We almost referred to this as the Costa Mesa edition, because it’s hard to write about Orange County without mentioning this city’s diverse selection of eateries. There’s definitely an eclectic mix of happenings going down. Make sure to take it easy and treat yourself to a decent meal after (or before) all your errands.
MFK by Aysee Toy Drive In Effect – Anaheim
For those in the giving spirit, deliver a new, unwrapped toy (minimum $5) over to Modern Filipino Kitchen. Raffle tickets will be handed out per toy, and the grand prize winner will receive a free Kamayan dinner! Thanks to Digital Cliq for teaming up with Chef Henry’s team to support those less fortunate. But hurry, the last day to donate is this Sunday. 2620 W La Palma Ave., (657) 337-5288; www.mfkaysee.com.
Beyond Meat Arrives at Del Taco – Lake Forest only
Starting today, Del Taco and Beyond Meat are offering Beyond Tacos throughout San Diego and in specific branches of LA and OC for a test run. Actually, Lake Forest is the only Orange County spot serving them. See what all the fuss is about, and then let us know! Inquiring vegan minds are curious. 23681 El Toro Rd., (949) 581-2254; www.deltaco.com.
Casa Barilla’s Feast of the Seven Fishes – Costa Mesa
Visit the South Coast Plaza location between items on your shopping list, and try one of Casa Barilla’s two seasonal dishes to celebrate Feast of the Seven Fishes. First is their Casarecce with Mussels and Clams. Or for something lighter, taste the Crabs & Scallops. This particular dish is tossed with shrimp, calamari, crisp baby gems, radicchio and fennel, then finished with cannellini beans, bright citrus and white balsamic vinaigrette. Save those calories for dessert. 3333 Bristol St., (657) 205-1025; www.casabarilla.com.
Din Tai Fung Expansion – Costa Mesa
If you haven’t dined at the DTF inside SCP lately, you should. The addition of 50 extra seats now brings their maximum headroom to 250. Bonus: You can also waitlist from the handy Yelp app. Our secret is to go early in the week. (714) 549-3388; www.dintaifungusa.com.
Miracle Pop-up at Kimpton Shorebreak – Huntington Beach
While Miracle Pop-Ups are typically few and far between, Orange County has been blessed with two. We spent our Saturday hitting up the one over at Shorebreak. Tucked on the same floor as their front desk, order up a bevy of liquid holiday treats before settling in. Note: This is not to be confused with the restaurant bar, Pacific Hideaway (although that one is also open). Select glassware is also for sale, with some purchases going to charity. Visit them before Christmas; rumor has it they may continue through New Year’s Eve. 500 Pacific Coast Hwy., (714) 861-4470; www.shorebreakhotel.com.
Tackle Box Goes Into Winter Menu Mode – Costa Mesa only
There may be four new seasonal entrees over at Chef Brian Huskey’s Tackle Box, but we were drawn to one. Steak and Egg was super savory and protein-packed; we thought of it as elevated diner fare. Tomatoes, broccolini and red onion made for one heck of a balanced meal our mom would be proud of (except she would likely insist on a scoop of rice). Avoid some of the retail crowds and stop by SoCo for dinner. 3321 Hyland Ave., Ste. E, (714) 486-3301; www.tackleboxoc.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.