Anne Marie Panoringan

Voice of OC’s food columnist — reporting on industry news, current events and trends. Panoringan’s prior work includes writing about food for eight years at the OC Weekly in which she interviewed more than 330 chefs, restauranteurs and industry professionals for her weekly “On the Line” column. She has been recognized by the Orange County Press Club and she also is a recurring guest on AM 830’s SoCal Restaurant Show.

In 2014, The Mixing Glass opened its doors within Costa Mesa’s OC Mix, establishing itself as a resource for cocktail aficionados looking to stock their home bars. Well-stocked with barware, spirits and helpful staff, the business owned by Gabrielle Dion was a natural segue from her experience overseeing the bar program at places including Broadway by Amar Santana and Vaca.

The original location for The Mixing Glass remains open as construction continues on a replacement space, expected to open this fall. I visited Dion at her new storefront, now Mixing Glass and Market, a few miles away at the corner of Harbor and Adams. We discussed how the last couple of years shaped her vision for the upgraded location.

What to Expect

The new location will have a kitchen which means house-made syrups, jam and pickles will be available. Food prep for grab-and-go salads and sandwiches made on site, plus charcuterie with cheese, means an impromptu picnic or undecided dinner could be remedied with a stop by her place. “We are going to create a unique epicurean shopping experience,” she said. 

With the new undertaking comes other changes. No classes are scheduled for the foreseeable future as its focus will be on curating a proper menu.

Relocating into a former physical therapy business, the future Mixing Glass and Market has expanded from 350 to 1580 square feet. Retail space will be a blend of new products including a comprehensive liquor selection, cold (non-alcoholic) beverages, beer and wine. Bonus provisions such as cocktail quality ice and ice cream are part of its inventory as well as pantry staples. 

Seasonal produce from local farmer’s markets will be vetted. “We are going to put the same time, research and care into curating all these new items with the same rigorous standards as we are famous for with our spirit selection,” Dion said. It will continue to focus on local and women-owned businesses when possible, such as Rooted Fare black sesame crunchy butter and datehini (a date and tahini condiment) from Sepoli Datehini. The market side is having success partnering with brands that possess a similar vision and ethos to The Mixing Glass, including Pisqueya hot sauces and mixers from Siren Shrub.

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Home Life and Finding Happiness

To better understand her thought process with a shift in focus for The Mixing Glass, Dion recounted what occurred the last couple of years in her home and work lives.

The Dion family was on vacation far from the mainland when lockdown occurred. Upon their return, Gaby Dion’s business managed to swiftly pivot into alternate business operations. Shipping, home delivery plus virtual classes replaced in-person visits, and The Mixing Glass was more or less able to maintain business levels.

On a personal level, Dion found herself searching for things that made her happy. Much of it was through home cooking, “Bringing small luxuries of quality ingredients like oils and vinegars, crafted jams, cheeses, the most seasonal fruit and vegetables into my home and being amazed at when those building blocks of cooking are of a discerning quality, your home cooking improves two-fold,” she said. It was this epiphany that inspired the expansion to include a food menu and fresh provisions.

Mixing Glass and Market is slated to open this fall at 1500 Adams Ave., Costa Mesa in the same plaza as Port of Sound Records and Haus of Pizza. The original Mixing Glass is still open for business at 3313 Hyland Ave., (714) 975-9952.

We All Scream for Ice Cream Month

An all-occasion dessert, ice cream knows how to feed a need. Often paired with cake at birthdays, it’s also a universal way to deal with life’s trials and tribulations – just watch “The Golden Girls” for inspiration.

To celebrate National Ice Cream Month we reached out to Scott Becsi, general manager for Thrifty, to get the scoop on the iconic and affordable treat. Sold in Rite Aid drugstores, flavors can also be found locally at Duck Donuts (Garden Grove, Irvine and Huntington Beach) and Mama’s on 39 (Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos and Rancho Santa Margarita). There’s also a promotion going on at Thrifty through the end of the month to win a year’s supply of the cold stuff.

Scoop of Thrify’s Birthday Cake ice cream from Rite Aid. Credit: ANNE MARIE PANORINGAN/Voice of OC

AMP: When the cylindrical scoop was made available for purchase it became very popular. Was it always this shape, and how did the decision come about to manufacture the scoops?

Becsi: The iconic cylindrical scooper has been a longstanding part of the Thrifty brand. It was designed to create easily-dispensed, uniformed scoop sizes – so that no customer feels shortchanged and everyone gets the perfect portion, precisely four ounces of ice cream every time. 

With the launch of Thrifty’s Old Time Ice Cream Scooper, Rite Aid wanted all customers to enjoy the perfect scoop at home.

AMP: I’m curious about the California-only flavor. What’s the origin story behind it?

Becsi: Part of our feature flavor program, which has been around for decades, is to introduce seasonal or trendy flavors for a limited timeframe. Sometimes we highlight a popular flavor from the past, as is the case with Cali Delight. This flavor was originally introduced in the ‘80s as “Half & Half” and was our take on the then popular “50/50 Bar” commonly known as Orange Creamsicle Bar. Our Cali Delight features high-quality vanilla ice cream swirled with premium orange sherbet.

AMP: What’s your personal favorite flavor?

Becsi: It may sound sort of contrived, but I really never met an ice cream flavor I don’t like. But if I was forced to have only one, then probably Rocky Road – what’s not to like about chocolate, nuts and marshmallows?

AMP: With rising costs in everything, from transportation to ingredients, how (and why) does Thrifty keep the scoop prices so low?

Becsi: Thrifty is an old-school brand and we believe it’s important that our prices reflect that as well. Today you can get a single scoop of Thrifty for only $1.99! 

We also source ingredients from local providers to not only give our ice cream a delicious, high-quality flavor but also help with transportation costs. (Note: The manufacturing facility is based in El Monte.)

Other Sweet Recommendations

For scoop shops with a little more variety, here are a trio of local ones that I turn to. While they all aren’t traditional ice cream spots, I don’t discriminate against delicious desserts.

Blue Scoop Creamery makes small batches of its flavors, so don’t delay if you like one that is mentioned on its social media channels; I learned the hard way (I miss you, Peanut Butter Bourbon Banana!). Owned by Chris and Kim Rhodes, the duo also ensure a selection of “True Blue” flavors are always readily available. A second location in Brea appears to be coming soon. Bonus: They are open from 1-11 p.m. daily. 5105 Richfield Rd., Yorba Linda; (714) 729-3419.

Set your GPS to Little Saigon for this dessert shoppe tucked into one corner of a plaza. A divine alternative to ice cream, Eiswelt Gelato also specializes in crafting the cutest darn animal shapes! Turn your jasmine milk tea, black sesame walnut and cookie flavor creation into a panda, unicorn or elaborate rose. It tastes even better when you do, but enjoy it before it melts. 9605 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (657) 245-3141.


While I still think about the custard-y goodness of Strickland’s franchised UCI branch (R.I.P.), Bruxie’s frozen desserts are a satisfying fix – especially when it comes to its nutella flavor. Shake things up by adding toppings or succumb to pairing it with a sweet waffle creation. You’ll have zero regrets. Find Bruxie’s locally in Orange and Brea.

Anne Marie Panoringan is the food columnist for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. She can be reached at ampanoringan@voiceofoc.org.


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