Costa Mesa, CA, USA

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

One Weekend, Two Food Festivals

Posted on October 30, 2019 | 2:01pm | Travel Costa Mesa

group dancing at the taste

If Costa Mesa isn’t on your food destination list, we think it should be. It’s home to award-winning dining, including Orange County’s only two Michelin Star restaurants and was recently featured throughout OC Weekly “Best Of 2019” food and drink categories. It’s no surprise, then, that Costa Mesa hosted two events the same weekend to celebrate all things culinary.

The TASTE

October 18-19, Los Angeles Times and Travel Costa Mesa presented the 2nd annual The TASTE Costa Mesa, a 21-and-over food and drink festival that included unlimited tastings, chef demos and live music. The event was held over three sessions–Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Restaurants from Orange County and Long Beach served crowds of hungry foodies who couldn’t wait to get a taste of each dish. 

Group of friends sitting at a table laughing and drinking outdoors.
Photo by Devin Berko

Over a dozen Costa Mesa restaurants participated in The TASTE. Friday included dishes from Tackle Box, Verde Kitchen and Filomena’s Italian Kitchen. Vaca chef Amar Santana was on hand to dish out paella and chef Ross Pangilinan, of Terrace by Mix Mix, talked about his family inspiration during his cooking demo. 

Group of friends holding drinks at The Taste Costa Mesa.
Photo by Devin Berko

Among Saturday afternoon dishes were smoked salmon mousse from Shuck Oyster Bar, tomatillo gazpacho and pork two ways from 2145 Pizza and paella valenciana from Cafe Sevilla, opening at Triangle Square in December.

Smoked salmon mousse from Shuck Oyster Bar.
Photo by Devin Berko

Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Wing Lam and Knife Pleat chef Tony Esnault closed out the event with cooking demonstrations, while guests dined on Costa Mesa’s Toast Kitchen & Bakery, Mesa, Descanso and Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar.

Two women holding cocktails at night.
Photo by Devin Berko

VIP ticket holders also enjoyed exclusive dishes from Mastro’s Steakhouse and The Crack Shack, as well as additional drink options and personalized wine tumblers.

The Crack Shack California Dip sandwich on checkered table cloth.
Photo by Devin Berko

SoCal VegFest

October 19-20, OC Fair & Events Center hosted the 5th annual SoCal VegFest. Although the goal of VegFest is to introduce and inspire health conscious living, food lovers had plenty of plant-based options to try. Orange County vegan restaurants such as Vegan by El Zamorano, plant-based fast food The Black Bean, The Donuttery and Cinnaholic served up delicious vegan treats outdoors. Indoor exhibitors included larger brands like Orgain, Forager, Follow Your Heart and Califia Farms. SoCal VegFest also included a cruelty free market, cooking demos, live music kid-friendly events and even a cupcake contest.

I'm on an Eatcation sign on desk.
Photo by Devin Berko

Whether you’re an omnivore or plant-based, Costa Mesa has plenty of delicious options for your next food getaway. From a DIY Top Chef Tour to our Costa Mesa Beer Trail, there’s something for everyone. So go ahead: take an Eatcation™.