Celebrating TASTE in Costa Mesa

The 2nd annual Los Angles Times The Taste: Costa Mesa, is taking place October 18 and 19 at the MET. Many of the Times’ acclaimed Food staff will introduce some of Orange County’s rising chefs and culinary masters.


The two nights event offers cooking demonstrations, unlimited tastings, and sips of varieties of cocktails and beverages. This year, visitors will get a special chance to learn more from the likes of Chef Carlos Salgado of Michelin-starred Taco Maria, who will provide a glimpse into his contemporary spin to Mexican cooking with questions from L.A. Times Cooking Columnist Ben Mims.

Get a closer look at the artistry behind Chef Maher Nakhal’s Syrian pastries of Le Mirage Pastry, which spotlights Middle Eastern desserts and French pastries and has captured hearts with its bouza (Arabic ice cream).

Additional standout participants:

  • The Crack Shack
  • Terrace by Mix Mix
  • Knife Pleat
  • Roba Noodle
  • Delicato Family Winery
  • Puesto

This event is for guests $21 and over.

Here’s a schedule of tastings and demonstrations:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 (7:00 – 10:00 p.m.)  L.A. Times Cooking Editor Genevieve Ko will host a demo featuring Syrian pastry chef Maher Nakhal (Le Mirage Pastry) as he reveals the handcrafted artistry behind his authentic Middle Eastern desserts and French pastries.

Chef Ross Pangilinan (Terrace by Mix Mix) will showcase his eclectic style and Euro-Filipino flavors through a demo of one of his signature dishes, hosted by Times Features Writer Gustavo Arellano.

Samplings from restaurants and bars include: Absolut Juice, Amor Y Tacos, Angel’s Envy, Barton & Guestier, Bernardus Winery, Beyond Meat, Codigo 1530, Color Wine, Delicato Family Winery, Driftwood Kitchen, Ellie’s Long Beach, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, First Growth Brands, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Harley Laguna Beach, Jame Enoteca, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, LA Brisket, Las Vegana Mexicana, Las Brisas, Licor 43, Miguel’s Jr., Mule 2.0, Outpost Kitchen, Puesto, Revel Spirits, Roba Noodle, Tackle Box, Terrace by Mix Mix, The Chori-Man, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Vaca, Verde Kitchen, WAVE Gourmet Burgers, Wine Group, Zing Zang and Zyr.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 (12:00 – 3:00 p.m.) Chef Carlos Salgado of Michelin-starred Taco María will provide a glimpse into his contemporary, Mexican-influenced cooking with L.A. Times Cooking Columnist Ben Mims.

Taking the crowd on a wine tour through Monterey County, Rob Baker (Southern Glazer’s) will lead a presentation on Bordeaux-style wine from Carmel Valley’s Bernardus Winery.

Samplings from restaurants and bars include: 2145 Pizza, Absolut Juice, Barton & Guestier, Bartenura/Herzog, Bernardus Winery, Billy’s at the Beach, Blinking Owl, Bodvar-House of Roses, Café Sevilla, Casa Barilla, Clay Oven Indian Cuisine, Delicato Family Winery, Descanso a Modern Taqueria,Ensaymada Project, Georgia’s Restaurant, Habana, Honey Bubbles, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Koval, La Kebabology, Louies by the Bay, Leblon, Licor 43, LSXO, Mayors Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, Mule 2.0, Olea, Revel Spirits, Roba Noodle, Santa Teresa, Sharffenberger, Shuck Oyster Bar, St. Germain, The Chori-Man, The Halal Guys, The Taco Man, The Yellow Chili, Verde Kitchen, Zing Zang and Zyr.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 (7:00 – 10:00p.m.) Chef Wing Lam (Wahoo’s Fish Tacos) will cook up his legendary Baja-style fish tacos and discuss the start of his iconic SoCal brand.

Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault (Knife Pleat) will demonstrate modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques with Times Senior Food Writer Jenn Harris.

Samplings from restaurants and bars include: 2145 Pizza, Absolut Juice, Ai Pono Café, Barton & Guestier, Bartenura/Herzog, Bernardus Winery, Billy’s at the Beach, Blinking Owl, Bodvar-House of Roses, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, CUCINA enoteca, Delicato Family Winery, Descanso a Modern Taqueria, Ensaymada Project, Georgia’s Restaurant, Gracias Madre, Honey Bubbles, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Koval, La Kebabology, La Vegana Mexicana, Lady M Cake Boutique, Leblon, Licor 43, LSXO, Mesa, Mule 2.0, Olea, Revel Spirits, Santa Teresa, Sharffenberger, Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, St. Germain, Toast, The Chori-Man, The Yellow Chili, Verde Kitchen, Zing Zang and Zyr.

For a detailed description of each event and full lineup of participating chefs and restaurants, visit https://events.latimes.com/taste/

 The MET is located at: 535 Anton Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Friday, October 18 (7:00 – 10:00p.m.) – $100 (GA) – $150 (VIP), Saturday, October 19 (12:00 – 3:00p.m.) – $80 (GA) – $130 (VIP), Saturday, October 19 (7:00 – 10:00p.m.) – $100 (GA) – $150 (VIP). To purchase tickets, visit https://events.latimes.com/taste/

 Instead of driving home, Visit Costa Mesa is offering some great hotel deals, go to Travel Costa Mesa.

7 Great Soups in Los Angeles & Beyond

When the temperature cools down, it’s time to be comforted with a bowl of delicious soup. Here are 7 0f my favorite dining destination that offer exceptional soup in Los Angeles.

Flintridge Proper creamy tomato & basil soup with grilled cheese - by Jill Weinlein
Flintridge Proper creamy tomato & basil soup with grilled cheese – by Jill Weinlein

1. Flintridge Proper Restaurant & Bar

This hotspot in La Canada offers a warm and wonderful creamy tomato basil soup and seasonal soup of the day. The day I dined, the seasonal orange butternut squash soup had a touch of cream. Order a bowl of soup with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich made with in-house American cheese. 464 Foothill Blvd. La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011 (818)790-4888 – http://theproper.com

(The owners of Canter's - Marc, Jacqueline and Terry)
(The owners of Canter’s – Marc, Jacqueline and Terry)

2. Canter’s Deli

Since 1931, Canter’s has been making great soups that come with a side of crisp bagel chips. Only on Wednesday do they make a delightful Split Pea soup. If I dine on another day, I select the Barley Bean or Vegetarian Vegetable. They offer 1/2 of any classic sandwich with a cup of soup for under $13. The owners Marc Canter, sister Jacqueline and cousin Terri Bloomgarden are really nice people. Parking is free for 90 minutes with a Canter’s validation. Open 24 hours, seven days a week. $-$$ 419 N. Fairfax Ave. (323)651-2030 – www.cantersdeli.com.

(Photo by Cassia Santa Monica)
(Photo by Cassia Santa Monica)

3. Cassia 
Chef Bryant Ng is offering some of the best Southeast Asian soup to beat the chilly weather or help make you feel better if you get a winter cold.
Two of the must-try soups include a Laksa – A traditional Singaporean rice noodle and seafood dish is a thick and spicy, coconut curry, and the chile oil is great for clearing stuffy sinuses. Ng also makes a Vietnamese Pot Au Feu – a spiced pho broth with Creekstone Farms short rib, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and a side of grilled bread to smear with the bone marrow or sides of housemade Bird’s Eye chile sauce and a walnut mustard. 1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310)393-6699 – http://www.cassiala.com

(Laurent Halasz with writer)
(Laurent Halasz with writer)

4. FIG & OLIVE – Melrose Place in West Hollywood
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The key components of the Mediterranean diet include a splash of olive oil, instead of butter, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, legumes and nuts. A glass of red wine is acceptable too. At Laurent Halasz’ Fig & Olive, the soups are ideal, because they don’t have any cream. Try the Butternut Squash & Chestnut Velouté that is silky and accompanied by shaved chestnuts, onions, toasted squash seeds, and a drizzle of Arbequina olive oil. It’s divine. They also serve an antioxidant-rich vegetable cold gazpacho Andalucia. It’s a delightful combination of minced tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, red onion, basil, Sherry vinegar and a splash of basil olive oil. There is a small scoop of Ayala goat cheese to enhance the dish. 8490 Melrose Place (310)360-9100 – melroseplace@figandolive.com

(Photo from Taste)
(Photo from Taste)

5. Taste on Melrose –

West Hollywood Executive Chef Brian Sheard’s comforting Chicken Tortilla Soup features fresh tomatoes, chipotle, jalapeños, corn, cilantro, red bell peppers, crème fraiche, and crispy tortilla strips.  During lunch they offer a soup or salad and sandwich special. Sandwiches include a Classic BLT on Ciabatta Bread, or a chicken salad sandwich with pulled Mary’s organic chicken, tarragon, dried currants, aioli, Gala apple on herb foccacia. Vegetarians like the Caprese sandwich on Ciabatta Bread for $10.75. 8454 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, Ca 90069 (323)852-6888 – http://ilovetaste.com/app/taste_melrose/

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

6. Morgan’s in The Desert

When in the greater Palm Springs area, be sure to stay or visit La Quinta Resort. They offer a fine dining restaurant featuring the talented Executive chef Jimmy Schmidt offering a themed three-course prix fixe with wine pairing. The night I dined at Morgan’s, the soup of the evening was a fennel soup infused with roasted red peppers, cipolini onions and dazzled with chive oil. There was no cream in this elegant soup. A bowl was delivered to my place setting with all the roasted vegetables, my servers Sal and Erik poured the luscious liquid into the bowl. The presentation was beautiful. 49-499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta, Ca 92253 – (760)564-7600 http://www.morgansinthedesert.com.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

7. Bel Air Bar + Grill

Executive Chef Chris Emerling cooked in Michelin 3-star restaurants before arriving in Los Angeles. He prepares locally sourced, seasonally inspired elegant cuisine. His daily Market Soup is fresh and healthy. He also makes a chilled Gazpacho soup enhanced with dill weed and avocado dots. This is the ideal spot to meet friends or family off of the 405 freeway or after visiting The Getty Center. 662 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90049 (310)440-5544 – http://belairbarandgrill.com