This past summer, I took a trip with my housemates to California's food capital – aka Southern California. In light of its booming culinary culture, we ate our hearts out.

Since we had the time of our lives there eating, exploring and eating some more, I'm hoping the same will be true for you on your next trip to SoCal. To give you a jumpstart, here's a day by day guide of what we ate.

Day 1

Lunch: Shik Do Rak

barbecue, meat, chicken
Annabel Rhee

There's no better way to kickstart a SoCal trip than to eat what the region is best known for: all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue. Shik Do Rak was the perfect place to treat our starving selves while on a budget (sort of). The large meat selection and generous side portions helped carry us over as we embarked on a full day of activities at the beach. 

Dinner: 85C Bakery

This may not seem like the healthiest of dinners, but health was not on our trip itinerary. After spending hours by the salty sea, we wanted nothing more than to indulge in a sweet treat. My personal favorites of the night were the powdered sugar milk bun and hidden hot dog bun, which proved to be perfectly sweet with a hint of savory.

Day 2

Brunch: Bear Flag Fish Company

Liyi Straly

With another day of beach festivities ahead, we wanted to get ourselves in the right spirit by indulging in a seafood-inspired brunch. As such, we went to Bear Flag Fish Company, which was conveniently located along the coastline. I'd give this place a solid 10/10 for its colorful fish selection, fresh poke and cute wall art. The beautiful drive to and from this eatery made the brunch stop all the more worthwhile. 

Dinner: Johnny Rockets 

This is an international chain, but hey, we were allowed one classic on the trip. After our long day, we were starved to death, and Johnny Rockets at Irvine Spectrum Center came to the rescue. Although the burgers weren't anything extraordinary, I was overjoyed by the sight of mine (and also thankful that there was the option of replacing the white buns with whole wheat ones for no charge, because I still cared about health...a little bit). 

Dessert: Honey & Butter

The best way to follow up a decent burger meal is by getting an even better dessert. That's why we made Honey & Butter our final destination of the day. I was astonished by the huge selection of macarons (note: if you're a cartoon or Disney fanatic, this is your place). Although I opted for a non-character design, I was thoroughly impressed with my macaron choice (matcha green tea). It deserved an A+ for its smooth consistency and authentic flavor.

Day 3

Brunch: Lemonade

sweet, ice, milk, coffee
Liyi Straly

Pictured here is Lemonade's most iconic menu item: (you guessed it) lemonade. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my choice of fresh strawberry rhubarb lemonade, I also appreciated the eatery's vast array of healthy sides, like kale salad, curried cauliflower, quinoa and more. This was the very cleanse we needed from all of the not-so-healthy foods we had indulged in the previous two days.

Dessert: Hans' Homemade Ice Cream

beer, coffee, pizza
Liyi Straly

Okay, I take the cleansing part back. We decided to return to our old ways in full force by making a dessert stop at Anaheim Packing District. I'm naturally drawn to ice cream, so I paid my respects at Hans' Homemade Ice Cream, a quaint creamery located in a small corner of the packing house. My choice flavor of caramel macchiato was perfect to beat the heat and refuel me with energy for the rest of the day. 

Dinner: Porto's Bakery and Cafe

potato, chicken
Liyi Straly

Since a trip to SoCal isn't complete without a stop at Porto's, we came here to commemorate our last night in town. Besides being overwhelmed by the amazing range of baked goods (think: potato balls, cheese strudels, chicken croquets, etc.), I was also impressed by the low prices. Porto's has a knack for making affordable delicacies without sacrificing quality, and I was thankful to experience this stuffing myself with all of the items listed above. 

Day 4

Breakfast: Cream Pan 

I'm usually a generic toast-for-breakfast kinda girl, but Cream Pan proved to me that there's more to life than just plain breakfasts. The bakery's delicious strawberry croissants marked a bittersweet (but mostly sweet) end to our brief yet memorable visit to SoCal.

Hopefully this list helps you as you plan your next trip to SoCal. But if there's one thing you can take away from this article, it's that you really can't go wrong with any food choice you make in SoCal. I know I didn't.