The SoCal Native Explores Huntington Beach’s Most Vibrant Shopping and Dining Destination
As Miss California USA 2015, last summer I got to represent my beautiful home state at the Miss USA pageant where I met 50 other women from across the country with one common goal of taking home the national crown. Unknowingly, the girls had another thing in common at the pageant, and that was to constantly ask me how it felt for me to represent California, a gorgeous state that boasted summer days all year round. It got me thinking, sometimes us Californians take this luxury for granted, especially those of us who live in SoCal. Let’s face it, unlike many other people across the country, we can enjoy a perfect day at the beach pretty much all year round. Now that summer is in full swing I’m determined to show you why it’s time to really take advantage of what we have in our own backyard. Consider it a royal duty, if you will! On this edition of “That’s What She Said, ” I’m taking you to explore the city, Pacific City that is!
Pacific City is nestled right in the heart of Huntington Beach along Pacific Coast Highway. How much more Californian can you get, right? Since I’m getting geared up to show you how a real Cali girl does it, then I have to dress the part, which is why my first stop was at West of Camden. Fashion is always first in my book but comfort is key on this sunny day, which works out because West of Camden’s laid-back vibe gave me a ton of comfortable options to play around with. Life is easy going when you’re at Pacific City, much like this cute floral dress that I paired with some classic white tennis shoes.
I never pass up an opportunity to eat Mexican food, and in SoCal there is no shortage of great options. Not many Mexican joints can boast a coastal view from almost every angle of the restaurant like Ola Mexican Kitchen can. I enjoyed the fresh ocean breeze from the open-air patio while snacking on chips and salsa, a jumbo shrimp cocktail and, of course, guacamole! I love the twists Ola puts on their classic Mexican dishes because even a simple guacamole is garnished with orange zest and pomegranate seeds. Their cocktails are just as unique. I’m a fan of a little spice in my drink, so if you are too, you’ll enjoy their Abreojos Margarita.
If a classic all American burger is more your style then you’ll be in your element at Simmzy’s. The vibe here is so relaxed you’ll think you’re on a permanent vacation, so you might as well play into it and stay for a couple of beers. I made myself right at home at Simmzy’s. I got behind the bar, snapped a few pics of my ceviche and didn’t mind my manners by licking my fingers after sipping on their tasty cocktails.
Saint Marc Pub-Café, Bakery & Cheese Affinage
I have two words for you—“Bacon Bar.” You heard me! Saint Marc has a bacon bar that boasts 11 different bacon seasoning options including apple pie bacon. Saint Marc made my inner foodie dreams come true by making it acceptable to enjoy flavored bacon and beer in one sitting. They could have easily stopped there but this pub/café has so much to offer including some of the best Californian wine on draft and over 100 different cheese selections. Holy cheese board! This flagship location screams summer fun to me and so does their Saint Marc twisted grapefruit which is freshly squeezed and then filled with your choice of liquor. Pair with a pink straw and let the fun begin!
Tech Savvy: You can order everything from Saint Marc on an iPad, making Saint Marc just as cool and on trend as it looks.
Ever wish you could take the beach home with you? From its scents to the nautical themed décor, The Plantation somehow packaged together everything you want to take home with you from your stay by the sea. Life under the sea is all very whimsical to me and I love that I can shop for magical pieces and souvenirs to keep my time at Pacific City alive.
When decorating a space I never know where my next inspiration will come from. Whatever it is, I know I can find it at Heirlooms and Hardware. If I could describe this store in one word it would be “creative.” There were so many unique vintage pieces, I had to snap a few pictures to make sure the next time I want to make a statement in my home, I do it with their similar rustic eclectic twist.
From the outside looking in, Ocean Blue Art + Design looks like your standard art gallery but once you take a step inside, standard is the last word on your mind. This gallery has a wide variety of paintings, photography and mixed media with one common theme: celebrating artists from Southern California and Orange County.
Bold & Beautiful: Some of my favorites were the photographs from under the pier and of course the wall covered in hot pink and Chanel.
There is only one rule when you visit the Old Crow Smokehouse and that’s come HUNGRY! Enjoy the best of The South with mouth-watering dishes and comfort food sides like jalapeño corn bread and beer-cooked chicken. When they say the barbecue keeps on coming, it really does, so make sure you have something to wash it down with. My favorite cocktail here by far is the Blackberry Crow, with blackberry moonshine and mint. Also, don’t forget to order the Pig Skin Nachos!
Sharing is Caring: Bring your friends because these plates are perfect for sharing.
The beauty of Ways & Means Oyster House deserves its perfect central location in Pacific City. When I walk in their big red doors and see their picket white fence surrounding the beach view deck, I get Hampton vibes that pair perfectly with their ocean to table dining ambiance. I have a confession to make though, up until visiting Ways & Means, I’ve never successfully enjoyed a good oyster! The display of oysters on the bed of ice was too beautiful for me to resist, so I grabbed my lemon wedge and bottoms up!
Honorable Menu Mention: Jerk seared salmon with coconut rice; I couldn’t get enough of it!
Native Knowledge: Pacific City is the original name of the beachside village that became known as Huntington Beach.
SoCal Native: While originally from Chino Hills, Natasha went to school in Orange at Chapman University where she earned her degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Natasha’s Beauty Go-To Essentials:
- Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray
- Manna Kadar lipstick
- Stila eye liner
- Benefit “They’re Real” mascara
Apparel Provided By:
West of Camden
Car Provided By:
Suburban Buick GMC Cadillac
2600 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
21010 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Huntington’s Best of Eat and Shop