If you have any reason to be in Costa Mesa or passing through, I recommend a quick visit to this place. It’s between Los Angeles and San Diego. What drew me in originally is an organic specialty coffee shop called Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab. I read that they give you an intimate experience at their six-seat “craft coffee lab” and use old bartending trends like adding barrel aged bitters to caffeinated drinks – pretty strange. They make iced coffee old-fashioneds and a liquid nitrogen affogato. Turns out that Theorem is only open evenings by reservation. I was in luck however; Portola was open and offered me a coffee with what I’m told was “earthy grape-like flavors”, haha. I’m no coffee geek, I was there for the fun of it. But it was good, and I’d never seen coffee brewed the way they do it. Interesting.
The OC Mart MIX is what they call the entire indoor shopping mall; it’s a new breed and very eclectic. I am a fan of the vintage mechanical and rustic pieces used to display handmade items for sale.
There are about 30 shops inside; local designers, handmade jewelry, unique collections of shoes, leather wallets and handbags, designer sunglasses and scarves, a baby clothing store, a colorful nail salon, etc.
Edible options include a juicery, wine and tapas bar, cheese shop, ice cream, a savory spices shop and a tea bar with tea infused chocolates.
Also of note is a shop called Analog, they specialize in handmade items that celebrate sound and art. For example, they put modern electronics into old radio cases and vintage suitcases. Decent prices too.
There are several places to hang out there, so it’s great if you have time to kill and want to explore an interesting take on a mall.