera deserves all your love after that All-Star Game snub. But the man who embodies why your Anaheim Angels are no longer a pendejada is Reggie Willits. He's homegrown, not brought in as a free agent; a scrapper, not naturally gifted; humble, a sleeper prospect and plays the small ball the way the Los Angeles Dodgers did for years and are starting to do again. His unlikely storyan Oklahoma stopgap for oft-injured outfielder Garrett Anderson who built his home around a batting cagehas already graced the pages of The New York Times and the blathering tubes of ESPN. More important, though, the squirt has continued to hit above .290 through this long, hot summer. Finally, someone at whom fans can chant "Reg-gie, Reg-gie!" who actually deserves it.

Best Batting Cages

Ahh, the batting cages. The underachieving brother of the driving range, the redneck cousin of the racquetball court, the Okie-in-law of the lap pool. When it comes to solitary versions of large-scale sports, it doesn't get much better than the batting cages, does it? And batting cages don't get much better than Boomers. Whether you need a few brush-up swings, or you're working on your comeback, la The Natural, Boomers' cages have everything you'll need. Grab Wonderboy, or one of the battered aluminum sticks they've got behind the counter, and go rope a few: 70-mph stingers, fast pitch, slow pitch, softballeven bumper boats! Ahem, not that that has anything to do with batting cages; they're just fun, okay? Buy 30 pitches for 2 bucks, or have your own personal home-run derby with an hour's worth. Sure, you'll have a monster blister, but that's what all those skeeball tickets are for: the free batting gloves! Do yourself a favor: Get in good with the staff, and when that time comes along in your life that leaves you at your most desperate, you'll be able to get a job working the cages. It's a step up from the ball-shagger on the driving range, and you'll get the respect of a carnybut with more permanence.

3405 Michelson Dr., Irvine, 92614
Best Building
Taco Bell Discovery Science Center

Admit it: The first time you drove past that giant, angled black cube beside Insterstate 5, you thought the actual kids' museum it belongs to was inside. Later, maybe you caught the light shining through it, realized it was hollow, and wondered what the point was. Did the designer of the Discovery Center just really, really like Pink Floyd and somehow figured kids could learn about the actual dark side of the moon? Turns out it's actually a massive solar-panel array that powers the museumif you pay admission, you can find out all the groovy details and, yes, even get inside it. If solar power is indeed the future, could it be that one day we'll all have trippy black cubes attached to our homes? We can but hope.

2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 92705

Tom Dumonts' Best: 7 Favorite Things


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