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Posts Tagged ‘Dining’

2024 Lunar New Year: Embrace the Year of the Dragon in Costa Mesa 

Posted on February 5, 2024 | 5:28pm

Lunar New Year is nearly here, and Costa Mesa is one of the best places to spend it. From dining to unique experiences, the city is brimming with ways to join in the festivities and welcome in the Year of the Dragon. 

About Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays in China, and it is also widely celebrated by other cultures. It is a fifteen-day celebration marked by many traditions in the home, auspicious wishes, shopping and spending time with family. The fifteenth and final day of the holiday is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, marked to end the celebration. Lunar New Year is part of a larger cycle, moving through the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, bringing us out of the year of the rabbit into the year of the dragon. The only mythological creature of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon symbolizes good luck, strength, and power. 

In 2024, Costa Mesa will kick off with several celebrations and special events on the weekend of February 9–11th, providing cultural experiences that will entertain, educate, and allow you to explore with family and friends. But it doesn’t end there—many places will have ongoing opportunities to celebrate throughout the month.

The Lunar New Year Experience at South Coast Plaza

Shop, Dine, and Celebrate

South Coast Plaza eateries will feature unique menu options, special offers, and activities to immerse you in the festive spirit of the Lunar New Year. Expect thematic decor, special shopping deals, and events throughout the month. Be sure to visit Jewel Court for a themed year of the dragon installation.

South Coast Plaza Lunar New Year Flavors

Paradise Dynasty 

Paradise Dynasty will offer six specialty dishes designed by their chef, including Singapore-style stir-fried black pepper lobster, steamed Chilean sea bass, braised pork, Paradise salted duck, and Dynasty sticky rice. Specialty dishes are available through March 31st. Hot Tip: If you arrive for the Lunar New Year, you will receive a lucky red envelope with a certificate for 20% off a future visit.

Afternoon Tea at Knife Pleat

This Michelin-starred restaurant is adding Lunar New Year-inspired additions to its Saturday afternoon tea service on February 10th, 17th, and 24th. Some of the unique items will include mini mooncakes, black sesame balls with mandarin filling, and chocolate gold coins. Hot Tip: For something stronger try their commemorative year of the dragon cocktail.

Lucky Dishes at Din Tai Fung

Known for its xiao long bao (soup dumplings), Din Tai Fung is a great stop for the whole family, where they will be serving up lucky Lunar New Year dishes. Adding to the luck, every guest will receive a red envelope with a surprise inside. Hot Tip: Arrive early to put in your name then explore South Coast Plaza while you await your call back. 

For Sweet Temptations

Laderach, Sugarfina, and See’s Candies will all feature limited-run Lunar New Year sweets. All make great gifts to take home to share the Lunar New Year cheer with friends and family.

More Year of the Dragon Specials

  • Terrace by Mix Mix: Offering a three-course prix fixe menu with Asian fusion flavors throughout February. Featuring shrimp spring roll lettuce wraps, glazed duck breast, and coconut panna cotta.
  • AnQi: Featuring a prix fixe Good Luck Menu February 10–11th, either as six courses or à la carte. Dig into crispy quail, Wagyu “pop tarts,” shrimp and lobster money bags, and more.
  • Water Grill: An immersive experience with festive decor, symbolic à la carte dishes, and garlic noodles (for luck and a long, joyous life). Ongoing from February 8–24th.

Lunar New Year Cultural Events

Pacific Symphony Lunar Year at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Saturday, February 10th


Experience a celebration of communities coming together with performances of Eastern and Western music and dance at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A total of more than 200 performers will showcase their talents, including distinguished soloist Fei-Fei Dong performing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Other performers of note include:

  • Acclaimed pipa player Yu Liu
  • Zither player Brian Bùi
  • Pacific Choral
  • The American Feel-Young Chorus
  • Armonia Singers
  • The Ya Ya Dance Academy 
  • Wendy Hua’s Violin Studio at Orange County Music and Dance

Tết Festival at OC Fair & Event Center

February 9th–11th

Hours vary by day

Experience the largest Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival at the OC Fair & Event Center from February 9th through the 11th. This family-friendly celebration offers a memorable experience where you can merge fun and education, learning about Vietnamese culture in the best ways possible—through delectable food, traditional performances, and cultural exhibitions. General admission is $8, and children 2 years old and under get in for free. 

Event parking is $12.

OC Lantern Festival at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Saturday, March 2nd


At the tail end of the Lunar New Year celebrations on March 2nd is the OC Lantern Festival held at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Free for the whole family, the event marks the end of the Lunar New Year season. Be dazzled by a lobby transformed with floating lanterns and the dive into the array of events, including music, dance, art making, food, riddles, and more. Then, it all culminates with a thrilling dragon dance held in the plaza!

Shen Yun at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

March 13th–17th

If the Lunar New Year celebrations have sparked your interest in learning more about the vibrant cultures across the continent of Asia, a performance of Shen Yun is a must see. This performance explores China’s rich 5000-year history through inspiring performances of classical Chinese dance and music with stunning costumes and backdrops. 

Stay the Night to Continue the Celebration

With Lunar New Year celebrations lasting fifteen days it’s a beautiful time of the year to extend your stay to experience everything this holiday has to offer. Start the Year of the Dragon with comfort and extensive amenities when you book an overnight stay at one of our eleven Costa Mesa hotels.

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Posted in Events

14 Date Ideas for Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day

Posted on January 31, 2024 | 5:43pm

There’s nothing wrong with a box of chocolates and a quiet evening staying in on Valentine’s Day. But with the sheer number of things to do in Costa Mesa, why not make it a day or night out on the town. Now, choosing from among the spectrum of activities is a different issue, which is why we put together a curated list of our top 14 date ideas for Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day in Costa Mesa.

All of these options are great whether you are out with your partner or a group of friends. Whomever you plan to spend Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) day with, you can count on making memories.

1. Loosen Up With Inspired Art Wine

Photo by Inspired Art Wine

Art and wine have gone together for centuries, and the rise of painting classes with wine is a testament to this fact. Inspired Art Wine uniquely merges an art studio with a wine bar. They offer painting classes (with wine), as well as wine-focused sessions where you can learn about tasting profiles and create custom labels. For Valentine’s Day, they’re hosting a painting class featuring the scene “London Walk,” perfect for the romantic occasion! Seats are limited, though, so we recommend booking your spot sooner rather than later.

2. Feast at the Mercado González Food Hall at Northgate Market

Can’t settle on a single place to eat? The new Mercado González food hall features 20+ stalls, including a well-stocked bar, ensuring you, your date, or your friends will all find something to enjoy. What turns this into a really lively date night is the live music, featuring local artists who know how to add some flair to a night of gastronomic enjoyment. Don’t forget to try their limited edition heart shaped churros and sweet bread conchas while you are there!

3. Get Crafty at Lovely Curated Things

Photo by Lovely Curated Things

Boutique store, Lovely Curated Things is hosting a special Galentine’s Candle-Making Workshop on February 10th. This event comes with some extra perks, including in-store discounts, drinks and a light appetizer, and personal instruction. Tickets are sold beforehand, so be sure to book yours in advance.

4. Break a Sweat at Rockreation

Photo by Rockreation

Beginners and experienced climbers alike are welcome at Rockreation, a Costa Mesa climbing center with a focus on health, fitness, inclusion, and community. Book a climbing class matched to your level and goals (fitness, speed, or technique), or even set up a private instruction session for you and your partner. Nothing strengthens bonds more than a little healthy competition!

5. Stay Classy with Dinner and a Show

Photo by Silver Trumpet

No date is more iconic than dinner and a show! Start with a Valentine’s Day dinner at Silver Trumpet, treating you and your partner to a 4-course prix-fixe meal. Dishes include saffron lobster risotto, wild mushroom bisque, hand-crafted desserts, and more. Then take a two-minute stroll across the street for a striking live performance of Disney’s The Lion King at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This award-winning spectacle features breathtaking music by Elton John, dazzling visuals, and a classic story of courage.

6. Make Something Special at Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine is always ready to provide a calm and creative night out! On February 14th they have planned a special Valentine’s Day celebration with the unique feature of BYO (bring your own) champagne, wine, or other drink. Bookings are made for two people at a time, and spaces are limited. So don’t hesitate to lock in your reservation for a night of painting ceramic artworks that you get to keep.

7. Treat Yourselves at South Coast Plaza

Photo by South Coast Plaza

Shopping at South Coast Plaza is not your usual shopping experience. The extensive list of luxury brands, flagship stores, boutique shops, unique eateries, and striking architecture make a visit to this shopping destination an experience in itself. Treat yourself or your partner to something new to remember the day by, and don’t forget to stop by Laderach while you are there for artisanal chocolate that will have you melting.

8. Be Inspired at OCMA

Photo by Jeff Gritchen

A visit to the Orange County Museum of Art might not be your first thought for a date night, but there is something special about meandering through halls of impactful artwork with a partner or friends. Walk hand in hand as you treat your eyes to works by California-based artists, as well as a growing collection of international works. Did we mention that admission to OCMA is free? 

9. Learn Some Moves at Café Sevilla

Photo by Café Sevilla

Take a Salsa & Bachata dance class at Café Sevilla this Valentine’s Day to learn some impressive moves and dance the night away with someone special. No reservation is needed. Just show up with a readiness for fun (and maybe a pair of comfortable shoes) and let the music sweep you away. The night first features a salsa class followed by a bachata class, and then you can put your new skills to work for the next four hours, with the dancing wrapping up at 1:30 am.

10. Axe Your Ex at Slashers Axe Throwing & Ales

Photo by Slashers Axe Throwing & Ales

Break free from Valentine’s clichés and axe your ex this February 14th at Slashers Axe Throwing & Ales! You read that right. Bring a printed or digital picture of your ex and let out your frustrations by throwing some axes. Make sure to enjoy their wide selection of craft beers while you are there.

11. Get Rustic at ARTime Barro

Photo by ARTime Barro

For a couple that likes a hands-on approach, we recommend taking a wheel-throwing class at ARTime Barro. Learn core techniques for using a pottery wheel alongside your favorite people with lessons for all levels given by lifelong ceramic experts. 

12. Unwind at Facial Lounge

Photo by Facial Lounge

The first few months of the year can be a stressful time, so unwinding on Valentine’s Day is as valid as any date. We recommend booking organic vegan facials at Facial Lounge in Costa Mesa, a spa and lounge where even a few hours can feel like days of relaxation.

13. Reward Your Skin at ECO Now

Photo by ECO Now

The Valentine’s Day Lotion Bar Making Workshop at ECO Now is your chance to make beautiful, luxurious lotion bars with custom fragrances. Control the ingredients that go into your bar for a blend that suits your skin’s needs perfectly. Take home your creations for yourself, or use them as gifts. Tickets are sold in advance, with a discount available when you purchase two tickets at a time.

14. End the Night Right with an Overnight Stay

Photo by Ayres Hotel

Having a breathtaking night out is well and good. But wrapping up the night in luxury and privacy is what creates something truly memorable. Booking an overnight stay at a Costa Mesa Hotel gives you and your partner a space of your own for a night of well-deserved comfort.

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Posted in Events, Food, Hotels, Music & Art, Shopping

Top Tips for Mother’s Day Brunch in Costa Mesa

Posted on May 4, 2022 | 11:00am

Costa Mesa has every option you need to treat mom to a perfect Mother’s Day brunch. Whether mom’s up for an elegant Michelin-star experience or a lively brunch, the table’s set for you, mom and the family to enjoy the special celebration. Read on for some ideas of where to brunch in Costa Mesa.

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Posted in Food, Locals, Misc

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with These 5 Desserts in Costa Mesa

Posted on March 14, 2019 | 9:36am

By now it’s common knowledge that Costa Mesa is a haven for foodies, but what about those with a major sweet tooth? From some of the best baked goods in Orange County to the best milkshakes in the country, Costa Mesa has it all. Next time you’re craving something sweet, try out one of these five spots to satisfy your sweet tooth in Costa Mesa.

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Posted in Food

Eat Like a Local in Costa Mesa

Posted on November 2, 2018 | 10:59am

eat like a local in costa mesa

Costa Mesa is brimming with “Top Chef” talent and innovative restaurateurs, but we know you’re sometimes in the mood for something a little off the beaten path. While no one would argue with the merits of restaurants like the LA Times Best Restaurant of the Year Taco Maria or “Top Chef” alum Amar Santana’s Vaca, here are six local favorites to add to your eatcation itinerary on your next Costa Mesa weekend getaway!

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Posted in Food