Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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What’s New at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa

Posted on September 30, 2021 | 9:00pm

Get ready to hit the road because South Coast Plaza, the largest shopping destination on the West Coast, continues to define the luxury shopping and experience with award-winning dining, exciting new offerings and more this fall. With 250 boutiques and more than 30 restaurants, along with world-class entertainment just across the street at Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory, there’s too much to see in one day. Now is the time to create your escape to Costa Mesa.

Knife Pleat

Knife Pleat, from renowned chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi, was awarded a Michelin star in the 2021 Michelin guide. The elegant restaurant features Chef Esnault’s modern take on classic French techniques. In addition to lunch and dinner, Knife Pleat offers Saturday afternoon tea and seasonal tasting menus. Knife Pleat is the third restaurant in Orange County to receive a Michelin star, after Taco Maria and Hana re in 2019. All three are located in Costa Mesa.

Collage Culinary Experience

A two-story, elevated global dining collective, Collage Culinary Experience, features sit down restaurants, fast casual establishments and full-service bars. The restaurants within Collage include the debut of Paradise Dynasty in the U.S., along with Le Shrimp Ramen and Mah Jong’s by Chef Mike are currently open. Egg LXIII, Mochinut, Cha Redefine, Bruxie, Churrino, PhoHolic and more will join Collage.

Cha Cha Matcha x Tiffany & Co.

Have Tea at Tiffany’s! Cha Cha Matcha, the popular matcha shop in New York and LA, has a pop-up in Tiffany & Co. at South Coast Plaza. Cha Cha Matcha uses ceremonial grade matcha for calm, clear and centered energy. Stop in for a Tiffany blue matcha or one of their signature beverages and small bites. Cha Cha Matcha x Tiffany & Co. is open through October from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale’s recently unveiled its newly renovated store, featuring a completely transformed second floor. It includes new designer boutiques from Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and more, as well as men’s and women’s shoes from Saint Laurent, Gucci, Valentino, Dior and Jimmy Choo. The cosmetics department now offers dedicated brand shops from Valentino Beauty, La Mer, Cle de Peau Beaute, and Clarins, plus the most sought after brands such as Jo Malone, Cartier, Bulgari, Aqua di Parma, Diptyque, Hermes, and Charlotte Tilbury, along with the first Gucci Beauty counter in on the West Coast. Shoppers can also enjoy facial treatment services in the brand new spa treatment rooms.

Read our press release here.

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Posted in Food, Shopping

3 reasons to make Costa Mesa your next foodie vacation

Posted on September 22, 2021 | 3:00pm

One of the best ways to get to know a new city is by checking out the local food scene. Travel based around food, including food tours and food trails, is a tasty way to learn about a region’s history and culture. Thinking about taking a foodie vacation in Orange County? The culinary diversity, award-winning restaurants and popular chefs make Costa Mesa the place for your next foodie vacation. We call it an Eatcation®.

Taco Maria photo courtesy of Chelsea Martin

The only Michelin star restaurants in OC

Costa Mesa’s Taco Maria, Hana re and Knife Pleat are the only restaurants in Orange County awarded the prestigious Michelin star. Both Taco Maria and Hana re received their honors in 2019. Knife Pleat received a Michelin star in 2021. Taco Maria, located at SOCO and the OC Mix, honors both chef Carlos Salgado’s family traditions and the blend of Mexican and American cultures, in what he calls Alta California cuisine. The menu changes seasonally and, currently, only serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5-9pm. The summer menu features his popular aguachile appetizer, a scallop crudo with Persian cucumber, serrano, lime and watermelon jam. Entrees include new dishes such as mole de pato, a Muscovy duck leg confit with fig mole, and arrachera, a hanger steak with grilled bone marrow vinaigrette. There are also a selection of vegetable sides and desserts.

Hana re brings the chef’s table to the sushi bar. Guests dine omakase, leaving chef Atsushi Yokoyama to create a unique menu for them. Whether watching chef Yokoyama from the 10-seat counter or enjoying the meal from one of the tables, Hane re is an unforgettable experience. Courses can include sushi, sashimi, Japanese A5 Miyazaki beef or matsutake soup. Reservations at Hana re, at The LAB Anti-Mall, are a must and often book well in advance. 

Chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi bring delicious French cuisine to Orange County. Knife Pleat serves lunch, dinner and Saturday afternoon tea. Chef Esnault also offers a Friday night tasting menu.

TV Chefs

Top Chef and Food Network fans will, no doubt, want to check out some of Costa Mesa’s restaurants owned by chef-competitors. Top Chef winner/judge Richard Blais owns The Crack Shack, on the Eastside, a fast casual spot specializing in chicken dishes. The menu features fried chicken, salads, sandwiches and sides. Like Nashville hot chicken sandwiches? Try the Firebird with spicy fried Jidori thigh, cool ranch, crispy onions and pickles on a potato roll. The Mexican Poutine comes with schmaltz fries, pollo asado and jalapeño cheese wiz. For groups or families, flock” meals are a great option with fried chicken, biscuits, fries, coleslaw and cookies. There are also vegan and vegetarian options. We love the Baja Chop with guac, radish, cotija cheese and charred poblano dressing.

Top Chef runner-up/judge Amar Santana’s Vaca, near Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory, serves authentic Spanish cuisine and boasts an impressive bar menu. The tapas menu includes the bikini sandwich with Iberica ham, manchego and truffles and the canelon de pollo ahumado, smoked chicken cannelloni with foie gras sauce and a sherry reduction. Entrees include paella and an impressive selection of beef that is grilled over a wood fire. 

For something on the sweeter side, visit Chopped champion Rachel Klemek’s Blackmarket Bakery at The CAMP. Blackmarket Bakery offers a variety of delicious treats including cakes, tarts, cookies and other sweets, including vegan and flourless options. There’s also a breakfast menu with pastries and sandwiches. The coffee is delicious too!

Food Halls

Costa Mesa now has two exciting food halls at South Coast Plaza that are worth a foodie vacation. The Hall: Global Eatery and Collage Culinary Experience, set to open in October. Top Chef alum Amar Santana’s The Hall: Global Eatery is inspired by European food halls. Named one of the best new restaurants by the OC Register in 2020, The Hall features a Mediterranean grill, a patisserie, a poke bar and lounge. 

Collage Culinary Experience features sit-down restaurants serving world-inspired plates, next-level fast casual establishments, and full service bars pouring carefully crafted cocktails. Collage Culinary Experience includes Paradise Dynasty, Le Shrimp Ramen and Mah Jongs by Chef Mike. Bruxie, PhoHolic, Egg LXIII, Mochinut, Cha Redefine and Churrino coming soon.

Want to know more about a foodie vacation, or Eatcation®, in Costa Mesa? Visit our Eatcation® page here. You can also view our list of Costa Mesa restaurants, Costa Mesa happy hours and Costa Mesa Beer Trail.

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Posted in Food

It’s “Time for Fun” as the OC Fair returns in person to SoCal

Posted on June 28, 2021 | 3:00pm

The OC Fair is back in person and California is fully reopen! The fair opens July 16 through August 15 with plenty of food, live entertainment and carnival rides. Get the most out of your experience with our guide to the OC Fair. For safety precautions, the OC Fair is limiting the number of visitors each day. Advanced ticket purchase is required. Whether you’re a Californian or traveling from another state, Orange County is ready to welcome you back. Be sure to visit our SoCal So Cool summer hotel deals too!

Fair Food

There’s exciting new food this year from Pink’s Hot Dogs, Chicken Charlie’s, Pepe’s Mariscos Fresh Mexican Seafood, Mom’s Bakeshoppe and more. You can also view the full list of food vendors here. We recommend visiting the fair on Thursdays for the $3 Taste of Fair Food where you can sample a variety of items for $3 each!

Carnival Rides & Games

Ride the ferris wheel, win a prize and more. There are new rides, such as Windsurf and Liberty Wheel, and lots of returning favorites. Try your hand at carnival games like balloon pop, water races or beer pong. You can view the rides, games and number of tickets needed here and purchase tickets here

Live Entertainment

There’s a variety of live entertainment at Pacific Amphitheatre and The Hangar this summer. You can see popular tribute bands, such as The Fab Four and Dead Man’s Party, as well as comedians and artists, like Dwight Yoakam and Colbie Caillat. Bring the kids to Toy Story in Concert with Pacific Symphony for a live performance of the soundtrack while watching the classic Pixar film.

Fun Events

Before you go, take a look at the OC Fair events calendar for the full lineup of events during your visit. Check out our events calendar for events throughout Costa Mesa, including at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. 

Stay Local

Beat the heat, and the traffic, by staying at one of Costa Mesa’s nearby hotels. Best Western Plus is within walking distance to the OC Fair, plus they offer a complimentary breakfast. Costa Mesa is centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego. It’s also only minutes from the beach!

With so much to do in SoCal this summer, now is the perfect time to visit!

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Music & Art

Where to Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in Costa Mesa

Posted on May 7, 2021 | 8:20am

Costa Mesa is a proudly diverse city that offers a unique experience for visitors. Within the city you can find a variety of small businesses, the largest shopping destination on the west coast, street art and a world-class performing arts center. The cultural influences throughout Costa Mesa can especially be seen through the dining and small businesses that make up the city. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we’re highlighting some of the AAPI restaurants and businesses in Costa Mesa here and on social media. Follow us on throughout the month to see even more AAPI restaurants and businesses in Costa Mesa. 

The LAB

Photo courtesy of Hana re

Hana re

Every seat is at the chef’s table at this one-of-a-kind Michelin Star restaurant. With only 2 tables, and 10 seats, Hana re is more than a sushi bar. It’s a truly unique Costa Mesa experience.You’ll dine from one of the omakase menus and enjoy watching chef Atsushi Yokoyama prepare his exquisite dishes. If you’re planning to visit Hana re during your Costa Mesa getaway, check with the restaurant about reservations early.  

Good Town Doughnuts

Try the handcrafted brioche donuts in flavors like raspberry pistachio, hibiscus or Nutella. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Good Town Doughnuts uses high quality ingredients such as organic sugar, pure maple syrup and fresh fruit. 

Blends/Carve

Originally from Japan, owners Tak Kato and Mike Toe blend international taste with global products, including apparel and accessories. They’ll also be opening Kuro Pizza at The LAB soon.

Nook Coffee Bar

Nook Coffee Bar serves signature drinks such as the Spanish latte, honey lavender latte and honey oat latte. Grab a specialty coffee to enjoy while sitting at one of The LAB’s outdoor tables.

The CAMP

Photo courtesy of The CAMP / Folks

Folks

From partners Chloe Tran and chef Joey Baugh, Folks has already won accolades in its first two years. The naturally leavened pizza dough, along with the rest of the menu, makes Folks a must visit in Costa Mesa. The meatballs with pork cheek gravy are delicious, as are the chicken wings with Italian fish sauce, calabrian chilies, parsley and lemon. 

East Borough

Enjoy Vietnamese street-cart style foods, such as bánh mi sandwiches, spring rolls or bo kho stew at East Borough. Everything is packaged for takeaway, so you can grab a spot at one of The CAMP’s many outdoor seating areas and take in the view.

South Coast Plaza

Terrace by Mix Mix

Chef Ross Pangilinan’s eclectic menu at TERRACE by Mix Mix is inspired by Italian, French and modern Filipino flavors. The pork cheek adobo and the bone marrow pizza are always popular. We recommend trying one of his pre-fixe menus.

Royal Khybar Fine Indian Cuisine

Located across Sunflower Ave., in South Coast Plaza Village, Royal Khybar Fine Indian Cuisine offers modern and classic dishes. The menu is prepared with locally grown produce, fresh spices, handcrafted cheese and yogurt. 

AnQi Bistro

AnQi Bistro is the noodle bar and bistro concept by House of AN, of Crustacean fame. Popular dishes include filet mignon potstickers and pan-roasted lobster. There’s also a secret kitchen menu with some of House of AN’s famous dishes such roasted crab and famous garlic noodles.

Photo courtesy of The Hall: Global Eatery

Poke Bar at The Hall: Global Eatery

The popular Hawaiian dish gets the Top Chef treatment at The Hall: Global Eatery from chef Amar Santana. Build your bowl with choices of base, protein, toppings and sauce. 

Learn more information about AAPI month at South Coast Plaza here.

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Posted in Food, Misc, Shopping

Your Mother’s Day Dining & Entertainment Guide in Costa Mesa

Posted on May 4, 2021 | 4:47am

As lives return to something closer to normal, it’s time to celebrate Mom (safely, of course) on Mother’s Day with great gift ideas, special brunches and other great offers. Here’s how to make the most of your Mother’s Day in Costa Mesa!

Pampering Mom couldn’t be sweeter and more treasured this year, with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions in Costa Mesa. Choose South Coast Plaza for a great day of shopping and perfect ideas for a Mother’s Day bite. Here are some offers from South Coast Plaza restaurants for the big day:

tiffany blue box cafe south coast plaza

Tiffany & Co. Blue Box Cafe

Breakfast at Tiffany For Two

If only Audrey Hepburn could join you! The world-famous jewelry retailer offers their special cafe experience in only two spots in the U.S., including at South Coast Plaza. The bento box packaged menu includes chia seed yogurt pudding with farmer’s market fruit, croissants with organic strawberries and lavender mascarpone, Tiffany avocado toast, smoked salmon and buckwheat mille feuille, and Bellocq No. 727 The Tiffany Blend:  a floral infusion of Chinese and Ceylon black tea with notes of lychee, rose buds, lavender and vanilla.

Tea For Two

A delightfully elegant tea service for you and Mom begins with assorted scones and Devonshire cream, cherry ginger marmalade and wildflower honey.  Next tea sandwiches with a variety of fillings—smoked salmon, lemon cucumber, chicken salad, truffle and mushroom butter, goat cheese, fig and honey–as well as a petit lobster roll. End with a generous selection of petit fours and confections such as chocolate hazelnut Rocher, opera cake, citrus-olive oil cake and Key lime cheesecake. Included is a tin of Bellocq No. 727 Tiffany Blend Tea.Breakfast for 2, $120, excluding tax. Tea for 2, $150, excluding tax. For more details and to preorder 48 hours in advance, or for information, please call (714) 540-5330 and press 7.

knife pleat south coast plaza

Knife Pleat

Knife Pleat offers Mother’s Day tea on Sunday, May 9th! Guests will begin the classic tea service with scones, clotted cream and house-made marmalades. Finger sandwiches on assorted breads include Persian cucumber, egg salad, beet-cured salmon and chicken salad. End on a sweet note with cream puffs, seasonal fruit tart, macaron and the signature chocolate Louis XV. Select from six teas such as jasmine, Earl Grey, rooibos raspberry vanilla, assam and sencha.  À la carte champagne and caviar service will be available.  

11am-2:30pm (last seating) $75 per person, $36 children, exclusive of tax/gratuity. Reservations advised.

Terrace by Mix Mix

One of Costa Mesa’s hottest chefs, Ross Pangilinan, is serving a three-course brunch for Mother’s Day at his beautiful terrace restaurant in the Macy’s Home Store wing.

Guests will have a choice of four starters: seared yellowfin tuna, house Caesar, “snack” plate of bacon-wrapped date, mushroom tempura and signature albacore tostada or a trio of toast:  avocado, goat cheese and chicken liver mousse.  

Main course selections are house-made bucatini, diver scallops & pork belly Benedict, prosciutto pizza, or for a $10 surcharge, beef ribeye with sides.  A lemon semifreddo or chocolate potato cake are offered for dessert. Kids’ menu has three choices: French toast, cheese pizza, or pork adobo with fried rice.

11am-3pm. $50 per person, $12.50 kids, excluding tax/gratuity. Reservations advised.

water grill seafood tower

Water Grill

Enjoy an unparalleled offering of fresh seafood such as wild Alaskan halibut, iced shellfish platters, sushi and seasonal soft-shell crab. For Mother’s Day only, there will be specials for the day, a new spring cocktail and dessert featuring Harry’s Berries over lemon sable cake.

11am-10pm, Reservations advised.

The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille will open early serving the full dinner menu of contemporary classics as well as three brunch features: lobster frittata, bone-in NY strip steak and eggs and 8 oz. filet mignon from 11am-2pm. 
 

Another option is Mother’s Day at home. A three-course dinner features whole roasted tenderloin of beef with butter poached lobster tails as the main course with accompaniments to share.  Guests will start with a butter leaf lettuce salad and French rolls and finish with flourless chocolate espresso cake and chocolate covered strawberries. The pre-ordered dinner will be ready to warm and enjoy at home.

11am-9pm. Reservations needed for dine-in à la carte menu. Mother’s Day at Home starts at $165, excluding tax. Available for pick up May 8, 12-5pm; May 9, 10am-12pm.

cedar plank salmon seasons 52

Seasons 52

Seasons 52 offers dine-in and outdoor seating for Mother’s Day with its popular, fresh à la carte menu that includes brunch selections.  A takeout Green Box is the perfect option for those who prefer to dine at home. It offers three entrée selections and is available in two sizes.   

Brunch, served 10am-2pm, includes à la carte specials for Mother’s Day. Avocado toast, strawberry spinach salad, asparagus soup and lobster bisque are starters for the day.  Brunch entrées include crab and cheddar quiche, French toast, apricot-glazed ham and wood-grilled shrimp and grits. 

Green Box three-course menu starts with either field green or Caesar salad. Wood-grilled beef tenderloin, whole side of cedar plank-roasted salmon and apricot-glazed spiral ham are selections for the group entrée, served with roasted French green beans and a choice of sweet potato mash with maple-pecan streusel or marble potatoes. Finish with Mini-Indulgences: chocolate-dipped strawberry, coconut cream pie or raspberry chocolate chip cannoli. Food is chilled and ready to be reheated when convenient; pre-order required. 

10am-2pm, brunch; à la carte menu until 9pm, Reservations needed for dine-in.  Mother’s Day Green Box for 2 or 4-6; prices range from $55-$165 depending on size and entrée selection, excluding tax. Available for pickup May 7-8.

Outside of South Coast Plaza, there are even more great brunch celebrations to choose from. Here’s more:

Silver Trumpet

Choose the spacious outdoor lakeside patio to enjoy Mom this Sunday. Silver Trumpet Restaurant at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel presents a very special Mother’s Day brunch! Choose from many items such as Smoked Trout Tartine to Steak & Eggs or Blueberry Pancakes – there’s also a build-your-own omelet bar. See the menu for all offerings in this special brunch. Please reserve your spot by calling the restaurant at (714) 442-8593.

Le Chateau Garden Bistro

The beautiful Le Chateau inside the Ayres Hotel is offering a brunch in their outdoor courtyard that will make Mom feel as if she’s been transported to the French countryside. With an omelet station and an à la carte menu as well, let Mom choose from eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, herb-crusted prime rib or Le Chateau’s famous Monte Cristo sandwich. Plus, bottomless mimosas for just $15! Available Sunday from 10am to 3pm. See the full menu here and call (714) 549-0300 for reservations.

cafe sevilla brunch

Cafe Sevilla

Celebrate Mother’s Day at Cafe Sevilla this Sunday, May 9th. You can spoil mom 3 different ways on her special day as outlined below:

Champagne Brunch and Live Music

Treat mom to our delicious brunch menu while listening to live Spanish guitar and vocals from 10am-3pm. All moms will receive a complimentary glass of champagne during brunch. The menu includes favorites such as our Spanish Eggs Benedict (Poached farm fresh eggs, Spanish jamón Serrano crisp and saffron hollandaise on Kalamata olive loaf); Short Rib Hash (Hash of 16 hour braised Rioja short ribs, papas bravas, bell peppers and onions topped with two fried eggs); or the Breakfast Meat Paella (Pork tenderloin, grilled sausages, chicken and flat iron steak served over authentic saffron bomba rice and topped with two fried eggs). Bottomless mimosas are also available (with a 1.5 time limit). Dinner menu is also available during brunch.

Dinner and Live Music

The Mother’s Day celebrations continue into the evening with dinner and live Latin music by Tian Musica from 6pm-8pm.

Special Mother’s Day Flamenco Show at Cafe Sevilla!

Looking for something extra special for mom this Mother’s Day? Treat her to Cafe Sevilla’s Flamenco Dinner Show, offering a sensory indulgence of sight, sound, and taste, leaving her with a piece of truly Spanish culture. Marvel at the passion, beauty, and athleticism of this traditional art form as you enjoy a welcome glass of cava sangria paired with a 3-course dinner featuring our Shaved Jamón Serrano Ensalada Sevillana followed by our award-winning Paella Valenciana and Lemon Tart with Linguee Cherries for dessert. ​The Flamenco Dinner Show is $89.50 per person* and tickets must be purchased in advance. Doors open at 5pm and the show starts promptly at 5:30pm. *price does not include tax/gratuity.

To provide an enjoyable and safe dining experience, Cafe Sevilla has a spacious​ patio for outdoor dining as well as limited capacity indoor dining.

Fill Bakeshop

Stay home with mom and make some sweet treats! Fill Bakeshop is teaming up with Manoa Bake Co. to offer two bags of Mochi Baking Mix and two mochi doughnut Molds for $24.99. This adorable offering will come inside their half-dozen box and makes the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Preorder now!

Where will you be taking Mom for Mother’s Day, or will you be staying in? Let us know in the comments. Either way, have a Happy Mother’s Day!

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Posted in Events, Food, Locals