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5 ways to spend Thanksgiving in Costa Mesa

Posted on November 9, 2021 | 5:00pm

What if you could skip the cooking and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner at one of our celebrated restaurants, take the family to a holiday event AND get your shopping done Black Friday or Small Business Saturday? Enjoy your break with these 5 ways to spend Thanksgiving in Costa Mesa. Visit during the holidays and get one of our holiday hotel deals starting as low as $99.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Several Costa Mesa restaurants are serving up some delicious Thanksgiving dinners. Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar, in Avenue of the Arts, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is serving a family-style, prix fixe menu. Choose between butternut squash fritters or corn chowder for a starter, market greens or baby arugula salad, turkey and ham or prime rib for the entree and, for dessert, pumpkin creme brulee or carrot cake. All meals come with stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Le Chateau Garden Bistro, at Ayres Hotel Costa Mesa / Newport Beach, has a 3-course Thanksgiving menu, plus complimentary glass of house wine with fresh baked sourdough bread and olive tapenade. Choose between butternut squash soup or winter green salad to start. The entree is an oven roasted sliced turkey breast with port gravy, creamy mashed potatoes, fresh roasted winter vegetables and homemade stuffing with Italian sausage and herbs. For dessert, choose pumpkin pie with whipped cream and caramel sauce or apple crisp with vanilla bean ice cream.

Cafe Sevilla, in Triangle Square, has a three-course menu (two-course for kids) that includes choices of starter, entree and dessert. The full dinner menu is also available. 

The Capital Grille dine-in option comes with slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing, French green beans, cranberry-pear chutney, Sam’s mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake. There’s also a take home option with all of the sides that serves 4. 

If you’re eating Thanksgiving Dinner at home, Mastro’s, named best steakhouse byThe Orange County Register, has you covered with their family dinner kits for 4. The cook-at-home kits come with Caesar salad, three-bone prime rib with au jus and creamy horseradish, garlic mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, creamed corn, creamed spinach and cinnamon pecan butter cake.

Vaca is also offering a Thanksgiving to-go package that serves 4 to 6. The dinner includes a whole roasted Mary’s Farm all-natural turkey with gravy, roasted squash and banana soup, buttermilk chives mashed potatoes, orange scented cranberry sauce, Santana famous Italian sausage corn bread stuffing, bourbon and maple glazed yams with candied pistachios, charred broccolini with toasted garlic and preserved lemons. Plus, four desserts to choose from: pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie or cheesecake.

For South Coast Plaza restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinner options, click here.

Photo courtesy of Night of Lights OC

Night of Lights OC

Get in the holiday spirit with Night of Lights OC at OC Fair & Event Center! Opening the day after Thanksgiving, the drive-thru experience is a perfect family-friendly event. Enjoy the mile-long winter wonderland filled with characters, snow and over a million lights. You might just spot Santa too! Pre-order holiday treats to eat during the drive. If you go opening weekend, you can receive 40% off with the code BLACKFRIDAY. 

Photo courtesy of South Coast Repertory

A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory

A Christmas Carol returns live to the stage at South Coast Repertory! The Orange County family tradition will feature SCR founding member Richard Doyle taking on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Bring the whole family to see the classic story from Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol opens November 27.

Black Friday

Where else should you spend Black Friday except the largest shopping destination on the West Coast? Shop what they call “Fabulous Friday” at South Coast Plaza, which has 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants to choose from. Check the South Coast Plaza calendar for the Black Friday specials you just can’t miss.

Small Business Saturday

Support Small Business Saturday in Costa Mesa at The LAB Anti-Mall, The CAMP, SOCO and The OC Mix and more. The LAB has celebrated the “Little American Business” for over 25 years. The indoor/outdoor space hosts an eclectic array of small businesses including a zero waste refill shop, record store, boutiques in Airstream trailers and more. Across the street at The CAMP, you’ll find another collection of unique shops such as SEED Peoples Market which carries ethical and eco-friendly clothes, accessories and home goods. There’s even a shop within Blackmarket Bakery with fun gift ideas. 

The variety of boutiques at SOCO and The OC Mix continues to grow. Within The OC Mix, you can find Savory Spice Shop with great gift collections for home cooks, The Mixing Glass for the mixologist of the family, clothing boutiques and a recently opened luxury pet store. SOCO and The OC Mix hosts an annual Small Business Saturday event with tenants offering special discounts at shops and restaurants. There’s even a special event for kids from 11:00am to 12:00pm with hot cocoa, treats and a sing-a-long with Mrs. Claus!

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels

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