Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Posts Tagged ‘eatcation’

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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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with These 5 Desserts in Costa Mesa

Posted on March 14, 2019 | 9:36am

By now it’s common knowledge that Costa Mesa is a haven for foodies, but what about those with a major sweet tooth? From some of the best baked goods in Orange County to the best milkshakes in the country, Costa Mesa has it all. Next time you’re craving something sweet, try out one of these five spots to satisfy your sweet tooth in Costa Mesa.

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Top 10 OC Fair Foods

Posted on July 11, 2018 | 11:33am

 

Chances are good that you’ve been waiting all year to see what deliciously eyebrow-raising foods the kooky vendors of the OC Fair have cooked up for us this year. After all, of all the fun the OC Fair brings to Costa Mesa each year, the free pass to indulge in new and curious foods in the name of “YOLO” is hard to beat. That’s why we’ve rounded up a few of the newest additions to this year’s menu below. If you want to fit the most into your your OC Fair food tour, stop by on Thursdays between noon and 4 p.m. when vendors will be offering a sampling of treats for $3 each!

 

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Visit California’s Dream Eater Finds #DreamEats in Costa Mesa

Posted on February 27, 2017 | 9:41am

Visit California is the tourism organization representing the state of California, and this year has focused on promoting foodie travel and culinary tourism. To help highlight the amazing cuisine found throughout the state, Visit California sent the California Dream Eater on a road trip…and one of his stops was Vaca in Costa Mesa!

 

 

The California Dream Eater, Chase Ramsey, whimsically travels around California finding the best eats. Before his annual road trip, Chase asked Instagram followers to post pics of their favorite city in California for the best food, with the hashtag #DreamEats. After a couple of months of intense competition, Costa Mesa’s social media followers came through with enough #DreamEats posts to win a spot on the road trip!

dream-eater-vaca

 

For his online YouTube episodes, Chase filmed at Vaca restaurant, and ST Patisserie in The OC MIX in Costa Mesa. Vaca, helmed by “Top Chef” Season 13 runner-up Amar Santana, is a Spanish eatery featuring a variety of sought-after Spanish meats and cheeses, tapas and paella, including an artfully curated Spanish-only wine list.

amar-chase

Chase also stopped by ST Patisserie Chocolat. ST Patisserie is owned by Master Pastry Chef Stéphane Tréand. Chef Tréand was the 2008 World Pastry Champion and is an MOF (Meilleurs Ouvrier de France), the highest honor a pastry chef can earn.

st-patisserie

Chase also visited several other foodie hotspots in Costa Mesa which have been featured on his Instagram, including Blackmarket Bakery, Portola Coffee Lab and Water Grill South Coast Plaza.

 

“We’re so excited to have welcomed the California Dream Eater to Costa Mesa,” said Paulette. “We competed to be one of the cities on Chase’s list because we knew Costa Mesa was one of the hottest up-and-coming foodie destinations in Southern California. We truly appreciate the support of our social media followers and community partners like the City of Costa Mesa, SOCO Collection, The OC MIX, The LAB and The CAMP and South Coast Plaza in helping us win a spot as one of the highlighted destinations.”

 

Chase will be posting videos and images of his experience in Costa Mesa on his YouTube channel and Instagram account, @CaliforniaDreamEater. Travel Costa Mesa will be sharing and reposting on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts, @travelcostamesa. With over 28,000 Instagram followers and 147,000 YouTube views, California Dream Eater’s highlight of Costa Mesa cuisine will help to show even more travelers why Costa Mesa is the perfect place for an Eatcation!

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