The Best Things to Drink in Orange County (And Long Beach), 2014

Orange County is where these people live, after all
Orange County is where these people live, after all
Photo by Cleo Tobbi

Alcohol isn't the only thing to drink in Orange County (though it's pretty nice). OC all up in that juice crave and can serve a pretty mean cup of coffee. Then again, booze runs the world, so we have for you now a list of the best things to drink in Orange County, from coffee to more coffee to Vietnamese coffee to beer and cocktails.

'Cause eating is nice, but I've never seen anyone shotgun some brussel sprouts.

Best Coffee Orange County 2014 - Jungle Java Café Psst. Lean in close. We don't want everyone to hear. Because then they'll know. And the line will get longer. . . . Tucked inside a Chevron station on Chapman, just before the 241 and 261 toll roads, is a caffeinated oasis. Jungle Java Café serves up brews of Kéan's fair-trade beans, with the baristas trained to make those specialty drinks to perfection. We haven't had a finer café au lait outside New Orleans. And seasonal, flavored lattes and mochas aren't tooth-achingly sweet, but rather crafted with your taste buds in mind. It's the perfect way to get you ready for your next adventure, even if your grand road trip takes you no farther than your office.

Best Local Roaster Orange County 2014 - Wilson Coffee Roasting

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Best Coffeehouse Orange County 2014 - Alta Coffee What with the new wave of coffee shops and roasters in Orange County the past few years, Alta kind of gets forgotten. That's a bummer because it remains among the best places to get coffee and relax for a few hours. The coffee is well-roasted, balanced and flavorful, and the baked goods are amazing (the carrot cake is some of the best you'll ever have, and the place even has crème brûlée). Meawhile, the food is on point--the sandwiches are filling and hearty, and the burritos won't leave you sleepy. Plus, the entire place is just pretty: The outdoor seating is comfortable, the indoor seating is cozy, and the decoration doesn't try too hard. Yeah, there might be a lot of trendier cafés, but there's only one you'll always go back to, and if you have any heart, it'll be Alta.

Best Coffee-Shop Girls Orange County 2014 - Café Lu No, Café Lu isn't getting this award because it agreed to work with the Weekly for our January cover. Rather, it's because its shop is the most pleasant to be in, and the girls there are the prettiest. Café Lu is one of Orange County's only Vietnamese coffee shops to disallow smoking indoors, which means you can ogle for hours without shaving years off your life expectancy. And it employs the most ethnically diverse group of coffee girls around, thanks to Lu's diversified clientele. You get your Asian girls, sure, but you also get Latinas, whites and hapa girls. And when it's time to leave and you feel lonesome? Well, go ahead and take home some Instagram handles.

Best Vietnamese Iced Coffee Orange County 2014 - Pho Saigon Pearl Too often, a glass of Vietnamese iced coffee (ca fe sua da) lacks proper balance between strong coffee and creamy sweetened condensed milk. The problem either originates with the coffee, brewed to the point it's bitter and acidic, or with the condensed milk, poured so liberally the coffee may as well not be there. The iced coffee at Pho Saigon Pearl in Irvine, however, is the Goldilocks glass. The restaurant, one of the best Vietnamese joints in South County, starts with rich, dark-roast coffee that is remarkably non-bitter and combines it with enough condensed milk to achieve a silky mouthfeel. A hint of unidentified spice furthers the depth of flavor--the owner calls it a secret ingredient. It may be liquid crack because it's hard to not finish the glass before any food hits the table. It's a shame because the cool, silky beverage is the perfect contrast for slurping down hot noodles.

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