America runs on coffee, no matter the brand. It’s why you can find a coffee shop on virtually every corner and a coffee maker in every office. While coffee itself is a godsend for a lot of people, it can be enhanced greatly with food such as pastries and sandwiches. Here are some of the best spots in the county to get a good cup of coffee and some excellent food to go with it.
The Neighborhood Cup
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
The Neighborhood Cup, like many coffee shops, also offers smoothies, pastries and sandwiches. This coffee shop adjoining the Aliso Viejo Library also offers much more than just food. This cozy little cafe has also hosted live music (jazz, blues, acoustic), yoga classes and car shows. If you’re looking for a coffee shop that is truly an experience, this is the place for you.
2043 Westcliff Drive #100
Newport Beach, CA 92660
It would be enough for Kean to be known as the best place in the county to get a cup of coffee with its selection of fair-trade organic coffees roasted in the store, but the shop goes way beyond that with sandwiches and pastries that pair amazingly with the house coffees. The midas tart (pictured) is a little piece of heaven with chocolate, whole almonds and orange-infused caramel. While you’re here, enjoy the brews, the food, the ambiance and the company.
506 31st St.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
It’s hard to beat the location of Alta Coffee Shop. It’s also hard to beat the full menu that accompanies the coffee drinks. It’s not unusual to find pastries and desserts at a coffee shop. Alta offers a full breakfast menu, including omelets and hot cereals. If you’re there for lunch, you can enjoy sandwiches, salads, wraps and soups, including a spicy vegetarian stew. If you can’t find anything besides coffee at Alta, you must be pretty hard to please.
Related: Best Poetry Events In Orange County
350 Ocean Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Zinc is one of those places about which your friends tell you, “I’ve found the best little coffee shop. You have to try it.” And once you do, you’re hooked, particularly if you have a cappuccino. Zinc also has a full menu, and you’ll see that instead of heavy dishes, Zinc generally keeps it pretty healthy with breakfast options like muesli and quinoa with ricotta cheese and lunch options like salads or a mixed-vegetable sandwich. Parking in Laguna can be tricky. Make sure you have quarters in case you have to park at a meter.
602 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780
Maybe you’re not in the habit of going to a Vietnamese bakery for your coffee. That only means that you’re missing out on a place like Cream Pan. This place not only has amazing coffee, but also equally amazing pastries to go with the coffee. The azuki cream (pictured) – filled with a red-bean jam and whipped cream – may sound a bit unusual, but it is a delicious house specialty. If you’re looking for something a little less exotic, try the strawberry croissant.
Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.