Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Walking into the unassuming shop in an Orange strip mall is akin to entering nirvana for bakers. This location of Erik and Lauren Martinez's baking-supplies empire carries all you'll need: cake pans, cupcake liners, cookie cutters, frosting couplers and more. You'll find along the shelves nearly every color of fondant and frosting you could dream up. Chocolate pearls, gum-paste flowers, edible glitter . . . It's all here. And if you have no idea what any of that is, but you're intrigued, the Redlands-based chain offers weekly classes in just about everything. Do they allow Yanks on The Great British Bake Off? After you clear the shelves, go find out.
3432 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 602-6461; www.cakewalksupplies.com.
Sure, if all you want out of a surf shop is a place to buy boards and wetsuits, OC is chock-a-block with them. But if you're looking for a shop with the personality and culture that has made the surf community stick together for the past several decades, there's only one option. For as suburban and rich as most of Newport Beach is now, the old-school surf culture is still there with the Froghouse. Much like how Blackie's is the bar for those yearning for the days when Newport was more about surfing than real estate, the Froghouse is a jam-packed trip through time to the era of OC's peak surf culture.
6908 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 642-5690.
Readers' Choice: Jack's Surfboards
Nestled between Nordstrom and Sears at the Brea Mall, its inviting ambiance of trickling streams and tranquil colors make this day spa a gateway to serenity before massage therapists even begin their work. And speaking of that tension burrowed within, the Glen offers four ways to relaxation, including heated stones, prenatal, cozy couples and custom. Whether for 50- or 80-minute sessions, let skillful massage therapists slacken the stresses of the day; for $25 more, they'll get into the deep tissue. Afterward, take a dip in a hot tub or, better yet, lounge in the cozy solarium, where a fireplace and high-arched ceilings make it hard to leave—really hard!
1001 Brea Mall, Brea, (714) 990-2090; www.thespaattheglen.com.
Readers' Choice: Burke Williams Day Spa
We all know Disneyland brings more tourists to OC than anything else. But even the House of the Mouse doesn't get as much love as In-N-Out. Many Southern California expats and even celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain brag that the first thing they do after landing here is grab a double-double, animal-style, or whatever their favorite item is. You never hear that sort of nostalgia for Pirates of the Caribbean, amiright?
Various locations; www.in-n-out.com.
Readers' Choice: Disneyland
There should be more to a pet store than just food and toys. At Healthy Spot, you can get those, sure, but you also have access to an award-winning grooming department, small-dog daycare, anesthesia-free teeth cleaning, and a partnership with Tully's for group or one-on-one training. The main focus is dogs and cats, but let's be honest, if you have an iguana, fish or parrot, you already have your go-to spot for those supplies. The staff at Healthy Spot are knowledgeable and care deeply about every pet that comes through the door. Plus, the store is well-maintained, with clean, real grass outside to relieve your pet, and it doesn't smell like a barn (we're looking at you, Petco).
1880 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 877-0350; healthyspot.com.
If the fanciest thing you've ever driven is a 1999 Toyota Camry, it's easy to not think about Crevier Classic Cars. But its stunning showroom of automotive history near John Wayne Airport is a great place to get those #goals going. Donnie Crevier started with a 1931 Ford Model A truck; today, he counts a 1911 Hudson Speedster, '57 Ford Thunderbird convertible and '69 Chevy Camaro in his collection. The classics are great to gawk at, and more than a few are up for sale—provided you make a li'l more than a journalist.
365B Clinton St., Costa Mesa, (714) 426-0238; www.crevierclassiccars.com.
Readers' Choice: Fletcher Jones Motorcars
Millions of beads, baubles and gems from all over the world displayed in tiny dishes or strung up on the walls make shopping here more like a museum visit. OC Beads has 25-plus years of experience and offers custom designs with semi-precious stones and pearls, amber and wood, glass and gold. The staff will supervise while you make repairs with their tools, or they'll do it for you. And classes on the basics ranging from wire-wrapping and weaving to Japanese bead knotting and vintage braiding cater to all levels. OC Beads survived three moves due to Dana Point's constant refiguring of Coast Highway and Del Prado, but now it owns the building and there's free parking out back.
34181 Pacific Coast Hwy., Dana Point, (949) 248-2000; www.ocbeadstore.com.
If you like your old bike and it still fits, it's worth fixing; if you don't and it doesn't, get a new one. That's the kind of practical advice you'll get at this full-service shop. Since 1978, goofball owner Jeff Curwood has dressed up in a bee costume for low-tech commercials promising shoppers won't get stung, and he has generations of return customers who consider themselves part of the hive. Curwood's team loves bikes from beach cruisers to Premium BMX to Electra electrics and Detroit build-your-own models. Plus they've donated bikes for raffles supporting just about every school and church near them. And that's what all the buzz is about.
32302 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 493-5611; buymybikes.com.
Readers' Choice: Buy My Bikes
Larger-than-life sculptures are strategically placed among the nursery's inventory, lining the 405 freeway from Sand Canyon to Jeffrey Road and entertaining bored northbound commuters. A gape-mouthed T-rex and a brontosaurus grazing the treetops started it all, then every week a new surprise: a giraffe joined the munching brontosaurus and a dolphin leaping over a hedge. Moon Valley grows and guarantees all its trees, and the bigger boxed ones they plant for free. Founded 30 years ago by Les Blake in Moon Valley, a Phoenix neighborhood, with the then-radical notion of "You buy it, we plant it," the nursery hasn't stopped growing. Or marketing. While airplanes flying ad banners over the beach are a little much, the freeway menagerie makes up for it, big time.
6500 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, (949) 769-2449; also at 21251 Bushard St., Huntington Beach, (714) 908-4821; www.moonvalleynurseries.com.
A cozy, enclosed room in Old Town Tustin is all Sandy Sandino needs to work her magic. From proper brow shaping to full-on Brazilian, she's professionally trained to groom all the hair that's fit to wax. Eyebrows in particular are treated to a combination of waxing and tweezing for a precise finish. Bonus: If you also need your hair and/or nails done, you're already in a salon!
Inside Salon Gallery, 220 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 290-1383; www.littlewaxingstudio.com.
Readers' Choice: European Wax Center
Times are tough for brick-and-mortar bookstores, what with Amazon doing its best to emulate the ravaging hordes of Genghis Khan in its attempt to dominate the world. But things are still going strong at this Orange used-book store, which somehow manages to cram more than 300,000 books into its 6,000-square-foot store and warehouse. While genuine bibliophiles know nothing beats browsing through the aromatic stacks, looking for unexpected treasure, you can do an online search by title, author or keyword on the store's website, as well as order online. Books are generally sold at half the cover price, and it also offers a cool buy-back program. Basically, you get up to one-third of the price that the Bookman can sell your book for, good for store credit that can be used to pay for up to half of a Bookman purchase.
840 Tustin St., Orange, (800) 538-0166; www.orange.ebookman.com.
Readers' Choice: Bookoff USA
You can go to a dedicated nail salon or even a beauty shop that has a manicurist on site. But to feel like a VIP, head to Phenix Salon Suites and ask for Kim. Loyal customers have followed Kim Duong to this one-woman business wherever it lands. Expect a peaceful atmosphere, except when Duong requests your feedback on how the mani/pedi is looking. She'll even offer you sweet and savory snacks. Be sure to call for an appointment, though; Duong doesn't take walk-ins.
Inside Phenix Salon Suites, 1835 Newport Blvd., Ste. 101, Costa Mesa, (714) 227-2863.
Readers' Choice: Pardon My French Nail Bar & Beauty Lounge