Matador Cantina

THE BEST HOLIDAY DINING IN ORANGE COUNTY

Spending the December holidays in Southern California doesn't just mean avoiding cold winter weather elsewhere ' it also means indulging in some of the most delicious holiday food in the country."  If you're lucky enough to be visiting this time of year, you're in for a real treat."  Here are some of the holiday dining experiences in Orange County you simply can't miss.

Tamales ' Wait'¦tamales?For Christmas?"  Yes!Tamales are a traditional Christmas time treat throughout Latin America, and with so much delicious Mexican food in Orange County, there is no shortage of tamale-eating during this time of year.If you're at Disneyland, head over to Rancho del Zocalo for a tamale platter.If you need to feed a crowd, Matador Cantina in Fullerton sells tamales by the dozen for take-out.Or, if you want to live like a true local, grab a tamale from the Tamarindo Food Truck." " 

Carolers while you dine ' Not only is Five Crowns in Corona del Mar a charming replica of one of England's oldest country inns, they also feature handbell carolers at dinnertime during the entire month of December." "  So as you dine on award-winning food and wine in a cozy yet elegant atmosphere, you'll hear delightful holiday songs that bring out the true spirit of the season.

Holiday food tastings & more ' Most grocery stores sell food, but the Whole Foods Markets in Orange County offer so much more during the holidays. Learn how to decorate holiday desserts from the pastry chefs at the Tustin store on December 17th (hint: lots of sweet treats provided!), or take part in the Holiday Tasting at the Laguna Beach store on the 17th ' free tastes of all kinds of sweet and savory favorites!Alternatively, if you're looking to keep your svelte shape this season, get expert advice on which holiday foods will help prevent weight gain at the Huntington Beach store on the 13th.The best part about these events is they're either free or very low cost, and in a casual atmosphere that's suitable for the whole family.

Local cuisine at the Fairmont Newport Beach ' The luxurious hotel that we all know and love is now offering 'hyper-local' cuisine in their restaurant, Bambu.What exactly does "hyper-local" mean?Well, for starters: honey from bees on property, fresh vegetables and herbs from their grounds garden, and goat cheese from goats who live just a few miles away!Come celebrate the season with breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Bambu ' even on Christmas Eve or Day, they're ready and waiting to serve you California's best local food.

Sit outside, even in winter! ' If you simply want to enjoy the leisurely pace and sunny weather in Orange County this season, head over to downtown San Juan Capistrano for a bite to eat.Many of their restaurants offer outdoor patio dining ' with heaters to fend off any chill in the air ' so you can take in the historic sights and fabulous food in this quaint little town.

No matter where you decide to feast this season, we wish you a very happy holiday trip!