mussels at Mesa
After a show one night in Orange County, my friend and I headed over to Mesa for mussels. He was craving them and knew Mesa had them. It was on the later side but even I was surprised how the restaurant turns into a raging club in the evenings.
Still, everyone from the valet guy to the server to the manager were warm and friendly. We ate our spectacular meal amidst the loud pumping music (which doesn’t bother me) and dim lighting.
Third Street Crusade
My favorite drink of the night turned out to be a mixture of two things I love; Green Chartreuse and Fernet-Branca. The bracing drink was sweetened a bit and actually reminded me of a daiquiri.
Third Street Crusade – Green Chartreuse, Fernet-Branca, turbinado sugar, lime
tempura squash blossoms
We started with the aforementioned mussels (shown above) which are actually in the appetizer section. I can imagine just these and a glass of wine and calling it a night. But since I rarely make it down to Orange County, we went full steam ahead with the menu.
I wanted the tempura squash blossoms. While the batter was quite light, I found the cheese stuffed squash blossoms a bit heavy. And I was already getting full. A big uh-oh!
roasted beet salad
My friend wisely chose the roasted beet salad as a starter to his meal. The simple, beautiful plate of beets, strawberries and grapes primed his appetite.
spring pea salad
I had the spring pea salad with feta cheese and kalamata olives which I enjoyed but only wished the pea shoots and tendrils had been wilted a bit. It was a little weird to feel like I was eating raw vines. I took most of it home, picked out the watermelon and added eggs to it to make an omlet for breakfast.
I’m a cocktail girl but sometimes I think I should have picked wine for a meal. I had the Ventura Fresca with most of my meal. While refreshing, the sometimes too spicy, too smokey drinks don’t work well with delicate food flavors. Otherwise, this would have been a good drink at the beginning of the meal. Or even the end.
Ventura Fresca – mezcal, strawberry fresno chile cordial, watermelon, lime
The grilled shrimp also under appetizers is another wonderful starter. So far so good, mussels + salad + shrimp. But the show (meal) must go on!
Cage the Abricot
I also tried the Cage the Abricot solely for the name alone. True, I like Giffard liqeurs and rum but this was a great name. I also now know what to do with my Giffard abricot (apricot) now.
Cage the Abricot– rum, Giffard apricot liqueur, lemon
My friend wanted to stick to seafood so he got the local halibut with farro risotto and fava beans. I like halibut. It can be a meatier fish. I also really like all the different “ancient” grains folks are serving instead of the usual rice.
I was trying to decide between the short ribs or the burger. I usually don’t eat sandwich type meals for dinner but it was so late that you could just call this a midnight snack. This burger featured nice caramelized onions, bacon, black garlic aioli, harvarti cheese and arugula.
I asked for it to be medium rare and it was perfect.
The next time I am craving mussels (and burgers!) late at night, I know where to go.
Filed under: cocktalian, food, foodie alert, late night, minty life, restaurant reviews Tagged: burger, cocktails, drinkwire, fish, mussels, orange county, restaurant review, seafood, the minty