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A New Year’s Eve 2023 to Remember in Costa Mesa

Posted on December 20, 2022 | 5:26pm

New Year’s Eve is a time to regroup for the past year and celebrate the start of a new year with a fresh slate. And Costa Mesa’s a great spot to do it. While making those party plans, be sure to check on reservations for brunch the next day… here’s our list of top Costa Mesa brunch spots.

We found a few fun things and tips for you to celebrate the arrival of 2023!

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“A Christmas Carol” Enchants at South Coast Repertory

Posted on December 13, 2022 | 9:02am

Theater can transport someone to another time and place. And during this magical time of the year, tales such as “A Christmas Carol” remind audiences to cherish every relationship, every day. At South Coast Repertory (SCR), the 42nd production of this timeless story comes to life through December 24. Let the City of the Arts® bring you into the world of Ebenezer Scrooge, if only for a few hours.

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Best Brunch in Costa Mesa: 11 Top Restaurants to “Brunch So Hard” in the City of the Arts®

Posted on December 2, 2022 | 3:08pm

Yelp recently rated the top 100 brunch restaurants in California, and three Costa Mesa hotspots were on the list, with two in the top 6. Brunch is a sacred tradition in Southern California, particularly this time of year. We’ve included Yelp’s top picks for Costa Mesa brunches, and threw in a few more of our favorites (in no particular order). Why 11? Why Not, we say?

What is your favorite spot to “brunch so hard” in Costa Mesa? Let us know in the comments!

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6 Ways to Dine Around the Globe in Costa Mesa

Posted on November 23, 2022 | 9:28am

Wanderlust or the desire to travel is often on people’s minds around this time of the year. Whether it’s to visit distant relatives or take a much needed break, travel is how we grow as individuals– experiencing life through sights, sounds and tastes. And the holidays are the perfect time to enjoy and spend time with friends and family. What better way than around the dining table?

Costa Mesa is a great place for a holiday getaway, offering designer shopping, theaters and concerts, and eclectic dining featuring global cuisines. To top it off, Costa Mesa hotels are offering great specials like $100 gift cards to shop, or free meals for the kids. What if you could make stops “around the world” right in Costa Mesa?

While you’re at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus to see an iconic holiday performance like “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol”, you can find a great variety of cuisines to make your Costa Mesa vacation feel even more cosmopolitan.

Let us entertain you with the ability to travel the globe without looking for your passport. Take a look at these 6 fun spots right in Costa Mesa.

Costa Contemporary Kitchen – Peru

Peruvian cuisine is the specialty at this cozy, contemporary dinner locale off Anton. Latin for “coast”, Costa’s nod to the city it inhabits is reflected throughout the fusion selections. Rissotto de Camarones marries buttered shrimp into rice bathed in white wine and spicy aji amarillo chili peppers. Botija olives found along Peru’s coast are the star ingredient in a creamy sauce beneath sashimi-style octopus in Pulpo al Olivo. A popular red onion relish known as salsa criolla accompanies beef-based dishes, yet is versatile enough to plate with a mix of seafood including scallops and mussels in a cilantro beer-infused Arroz Con Mariscos.

Populaire – France

steak with brie on top

Populaire features classic French bistro staples with a modern California twist. Located inside South Coast Plaza, Populaire is receiving rave reviews for chef partners Ross Pangilinan and Nick Weber. Parisian bistro dishes are interpreted by Weber with California ingredients in a creative, quirky menu. Find classics like a Croque Madame or ribeye steak (with Saint Andre brie on top?!), plus unique takes like escargot ebelskivers or duck breast with pickled cherries. Populaire is a global experience you won’t soon forget.

Philz Coffee  – San Francisco

Coffee culture may be a thing in other areas, but Palestine-born Phil Jaber attached a level of service unmatched by competitors when he was done tinkering with the idea of crafting the ideal cup of coffee and began brewing for the masses from within his neighborhood convenience store at the center of S.F.’s lively Mission District. 

A patron’s custom cup of love begins with a discussion about coffee blends. Once the barista has a solid notion of what the guest is expecting, they go to work by freshly grinding the beans. Every request is brewed to order using a drip method– never with an espresso machine. This method is intentional and not meant for those in a rush. The fourth and final step is for the customer to sample the finished product. If for whatever reason the patron isn’t pleased, it’s made again until it is to his/her liking. Jaber’s sophisticated thought process towards satisfying people’s need for coffee is a revelation in the beverage industry and a beloved brand in the Bay Area.

Vaca – Spain

vaca paella

Chef Amar Santana’s rising star gained national attention in 2015, when he first appeared on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He launched Vaca while his season aired, showcasing his love of Spanish cooking through classic tapas and equally shareable paellas. Large format, beef-centric mains are wood-fired and a specialty of the house, with cuts of meat on full display as diners are escorted to their tables. More modest appetites will appreciate listings of cured meats and rich cheeses assembled from the charcuterie station.

Any visit to Vaca really isn’t complete without a proper cocktail. The seasonal drink menu features sherry, gin and vermouth-based beverages. A creative spirits program and skilled bartenders complement every meal.

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar – New York City

Speaking of cocktails, the notion of pre-theater drinking is reminiscent of socializing in Midtown Manhattan before a Broadway show. Silver Trumpet’s Eclectic series expands on that thought, taking it a step further with a program of limited-time, theater-inspired sips coinciding with the current and past productions at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. 

If Moulin Rouge tickets are in your future, partake in The Smoldering Temptress, which blends Lillet Rouge, cherry-infused vodka, Cointreau and citrus notes in a martini vessel. Missing Wicked? Ask about Elphie’s Rose, incorporating lemongrass syrup, ginger liqueur and Bombay Sapphire East gin for a memorable kick.

Outpost Kitchen – Australia

outpost kitchen brunch dishes

Biodynamic, locally-sourced plus organic produce and proteins are at the forefront of Outpost Kitchen’s dining philosophy. Relaxed beachside cafes down under inspire a vibrant dining environment alive with musical grooves, stunning interior design and upbeat clientele. Serving a comprehensive spread of breakfast, lunch, brunch and happy hour options, dinner has now been added to its rotation on select evenings.  

Outpost’s juices and smoothies are as in-demand as the rest of its menu, emphasizing whole, nourishing ingredients with all-natural flavors. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dietary needs are also accommodated for. Coming out of a meal here is indicative of clean living and worth a detour from the plaza across the way.

Though we only selected 6 spots to dine around the world in Costa Mesa, there are countless more options to whet your appetite. Check out the Eat section of our website and get more fun content and videos to start planning your Eatcation® any time of the year in Costa Mesa.

Costa Mesa has a great calendar of events for the holiday season, and don’t miss these special Costa Mesa holiday hotel deals for your visit before the end of the year. Happy Holidays!

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OCMA (Re)Opens in Costa Mesa – The Opening of the Decade for the City of the Arts®

Posted on October 6, 2022 | 3:06pm

October 8 is the debut of the new Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) across from Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Comprising over 4,500 works of art, OCMA’s permanent collection focuses on art produced during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by artists with ties to California – and OCMA offers rotating exhibitions throughout the year. Designed by Morphosis Architects, under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne and Partner-in-Charge Brandon Welling, the state-of-the-art, 53,000-square-foot building will double the size of the museum’s previous location and provide an exciting indoor-outdoor experience for showcasing the collection and exhibitions.

Beginning at 5 p.m. on October 8, OCMA will celebrate by being open to the public for 24 straight hours and host programming throughout the evening all the way to Sunday afternoon. To plan your visit to OCMA, we’ve consolidated all the basic information to make the best use of your time.

If you’re driving, there are multiple parking garages to choose from. However the primary structure to OCMA is referred to as Plaza Tower Garage at 600 Anton Blvd. It is the same garage shared by Westin South Coast Plaza and also the busiest with foot traffic. Parking validation is not available for any of the structures. 

Diamonds are everybody’s best friend, at least for the next 10 years, thanks to a generous donation of 2.5 million dollars to OCMA by Newport Beach jeweler Lugano Diamonds. As a result of their kindness, visitors are not paying any admission fees. Those interested in applying for a membership or making a donation of their own can inquire via the OCMA website or in person. 

In dire need of some caffeine? Look no further than the coffee bar on level two. Verdant will oversee all food and beverage plus special event catering. Available for lunch plus cocktails, the team behind Verdant is a partnership between chefs Ross Pangilinan (Terrace by Mix Mix) and Nick Weber (Populaire) plus Alyssa McDiarmid (Cannery Seafood of the Pacific).

Verdant photo credit: Ron DeAngelis

Verdant will be a plant-forward menu with California fare and will include kid-friendly selections.

Five opening exhibitions are featured throughout OCMA. “13 Women” is curated by the museum’s director and CEO Heidi Zuckerman and will be presented in two rotations in the next year showcasing female artists with shared visionary qualities to the 13 female museum founders. “California Biennial 2022: Pacific Gold” features over 20 artists from across the state, blending contemporary works with emerging voices. “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World)” moves through the logic of a black hole, covering the entire color spectrum along OCMA’s mezzanine gallery space. 

Outside, “Sanford Biggers: Of many waters” is a 24 x 16 foot tall hybrid sculpture that infuses multiple historical periods into one work. Lastly, “Peter Walker: Minimalist Landscape”  highlights the landscape architect’s earlier contributions to the performing arts plaza as well as his influences Sol LeWitt and Frank Stella. 

Strolling through OCMA is done best with walkable shoes. However its expansive elevators can accommodate large parties or comfortable distancing. We recommend taking one down to the pop-up gift shop displaying a range of conversational works both modern and vintage. 

Inside OCMA’s main door is the gift shop called /THE MIND/. Created by Emmanuel Renoird and Nicolas Libert, the owners of the famous PLEASE DO NOT ENTER of downtown LA and South Coast Plaza fame. A pair of Parisian art collectors who built one of the biggest private collections of contemporary art and design in France, /THE MIND/ is a progressive retail space with an ode to modern life. Make sure the take a walk through the space to find genuinely unique and artistic gifts.

Don’t miss all the other amazing offerings of this beautiful campus. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, formerly the Orange County Performing Arts Center, is Orange County’s performing arts and theater complex and home to the world’s leading dance companies, Broadway shows, award-winning classical, jazz and cabaret artists and year-round educational programs. Segerstrom Center for the Arts (SCFTA) is celebrating its 35-year anniversary with a phenomenal lineup for this coming season, with top-tier performers including Jane Lynch & Kate Flannery, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, and Patti Lupone, as well as hit Broadway shows including Hamilton, Chicago, The Book of Mormon, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, To Kill A Mockingbird, Disney’s Frozen, Hairspray, Six, and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Segerstrom also offers a full calendar of holiday shows including the return of American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker. Visit the Travel Costa Mesa event calendar for things to do in the city.

The City of the Arts® also has its own public Art Walk with a free mobile audio tour by Travel Costa Mesa. The first stop is right outside the SP+ parking structure on Town Center Drive. You can find 20+ great pieces of free public art to view in various areas around our city. World-renowned international artists like Isamu Noguchi and Joan Miró have one-of-a-kind art pieces found only in Costa Mesa!

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