Sunday, September 16, 2007

Old Vine Cafe - Costa Mesa

It was a fulfilling Saturday morning.

I did something for my health - spin class
I did something for my man - bought him a trash can at IKEA
I did something for charity - donated to workingwardrobes.org
I did something for the community - I supported a local business (more on that shortly)
and I did something for the environment - I purchased a cruelty-free handbag by mattandnat.com

All in all, a rather productive 5 hours.

Old Vine Cafe fell into my radar maybe in the last week or so, upon reading a posting on Costa Mesa options. I enjoy just about everything to eat in this city, so after perusing their menu I decided to give it a go. Located at The Camp (across from The Lab/anti-mall - the ingenious non-SCP-like spot owned by the folks who own SCP) and strategically placed behind Native Foods, but next to Aire. This is a new joint which opened in the last few months.

Quoting the website, this is where the name originates from:
The cafe gets its name from the ancient vines of the old world wines of western Europe. "Old vines" are synonymous with wines of a unique quality, expressing the earth in which they are grown through the flavor of the grapes. Oh, and they've got a tiny retail section where you can purchase specialty produce, meats, and oils.

For a small space, they sure know how to seat a crowd. I staked my claim at one of the counter chairs. In front of me, a surreal view of the 'forest' that only the Camp can offer. If not for all the chatter, I imagine it would mimic a holodeck request (middle of the woods) on the Enterprise. Outdoor seating is also available for four-legged dining companions (one server offered up a dish of water to one owner's pet).

My menu was artfully attached to a lovely stretched canvas painting. The placesetting was accented with a small block vase. Thoughtful details that I adore. As I scanned over my options, I overheard a couple of guys comparing notes on how to cater a decent house party. One clearly thought food was more of an afterthought (because of all the lefover food you have afterwards) while the other explained how he recruited his neighbor to BBQ for him. Alrighty.

Savory or sweet? I ask myself this very question throughout the day. The breakfast menu was simply divided. Do I want the syrupy sweet french toast or the hearty portion of omelet with Spanish style potatoes, choice of toast and marmalade? I leaned for the hearty (as usual). If not for my dinner at Punch Grill that night, I would've dived into that BBQ omelet. Instead, it was the Omelet Espana for me. Ole!

I hoped to request fewer mushrooms, but was informed that the ingredients for this particular dish were already pre-mixed. No problem. Life could've made me wait longer for a seat...so I was just thankful to be served. I also chose the egg bread and blackberry marmalade (to go with my blackberry sage bottled ice tea. A bit overrated, if you ask me - the tea, I mean). After a short while ~ which only FELT like forever because I was famished ~ I was served.

I forgot how tasty proscuitto is. Mmmmmmm. Add to it some artichoke hearts, red bell peppers, shitake mushrooms, and Manchego cheese and we've got ourselves a winner. My expectations on the bread were pretty high, but I was (unfortunately) disappointed. Should've stuck to the wheat or sourdough, but I had to get all non-conformist. I bet the marmalade would've been excellent with those. Nevertheless, my potatoes more than made up for it. Chunky and saucy, they starched me out for the rest of the afternoon. Whatever they were smothered in was a welcome change from the standard hashy/fried fare served elsewhere.

I wish my trainer could've joined me, but that's what repeat visits are made for.
As much as I'd like to keep this spot to myself, I want to see them succeed.

Old Vine Cafe
2937 Bristol Street
Suite A-102
Costa Mesa
714.545.1411

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Comments on "Old Vine Cafe - Costa Mesa"

Blogger Vegasbuff said ... (September 18, 2007 at 8:26 PM) : 

Sounds like a tasty breakfast option.

Blogger Julian Hsu said ... (September 22, 2007 at 10:04 PM) : 

Nice choice- just happens to also be the Best New Restaurant according to OC Weekly's Best of OC. I'll have to try it!

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 27, 2008 at 12:54 PM) : 

Thanks for the detailed review. Will put it in my maps and make it a point to stop by!

Tim
Costa Mesa

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