My favorite is The Mixing Glass, a mixologist haven. It supplies curated cocktail ware and knowhow according to their business cards. Owner Gabrielle Dion has set up many bar and cocktail menus around the OC for many years. Her store is a little slice of heaven. She carries some very unique, old, and new bar accessories.
When I did my radio show on Cinco de Mayo, I decided it would be really fun to do a tequila tasting. So I went to the professional. She introduced me to my favorite tequila, Siembra Azul, which is made in small batches. Everything she carries is very specialized and from small unique distilleries. I dropped in to buy a bottle and say hello from the OC Wino. I can't wait to take one of her monthly cocktail classes.
We sat down to two delicious cocktails. One called Cigarettes and Coffee and the other was called Ethel, a tequila-grapefruit compari and champagne mix.
Start with the Sautéed Calamari with shishito peppers and new potatoes and the Whiskey and Garlic Meatballs in a delicious marinara sauce served with toast points.
The Duck, Beef, Bacon Burger is cooked in duck fat. Good luck getting your mouth around it for your first bite. It is sinful and must be split between 2-4 people. But it is worth it to sample.
Diego was our waiter, a Costa Rican who is as nice as can be. All the staff is friendly, encouraging, and gives you a big smile as you sit down at the counter. Eating at the counter is a MUST.
Try it for dinner sometime. They actually serve large pieces of meat to groups of six or more. And do they know how to prepare it.
Beware, they do not take reservations, so going at an off-time is suggested. If there is a wait and you have to put your name in, go have an oyster or two at his sister restaurant, Shuck. The hostess will call you on your cell when your table is ready. Just an added bonus.