Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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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!



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.


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.


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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Top 10 Things to Experience in Orange County

Posted on January 30, 2017 | 3:18pm

At the heart of Southern California is Orange County, the destination of choice for more than 46 million visitors each year. And nestled within Orange County is the internationally acclaimed arts and theater district – Costa Mesa.

Costa Mesa Art of Dining


1. Top Designer Shopping, World-Class Restaurants at South Coast Plaza

Rivaling the trend-setting shopping meccas of Fifth Avenue in New York and Bond Street in London, as well as Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Ginza in Tokyo, South Coast Plaza is the largest shopping center in California. With over 250 retailers representing the highest concentration of design fashion retail in the United States, its stellar cast of shops by Fendi, Harry Winston, Gucci and Chanel has visitors from all over the world flocking to this luxury-shopping destination.


South Coast Plaza Unity Bridge


2. Hit the Beach 

Costa Mesa is a great home base when visiting Southern California. Located in the heart of Orange County, Costa Mesa is just about a 10-minute drive to the sparkling Pacific Ocean where you can stroll the boardwalk along Balboa Island, have lunch on the pier in Surf City USA, watch the professional surfers catch some of the best waves and enjoy the year-round mild weather, cool ocean breezes and endless sunshine that Southern California is known for.




3. Award-Winning Broadway Theater at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the largest nonprofit arts organization in Orange County. The Center offers the world’s leading dance companies, Broadway shows and is the home of 3 resident Orange County companies: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society and Pacific Chorale. The arts complex also includes Costa Mesa’s Tony® Award-winning resident theater, South Coast Repertory.

If an evening of dinner and the theater is an activity you enjoy, there’s no need to head to Los Angeles, or even New York City when Costa Mesa hosts the latest Broadway shows throughout the year. Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the crown jewel and arts complex in Orange County’s theater district. Visitors can check the Costa Mesa calendar to find shows featuring music legends like Tony Bennett, talented actress and producer Rita Rudner, or catch popular Broadway shows like Lion King, Wicked and Hamilton – coming to the stage in 2018..


Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall from Box Circle - Credit Cris Costea (JPG)



4. Free Airport Shuttle and Hotel Shuttle to Disneyland® Resort 

Whether you’re searching for a luxury weekend with room service in a suite, or a casual stay with accommodations for the whole family, there are a variety of hotels for every traveler’s needs, many of which offer regular deals or shopping packages. From rooftop swimming pools to highly rated restaurants, staying in Costa Mesa offers easy access to all the top attractions in Orange County.


Be sure to check deals and flight schedules into Orange County’s only commercial airport – John Wayne Airport (SNA). It is the closest airport to Costa Mesa, located just 4 miles away, with FREE shuttle service offered by most Costa Mesa hotels.


If you’re planning a day at Disneyland® Resort, it’s made easy by taking advantage of the convenient Anaheim Resort Transportation shuttle service to and from the resort area, about 20 minutes from Costa Mesa.

ART-Disneyland Resort


5. Fine Cuisine from “Top Chef” Star Amar Santana at Vaca

Voted one of America’s Best Restaurants by, Vaca is the dining concept of Chef Amar Santana, finalist on “Top Chef” Season 13, Bravo TV’s hit chef competition. Vaca is authentically Spanish, serving everything from mouthwatering tapas and savory paellas to freshly cut steaks and ocean-caught seafood. Ninety percent of the food is jet-flown from Spain. Chef Amar prides himself in offering the finest cuts of meats and cheeses.




6. Health & Fitness Retailers at The CAMP 

Located in Costa Mesa’s SoBeCa District, The CAMP offers customers a nontraditional retail community in a casual and lively atmosphere. All of the stores are health conscious or fitness related, with a strong emphasis on an active lifestyle. “Green” is everywhere, from the native vegetation to the progressive and select retailers offering their organic wares in the first-known environmentally sensitive retail campus in the United States. Be sure to visit SEED People’s Market – a collection of handmade and recycled items. Serving as a “green” department store, SEED carries a variety of products from the most practical outerwear and shoes for any outdoor atmosphere, to unique hand-crafted alternatives created with the environment in mind.


The CAMP overview


7. Stroll Charming Balboa Island

Immerse yourself in the hidden and quaint community of Balboa Island, located in Newport Beach. Despite its remote location, it has attracted a rich array of famous people and fascinating characters for more than 100 years. Marine Avenue is the main street of activity where you can sit on the patio of a cozy restaurant for breakfast or lunch, followed by a treat from the famous frozen banana stand, as featured in the TV show “Arrested Development.” Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk lined with homes of some of the rich and famous, with views of one of the larges yacht harbors in California. At the end of the boardwalk, board the Balboa Island Ferry (on foot, bike or by car) and take it to the other side to experience the thrill of The Fun Zone, a throwback to the boardwalks of the past. This is a great place, for families, couples and friends alike.


The scenic Entrance Channel offers boats of all types easy access to Newport Harbor and Newport Bay.


8. Thrill Seekers and Foodies Will Enjoy The OC Fair

The Orange County Fair has had its home in Costa Mesa has since 1953, and it is one of the top 10 largest fairs in the United States running for three weeks from July to August.

The fair’s biggest ride, La Grande Wheel, is the largest traveling Ferris wheel in the Western hemisphere and is 15 stories high. The ride is so large, it takes three weeks to assemble. At 200 metric tons, it requires a steel-reinforced pad beneath it to keep it from sinking.


OC Fair & Event Center


9. OC is Home to Amazing Restaurants like Taco María 

Creating homestyle Mexican cuisine with a contemporary flair, Taco María offers California-Mexican fusion dishes by Michelin-starred chef Carlos Salgado, where he uses recipes straight from his mom, the restaurant’s namesake. Taco María has been rated by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best restaurants in Southern California and one of America’s Best Restaurants by Seating is at a premium, but worth the wait.


Taco Maria-Guacamole


10. Cruise Legendary Huntington Beach

The city that put California on the map for surf culture is lined with 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline. One of the most well-known and iconic locations is the Huntington Beach Pier, playing backdrop to many professional surfers including legendary Duke Kahanamoku. The pier is the perfect vantage point to watch professionals and amateurs take on some of the best waves in Southern California. Take a stroll to the very end of the pier and grab a bite at Ruby’s Surf City Diner. Most importantly, don’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo of the spectacular sunsets. Huntington Beach is also known to be one of the most pet-friendly cities in Orange County, the neighboring city to Costa Mesa.

Huntington Beach Pier blog

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Posted in Food, Hotels, Misc, Music & Art, Play, Shopping

Top Places to Dine for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Costa Mesa

Posted on December 21, 2016 | 11:36am

The holidays are a great time for family and friends, especially when you can wine and dine and enjoy an evening out at South Coast Plaza restaurants with exceptional food and better company, with prime steak and seafood selections, or choose authentic Indian cuisine or traditional American fare. Costa Mesa restaurants are here to make your holidays bright, starting Christmas Eve with celebrations all the way into 2017.


Families and kids-at-heart won’t want to miss the decadent dining at Leatherby’s Café Rouge that could only be envied more by our friend Buddy the Elf.

leatherby's cafe rouge

Leatherby’s Café Rouge
Christmas Eve Brunch & Dinner December 24, 2016
11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Christmas Day Dinner December 25, 2016
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
On Christmas Eve Leatherby’s Café Rouge will host a fabulous Elf Broadway brunch buffet with food and fun for the whole family. Highlights include smoked trout deviled eggs, whole roasted ham, buttermilk pancakes with blueberry syrup, frittata, “spaghetti” cupcakes, hot cocoa with marshmallows and crushed peppermint. A candy station and hot chocolate bar as well as, arts and crafts hosted by Kidseum. The Elf Broadway brunch buffet is $45 for adults, and $22 for children 12 and under. For reservations please call 714.429.7640.


Silver Trumpet Restaurant
Christmas Eve Dinner, Saturday, December 24 – 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Christmas Dinner Sunday, December 25 – 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Four-course prix fixe menu for $50 per person
Include premium wine pairings for an additional $25 per person
Make your reservation today for a delicious and thoughtful holiday menu.
Make your Silver Trumpet reservations online!


Mastro’s Steakhouse
From 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Enjoy an unparalleled dining experience at Mastro’s Steakhouse this Christmas. The full à la carte dinner menu featuring the highest quality steaks and seafood will be available. À la Carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.546.7405.

Masters dining room

Royal Khyber Fine Indian Cuisine
From 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
This holiday enjoy Royal Khyber’s full à la Carte dinner menu featuring authentic Indian cuisine. Using the finest Indian seasonings and spices, dishes can be made mild, moderate or hot. Vegetarian options are available as well. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.436.1010.


Morton’s The Steakhouse
From 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Spend Christmas Day enjoying a memorable meal with family and friends with selections from Morton’s The Steakhouse à la carte menu. Dine on generous portions of USDA prime aged beef, fresh fish, lobster and chicken entrees, as well as an extensive wine list. A succulent steak and lobster tail served with drawn butter will also be available for only $55. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.444.4834.


Le Chateau Garden Bistro 

Settle in to this warm and intimate setting with a special three-course prix fixe menu for $28.99 per person. Enjoy Le Chateau’s continental cuisine, as well as the finest service. Transport yourself to the French countryside this Christmas at Le Chateau, located inside the Ayres Hotel and Suites Costa MesaCall 714.549.0300.


NEW YEAR’S EVE, December 31

AnQi Bistro costa mesa

AnQi Bistro by House of An
From 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Back by popular demand is AnQi’s extraordinary New Year’s Eve celebration! From 7-9 p.m. enjoy a five-course, prix fixe dinner featuring courses from caviar to foie gras and prime beef with a Perrier Jouet champagne toast. At 10 p.m., the restaurant will transform into a swanky party with a DJ, aerialists, dancers and figure skaters. Drinks will be flowing with an open premium bar and hosted Perrier Jouet champagne bar, as well as passed appetizers and caviar station. Bottle service available after 10 PM. Reservations required. Dinner is $153; late-night cocktail reception, $100; dinner & cocktail reception $200; pricing is per person plus tax and gratuity. For reservations please call 714.557.5679 or email


The Capital Grille
From 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Capital Grille Costa Mesa will offer its full dinner menu filled with fresh seafood, dry-aged steaks and acclaimed wines. Guests will enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne at midnight. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.432.1140.


Darya Fine Persian Cuisine
From 9:00 p.m. to midnight
Ring in 2016 with a fabulous night of food, dancing and entertainment starting at 9 p.m. A three-course menu will be served featuring Darya’s most popular dishes. Reservations are required. $89.00 per person for the prix fixe dinner; à la carte menu prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity).
For reservations please call 714.557.6600.


Golden Truffle
Chef Alan Greeley’s bold approach to food is so remarkable it merges all the senses with the magic of the moment. Enjoy a four-course prix fixe dinner for $78 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. Reservations are a must, so please call 949.645.9858.



Spend NYE at Habana with a special dinner menu and live music by the Lilly Hernandez band and Madcat, as well as, rum tasting and a balloon drop to ring in the New Year. Visit Habana for more information and to make reservations.

Habana Costa Mesa


Leatherby’s Café Rouge
From 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Enjoy a pre-theater dinner at Leatherby’s this New Year’s Eve. The full à la carte menu will be served along with a special Elf Broadway three-course prix fixe menu. The course meal features a gem Caesar salad, chestnut ravioli with roasted pumpkin, beef short rib and chocolate cranberry trifle for dessert.
The Elf Broadway dinner is $50 for a three-course prix fixe or $72 with wine pairings; à la carte menu prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity).
For reservations please call 714.429.7640.


Mastro’s Steakhouse
From 4:00 p.m. to midnight
Ring in 2017 with an unparalleled dining experience at Mastro’s. The full à la carte dinner menu featuring the highest quality steaks, seafood and libations will be available. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.546.7405.

Masters Seafood Tower

Quattro Caffé
From 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Bring in the New Year with a masquerade party that includes a four-course Italian menu, live entertainment by Ivan Marcelo and Domenico Grillo, party favors, prizes, a midnight champagne toast and more. The three-course prix fixe dinner is $69 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.754.7933.


Seasons 52
From 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Seasons 52 will be serving its full seasonally inspired calorie-aware à la carte menu for New Year’s Eve and Day. Guests who choose to ring in 2017 there will enjoy a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.437.5252.


Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar
Open until 1 a.m., with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
If you’re looking for a casual, yet classy way to ring in the New Year, Silver Trumpet does it in style. Visit Silver Trumpet at 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, or call 714.442.8593 for information.


From 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Ring in 2017 with Top Chef Amar Santana’s authentic Spanish New Year’s Eve specials: American wagyu tataki with bone marrow flan ($13), uni spoon with caviar ($12 each), wood-grilled Alaskan king crab ($32), Maine lobster paella ($60) AND wood-grilled Chilean sea bass ($42). Vaca’s full menu of charcuterie, tapas, paella, dry-aged steaks, Spanish wines and handcrafted cocktails will also be available until 11 p.m. The bar will remain open until 2 a.m. Reservations highly recommended. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.463.6060.


Water Grill
9:00 p.m. to close
The New Year’s Eve celebration begins in the private dining room starting at 9 p.m. with an à la carte menu, DJ and midnight champagne toast. Reservations essential: 949.208.7060.


Antonello Ristorante
From 5:00 p.m. to midnight
Ring in the New Year at Antonello Ristorante with authentic Italian cuisine, music and other festivities. A limited à la carte menu will be available along with Antonello’s extensive world-renowned wine list. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.751.7153.


Morton’s The Steakhouse
From 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – New Year’s Eve Dinner
Say goodbye to 2016 while enjoying Morton’s full à la carte menu of classic appetizers, award-winning wines, a wide variety of USDA prime aged steak, fresh seafood options and decadent desserts. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations please call 714.444.4834.


Royal Khyber Fine Indian Cuisine
From 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Enjoy Royal Khyber’s full a la carte dinner menu, with vegetarian options available. À la carte prices vary per selection (exclusive of tax and gratuity).
For reservations please call 714.436.1010.


While you’re planning your holiday outing, why not take advantage of the final days of the Stay and Shop package at one of 10 hotels in Costa Mesa. Not only are some of these hotels offering Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining specials, we’ve got you covered for a variety of dining experiences throughout our city. Happy holidays, and we’ll see you in Costa Mesa!

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels

Vaca: Orange County’s Hottest New Restaurant

Posted on June 3, 2016 | 12:58pm

Sometimes, our job is just too difficult. We visited OC’s hottest new restaurant, Vaca, and with journalistic research in mind, ate everything in sight.

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Posted in Food, Locals