Shopping & Services

  • Best Laser Hair Removal

    Esthetic RX

    Getting laser hair removal can be several things: painful, embarrassing, uncertain. But Esthetic RX makes sure a visit to its salon for a zap session is none of these. Knowledgeable and friendly receptionists greet all prospective clients, and they'll explain what to expect during the procedure, typical results and the different services offered—all before you make your first appointment. The… More >>
  • Best Surf Shop

    The Frog House Surfshop

    I walked the road by the sea. I walked past posters of oversized humans glued to windows and glowing surf ads that sold me happiness. I was lost in half-naked girls, surfers, kooks and tourists that belied my path to truth. Why was I so lost? I could have any surf product I wanted. Any type of board, hat, shirt,… More >>
  • Best Record/CD Store

    Factory Records

    Don't be fazed by the tightness of the space in this hole-in-the-wall (tucked behind a barbershop and adjacent to Wild Goose Tavern and an all-Hawaiian-shirt store) or the mountains of vinyl LPs that cascade to your feet because there's gold in them thar hills; while the standard A-to-Z rock albums and new releases abound, a hefty collection of rare and… More >>
  • Best Video-Game Store

    Video Game Geeks

    In an age when seemingly everyone buys games online, this independently owned shop is an oasis for gamers. Tucked next to an outpost of L&L Hawaiian BBQ, owner Lawrence MacSelwiney and his knowledgeable staff take customers through purchasing decisions, making sure they get the game they'll enjoy most, not just what's clogging the shelves. Looking for retro gems? Childhood faves… More >>
  • Best Barbershop

    A-Unique Barbershop

    Black barbershops in Orange County are a rare find, and that's part of the reason why A-Unique Barbershop in Anaheim is so aptly named. The business has been going strong for 15 years, providing fades, lineups, tapers, texturizers and skilled specialty cuts. Owner Pierre Dotson, whose love for the craft is illustrated by the clipper tattoos on his forearm, and… More >>
  • Best Hipster Barber

    Dane Hesse

    The head barber at Eagle & Pig in Costa Mesa might be the best-read barber you'll ever go to. Dane Hesse's barbershop—full of boards of the surf and skate variety, vintage mirrors and dentist's chairs, beer, dogs, and other miscellany—oozes cool. He specializes in interesting men's cuts, from the short, prim and proper to the pomade-heavy asymmetrical styles of late,… More >>
  • Best Hairy Politics

    Salon Gabriel Anthony

    A visit to Salon Gabriel Anthony in Orange can solve two problems for the average Orange Countian: bad hair and political apathy. An appointment with Gabriel himself will ensure you walk out of there with a glossy head of tresses, after a good deep-conditioning treatment and an earful of political talk. Probably more than you care to hear. But not… More >>
  • Best Misuse of Public Funds

    Garden Grove's Redevelopment Insanity

    All eyes have rightfully fixed on Anaheim this past year, between the City Council's subsidizing ways, its trigger-happy police department and the issue of district elections. But in the shadow of the Mouse ears, Garden Grove has been on a redevelopment rampage over the years, giving away free land and displacing residents while putting up more hotel projects than rich… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Pachuco Tattoo

    Need a tattoo with deep, symbolic meaning or want to get inked on impulse? Whatever the case, naranjeros need look no further than Pachuco Tattoo in Orange. The parlor has been around for only two years, but word has quickly spread about the quality of its services. Herchell Carrasco, the young pompadour-styled rockabilly owner of the shop, oversees daily operations… More >>
  • Best Cigars

    Edgar Hoill Cigars

    Don't let the name fool you: Edgar Hoill is one down-ass chingón (His nickname? "OSOK," for "One Shot, One Kill"). The Houston transplant is legendary in the lowrider circuit for his stunning photographs of ranflas and rucas, and he's a hit in Chicano circles for images of Mexican life that seem pulled from Gabriel Figueroa's cinematography. But Hoill is also… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Eyes Examined

    Susan M. Hartley, O.D.

    Its location tells you absolutely nothing about what goes on inside or how much it will cost you. The front of the house is flooded by natural light from windows all around, including in the area holding lots of frames. If you wear glasses, you know how important this is—how many times have you had to select frames when you… More >>
  • Best Used-Book store

    Village Book Exchange

    If Bookman is the megalopolis of books, then Village Book Exchange is, you know, a village. And sometimes that's all it takes. This 31-year-old San Clemente shop is ideal for a short burst of in-depth browsing, with an organized and eclectic stock. And as is mandatory for any village shop, there's a handwritten sign on the screen door that asks… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    Swellegant Vintage

    Shopping for clothes can be a release or a chore, depending on who you ask. Very rarely is it called an adventure. But that's exactly what stepping into Swellegant Vintage feels like. There's a thrill that comes with sifting through the overflowing racks that clutter the teal-walled space on Newport Boulevard—each item handpicked by owner Nicole Bernstein tells a story,… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Fashion Island

    It's often at outdoor-shopping wonderland Fashion Island where one makes the terrifying realization that you may actually enjoy Orange County. The thought process goes something like this: Wow, this place is so clean. And the parking is ample. Oooh, pretty palm trees and fountains! A koi pond! Aww, look at all the good-looking people holding adorable puppies. I totally belong… More >>
  • Best Strip Mall

    Heritage Plaza

    Peel back the beige, bland skin of Irvine's über-planned exterior, and you'll see one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. Nowhere is the cultural mix more apparent than at the Heritage Plaza shopping center. Most strip malls have a couple of anchor stores that draw traffic to the other tenants. Because Heritage Plaza is flanked by two… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    A Road Bike 4U

    When you want to get serious about cycling, you go to a specialist bike shop that deals in the sort of two-wheeled equipment you want. If the X-Games inspires you to hit the dirt jumps, see a specialist that sells a wide variety of sturdy bikes that will hold up to your flailing, no-skills mistakes. Similarly, if the Tour de… More >>
  • Best Downtown

    Seal Beach

    When you want all the amenities of small-town America minus the summer overcrowding at Zooport or Surf City, search no further than Seal Beach. Looking for a small, family-owned hardware store? Bay Hardware is the kind of friendly local shop that once existed in every town in America before big-box warehouses muscled them out of business. McKenna's Tea Cottage harks… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Pirate's Dinner Adventure

    Disneyland would seem to be the obvious choice for the elite scum who can afford the $82-to-$92-per-person tab (completely ignoring the cost of food, drink, parking, blah blah blah added on top of that), but we decline to join that crowd. Mostly because we hate standing in lines . . . and we're freaking poor. Just down the freeway in… More >>
  • Best WAY to Get a Pet

    From Negligent Owners

    A Public Service Announcement stating the obvious: Too many animals have a-holes for owners. While we at the Weekly would never recommend breaking the law, those of us who love animals would like to suggest a little civil disobedience in liberating our unfortunate four-legged friends from the jerks who mistreat them. Unchain and adopt the undernourished and unwatered. Smash the… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Store

    Comic Book Hideout

    Glynnes Pruett has created the perfect clubhouse for nerds, and we mean that in the best possible way. Among comic books and related collectibles, you'll find people just hanging out as Pruett's black cat, Pavlova, roams through the shop. In business for about a year, Pruett recently moved her shop to a larger, more visible space in downtown Fullerton. The… More >>
  • Best Sugaring Salon

    Sugar Sugar By Dillan

    If you're going to have your hair ripped out on your own accord, you might as well have it done by a professional who cares and can make you feel comfortable. Dillan O'Neal, at just 24 years old, is passionate about sugaring as the best hair-removal process and will explain everything you'll ever need to know about it before, during… More >>
  • Best Smoke Shop

    World Smoke Shop

    Little Arabia in Anaheim is best known for its Middle Eastern eateries, but don't overlook what else is in the air. World Smoke Shop, nestled in one of the unofficially designated district's central plazas, is a must-stop. Where World Smoke Shop sets itself apart beyond the packs of cigarettes lining the wall and pipes in display cases is in serving… More >>
  • Best Vape Shop

    The Vapor Loft

    The Davey family opened the Vapor Loft in October 2012 and made it a priority to carry only U.S.-made products, emphasize customer service and thoroughly inspect all juices before selling them. There is a sizable selection of both vape pens and e-liquids, but it's the atmosphere that really makes the Daveys' place stand out: The spacious, industrial loft is filled… More >>
  • Best Apartment Complex

    3400 Avenue of the Arts

    The name isn't fancy; it doesn't hearken back to some agrarian yesteryear or Spanish fantasy heritage—but it is a freaking-cool apartment complex. Sitting on 19 acres across from the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 3400 Avenue of the Arts' buildings are linked by winding paths around babbling streams; calm ponds; and a menagerie of trees, shrubs and flowers. Walking around… More >>
  • Best Nonprofit

    Vietnamese American Oral History Project

    In 1960, at the age of 22 and teaching in the North Vietnam city of Hai Phong, Nguyen Chi Thien made a terrible mistake in the view of Ho Chi Minh's communist government. Nguyen strayed from the textbook, which declared that World War II ended because the Soviet Red Army crushed the Japanese in China. He instead told students that… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Eric Dubin

    Lawyers are often obnoxious, chest-thumping characters who lack finesse and a sense of humor, but not Eric Dubin, a veteran Irvine attorney who also has an office in Century City. Don't get us wrong: Dubin is a tenacious fighter when necessary—just ask Robert Blake. Though Los Angeles prosecutors couldn't win a murder conviction against Blake for the 2001, gun-blast killing… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

    When it comes to high-end, oceanfront, luxury resorts where it's often possible to spot a celebrity, you can't beat Montage in Laguna Beach. But if you don't want to spend about $700 per night, the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim is a superb choice. There are, of course, dozens of hotels in the Disneyland area, but none are… More >>
  • Best Judge

    Arthur Nakazato

    Far too many judges in Orange County act as mindless rubber stamps for police search-warrant requests and don't hide their pro-government bias during court proceedings. Given that ugly truth, this year's Best Judge honors easily go to U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato, who works inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana. In 1996, after a private legal-practice career,… More >>
  • Best Residential Neighborhood

    Rossmoor

    Before he designed the adjacent Leisure World in Seal Beach, Ross Cortese gave Orange County the wonder that is Rossmoor, a planned community nestled between northeast Long Beach and Los Alamitos. The neighborhood of some 3,450 single-family homes (and one condominium complex) is surrounded by a red brick wall upon which friendly reminders about street-sweeping days are occasionally placed. You… More >>
  • Best Trend

    OC Natives Returning to OC

    We're of a generation that saw all its talented friends, upon reaching 18 years old, run away screaming from Orange County as far away from this shit pit as possible to saner, cooler points. Those escapees long mocked us for remaining in the belly of the beast, for trying to change OC for the better. And now? Those people are… More >>
  • Best Cosmetic Surgeon

    The Ones Who Advertise with Us

    Just like last year. Also just like last year: because that's the only proper answer for this category, right?… More >>
  • Best Corporate Do-Gooder

    PIMCO

    No Orange County billionaire (your Brens, your Argyroses, your Nicholases) made Forbes' most recent list of the 25 billionaires nationwide who have given the most to charity (your Buffetts, your Gateses, your Bloombergs). But one OC billionaire's global investment firm is among the top donors to those in need, and because of its corporate policy to get involved with gift… More >>
  • Best Holy Person

    Pastor Lisa Cram

    One of Lisa Cram's longtime friends found herself jailed in August 2005 for drug and alcohol abuse. Since Cram had experienced similar struggles years earlier, she was happy to visit. It was during a second visit that Cram learned there were other women inside in need of spiritual guidance. Since that first encounter in 2005, the Recovery Program at the… More >>
  • Best Godly Presence

    Dr. Paul Tellstrom

    Our community is known around the world for its skyscraper-hairdo televangelists whose sermons often seem penned by hatemongers, bigots and Republican Party activists looking for the next election's winning wedge issue. Thankfully, we also have the likes of Dr. Paul Tellstrom at the Irvine United Congregational Church. He preaches, as did Jesus, on equality, inclusion and compassion based on Biblical… More >>
  • Best Church

    Tapestry, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation

    Hidden within the bowels of Mission Viejo business-park hell is this slice of progressive heaven. But Tapestry is more than just about multiculti buffets after its hippy-dippy services. [Editor's note: Sorry, that's the Catholic in me.] Members can be found on the front lines of most of OC's good fights, from environmental battles to protecting the region's undocumented to smoking… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pierced

    New Flower Studio

    Whether you're going in for your first piercing on your nose or your umpteenth gauge on your earlobes, New Flower Studio has established itself as a spot that welcomes newbies and vets, college kids and baby boomers, all in a comforting environment that seems more appropriate for an optometrist's office than a piercing shop, what with all the bright lights… More >>
  • Best Manicure/Pedicure

    Angel Nail Spa

    From the moment you walk in to Angel Nail Spa in Santa Ana and start the now-ritualistic negotiation with the owner over whether you should call him bác (uncle) or anh (brother)—which quickly gets the ladies laughing as they snip at hangnails and file away calluses—to the aromatic bath salts they add to the mini-Jacuzzi that seduce your feet for… More >>
  • Best Adult Store

    Spankys Adult Emporium

    Who goes to a porn shop in 2013? In an age of endless Tube sites, Amazon and "discreet billing," the days of donning a fake mustache and trench coat to rent a pile of smut just to return it (ew!) isn't the reason we go to a reputable 24-hour pleasure palace such as Spankys. No, if you're gonna saddle up… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Hi-Time Wine Cellars

    Trying to wrap your mind around the sheer volume of fine booze inside Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa is enough to turn your brain the way W.C. Fields' nose looked. It's far easier if you just imagine the perfect bottle for you, unchain your credit card and start hunting. We'll be damned if you don't find what you're looking… More >>
  • Best Body Shop

    Tijuana

    True story: A friend of the Weekly wrecked a 1971 Volkswagen bus by smashing it into the rear end of a truck. The front of the Kombi was concaved so badly its stick shift was blocked from shifting. He took it to a local Volkswagen body shop that shall remain nameless; the shop wanted to junk it, deeming it beyond… More >>
  • Best Place to Put Your Money If You're Married to a Teacher

    SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

    National bank branches dot Orange County, but if you're sick of those damn fees dinging you, it's also the home to a great credit union—SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. Founded in 1934 by 125 schoolteachers as the Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union, SchoolsFirst is a not-for-profit financial institution with several education-friendly services and 41 branches across Orange County. Educators get… More >>
  • Best Collection of Stores (Small)

    The OC Mix

    What is it about Costa Mesa hosting visionary shopping experiences? First, it was South Coast Plaza's haven for the 1 Percent, followed by the hipster fiefdoms of the LAB and the CAMP. Now comes the Third Way that is the OC Mix, a collection of must-eat restaurants you'll find in this issue (Taco Maria, Portola, ARC) and smaller vendors who… More >>
  • Best Collection of Stores (Large)

    South Coast Collection

    A giant lot that finds everything from the culinary Toys 'R' Us that is Surfas Culinary District to the chichi kitchen-and-bath store PIRCH to the emerging hipster paradise that is the OC Mix, the South Coast Collection (SOCO) folks are now looking at offering big, free events. SOCO is what Orange County has always lacked: a shopping center with soul—and… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Mexican Music

    Anaheim Indoor Marketplace

    Perhaps the last people in the United States who prefer CDs to digital music are Mexicans, but only because so much of their music is still not acknowledged by iTunes (and also because they can always find music cheaper via pirated albums, but that's another story). You can find all possible Mexican music genres at stalls strewn around the Anaheim… More >>
  • Best Local Craft Mall

    Community

    What do you get when a bunch of crafters and artisans take over a building of former professional-office suites in Anaheim's Little Arabia? You get a long hallway full of everything from album art to hand-crafted baby supplies, from replica Aga stoves to 8-bit hair bows. There are First Wednesday parties and occasional concerts on the back patio—not bad for… More >>
  • Best Craft Show

    Patchwork Show

    This "modern handmade festival" has grown from one short block of artisans and craftspeople selling goods from little kiosks to four separate festivals, each a seemingly never-ending line of 10-foot-by-10-foot booths selling everything from custom flasks to jam, from garden decorations to found-metal works of art. And while Patchwork Shows in Long Beach, Culver City and Oakland are all great… More >>
  • Best Gun Store

    OC Armory

    California's preferred method of gun control seems to be to bury gun transfers in a mountain of red tape, and navigating the governmental minefields takes an expert. Whether you're DROSing a gun, doing a private-party transfer, or importing from out of state, Mike and Pat Penhall know what they're doing, they're quick, and they're nice to everyone who walks in,… More >>
  • Best Store for Big Guns

    South Coast Armory

    Say one of your neighbors starts acting stranger than usual, claiming dog voices are giving him lethal commands and waving guns during bizarre fits: How can you protect yourself and your loved ones? Well, of course, liberals will politely ask the nut if he'd be willing to enroll in psychiatric sessions. But the rest of us can go to South… More >>
  • Best Cheap Gas Prices

    ARCO on Brookhurst and Hazard streets

    Check the phone apps listing best gas prices in the county, and you'll find this ARCO consistently sells fuel for the lowest prices in the county. We've seen prices 40 cents per gallon lower here than at other stations in the area.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Sparklies

    Gem Faire

    Sure, everyone's broke, but that doesn't mean the ladies have to do without their sparklies. Peruse the many aisles of the Gem Faire, a traveling gem-and-bead expo that hits Costa Mesa several times a year, and feast those hungry eyes on glittering sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, diamonds, geodes, beads, rhinestone jewelry—basically, more sparkles than the Pride Parade. And with glimmering goods… More >>
  • Best Plant Nursery

    The Plant Stand

    You know you've found a wonderful, large plant shop when a visit feels akin to a trip to a luscious arboretum. The stock here is consistently impressive in both quality and quantity and sold at reasonable prices. It also sells garden supplies and artsy products. If your home is an eyesore of white walls and beige carpet, brighten up your… More >>
  • Best Zoot Suits

    El Pachuco Zoot Suits

    The stylish blue building with pink trim on Harbor Boulevard in Fullerton is home to the finest zoot suits in all of Aztlán. Owned by the Estrella family for 35 years, El Pachuco Zoot Suits has specialized in re-creating the 1940s oversized attire worn by rebellious Mexican-American and African-American youth with attitude. Entering the store is like stepping through a… More >>
  • Best Airport

    Long Beach Airport

    As much as we enjoy John Wayne Airport's recent upgrade, with a new terminal and bigger food court, it still doesn't match the quaint beauty of Long Beach Airport. Even before its own multimillion-dollar facelift, the tiny place impressed with quick security lines, its Streamline Moderne façade, the joys of climbing stairs or ramps to board your plane, and the… More >>
  • Best Hair Product for Men

    Suavecito

    When we gave Suavecito this award two years ago, the santaneros who ran the business still had a MySpace page as its main web presence, still mostly sold to Chicanos in Orange County, and only made the fabulous pomade, with its iron grip and floodlight shine that nevertheless washed out easily. Two years later, Suavecito is shipped worldwide, it has… More >>
  • Best Big-Box Retailer to Work For

    Costco

    According to Businessweek, Costco's average pay for hourly workers is $20.89 per hour. At Walmart, it's $12.67 per hour (but only for full-time employees). Percentage of Costco employees with company-sponsored health insurance: 88 percent. At Walmart? "More than half." Start applying now!… More >>
  • Best $1.50 Store for Japanese Stuff

    Daiso Japan

    Unless otherwise marked, everything is a buck fifty, so you can overdose on kawaii: Bento boxes, notebooks and school supplies, melamine sponges, teapots, masks and party goods, fans, tchotchkes, cooking utensils, chopsticks and soup bowls, weird and exotic foods . . . everything for the discerning Japanophile in your home who likes cheap, colorful stuff.… More >>
  • Best Printer

    Smart Levels Media

    Located in a section of Irvine that's more Lake Forest, Smart Levels Media's premise is simple: If you need something printed in mass quantities, it'll do it in stunning colors—and super-quick! Cards, posters, banners? Yes, yes and yes. It doesn't matter whether you're a Fortune 500 company or an Etsy shop looking to pass out fliers at your first arts-and-crafts… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick up an Airstream

    Airstream Orange County

    Even in these years of ever-escalating gas prices and ever-shrinking car sizes, the allure of owning an Airstream for that cross-country trip or even a night at San Onofre still tickles the Southern California mind. If you ever decide to make the plunge, your best bet is not some Craigslist scam or your uncle's depressed, rusted hull, but rather the… More >>
  • Best Mechanic

    Tomvo's Auto Electric & Repair

    If you drive a Japanese car, Tomvo's Auto Electric & Repair is where you take it when it needs work. Tom Vo is the anti-stereotypical mechanic: quick, honest and reasonable. Not only will he not run up your bill, but he will also tell you if your car really doesn't need service.… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Wildwater Express Carwash

    Right outside the bounds of Knott's Berry Farm, Wildwater Express Carwash might as well be an attraction inside the theme park. Beneath the beautifully designed rolling-waves rooftop, dirty cars line up, approach the kiosk and choose from the reasonably priced options (good, better or best wash). Once on the conveyer belt, vehicles are set in neutral to let the clean… More >>
  • Best Custom-Motorcycle Shop

    Illusion Motorsports

    If you're a fan of Sons of Anarchy, then you're probably familiar with Rane Quinn, played by Hells Angels-affiliated entrepreneur Rusty Coones. Before being hired to play the Nomad president, Coones had provided bikes for the show's creator, Kurt Sutter, and Rusty's band, Attika7, supplied hell-raising music for some of the series' more intense, adrenalin-fueled scenes. From his shop just… More >>
  • Best Place to Daydream About Owning a Tesla

    Tesla Service Costa Mesa

    Let's be real: You're most likely never going to own a Tesla car, and the sales people at the company's showroom over at Fashion Island would probably laugh at your broke ass if you even walked by. But there is a place where those of us who dream of becoming Elon Musk or at least driving his cars can stare… More >>
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