Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Posts Tagged ‘cocktails’

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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The Happiest of Happy Hours in Costa Mesa

Posted on April 19, 2018 | 2:00pm

social happy hour costa mesa

Every experienced traveler knows that happy hours are one of the best ways to explore as many restaurants and bars as possible without breaking the bank. Some of the best happy hours in Costa Mesa also happen to be at a few of the most impressive establishments of the city’s growing culinary scene. We’ve listed a few of our recommendations below, but make sure to check out our bar and restaurant pages for more!

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5 Places for Cold Brew and Craft Coffee in Costa Mesa

Posted on September 12, 2017 | 3:43pm

Costa Mesa is used to being on the cutting edge for food and drink, and the latest trends in coffee are no exception. When it comes to cold brew or a variety of craft coffees, this city is on it. Here are 5 great places to get craft coffee in the city.

Thunderking Coffee Bar

Known as one of the originators of cold brew coffee, Thunderking won’t share its secret, but says the process is ‘long’ and ‘cold’ and what makes their flagship bottled brew so smooth and pure. Thunderking recently opened a Coffee Bar located inside SOCIAL, a trendy restaurant on the west side of Costa Mesa. Along with traditional hot coffee drinks, Thunderking serves its proprietary organic cold brew on tap. Guests can enjoy a variety of innovative caffeinated beverages that combine Thunderking’s nitro-brew with SOCIAL’s house made syrups, cordials and bitters, each available with or without alcohol. The lineup of nitro-brew drinks include:

  • White Girl Latte: nitro cold brew, salted vanilla, cream, cinnamon (vodka optional)
  • Mint Mojito: nitro cold brew, mint, lime simple syrup, cream (rum optional)
  • The Better Buzz: nitro cold brew, orgeat, coconut water, salted vanilla cream (coconut rum optional)

 

To pair with its coffee creations, Thunderking offers a selection of breakfast and lunch menu items curated by the culinary team at SOCIAL, such as:

  • Nooks and Crannies: almond butter, house strawberry jam, toasted sourdough
  • Avocado Toast: crème fraiche, confit cherry tomatoes, pea tendrils, radish, tarragon
  • SOCIAL Benedict: house-made buttermilk biscuits, pulled pork, slow egg, creole mustard hollandaise

Thunderking is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located inside SOCIAL at 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa.

 

coffee bar

                                                                                                                                Lavato Images

 

Portola Coffee Lab

Voted best coffee roaster in 2015, Portola Coffee Lab was the brainchild of husband and wife co-owners, Jeff and Christa Duggan. A scientist at heart, Jeff credits coffee for helping him further pursue his love of chemistry and science and allowing him to bring this love to fruition in the popular flagship location of Portola Coffee Lab inside The OC Mix at SOCO in Costa Mesa. Utilizing their on-site roasters with an all-organic line of coffee, Portola serves up many traditional coffee drinks, including a refreshing cold brew that locals crave. Fans of this craft coffee spot line up throughout the day to get their fix. On the weekends, Portola is a destination of its own as aficionados of espresso and cappuccino travel for miles to enjoy their favorite cup of coffee in the laid-back atmosphere at The OC Mix. Recently, on the six-year anniversary of Portola, the team renovated to expand the space and add more seating around the coffee bar making a more engaging customer experience. This quickly became a popular space for professionals and students to enjoy their coffee and get some work done with the background buzz of coffee grinders and visitors milling around the center. Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Located at 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa.

Cafecito Organico

Located in the funky and cool outdoor center called The LAB “anti-mall,” Cafecito is a true neighborhood coffee spot with a wholehearted attempt to support livelihood and biodiversity, bringing people together one cup at a time. Originating in Los Angeles, Cafecito Organico works with small growers and family farms that produce high-quality coffees sustainably. Their commitment to delivering a quality product carries over to the staff members they employ, who are trained to brew the best cup of coffee, and treat every customer as their guest. On any given day, students can be found plugged in, studying and enjoying an iced coffee to keep them going, or business folks stopping in for an afternoon pick-me-up. The menu consists of the traditional espresso, latte and Americano, and they definitely have a quality cold brew as well as a variety of teas. While there are a few tables inside and out, there is plenty of seating in this eclectic shopping and dining area. Take a coffee to go and relax in the ‘living room’ area or sit by a soothing water feature just outside the shop. Food and snacks are limited here, but the nearby Goodtown Doughnuts or PopBar offer yummy treats to pair with your cup o’ Joe. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Located at The LAB, 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.

Neat Coffee Shop

Dubbed by one customer as ‘the best cold brew in Orange County’ and known for their seasonal (fall) Golden Latte, Neat is a hidden gem located in a co-working office space in Costa Mesa. While living in Uganda, husband and wife owners, Ally and David, were inspired by the coffee roasting process. They also loved the idea that coffee brings people together, so when they moved to the U.S., they were committed to working in the business. Soon after settling in, Neat was born, carrying high-quality beans from some of the best West Coast roasters. House made seasonal syrups and locally-made almond milk make each cup extra special. Their website says “Costa Mesa’s friendly neighborhood coffee shop” and we agree; a good cup of coffee is made better by the people serving it. This small space with only has a few seats outside, and sometimes offers pastries but no permanent food menu. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located on the bottom floor of an office building at 270 Baker St., Suite 200, Costa Mesa.

Milk & Honey

This is a super cute spot to grab a drink and catch up with a friend while sitting on the rustic, enclosed patio off to the side. Known for their Lavender Latte and a variety of other menu items, Milk & Honey offers frozen yogurt, shaved ice, acai bowls and a peanut butter and fresh fruit sandwich, as well as many other items. The Milk and Honey Special is Strawberry ice with strawberries, bananas, kiwi and mocha, topped with red azuki bean. Not only is this treat refreshing, it’s a healthy start to the day and makes a great midday treat. Milk and Honey’s natural ambiance makes it a perfect fit at The Camp – a sustainably focused, open-air campus with a diverse offering of restaurants and locally-owned shops. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Located at The Camp at 2981 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.

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Make Valentine’s Day into a Weekend Away

Posted on February 4, 2017 | 6:26pm

It’s almost time for the most romantic day of the year! With Valentine’s Day falling mid-week this year, local restaurants and hotels are offering menus to allow you to extend the celebration by spending the weekend in Costa Mesa beginning February 10.

 

Whether you are planning to treat your sweetheart to a nice dinner out, a weekend away, or you’re looking for just the right gesture to show you care, Costa Mesa is your one-stop destination for exclusive gift ideas, Valentine’s Day menus and some great hotel deals to make getting away easy and memorable.

Silver Trumpet

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar at Avenue of the Arts – a Tribute Portfolio Hotel will offer a four-course prix fixe menu including baked brie; a pink cauliflower soup or heirloom salad, followed by a selection of entrees like a 10 oz. lobster tail, New York prime steak or wild mushroom risotto; and chocolate beignets for dessert. Guests will also enjoy a complimentary champagne toast. This menu is available for $75 per person on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11 from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made through Opentable. To complete a romantic evening, check out the Kiss and Tell package being offered by Avenue of the Arts.

 

Le Chateau Garden Bistro, located at Ayres Hotel & Suites, is offering a full à la carte or prix fixe dinner menu. Start with Le Chateau’s signature lobster bisque and end with their chocolate lava cake or a heart-shaped red velvet cake. This dinner menu is available from 5 to 10 p.m. for $47 per person beginning February 10 through Tuesday, February 14. Call 714.549.0300 ex. 407 for reservations. Ayres Hotel & Suites also has a variety of special weekend packages.

 

Ayres Le Chateau Bistro Outdoor Patio

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Segerstrom Center for the Arts has a weekend lineup making for a perfect date night.

Michael Bolton Pacific Symphony

Michael Bolton, the Grammy-award winning legendary singer, will perform a medley of his greatest hits on February 10 and 11 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

 

Actress, producer and Broadway star Rita Wilson is joined by talented songwriters Billy Steinberg, Holly Knight and Desmond Child on February 10 for an intimate evening performing and sharing the stories behind their music.

Rita-Wilson-Photo-by-Nathan-Chapman

 

WEEKEND AND VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER SPECIALS

 

Habana offers a decadent Valentine’s Day menu and entertainment with special dishes like grilled filet mignon with Dungeness crab Béarnaise, fried yucca, and watercress salad. Live music and the special menu will be available February 11 to 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. Enjoy one of Open Table’s top 100 best al fresco dining spots in the U.S. Make reservations by calling 714-556-0176.

the-lab-plaza

 

 

One of Costa Mesa’s top Indian restaurants offers a three-course prix fixe menu including an appetizer or choice of gourmet salad; a selection of entrées including their own Khyber Nectar (lamb shank aphrodisiac) and a selection of sweet desserts. This menu is available from February 10 to 14 beginning at 5:30 p.m. each evening for $39 per person. Make reservations on Opentable.

 

Royal Khyber -Khyber Nectar

 

Open for an exclusive dining experience Valentine’s Eve, guests will enjoy complimentary Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label champagne, alongside chocolate-covered strawberries to celebrate the occasion. This offer is available on February 13. Make reservations online or by calling 714.432.1140.

 

 

VALENTINE’S DAY, FEBRUARY 14

SoCo couple 

Take your romantic dinner up a notch by participating in a hands-on cooking class at Bistro Papillote. You and your loved one will work together to create a Valentine chocolate dinner that’s sure to set the mood for a romantic evening! You’ll prepare pepper-crusted filet mignon and chocolate port wine sauce, fig and Stilton salad with port vinaigrette, potatoes sautéed in duck fat and a beautiful flourless chocolate torte for dessert. The price is $225 per couple and includes one bottle of Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. The cooking class begins at 6:00 p.m., with the sitdown dinner to follow. For more information and to reserve your spot, please call 714-697-1707.

 

Offering a special appetizer menu as well as a nine-course prix fixe menu this Valentine’s Day, guests will enjoy an appetizer selection that includes Ishiyaki Wagyu beef, miso-marinated lamb chops, seared scallops with black truffle, Kumamoto oysters, abalone and more. The prix-fixe menus include live spot prawn carpaccio with uni & caviar, foie gras steak, grilled Chilean sea bass and much more. The nine-course pre-fixe menu is $125 per person and includes Australian Wagyu; for $150 per person the nine-course menu includes Japanese Wagyu. Appetizers are priced per selection. This exclusive event is on Tuesday February 14, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For reservations please call 714.850.0880.

 

 

Enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean this Valentine’s Day at Mezzet. In addition to the à la carte menu, a special four-course menu will be available. Begin with an appetizer sampler followed by an arugula salad. Entrée choices include chicken scaloppini or grilled salmon. For dessert, a decadent heart-shaped chocolate cake with coffee will be served. Two glasses of champagne and a red rose for the ladies will also be part of the prix-fixe menu for $55 per person; À la carte prices vary per selection. Enjoy this Valentine’s Day dinner at Mezzet (exclusive of tax and gratuity) Tuesday February 14, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations please call 714.540.3365.

Two heart shaped red roses and champagne isolated on white background, Valentines day

 

Vaca by Amar Santana is offering their full menu, with some extra special Valentine’s Day items like seafood-stuffed squid ink canelon and their rum raisin ice cream with peanut chocolate crunch and caramel peanuts. Dinner service is on February 14 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Make reservations or call 714.463.6060.

 

Offering three different tasting menus, guests can choose the Original, Vegetarian or Vegan Tasting Menu, each four courses and served with wine pairings. This special menu is offered on February 14 beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made calling 714.545.1411.

oldvine at the CAMP

  • Pueblo “Choose Your Own Adventure” Dinner

For Valentine’s Day, Pueblo will be doing an “Elige Tu Aventura” (Choose your Own Adventure) dinner, where each guest will have a list of 15 specially curated tapas for only that evening. Each table will have an option to freely order the items à la carte, as a combination of 5 or 9 items, or El Mundo, which is all of the above! The last option works beautifully for parties with 5 or more guests. The more a table orders, the better the value received. To make your reservation, please call 714.340-5775.

Pueblo Shrimp

Enjoy a holiday three-course menu, which includes an appetizer, entree and dessert featuring Darya’s most popular dishes. Live music by Amir will be featured throughout the evening. Pick one of two seating times on February 14 with two seating times. The first seating is from 5 to 7 p.m. and the second seating is from 7 p.m. to close. This dinner is $79 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity. Advanced reservations are required. 714.557.6600.

 

FOR A SWEET TREAT OR A NIGHT CAP…

 

The LAB and The CAMP

 

Try Black Market Bakery at The CAMP for a delicious variety of baked goods, chocolates and their “Drunk in Love” cheesecake.

 

Popbar, a concept founded in New York, serves up frozen treats on a stick in a variety of blends including gelato and sorbet. With flavors like chocolate, vanilla, banana, mint or passion fruit, the all-natural Italian treat comes in a variety of flavors and can be customized with a variety of dips and toppings.

 

RUIN Bar: Cat Lady (and Gentlemen) Anti-Valentine’s Day Celebration February 10 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Enjoy anti-Valentine’s Day house drink specials, knitting, movies and more!

 ruin bar exterior

 

South Coast Plaza

 

Love is sweet at Sugarfina! Fill your own customized XOXO bento box with festive chocolates and gummies including  “Love You a Bunch” rosé roses imported from Germany, “You’re a Catch” Swedish fish imported from Sweden, “I Pine for You” Parisian pineapples imported from France, “Kiss Me” sugar lips from the USA and other domestic and imported goodies. Prices vary per selection. Sugarfina is located on the first floor between the Jewel and Carousel courts.

 

Antonello Espresso Café

Enjoy a special heart-shaped shortbread cookie and espresso beverage at Antonello Espresso Café. Antonello Espresso Café is located on Level 2, Carousel Court.

 South Coast Plaza Couple and Champagne Bakery

Champagne French Bakery Café helps you say “I love you” with heart-shaped sugar cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries or heart-shaped cakes. Valentine’s Day specials will be available from February 1-14. Call for availability. Champagne is located on Level 1 of the Crate and Barrel Wing.

 

SoCo and The OC Mix

 

Stop by ST Pâtisserie Chocolat, Chef Stéphane Tréand’s elegant pastry shop in The OC Mix courtyard. Not only will you find lots of chocolate for this Valentine’s Day, but the selection of macarons will entice you to buy one of their specialty variety gift boxes. And, while wandering around SoCo Collection, stop into Restaurant Marin for made-from-scratch desserts including their amazing “cake-of-the-day” special!

St Pastisserie Chocolat

Enjoy! XOXO

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Locals, Misc, Music & Art

3 Great Speakeasy Lounges in Costa Mesa

Posted on October 10, 2016 | 1:48pm

What is a speakeasy? Back in the Prohibition Era, speakeasies were hidden, illicit spots that sold alcoholic beverages under the table even though they were illegal. According to Wikipedia, a newspaper in 1889 stated, “Unlicensed saloons in Pennsylvania are known as ‘speak-easies’.” They were “so called because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors”.

When Prohibition was ended in 1933, speakeasies in general died away. Today, we have a little different view on the speakeasy, hearkening back to a day when drinking seemed sultry, mysterious, and just a little bit dangerous. Costa Mesa has a great selection of bars and nightlife, particularly a few spots that hearken back to those early 1900 days of dark bars, red velvet couches and a well-made cocktail. Take a look at our list of speakeasy bars in Costa Mesa, in the heart of Orange County. (pc: Life Magazine)

speakeasy-life-mag

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Posted in Play