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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Archives for Food

Labor Day Weekend Events in Orange County

Posted on August 18, 2017 | 10:17am

 

Thinking summer is coming to an end too quickly? Not to worry, there’s still time to enjoy the warm Southern California weather. With Labor Day Weekend right around the corner, why not plan one last weekend getaway? You could sit by the pool and relax, or get out and explore Orange County to make the most of your time and enjoy Labor Day Weekend events. Be at the center of all the fun and stay in Orange County’s theater and arts district, Costa Mesa.

 

Costa Mesa has all the right elements for a perfect Labor Day weekend away – food, shopping, arts and entertainment. Many Costa Mesa hotels offer special weekend rates and packages so you can make the most of your time away. With Costa Mesa’s close proximity to the beaches in Huntington, Newport and Laguna, it’s hard to pass up a visit to Orange County’s beautiful coastline. Make a full day of it, enjoy water sports, cruise the harbor or take an evening stroll on the beach and enjoy a stunning Southern California sunset.

PC:Visit Newport Beach

 

Costa Mesa Events

Great Labor Day Cruise – September 1 – 3, 2017

Head over to the OC Fair & Event Center for the 35th Annual Great Labor Day Cruise where 1,200 muscle cars, street rods and classics will be on display and paraded along a 1.25-mile route. There will be food, music and fun for the whole family. The three-day event is $15 for adults and free for children under age 11.

 

Heroes Hall, also on site of the OC Fair & Event Center, is a free museum open year round, serving as a tribute to Orange County veterans and others who have served our nation.

 

The Capital Grille Generous Pour – through September 3, 2017

Wine lovers will toast to one of the largest wine events in the U.S.! Labor Day is the last weekend to experience The Capital Grille’s “Generous Pour,” where you can sit back, relax and savor seven varieties of wine when you purchase an entree. The best part is that you can enjoy the flight of these seven wines over and over again. Or, select your favorite and your server will generously refill your glass throughout the evening, all for one price. Located at South Coast Plaza, this popular summer event ends September 3, so be sure to reserve your spot soon.

 

Costa Mesa Activities

Spend a day at South Coast Plaza, where this international shopping destination continues to celebrate its golden anniversary with exclusive merchandise such as Gucci’s limited edition Large Sylvie Top handbag and Porsche Design sunglasses for men and women. Starbucks even has a special Carousel Blend coffee to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. Stop by the new boutique by ladies’ luxury Italian footwear Aquazzura, and when you’re ready for a break, enjoy a gourmet pizza or other Italian favorites and specialty cocktails at newly reopened Wolfgang Puck Kitchen. If you’re in need a few more things for back-to-school, South Coast Plaza is just the place for the hot, new trends.

If being a kid at heart is what inspires your weekend away, or merely keeping the kids entertained is the goal, add Disneyland to the weekend itinerary. Staying in Costa Mesa makes it even easier to create just the right itinerary for all family members. Most Costa Mesa hotels offer convenient shuttle transportation to and from your hotel direct to the Disneyland Resort. This is definitely a perk if you want to see Minnie and Mickey while also enjoying a relaxing weekend retreat.

 

Costa Mesa’s SOCO and The OC Mix is an inspirational and creative center where you can shop, dine or simply chill out. Grab a carefully crafted and freshly brewed latte at one of the best coffee roasters around, Portola Coffee Lab. Browse new retailers like women’s athletic clothing and Korean-inspired skincare products by Bono Spera (meaning ‘Good Hope’ in Latin), or home furnishings from luxury Italian brand Natuzzi Italia and stylish multimedia products by the iconic Bang & Olufsen.

PC: Anne Watson Photography

 

A Saturday visit to this indoor/outdoor area is a must in order to experience one of Orange County’s best Farmer’s Markets – Saturday’s from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Looney Tunes lovers and art collectors can appreciate not one, but two galleries by Chuck Jones’ Center for Creativity – ‘the’ gallery for pop culture collections; the second location recently opened in The OC Mix. View and purchase from the extensive fine arts collections and various Looney Tunes-inspired gifts to take home. Think Snoopy, the Peanuts Gang, Bugs Bunny, and more.

 

If you happen to stop at SOCO and The OC Mix on Monday of Labor Day, you’re in for a real treat. Grab a bite at a new popup breakfast spot open for a limited time. Eggslice, open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., creates perfectly crafted breakfast sandwiches, featuring unique locally made Chili Jam, combined with fresh, local ingredients from OC Baking Company, Billy’s Egg Farm, Francisco’s Meat Company, West Coast Prime Meats and Penjoyan Produce.

 

Don’t wait; start planning your weekend away now! Explore the Calendar of Events to see all the Labor Day weekend events in Costa Mesa and around Orange County.

 

 

 

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Misc, Play, Shopping

The OC Fair is Here! An Annual Costa Mesa Festival, With Concerts and Events Galore

Posted on July 14, 2017 | 1:18pm

With more than a million visitors to the OC Fair each year, visitors probably all have a slightly different take on how they approach this beloved Costa Mesa festival, the second largest in Southern California and one of the Top 10 in the United States. And it’s definitely one of the top Costa Mesa events for a month every summer!

 

“Farm Fresh Fun” is the theme for the OC Fair in 2017, and that about sums up how you might approach your experience. From tasting all the amazing fair food to exploring fresh produce and newborn animals in Centennial Farm, to the attractions and live Costa Mesa concerts, there is plenty of Farm, Fresh AND Fun to experience.

RIDES

Start your visit with a ride high above the OC Fair on the Sky Ride. An aerial tram that flies over the length of the Fairgrounds and back, the Sky Ride gives you a perfect overview of the OC Fair and a great way to see it all and navigate your fair strategy for the day. You’ll enjoy a nice breeze as you soar high above the visitors, you might even see an arena show underway, and you’ll definitely see the exhilarating rides in the midway area.

 

New this year to the OC Fair is La Grande Wheel XL, one of the largest observation wheels in the Western Hemisphere. See this beautiful Ferris wheel at night lit up with a glow that can be seen for miles. This is another great way to see the whole Orange County Fair from one vantage point. If you’ve already spent a few hours traversing the Fairgrounds, a ride on La Grande Wheel XL is a perfect way to give your feet a break without missing out on all the fun…and this year, your car will be air conditioned for a nice break from that hot SoCal summer sun. Fairgoers looking for a bit more of a rush can strap-in on Endeavor and experience 3G- acceleration.

COSTA MESA CONCERTS AND FREE ENTERTAINMENT

The opportunities to be amused and entertained at the Fair are endless! Pacific Amphitheatre, right on the OC Fairgrounds, is one of the best places to see an Orange County concert. This venue seats just 8,000 people, which means every seat in the outdoor amphitheater is a good one. This year’s lineup includes comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the B-52s, Jake Owen, Michael McDonald and many others. An even more intimate space to see a local concert is The Hangar, with tribute bands performing nightly during the OC Fair.

 

All of the arenas and stages offer lively entertainment throughout the day and evening, from the jaw-dropping Peking Acrobats to the always-entertaining hypnotist (audience participation required) and Demolition Derby. An all-time favorite is the All Alaskan Racing Pigs, where eight pigs will race their little tails to the finish line. Grab a seat in the corral and watch the little piggies hustle!

 

Get your reality TV fix in person. On select days throughout the course of the Fair, chefs like Stéphane Tréand of Costa Mesa’s ST Patisserie Chocolat will showcase his talents creating delicate chocolate sculptures so beautiful, you almost won’t want to eat them. On July 27, the winner of Food Network’s “Chopped Jr.” in 2016, 14-year-old Mason Partak will once again put his skills to the test by competing live in a culinary competition with Chef Tréand. A full lineup of culinary demonstrations and intense competitions are planned and sure to make for great entertainment.

OC FAIR FOOD

Get a snack before a show, like a pie-sized soft pretzel, or wood-fired corn on the cob dressed with some mayo (or butter if you prefer), lemon juice and cayenne pepper for a kick.

 

Dinner or lunch options include burgers, tacos and a larger-than-usual handheld turkey leg, but there’s so much more. Having received accolades for creating the most unique fried items, it’s worth stopping by Chicken Charlie’s. Try the sample platter of mushrooms, artichokes and zucchini, deep-fried and served with ranch. Great way to get your daily serving of veggies! Or, go for the cheese curds – deep-fried and all. Plus each year, the OC Fair gives us something new try – like a hearty 5 lb. barbecued pig leg, or the Unicorn Pineapple Bomb that will have all the kids (and maybe adults) giddy about this tasty drink served in a pineapple garnished with rainbow candies!

 

The folks at the Fair know how good their food is, and they want you to try it all. So they created a sample size of many of the Fair foods – think fried, wrapped in bacon, or sprinkles of sugar on top. Every Thursday from noon to 4 p.m., samples of select Fair food are available for just $3.00.

 

Wine tasting with Orange County’s Wine Society gives you the opportunity to taste the best California wines from the 30,000 California wines entered into the OC Fair competition. Make this a stop on your journey through the Fair and enjoy a glass of wine with cheese and crackers. If you’re visiting on a weekend, check out the wine seminars. Sit back, sip and enjoy live music from the surrounding stages.

 

EXPLORE THE AWARD-WINNING FAIR EXHIBITS

DIY Inspiration can be found throughout the Fair, where Pinterest comes to life right in front of you. Find formal table settings, to award-winning jams and jellies and this year, some of the best brewers will have their craft beer blends on display.

 

And, if you’re a collector, or want to see someone else’s interesting collection, head over to the Centennial Farm area (inside adjacent to the award-winning produce display) and you’ll find collections of stamps, stuffed animals (think Ty Beanie Babies), Disney items, antique dolls and more.

PLAN YOUR VISIT AND MAKE A WEEKEND STAY OUT OF IT

With so much to do, there’s not enough time, but for 23 days this summer, you can return to the OC Fair to experience all it has to offer. You can always extend your stay in Costa Mesa to get the most out of the Fair, take a break at one of the nearby hotels, cool off and take a swim, or head to the beach for a day of relaxation.

 

OC Fair Admission is $12 during the week and $14 per person on the weekend. But there are also many ways to get discounts to the fair. A few of them are listed below.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel – Admission is always free with ID and their guests can purchase up to six half-price tickets.

We Care Wednesday – Get free admission and one free carnival ride when you donate items to select local nonprofits between noon and 3 p.m.

Kids Day – Each Thursday, children 12 and under get in free all day.

Best Deal Ever – On Saturdays and Sundays (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Fairgoers can take advantage of half-price admission and carnival rides for half the usual number of tickets.

We hope to see you experience some good ‘ol “Farm, Fresh, Fun” this summer in Costa Mesa!

What ride, concert or event are you most excited to see?

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

Beef…it’s what’s for Father’s Day in Costa Mesa!

Posted on June 14, 2017 | 10:33am

If your dad enjoys a juicy cut of steak, grilled to perfection, give him a break this Father’s Day and treat him to one of the most decadent and flavorful steaks in Orange County. It’s hard to decide which is “best,” but we have a few recommendations to help you choose, and you won’t go wrong whether you’re looking for fine dining, family-style tapas, dinner or brunch – these restaurants are ready to welcome you on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, 2017.

 

Mastro’s Steakhouse is a sophisticated and classy steakhouse offering dry-aged, hand-cut prime selections of meat served on its signature 400-degree steak plate, for just the right preparation. Featuring an A5 grade Japanese Wagyu New York Strip and a decadent 33 oz. “Chef’s Cut” Tomahawk Chop, there’s no doubt your craving will be satisfied at this steakhouse, especially when accompanied by side of lobster mashed potatoes and a carefully selected wine pairing to complete the meal. Treat dad on Father’s Day; he’ll be in heaven, and the family will enjoy being treated to a very special dining experience, with live music nightly. Open for dinner beginning at 3 p.m. Book a table online.

 

 

AnQi by House of AN $1 Beers and 1 lb. Tomahawk Ribeye

From 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

AnQi’s architecturally designed contemporary space is a treat in itself when dining out on a special occasion like Father’s Day. AnQi’s menu of Asian-inspired dishes with an American flair delivers appetizers like filet mignon potstickers and their famous garlic noodles made with Mama An’s secret recipe. On Father’s Day, AnQi is offering an impressive 1 lb. tomahawk ribeye chop; Szechwan lamb raviolis; Korean fried chicken wings; a salt and pepper pork chop and mile-high chocolate mocha cake with cookies ’n cream ice cream for dessert. Dad will love the $1 dollar beer selection available as part of this special menu. AnQi’s full à la carte menu will also be available all day. Prices vary per selection; specialty menu $15-$88 (exclusive of tax and gratuity) For reservations, call 714.557.5679.

 

Pueblo

Brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

At Pueblo, the goal is to bring people together and by featuring a menu of shareable plates. A Father’s Day celebration is perfect to bring the family together and toast to dad. Pueblo offers a tapas-plate Sunday brunch, and is also open for dinner. Having been voted one of the ‘best charcuterie platters’ in Orange County, where guests can choose from 6 different cured Spanish meats or even jamon iberico, this is a perfect platter to share with the group. On Father’s Day, Pueblo will be presenting a special menu with selection of meat along with a new dessert for chocolate lovers – a warm chocolate brownie with house-made toasted coconut ice cream. Reservations are not required, but can be made by calling 714.340.5775.

 

Vaca

5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Chef Amar Santana is known for his aged steaks, carefully selected cheeses and cured meats from his charcuterie bar, and a variety of Spanish wines. A favorite starter is the Canelon de Pollo (smoked chicken cannelloni with foie gras and sherry reduction); it will melt in your mouth. To really indulge, take one look at the Carne section of the menu and you’ll see prime selections of beef like Japanese Kobe or the grass-fed NY Strip steak. If that’s not enough to tempt you, check out this preparation by Chef Amar himself. Reservations are highly recommended. Call 714.463.6060.

 

 

The Capital Grille at South Coast Plaza

11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Especially for Father’s Day, Capital Grille is serving an off-the-menu item; it’s a mouthwatering Tomahawk bone-in ribeye. Or if dad prefers a perfectly grilled burger, try Capital Grille’s Signature Cheeseburger – a juicy, flavorful blend of chopped sirloin, smoked bacon and onions. It’s one of the best burgers in town, so be sure to get a reservation to enjoy a delicious meal and a beautiful bottle of wine from their award-winning wine list on this special day with dad.

 

Nothing says “We love you, Dad!” quite like a prime steak! Where will you be dining for Father’s Day in Costa Mesa?

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Posted in Events, Food, Misc

Stay All Weekend and get $100 While Enjoying Costa Mesa Events

Posted on May 19, 2017 | 2:05pm

Looking for events this weekend or for Memorial Day? The Costa Mesa events calendar has something for the everyone. And, if you stay two nights, you’ll enjoy $100 to dine in the City of Costa Mesa.

Make a night out at the original and largest Asian-themed Night Market in the U.S. when it returns to OC Fair & Event Center May 19-21. The event hosts more than 200 attractions including food vendors, crafts, music and live entertainment and merchandise. The Night Market is open from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and from 4 to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and parking is $8. Children under 6 get in free.

Stay with Us, Dine on Us

Stay all weekend and experience Costa Mesa events and some of the top attractions in Orange County. Right now, through Memorial Day, Costa Mesa hotels are offering some great packages to help you extend your stay and put a little money back in your pocket. Select Costa Mesa hotels and the trendy dining and retail center, SOCO and The OC Mix invite you stay with us and dine on us.

SOCO and The OC Mix Courtyard Costa Mesa

Book a two-night stay through May 29. Costa Mesa hotel guests will receive $100 to experience some of the best dining in Southern California. Choose from more than 20 restaurants including authentic French crepes at Bistro Papillote, or Spanish tapas at Pueblo, or make your own plate with hand-cut cheese from The Cheese Shop, with olive oil and wine tasting at We Olive Wine Bar. These are just a few of the flavors you’ll find at SOCO and The OC Mix.

Cheese Shop SOCO and The OC Mix Costa Mesa

If you’re wondering what to do this Memorial Day weekend, we have some ideas.

Friday, May 26, check into your hotel; take in an early dinner at Leatherby’s Café Rouge, or Water Grill…walking distance from most hotels. Get tickets to see to the popular Celtic Women at Segerstrom Center for the Arts that evening. Experience the live stage performance of the Voices of Angels. Enjoy the angelic sound of the three Celtic women while they perform alongside new Celtic violinist Tara McNeill and watch as the trio makes stunning wardrobe changes throughout the evening.

Celtic Women and Voices of Angels in Costa Mesa

 

Saturday, May 27, head over to SOCO and The OC Mix where you can start putting your $100 gift card from your Stay and Shop package to use. Grab a seat on the patio for a late breakfast or lunch at Restaurant Marin…you’ll feel like you’ve been swept away to a different time in this charming location while you enjoy the comfort of freshly crafted menu items. Be sure to take the time to visit one of Orange County’s largest farmer’s markets from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during your trip to SOCO and The OC Mix. There is plenty of fresh produce, floral arrangements and crafts for kids (gift card not redeemable at Farmer’s Market). Be sure to stroll around the center to see the creative boutiques and designer showrooms at this location.

Pueblo tapas and scallops in Costa Mesa

 

Memorial Day weekend also brings the Scottish Festival to Costa Mesa at OC Fair & Event Center on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. Whether or not you’re of Scottish heritage, the Highland Games are a great form of entertainment and showmanship. Spend the day outside enjoying traditional food and music while experiencing this annual Southern California event.

Scottish Fest and Highland Games Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa dining, shopping and attractions are all within minutes of each other so it’s easy to head back to SOCO and The OC Mix anytime throughout the weekend to try the exceptional brew at Portola Coffee, sample the Kombucha sodas from Farm & Culture Co., or pick up a sweet treat at ST Patisserie Chocolat.

Kombucha Farm and Culture SOCO and The OC Mix Costa mesa

In the City of the Arts™, you won’t want to miss the experiential Costa Mesa Art Walk around Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Sculptures can be found in a hotel, concert hall, along pathways throughout the performing arts complex, and at South Coast Plaza – one of the largest shopping centers in California with hundreds of retailers, unique boutiques, designer retailers and restaurants.

Art Walk Costa Mesa Samueli Theater

Getting to Costa Mesa is easy being just 90 minutes north of San Diego, one hour south of Los Angeles and an hour flight by air from San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas into John Wayne Airport, Orange County.

 

See you soon!

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

Become a Pastry Chef in a Day! Baking and Pastry School at ST Patisserie Costa Mesa

Posted on April 24, 2017 | 4:25pm

Do you aspire to be a pastry chef, but you don’t have the nerve to share your creations outside of your own kitchen? Costa Mesa has its very own baking and pastry school at SOCO and The OC Mix! We’re sure you’ll feel more confident about sharing your homemade dessert creations after taking a class with world-famous French Pastry Chef Stéphane Tréand of The Pastry School and ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. This may sound intimidating, but The Pastry School offers a variety of classes designed to teach beginners, and seasoned professionals, the techniques to take their pastry techniques to the next level.

 

It’s a great way to turn a vacation to Costa Mesa into an Eatcation!

 

Pastry Chef ST Patisserie Costa Mesa (John Gilhooley)

 

Chef Stéphane recently offered a sneak peak of his classes when he was featured on an episode of the California Dream Eater. The show’s host, Chase Ramsey, dropped in on Chef Stéphane to congratulate him for being selected as part of Visit California’s #DreamEats program. Chef Stéphane took that opportunity to show Ramsey a few of the secrets to making amazing desserts.

 

Classes at The Pastry School vary from 5-day weeklong sessions to a single day, depending how intense one wants to get with the craft. The one-day classes are also a great opportunity for a date, or outing with girlfriends. For those who are seriously thinking about developing their skills, and can dedicate more time, a Master Series is also available.

 

Chef Stéphane teaches “the joy of baking and arts” and has been doing so in the U.S. since 2012 when he relocated from Paris and opened his first pastry school in Southern California. Within a few years, he moved his school from San Clemente to Costa Mesa’s SOCO and The OC Mix where he opened ST Pâtisserie Chocolat in two locations to share his delightful creations with visitors.

 

Stephane Treand Pastry Chef

Chef Stéphane is just one of four artisans in the U.S. with the prestigious title of Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF), which is awarded by the French Ministry of Labour in Paris and given to artists and chefs competing to create their perfect masterpiece.

 

To learn more about the California Dream Eater and Costa Mesa being designated as a #DreamEats destination, see our blog about Costa Mesa’s Amazing Aged Steaks.

 

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Posted in Events, Food, Misc