Charles' Top 5 Restaurants of 2014

Can you believe it's been less than a year?
Can you believe it's been less than a year?
Photo by Charles Lam

Sometimes, I wish life were more like Last.fm, and I could see all the data behind where I ate and went on a whim (Does Foursquare do this? If it doesn't, it should). That would've made putting this list together a lot easier, because as I scrolled through my Instagram feed I kept thinking to myself, "Yeah, this is a lot of food posts, but I'm sure I ate more".

I mean, I can come up with a list of places I love pretty easy, but what if I'm forgetting someone?

Alas, the Internet does not yet keep track of everywhere I go--and if it does, it won't tell me--so I'll go with my gut. Here are my favorite restaurants food places of 2014.

5. Afters Ice Cream

Can you believe it's been less than a year?
Can you believe it's been less than a year?
Photo by Charles Lam

I'm fairly certain that Afters' milky bun was Orange County's biggest food craze this year, but that's not why this ice cream shop is making it on the list. The reason isn't because I love the story behind it either, no, it's because I truly love their ice cream.

If you still haven't tried it, you should! By now, the lines have died down to still-existent, but manageable, and the flavors at Afters are some of my favorites. Every time I travel, I visit the city's top ice cream spot, and Afters deserves to be ours. Their flavors represent Orange County perfectly, from the jasmine milk tea and Vietnamese iced coffee, to the churro and milk and cereal and cookie monster.

Get it in a milky bun if you have to, but don't feel obligated, because they're good either way. Now if they'd only open another, OC location..

4. The Playground

Can I just taste this forever?
Can I just taste this forever?
Photo by Charles Lam

By now, most of you who would go to the Playground have been to the Playground, I know, but Jason Quinn's restaurant and the darling of downtown SanTana's East End still deserves the love it gets. Whenever people visit (and are from a place with decent Mexican and Vietnamese food), I take them to the Playground. However, their appearance this year is because of one specific dish.

It's their apple cider sorbet.

It's literally one of the best thing's I've ever eaten. If I see it on the menu again, I will most likely be headed there for dinner that night, so yeah, you all should go if you have the chance.



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