Last weekend I had the pleasure of covering the inaugural Los Angeles Times The Taste Costa Mesa. This event was an entire weekend of food, drink, music and more from dozens of Orange County restaurants.
The Taste Costa Mesa event was held Friday, October 19th through Sunday, October 21st in a lovely outdoor space. Presented by Pacific Sales and Home, Travel Costa Mesa and others, the event was held at the Met office campus in Costa Mesa, California. The business park was aglow with lights, trendy and cozy social areas, and lots of seating areas to enjoy bites. It was a Food Festival of gastronomic proportion.
Restaurants and spirit booths lined the courtyard with so many bites and drinks that I found it necessary to choose tastings carefully, lest I run out of room. The mood was festive as there were live bands and djs on two of the most perfect Orange County evenings. Photo opportunities to share moments on social media under #TasteCostaMesa filled the center.
In addition to the courtyard, there was a large tasting tent and a chef demonstration stage. I was able to catch Chef Linda Johnsen ( of Filomena’s Italian Kitchen) share her stories while presenting a demo of one of her signature dishes, Champagne chicken over white-wine risotto. I did have a chance to taste Filomena's pasta sampling and it the food was nothing less than wonderful.
I also caught Geeta Bansal from Clay Oven demonstrate how to make a wonderful Indian Shrimp dish while sharing her perspective on the popularity of chefdom and how the profession has changed with the growing popularity of cooking shows. Truly a wonderful way to celebrate Orange County dining.
But this evening was also about giving back, The Taste Costa Mesa partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank. The Food Bank estimates that over 300,000 people, including 1 in 6 children, in Orange County are at risk of hunger each month. They work through a network of more than 200 non-profit partner agencies and programs to collect and distribute food and other essentials to those in need. For more information visit FeedOC.org
Below is a list of restaurants and spirit companies that participated this year:
The Taste Costa Mesa was a remarkable event and a great way to discover new restaurants. Their theme of Sip Savor and Celebrate was entirely taken to a new level. Needless to say, I’ve got a new list of Orange County Restaurants to check out. Here is glance or, a ahem…. a taste, of the weekend event. You can learn more about this event here.