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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.


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

12 Budget-Friendly Eats in Costa Mesa

Posted on August 24, 2019 | 4:03am

With Orange County’s only Michelin-starred restaurants, 3 Bravo TV “Top Chefs” and a bevy of amazing eateries, Costa Mesa has built a reputation for being an Eatcation™ destination for foodies. If you’re looking for bites that won’t break the bank—but still taste amazing—there are plenty of frugal options around town. Here are 12 can’t-miss, budget-friendly eats in Costa Mesa that will have you coming back again and again.

Taco Mesa Chilaquiles con Pollo

Taco Mesa

When you walk into Taco Mesa, the first thing you might notice is that the walls are plastered with amazing reviews. There’s a reason why: the menu is chock-full of delicious, budget-friendly eats, especially on Taco Tuesdays, when tacos are only $1.75 a piece. Try the al pastor or carnitas and add rice and beans for only $2 more. Or, stray from the tacos and try out their filling enchilada duos, burritos, or quesadillas.

Their breakfast is also a steal. Standouts include the huevos rancheros and the machaca ropa vieja (scrambled eggs with shredded beef), both for $8.50, but you really can’t go wrong at Taco Mesa.

Kashiwa Ramen

Costa Mesa’s newest ramen place, Kashiwa Ramen, is also a great deal. Starting at $10, you can get a filling bowl of ramen with your choice of protein (the spicy pork belly is our recommendation). Skip the toppings—the original base is filling (and delicious) enough as is. The side dishes, like takoyaki, karaage bowls, and edamame, are also reasonably priced.

Haus of Pizza

This pizzeria holds a special place in many locals hearts for a reason. Every day, Haus of Pizza has a special dish at a discounted price. Personal favorites include the traditional spaghetti and their special panzerotti (fried dough stuffed with ground meat and smothered in marinara sauce), which is only offered Wednesdays and Thursdays.

But if you opt not to enjoy the daily special, the rest of the menu is also reasonably-priced. Personal pizzas start at $7.30 while many other entrees are less than $10. Most entrees also come with your choice of soup, salad, or their delicious garlic bread.

Vietnam’s Pearl

Another long-time Costa Mesa eatery, Vietnam’s Pearl offers delicious (and large) bowls of pho for less than $9. If pho isn’t your thing, their rice combination dishes are also cheap and satisfying and can be customized to your taste buds (the pork chops and 5-spiced chicken are both standouts). Bahn mi sandwiches, also under $10, are another cheap option and make the perfect frugal lunch.

Sushi Imari

Nothing beats a great lunch special, and Sushi Imari offers an awesome deal. For $11, you can get a two-item combo, while $12.50 nabs you a three-item combo. Choose from various teriyakis, bulgogi or karaage chicken, as well as different rolls (cucumber, California, and spicy tuna are all options), and round it out with gyoza, tempura, egg rolls and more.

Although it’s priced slightly higher at night, this same option is still a great deal if you can’t make it to Sushi Imari until dinner time. Other budget-friendly highlights on the menu include their udon and teriyaki bowls.

Honda-Ya Box

If you’re heading to this local izakaya, check out the specials, where you’ll often find healthy salads and delicious poke bowls for under $10. The rest of the menu at Honda-ya Box is no slouch either—find cheap ramen and udon mixed in with a variety of musubis and curry rice. There are also lunch specials during the week that make this spot an even better deal. All in all, It’s the perfect spot for a group that wants to try a little bit of everything.

Rooster Café

Breakfast and brunch can be a minefield for your wallet, but Rooster Café has everything you could want at a budget-friendly breakfast joint. The breakfast burritos are a highlight, as are one of the many scrambles with Portuguese sausage and red potatoes.

The lunch menu is also budget friendly. From burgers to build-your-own sandwiches to carne asada fries, there’s something for all tastes. Best of all, with their open-late schedule, you’ll never find yourself scrambling for a place to eat after making your stops along Costa Mesa’s Beer Trail.

MaDee Thai Kitchen

Craving Thai food? Head to MaDee Thai Kitchen if you don’t want to break the bank. Their fried rice and stir-fried noodle dishes are all around $10 to $11, while vegetarians can get a variety of delicious tofu dishes for around the same price. Or, opt for one of their noodle soups—the tom yum soups are highlights on this all-around budget-friendly menu.

Hong Kong Express

Nobody does portions like Hong Kong Express. If you’re craving Chinese takeout, head to this local favorite. Takeout boxes are crammed to their near-breaking point with delicious orange chicken, teriyaki chicken, and egg rolls. Their wings are a standout—in fact, they’re usually sold out by the end of the day. Try calling ahead of time to secure this cheap menu favorite.

Tenkatori Karaage

Tenkatori Karaage is comfort food at its best. Order from their “box menu” section for karaage chicken paired with miso soup, rice, and your choice between croquettes and tempura, California or veggie rolls, and green salad or steamed veggies—all for under $12. Other frugal options on the menu include rice bowls, salads, and curries. Even their rolls are all under $8.

Bangkok Corner

Bangkok Corner is another standout, budget-friendly Thai restaurant. Find curries (including their popular yellow curry) for around $10. Other cheap entrees include spicy eggplant, Thai barbecue chicken, and their delicious tom yum noodle soup.

From Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can also grab a lunch special for only $7.95. On the lunch special menu are a variety of different curry dishes and stir-frys. Dishes are also served with steamed rice and salad, plus your choice of protein.

Mongolian Bar-B-Que Pan Asia

Another cheap, all-you-can-eat option! Mongolian Bar-B-Que Pan Asia offers an all-you-can-eat dinner option for only $17 and a wide variety of lunch specials for under $10. Pile your bowls up with your favorite veggies and choice of protein (try the lamb for a unique flavor profile). All-you-can-eat options also come with rice and delicious pocket biscuits to fill with your meat of choice.

It’s clear that this city is a fabulous foodie destination with over 150 Costa Mesa restaurants, for all tastes and all budgets. Too many to try in just one day? Make it an Eatcation™ and stay overnight with some of our amazing Costa Mesa hotel offers!

What’s your favorite Costa Mesa restaurant? Let us know in the comments!

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