When I arrived in Orange County, I was of course awed by the sparkling stretches of Pacific coastline and as one might expect, enamored with the always-dependable, pleasant climate. However, beautiful beaches and sunny skies do not a perfect world make. (I heard that gasp.) I should correct myself: those things can and should create someone’s perfect world, but personally, I desire something more specific to root me to a time and place. Wherever I choose to exist, I need to find my own little piece of home, where the noise and distractions of everyday life dissolve and I can just be, preferably with a coffee and something to read.
When I arrived in Orange County, I noticed something right away: below the fluffy clouds and towering palms, crawl seemingly endless rows of gargantuan gated neighborhoods and stucco-covered apartment homes, punctuated by over-sized strip malls and grids of parking space; “suburban sprawl,” anyone? The positive side to this is that you can pretty much browse, rent or buy whatever your heart desires. The negative side though, is that after a while, all things start to look the same. I say this without any ill will, because really, I am aware that where I am living is a very, very nice place to be living. What I am trying to articulate is that to enjoy this place (specifically, Newport Beach) or any place, it is essential that I find a space in which I feel connected to my life and myself.
First I will tell you what the place is not: it is not big, loud or popular with the young crowd and it is definitely not attached to a strip mall. It is quiet, clean and reliable. I say reliable, because I see the staff turning on lights and unlocking doors before 6 a.m. when it is still dark out and I’m awake, on my way to work out. I appreciate that. The same perfect pastries are baked fresh everyday and I can always count on a perfect espresso or coffee, every time I drop in.
My place might be your place too, which I am okay with. I like to sit at the petite, square tables and observe locals, to see what newspaper they are reading or what story they might be sharing over juice with their child. I can share. If you don’t like my place I am okay with that too, I would just prefer that you keep it to yourself. I don’t regard the act of tarnishing someone else’s experience, with too much approval. Zinc is a market and café nestled among small storefronts in the downtown of Corona Del Mar. The business has other locations, but this one is my favorite.
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