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Happy Socially Distanced Halloween in OC

Posted on October 20, 2020 | 1:05pm

Trick-or-treating may be canceled this year, but Orange County has plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween in 2020. We’ve put together a selection of both the family-friendly and the frightening. Want to go to more than one? Check out our latest hotel deals to make it a Halloween getaway.

Photo courtesy of Urban Legends

Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt

The OC Fair & Event Center, in Costa Mesa, is leading the way in drive-thru entertainment. (If you haven’t checked out the Fair Food Drive-Thru, it’s open until October 25th). The Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt is a socially distanced way to get your Halloween fright on. Guests wild drive through a theatrical storytelling experience with scary sets and monsters. The event runs Tuesday –  Sunday until November 1. Admission starts at $59.99 per vehicle. The production includes strobe lights, haze and fog, so children under 13 and pets are not allowed. 

Families with children 12 and under can enjoy Little Legends Spooktacular Halloween Car Parade on Halloween from 5-7pm. Decorate your car and come in costume for a “Spooktacular” parade and COVID-safe goody bags.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

The LAB Anti-Mall is showing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! on repeat from 6-9pm on Friday, October 30. Grab dinner from your favorite on-site restaurant, enjoy the Halloween decorations and see the family favorite. Socially distanced seating is provided and masks are required.

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch

With a real pumpkin patch, Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch offers two options to get your pumpkin directly from the vine. The Drive-Thru Pumpkin Farm Experience, on Saturdays and Sundays, is a 1.5 mile drive around the farm that includes your pumpkin, scarecrow contest, samples, a barnyard educational exhibit with farm animals and views of the sunflowers. You can only exit your vehicle if you opt to pick your pumpkin from the vine. The drive-thru experience is $20 per person over the age of 3. 

The U-Pick Pumpkin with Wagon Ride, Mondays through Fridays, is an hour-long ride with tour guides over the 30-acre farm. The wagon ride includes the same package as the drive-thru and is $25 per person over the age of 3. Spaces are limited per wagon to allow for social distancing. Reservations are required for either.

Boo at the Zoo

Perfect for young children, Boo at the Zoo is a family-friendly Halloween trail through the Santa Ana Zoo. Walk through the zoo in costume as you enjoy the decorations and goody bags for the kids. Tickets are $15 for non-members over the age of 3 (members $10) and COVID safety measures, including masks and social distancing are in place. 

Photo courtesy of Pirate’s Cave Haunt

Pirate’s Cave Haunt

Join in an immersive yard display show with actors, special effects and more at the Pirate’s Cave Haunt in Orange. The free show takes place every 10 minutes and can be viewed safely from the sidewalk. COVID safety measures include social distancing, mandatory masks, temperature checks for the actors. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Hocus Pocus Drive-In Movie

Revisit the story of the Sanderson sisters as Starlight Movies in San Clemente presents Hocus Pocus on Halloween night. The drive-in theater is offering a safe trick-or-treating pass for children 13 and under. The pass includes four spooky art installations where children receive sealed candy and gift cards. For more information, visit the Starlight Movies Halloween Series.

Spook-tacular Halloween Crafts

If you’re more comfortable spending time at home this Halloween, but would still like something special to do, the Newport Beach Public Library is offering Spook-tacular Halloween Crafts to go. In addition to the grab-and-go crafts, available at any Newport Beach Public Library branch, the event includes a virtual costume parade and prizes. 

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Posted in Events

Costa Mesa Drive-In Concerts, Fair Food and More

Posted on August 31, 2020 | 3:35pm

The drive-in is making a comeback in the age of COVID. Drive-in movies and concerts have been featured in cities all over the country, including Concerts @ The CAMP here in Costa Mesa. This fall promises new, exciting drive-in and drive-thru experiences at OC Fair & Event Center. Find out how you can visit Costa Mesa and enjoy these events from the safety of your car. Masks are required throughout California, also remember to remain at least 6 feet away from those outside of your household and wash your hands frequently. That way, everyone can stay healthy and have fun.

Woman holding funnel cake at the OC Fair.

OC Fair Food Drive-Thru

What’s summer in Orange County without OC Fair funnel cake? The fair may have gone virtual this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your favorite food. From August 28-October 31, the OC Fair Food Drive-Thru is hosting five food vendors: Hawaiian Chicken Bowl, Hot Dog on a Stick, Dippin’ Dots, Cathy’s Cookies and Juicy’s Funnel Cake. The drive-thru is open Friday and Saturday from noon to 8:00pm and Sunday from noon to 6:00pm. It’s drive-thru only; no parking is available. Entry is free. For more information, including menus and pricing, visit the link above. 

Photo courtesy of Autosonic Concerts

Drive-In Concert Series

Visit September 25-27 for the Autosonic Drive-In Concert Series. Each night features two 60-minute concerts with local and national bands. Performances are at 6:30pm and 9:00pm. The concerts offer contactless, QR-code entry and a variety of parking options. Tickets range from $75-$199 per vehicle, up to 4 people. Since you bring your own food, we recommend checking our restaurants page and grabbing a bite from your Costa Mesa favorites to make the night extra special. Bands include Which One’s Pink? (Pink Floyd cover band) on Friday, Queen Nation (Queen cover band) on Saturday and Dead Man’s Party (a Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman tribute band) on Sunday.

Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt

Celebrate Halloween in Costa Mesa with the Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt, from the creators of Winter Fest OC. Drive through an immersive, storytelling experience with three unique show zones, special effects, monsters and more. Urban Legends Drive-Thru Haunt is open Wednesday-Sunday from October 1 to November 1. Tickets start at $49.99 per vehicle. The event is for 10-and-over. Due to special effects, pets are not allowed.

OC Fair & Event Center is still a “center of fun,” even if things look a little different right now. Make the most of social distancing with these drive-thru and drive-in events. Coming for Labor Day weekend? Check out our latest hotel deals, hotel safety protocols and our latest COVID-19 information. For the latest socially-distant events, visit our calendar.

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Posted in Events, Food, Misc, Music & Art, Play

Dad’s Day Out: Why You Should Spend Father’s Day in Costa Mesa

Posted on June 12, 2020 | 2:58pm

Father’s Day is June 21. With Orange County moving into Stage 3 of reopening, there’s so much to do in Costa Mesa while keeping your family safe (and making things easy on mom). Here are our recommendations for spending a day in the City of the Arts®.

Activities 

Photo courtesy of Michael Lovato (@michael.arthur.800)


Costa Mesa Country Club offers plenty of fun for golf lovers. You can practice on the range or putting green, or play a full 18 holes on one of two municipal courses. You can even schedule a golf lesson with a PGA pro! Grab lunch at 19th Hole, a restaurant with a full service bar, three televisions and views of the course. Insider tip: for the best rates, book your tee time online.

Photo courtesy of Asher Hung

If golf isn’t his thing, enjoy an afternoon at one of Costa Mesa’s beautiful parks. Most city parks are open for active or passive use, including picnics. Select Fairview Park trails are open as well, though Costa Mesa Skate Park and Bark Park remain closed. Whether you want to bring your bikes, play games, hike or have a picnic, you can enjoy the warm California weather and Costa Mesa scenery.

You can also take dad on a scenic tour of the Costa Mesa Art Walk. The art walk features sculptures around South Coast Plaza, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory. The tour includes one of the country’s preeminent sculpture gardens, California Scenario (also known as Noguchi Garden). For more information on the sculptures, check out our guide to visual arts here.

Dining

Photo courtesy of The Capital Grille

Celebrate dad (and give mom a night off) by getting dinner from one of Costa Mesa’s acclaimed restaurants. Restaurants are open for dine in and take out, so you can enjoy a night out or keep the party going at home. Find out which restaurants are open on our restaurants updates page

In addition to regular menu items, some restaurants are serving special Father’s Day menus. Get BBQ and beer curbside from Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, which includes a pound of pulled pork confit, corn slaw and cheddar buns for 4. The Capital Grille’s three course “Man of the Hour” dinner, for either 2 or 4, comes with a prime roasted rack of ribeye, mashed potatoes and cheesecake, along with a special gift for dad–a jar of their signature steak sauce. Start the day off with Plum’s Cafe Father’s Day Take Away brunch, for 6 or 8, with a pancake bar, pepper bacon and apple sausage, frittata and more.

However you choose to spend dad’s day in Costa Mesa, be sure to bring your face masks and maintain appropriate social distance to keep your family safest.

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals, Music & Art

5 Events for Festive Foodies in Costa Mesa

Posted on December 13, 2019 | 4:10pm

The holidays are in full swing and that means family, friends and food! Costa Mesa is the perfect place for a culinary celebration. Our restaurants continue to earn accolades, including Orange County’s only two Michelin stars. The Los Angeles Times recently named Taco Maria as #3 in their 101 Best Restaurants of 2019! We’ve put together a list of five events for the festive food lovers this holiday season. Stay for more foodie fun with one of our holiday hotel deals!

Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge

Buche de noel with coffee buttercream and cranberry sorbet
Photo courtesy of Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge

The American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” comes to Segerstrom Center for the Arts December 14-23. If you’re planning to attend, why not make it a celebration?

Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, located within the center, is featuring an exclusive Nutcracker pre-fixe menu during the run of the show. Start with a roasted beet and apple salad with tarragon, Silton blue cheese, candied walnuts and a chardonnay vinaigrette. The entree is a pork loin with cranberry-orange chutney, baby fennel, shallots and horseradish potatoes. For dessert, enjoy their buche de noel with coffee buttercream and cranberry sorbet. Then, join Clara, toy soldiers, sugar plum fairies and more than 100 performers in this acclaimed production.

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar

Table with steak, wine, and salad at Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar

Celebrate the holidays without the cooking. Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar invites you to join them for a 5-course holiday menu December 24-25 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dine on a first course of cauliflower soup with toasted hazelnuts and calabrian chili oil, your choice of crispy pork belly or cured jumbo lump crab for the second course, followed by a persimmon beet salad with a wildflower honey vinaigrette. There are five choices for the entree course, including lamb loin, filet of beef, half chicken, mahi mahi or beef ravioli.  The final course is raspberry mousse with basil gelée, raspberry ice cream and candied pistachio. Holiday Dinner on the Avenue is $75 per person (tax and gratuity are not included and their regular menu will not be served). Silver Trumpet is conveniently located in the Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel.

Vaca

Paella at Vaca
Photo courtesy of Vaca

Between Segerstrom Center for the Arts and The Westin South Coast Plaza sits Vaca, Top Chef finalist Amar Santana’s Spanish-inspired restaurant. The menu changes seasonally, but they have a special menu for New Year’s Eve. Try the ensalada de langosta (poached lobster salad with avocado mousse), ostiones (oysters with a cava rose sorbet and caviar), paella de zetas con trufas (paella with truffles, bomba rice and a duck egg) and budino (coconut bodino with pineapple and rum caramel). Their regular menu is also available. We recommend sharing tapas like the canelon de pollo ahumado (smoked chicken cannelloni), vieiras a la plancha (seared scallops) and bikini sandwich. 

Water Grill 

Water Grill grand shellfish platter

Ring in the new decade at Water Grill, across the street from South Coast Plaza, in their private event room for New Year’s Eve from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The event includes complimentary serving from their raw bar, hors d’oeuvres, dessert bites and two drink tickets. There will also be a DJ, dancing, photo booth and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight during the balloon drop. The event is standing room only, with guaranteed seats available with a VIP package. General admission tickets are $125 per person.

Mesa Lounge

Friends eating and drinking at Mesa Lounge

See Mesa Lounge transformed into a Bali getaway with their Escape to 2020 New Year’s Eve event. The evening includes passed and stationed hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, gifts, a champagne toast at midnight and more. Pre-sale tickets are $100 until December 25, general admission tickets are $150.

Want more ideas? Check out our calendar for all of the festive events happening in Costa Mesa. Our holiday hotel packages continue through the new year, so you still have time to make it an Eatcation™!

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Posted in Events, Food

One Weekend, Two Food Festivals

Posted on October 30, 2019 | 2:01pm

If Costa Mesa isn’t on your food destination list, we think it should be. It’s home to award-winning dining, including Orange County’s only two Michelin Star restaurants and was recently featured throughout OC Weekly “Best Of 2019” food and drink categories. It’s no surprise, then, that Costa Mesa hosted two events the same weekend to celebrate all things culinary.

The TASTE

October 18-19, Los Angeles Times and Travel Costa Mesa presented the 2nd annual The TASTE Costa Mesa, a 21-and-over food and drink festival that included unlimited tastings, chef demos and live music. The event was held over three sessions–Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Restaurants from Orange County and Long Beach served crowds of hungry foodies who couldn’t wait to get a taste of each dish. 

Group of friends sitting at a table laughing and drinking outdoors.
Photo by Devin Berko

Over a dozen Costa Mesa restaurants participated in The TASTE. Friday included dishes from Tackle Box, Verde Kitchen and Filomena’s Italian Kitchen. Vaca chef Amar Santana was on hand to dish out paella and chef Ross Pangilinan, of Terrace by Mix Mix, talked about his family inspiration during his cooking demo. 

Group of friends holding drinks at The Taste Costa Mesa.
Photo by Devin Berko

Among Saturday afternoon dishes were smoked salmon mousse from Shuck Oyster Bar, tomatillo gazpacho and pork two ways from 2145 Pizza and paella valenciana from Cafe Sevilla, opening at Triangle Square in December.

Smoked salmon mousse from Shuck Oyster Bar.
Photo by Devin Berko

Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Wing Lam and Knife Pleat chef Tony Esnault closed out the event with cooking demonstrations, while guests dined on Costa Mesa’s Toast Kitchen & Bakery, Mesa, Descanso and Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar.

Two women holding cocktails at night.
Photo by Devin Berko

VIP ticket holders also enjoyed exclusive dishes from Mastro’s Steakhouse and The Crack Shack, as well as additional drink options and personalized wine tumblers.

The Crack Shack California Dip sandwich on checkered table cloth.
Photo by Devin Berko

SoCal VegFest

October 19-20, OC Fair & Events Center hosted the 5th annual SoCal VegFest. Although the goal of VegFest is to introduce and inspire health conscious living, food lovers had plenty of plant-based options to try. Orange County vegan restaurants such as Vegan by El Zamorano, plant-based fast food The Black Bean, The Donuttery and Cinnaholic served up delicious vegan treats outdoors. Indoor exhibitors included larger brands like Orgain, Forager, Follow Your Heart and Califia Farms. SoCal VegFest also included a cruelty free market, cooking demos, live music kid-friendly events and even a cupcake contest.

I'm on an Eatcation sign on desk.
Photo by Devin Berko

Whether you’re an omnivore or plant-based, Costa Mesa has plenty of delicious options for your next food getaway. From a DIY Top Chef Tour to our Costa Mesa Beer Trail, there’s something for everyone. So go ahead: take an Eatcation™.

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Posted in Events, Food