Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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March Madness in Costa Mesa

Posted on February 27, 2020 | 4:13pm

From big games to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations there’s a lot to drink to in March. Costa Mesa is home to several unique bars that are great for a night out or a weekend brunch. Whether you want to watch the big game or enjoy happy hour with friends, you’ll find something perfect for you.

Photo by Sarah King, courtesy of The Hall: Global Eatery

The Hall: Global Eatery 

Although the food hall from Top Chef finalist Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate has been the talk of Orange County, the bar is also making news. Beverage director Michael Rooney’s cocktails and wine selection takes inspiration from The Hall’s global concept. You’ll find everything from Japanese whiskey to Mediterranean wine, but we recommend trying one of his signature cocktails. Bonus: the bar now serves happy hour Monday – Thursday from 3pm – 5pm and 8pm – close, Friday – Saturday from 3pm – 5pm and 9pm – close and all day Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Playa Mesa

Playa Mesa

Last year, OC Weekly named the margaritas at Playa Mesa the best in Orange County. They weren’t kidding. There are 9 margaritas to choose from, but we recommend trying the Margarita A La Casa, the Spicy Cucumber Margarita or, our favorite, the Sandia Margarita with watermelon and strawberry. Their homemade chips and salsa are a must too. The bar is a great spot to watch a game or catch up with friends. They also serve brunch on the weekends from 9am – 2pm. 

The Country Club

Step into The Country Club and you’ll feel like you’re in a mid-century, private club. Think Don Draper sipping an Old Fashioned at the bar. They offer seasonal cocktails, along with staples like the Ladybird, the Ron Burgandy and, of course, the Costa Mesa Old Fashioned. Bourbon fans have to try the Smoking Jacket, with bacon washed bourbon, maple syrup, pecan tincture and chocolate bitters. The showstopper is the smoking gun that gives the drink its name, along with their logo stamped on an ice cube. Don’t miss out on the hangar steak tacos while you’re there. The Country Club turns into a dance club at night and weekends include their boozy brunch.

Photo courtesy of Ruin Bar

Ruin Bar

The eclectic decor and location inside The LAB give Ruin Bar its kitschy feel. Enjoy craft cocktails like DunGINS and Dragons, Chiquita Banana or Lego My Ego. Have fun counting the number of cat objects or play the piano that’s built into the bar. 

Hennessey’s Tavern

Spend St. Patrick’s Day at this popular Irish pub. Hennessey’s Tavern just opened their newest location in Costa Mesa. Cocktails include a signature Bloody Mary and Irish coffee. They offer a selection of mocktails as well. Their menu includes Irish classics like corned beef and hash, Shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips. You can also enjoy a number of California-inspired dishes such as their Cobb salad and Baja fish tacos.

Whatever you’re celebrating this March, enjoy the shopping, dining and activities that Costa Mesa has to offer with a weekend getaway.

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Posted in Food, Play

5 Ways to Show Your Love in Costa Mesa

Posted on January 29, 2020 | 4:33pm

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or just a long weekend, show your love with these events over Presidents Day weekend. Make it a special getaway with one of our Valentine hotel deals.

Chris Botti with trumpet
Photo courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Valentine’s with Chris Botti

The Grammy Award winning trumpeter Chris Botti is performing February 14 and 15 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. His combination of jazz, classical, pop and rock has earned him acclaim throughout the world. He’s performed with everyone from Frank Sinatra, Steven Tyler and Yo-Yo Ma. Spend Valentine’s with Chris Botti to see his unforgettable new show.

She Loves Me cast at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa
Photo courtesy of South Coast Repertory

She Loves Me

Fans of You’ve Got Mail and The Shop Around the Corner will fall for She Loves Me, at South Coast Repertory until February 22. Georg and Amalia can’t seem to get along working at Maraczek’s Parfumerie. After hours, though, they are both falling in love with each other as secret pen pals. She Loves Me is a charming musical comedy that’s perfect for both Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day.

Couple at a spa getting a massage

Spa Nordstrom

Pamper your Valentine, and yourself, with a visit to Spa Nordstrom at South Coast Plaza. Named one of the top 5 day spas in Orange County, Spa Nordstrom offers facials, massages, body treatments and more. Get a couples massage and relaxing facials. Staying for more of a girls weekend? Try Two Hours in Heaven that includes a full body massage, wrap and facial, scalp and foot pressure-point massage. You can also look at their full menu of services to find the perfect option for you.

Couple at The LAB in Costa Mesa

The LAB

Take a trip to The LAB (Little American Business) for a unique shopping and dining experience, not to mention plenty of selfie spots. Prism Boutique offers a variety of clothing, accessories and home goods or find some jewelry at May Martin. Grab dinner at Habana or drinks at the eclectic Ruin Bar. Be sure to snap a photo while you’re there and share it with us on social media

Dish from Vaca in Costa Mesa
Photo courtesy of Chuck Pebenito

Vaca

Chef Amar Santana has a special menu planned for Valentine’s Day at Vaca. Start with the ostiones, cornmeal crusted fried oysters with wagyu steak tartare and tonnato sauce. Then, try the salchicha de mariscos, a seafood sausage with a shellfish pork butter sauce. Finish your meal with the budino de chocolate, a white chocolate budino with maraschino cherries and toasted pistachios. The cocktails from Vaca Group’s beverage director, Michael Rooney, are a must too.

However you decide to spend your Valentine’s Day, make it a fun weekend getaway with our hotel deals and visitor guide.

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Posted in Food, Hotels, Music & Art, Play, Shopping

Fun and food for an active getaway in Costa Mesa

Posted on December 24, 2019 | 12:10pm

It’s the start of a new year, and a new decade. Whether you’re ready to tackle those resolutions, or just want to get healthy after the holidays, here is your curated list for an active getaway to Costa Mesa that’s still full of fun and food! Our holiday hotel deals are available until January 15.

Fun 

Fairview Park

There’s no shortage of hiking trails in Orange County, but we’re partial to Fairview Park. Costa Mesa’s largest park includes 7 miles of scenic trails for hiking, running, biking and even horseback riding. The 208-acre park also features a forested sanctuary, open fields and hills. You’ll find plenty to do, including the Goat Hill Junction Railroad, offering free model train rides on the third weekend of each month.

Photo courtesy of Rockreation

Rockreation

Orange County’s best indoor climbing facility, Rockreation, features 12,000 square feet of climbing terrain. It includes varying angles, top-rope climbing and bouldering. It’s a great environment for first timers to seasoned climbers. The only thing you need is workout clothes and Rockreation will provide the rest. You’ll also find exercise machines, cardio equipment and weights. 

Surf lessons

What could be more synonymous with California than surfing? Take a short drive from your hotel to the beach for surfing lessons. Surf schools offer group and private instruction, with wet suits and boards provided. Lessons are, typically, about 2 hours. You’ll be catching a wave in no time.

Photo courtesy of Pedego Electric Bike Tours

Pedego Electric Bike Tours

Head over to nearby Corona Del Mar where Pedego Electric Bike Tours offers a guided bike tour through Corona Del Mar, Balboa Island & Balboa Peninsula. You’ll see highlights of the area, including the quaint shops of Balboa Island to the stunning view of the ocean. You can also rent bikes in 2-hour, 3-hour or all day options, if you’d prefer taking your own path or want to follow our Costa Mesa Bike Route.

Costa Mesa Art Walk

Take in the City of the Arts by following our Costa Mesa Art Walk. The art walk showcases the free public art located around Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory and South Coast Plaza. Continue your art tour by walking to Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), across the street from South Coast Plaza. Stay within walking distance at Avenue of the Arts, The Westin South Coast Plaza or Costa Mesa Marriott.

Tavern + Bowl

End your trip with a fun night of bowling at Tavern + Bowl at Triangle Square. You can reserve one of their state-of-the-art bowling lanes for up to 6 people, starting at $35 per hour. Online reservations are available as early as 1 week in advance. Just make sure to book at least the day before, as same day reservations are not accepted. 

Food

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop

From organically grown produce to flame-grilled proteins, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop at SOCO & The OC Mix is the perfect stop for a healthy lunch. We recommend getting one of their delicious salads, like Zorra the Greek or antioxidant orchard. This fast-casual restaurant also has build-your-own salad and entree options.

The Den Café

Located in The LAB Anti-Mall, The Den Café offers healthy options for every meal (including brunch). Try the sunrise yogurt bowl for breakfast or the quinoa veggie burger for lunch. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well.

Birdie Bowl & Juicery 

Also in SOCO & The OC Mix is Birdie Bowl & Juicery. Split an acai bowl (they’re big enough to share), or try one of their cold-pressed juices. It’s a great spot to stop for a break during an active day.

Costa Mesa is full of things to do during a healthy getaway. Learn about all the activities available in and around the city for more options. For more dining choices, we have a list of health conscious dining and a full list of Costa Mesa restaurants. If you want a relaxing break, make an appointment at one of our spas. Don’t forget to also check out our holiday hotel deals before they end on January 15!

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Posted in Food, Misc, Play

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