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Dine and Drink at Social Costa Mesa

The new SOCIAL Costa Mesa on West 19th Street is a chef and ingredient-focused restaurant with locally-sourced produce and meats set in an open rustic atmosphere with reclaimed wooden tables and leather booths. SOCIAL’s team, restaurateur Andrew Dorsey, former Playground Chef Jeffrey Boullt, Chronic Tacos co-founder Dan Biello, and entrepreneur Mac Carlson are on a mission to provide Costa Mesa with a go-to place that has something for everyone: shared plates, weekend brunch, late-night bites, seasonal menus, indulgent entrees, as well as handcrafted cocktails.

Chef Boullt has worked for award-winning chefs such as Eric Greenspan, Tory McPhail, Suzanne Goin, as well as spent time in New Orleans where some of the menu items are influenced from, such as the chicken and waffles with Jidori chicken oysters and a cornmeal waffle, topped with Louisiana Sugar Cane and housemade hot sauce butter.

SOCIAL’s fall dinner menu features dishes like a fall panzanella salad with black mission figs, heirloom tomato, marinated olives, chicories, Point Reyes bleu cheese, and Banyuls vinaigrette; brussels sprouts with farmer’s honey, sweet potato hay, housemade tasso ham, and hazelnuts; pan seared muscovy duck breast with Frog Hollow pears, cauliflower puree, chicories, and roasted shallot duck jus; and charbroiled oysters with smoked tomato butter and crispy shallots.

The brunch menu offers dishes including the SOCIAL Benedict with seared, smoked and confit of pork, pimento cheese biscuit, slow eggs, and creole mustard Hollandaise; banana fosters pancakes with ol’ fashioned buttermilk pancakes, Caribbean rum, Louisiana sugar cane syrup, and farmers’ market bananas; and duck confit hash with fall root vegetables, holy trinity, duck jus, and aged cheddar mornay.

James Wood, a popular Orange County bar expert, has been consulting with Jason Hunter, a Level 1 Sommelier and the former bar manager at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego. Together, they have created a cocktail and wine list to complement Chef Boullt’s menu.

SOCIAL’s opening mixologist team, trained by Dushan Zaric, recently named “Best Bar Mentor of 2014” by Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Award, includes Mike West, Alejandro Pareja, and Nick Stolte. Signature cocktails include ‘Sadie the Goat’ with housemade orgeat, Jamaican Rum, fresh guava juice, lime, fennel bitters, Peychauds bitters, and a red wine floater; and ‘Border Patrol’ with mezcal, tequila, charteuse, housemade lemon cordial, a tomatillo and chili salt rim, and meyer lemon leaf garnish.

Open Tuesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. (closed on Mondays). Dinner will be served nightly from 5 to 10:30 p.m., with weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Happy Hour will be Tuesday to Friday 4 to 6 p.m., and late night bites will be available Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday nights from 4 p.m. to close will be ‘Industry Night,’ and SOCIAL will offer 50% off select menu items and cocktails for hospitality professionals.

512 W. 19th St. in Costa Mesa. 949.642.2425.

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MESA’S Shining Starr

Easily one of the chicest, lounge-like restaurants--the retractable open air ceiling, nightly entertainment and ambience is incredible--in Orange County, MESA at the Camp in Costa Mesa, is also a great dining spot with a new Executive Chef Niki Starr Weyler who has worked in some of the best kitchens in OC, including French 75, Charlie Palmer’s and Broadway by Amar Santana.

Chef Niki is slowly incorporating at taste of Niki to the menu, while keeping the die hard favorites that MESA regulars love, such as the tempura green beans served with eel and green goddess dipping sauce, margherita pizza, house burger with bacon, flash fried calamari and shishito peppers to name just a few.

Some of Chef Niki’s seasonal favorites on the menu that we highly recommend are the roasted beet salad with Humboldt fog cheese, oranges, lemon poppy seed vinaigrette and pistachios; and the grilled Kurobuta pork chop with smoked blackberry jus, sweet potato puree, and flash fried Brussels sprouts, and the secret menu (just ask) Chef’s Spanish style mussels, black pei mussels, with Bilbao chorizo, Spanish smoked paprika, green onion, white wine and grilled bread.

For dessert, there’s a perfect carrot cake with cream cheese shmear, candied orange and parsnip ice cream.

Starting Oct. 1, Chef Niki will add her fave holiday sliders, that are the best wintery comfort food sliders we’ve had: duck confit, cranberry orange compote, pomme puree on a potato bun, served with gravy dipping sauce.

Chef Niki works closely alongside the super-talented mixologist Eliott Montero, who can perfectly pair handcrafted cocktails with each course. Current favorites include the Manhattan Holiday with 77 New York Wheat Whiskey, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Amaro Ciociaro, orange oil and nutmeg and a Spanish G&T, with Leopold’s small batch Gin, Fever Tree Mediterranean, tonic water, fresh rosemary, grapefruit oil, lime and a splash of St. Germain.

Unlike most OC kitchens, MESA stays open until 1 a.m. which means you can enjoy all of these great dishes into the wee hours of the night.

For a list of nightly entertainment, visit here.

Open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

725 Baker Street in Costa Mesa.  714.557.6700.

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