Bajadock: I am not so much a gourmet foodie, as I am an adventurer. My palate is middlin’ to piddlin’. My nasal talents are weak. My ability to recognize individual ingredients and “barnyard” wine notes ends with the shit on the barn pitch fork.
But, I thoroughly enjoy new aromas, flavors, chefs’ food porn plating and finding new food and wine fun. Thanks to some patient friends and my lucky Star, my wanderings stumble across a few gems. One of those gems was introduced to me in Costa Mesa, CA at Old Vine Cafe this past weekend.
The setting is urban art studio meets funky garden. This spot would fit right in at Boulder Creek in Colorado.
We opted for outdoor dining viewing the trees and garden this quiet autumn morning. Warning that they do not open until 9AM. Coffee was excellent and one of us opted for the ooey gooey cinnamon roll. I am not a big fan of pastry, but this steaming roll was fabulous.
My hosts ordered egg dishes, while I ordered my standard “surprise me”. Our Old Vine Cafe server did not flinch at my request.
This mound of eggs, biscuit, chicken sausage, potatoes, chipotle gravy and queso fresco is the “Open Face” breakfast that was my order. The chipotle pepper was mild and played rhythm section to the eggs and sausage lead members. This is no 15o calory breakfast, sprout eaters. But, the flavor and textures are galaxies beyond the big breakfast burrito you might find at the corner Carlos’ Carne Gut Bomb.
Finishing these large Old Vine Cafe breakfast plates will be a challenge for 3 of 4 diners. I got 80% of the Open Face completed, leaving half of the muffin on the dish.
We also left with the “6 for $60” pack of 6 bottles of new wine, complete with food pairing recommendations. What a great way this is to experiment with young wine and new flavors to stretch your taste buds reach with your own food creation pairings at home.
If you are up for something several notches above your local Waffle House, gotta go to Old Vine Cafe for gourmet comfort food.
For your comfort, I’m giving Old Vine Cafe 4.5 out of 5 tractor seats.
About Old Vine Café
Now in its eighth year, Old Vine Café continues to redefine dining in Orange County offering top quality food and wine in a non-pretentious, casual atmosphere. The award-winning restaurant, run by chef-owner Mark McDonald, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with menu items that reflect a focus on regionalism and the use of seasonal ingredients — a hallmark of Chef Mark’s culinary training in southern Italy. Daytime customers choose from a wide variety of panini, omelets, specialty breakfast items, and small plates, while evening diners can be found leisurely enjoying four-course tasting menus, complete with expertly selected wine pairings.
Chef Mark continues pursuing new ways to introduce unique food and wine to customers by collaborating with winemakers from around the world. His search for fresh interpretations of traditional food and wine pairings drives the creativity behind the often-changing seasonal tasting menu. Chef Mark isa often found in deep conversation with winemakers and distributors, analyzing potential wine pairings and bringing on up-and-coming selections for their popular “6 for $60” wine program. Additionally, these discussions spark theme ideas for Community Wine Dinner, educational events in which diners explore a specific region or winery through a seven-course food and wine pairing dinner.
Engagement with customers and the community remains a priority for Chef Mark — he is proud to partner with Community Supported Agriculture programs, and can often be found participating in local festivals and events. Chef Mark is currently booking spaces for the 6th annual Splendors of South Italy tour, a culinary-driven trip through Calabria and Sicily featuring hands-on cooking lessons from master chefs; winery, historical site, and agriturismo visits; and multi-course meals featuring regional cuisine. Additionally, Chef Mark is the California Director of Aregala and Cooks Without Borders, an international chefs association.
Old Vine Café
We are located in The CAMP retail & entertainment center.
2937 Bristol St. Suite A-102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626