I have to admit that I probably visit this place at least twice a month. Located in Downtown Santa Ana, the 4th Street Market is an artisanal market mecca for those like me, looking for tasty food options. Featuring seasonal offerings by local chefs, this popular stop for downtown Santa Ana employees offers a tasty array of delights for cooks, food and those looking for a place to chill.
I recently was invited to a culinary crawl of the 4th Street Market and had an opportunity to check out many of the restaurants there. So many great dining options exist here. But lest you think this is just a food hall, let me tell you some unique characteristics about 4th Street Market.
4th Street Market Offers Incubator Kitchens
One of the facets that sets apart the 4th Street market, is the availability of Incubator kitchens. These offer turnkey operations for chefs, home cooks and entrepreneurs that operate a food centered business. The kitchens offer ovens, roasters, and smokers for use and are certified by the local health department. The 4th Street Market team also offers consulting to resident eateries.
I love to support local businesses and love that there is a place for new businesses to take flight. The Market basement houses storage, (dry, refrigerated and frozen), as part of their rental packages. Incubator kitchens can be rented by the month, week or even hour. Kitchens can be rented 24/7 and can be booked online. You cannot miss the kitchens when you come into the hall.
Amazing Food Choices
Let the Culinary Crawl begin! We started with a lovely cocktail from RecessLibations, an offshoot of the awesome Playground restaurant group, and then headed to ECB(Electric City Butcher) to check to start the tour. The emphasis at ECB is to offer responsibly-sourced meats and provide high quality cuts of meat. They will help you with selecting cuts, and cooking suggestions. Their hospitality reminds me of the old school butcher that knew your name.
We sampled a lovely chacuterie plate and you really can taste the difference in their meats.
Most people in the OC are familiar with Dos Chinos. Their popular Vietnamese and Mexican fusion food trucks are at all the happening Orange County events. Founder Hob Phan treated us a taste of their wonderful and award winning flavors with their Angus Beef Carne Asada Tacos with a Vietnamese Chimichurri sauce. I have ordered this before and it was delicious! These tasty creations are memorable and unique, which is why they are so popular.
Next we tasted delightful Pork Belly fries with a creamy cilantro sauce from Pig Pen. These were da bomb and a must have from this recent addition to 4th Street!
For those that love burgers, Terra is not to be missed. They use only organic grass-fed beef in their cheeseburger sliders. Made with whole grain mustard, organic ketchup, arugula grilled onions and white cheddar cheese, they are sumptuous. They also make a vegetable slider and offer bowls and salads too!
If Pizza is what you are craving, Jinny’s Pizzaria offers an artisan edge inspired by the mom and pop pizzerias. The house made dough is matched with a pizza sauce made with locally grown tomatoes and Wisconsin Cheese, is proof of their desire to offer only farm fresh produce and made from scratch ingredients. I wanted to devour several slices of their pizza, but had to resist to save some room. Seriously, really great pizza.
Then there were the Chicken Wings and Egg Rolls from Sit Low Pho which were very good. This eatery, also started by Hob Phan, offers more traditional Vietnamese choices, all reasonably priced. I have not tried their Pho yet, but hear it is delicious.
Also memorable are the Chilaquiles from KTCHN DTSA. Seriously good and perusing their menu makes me want to come back for some of their breakfast offerings which are served all day – Bachinga!
If all this food is making your thirsty, Radical Botanical is an excellent choice. They make a new Agua Fresca every day! Their fresh cold pressed juices are made with fresh fruit, herbs, vegetables and spices these drinks not only taste good, but are good for you! It was completely refreshing and I am looking forward to their mixer elixirs.
Sweet Options at 4th Street Market
Chunk n Chip makes some cookie ice cream sandwiches like you have never had. Offering such combinations such as This tasty creations are so freaking tasty and are nothing like what you grew up with as a child. Affectionately called “sammiches”, the combinations that you can order seem endless. They are served oven-warm with fresh small batch ice cream.
So rich and creamy and flavorful!
Then we brought some outdoors indoors with a little help from the Torch Smore Co. who made us these freaking amazing s’mores.
Can’t you just taste it?
If you are looking for something cooler, these mini pops from Front Porch Pops are a great way to finish your meal or just to have a snack. Made with fresh ingredients in small batches, I can vouch that the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt was creamy and chocolately and the mojito flavor was delightful!
We ended our crawl with some tasty beverages from Portola Coffee Lab. I could write an entire post about Portola. Just know that it is some of the best damn coffee available. Their meticulous growing, roasting and brewing process delivers a cup of coffee that is pure and flavorful. We sampled an Espresso Tonic that was delightful.
A Place for Community Events
Besides offering a great place to grab a bite, the 4th Street Market has lots seating and a wonderful courtyard area with local talent often performing.
The Market also serves the local community with regular clothing and food drives to assist families in need. They also support a #LunchBag program that provides meals to the homeless.
Check out their calendar of events or follow 4th Street Market on Facebook for more information on happenings. You can even find out how to take a culinary crawl like this one!