THIS WEEKEND I was fortunate to have a little time off from the hustle and bustle to visit my family in South Orange County, but before that I stopped in Costa Mesa to meet up with my best friend, Abby, who I went to UCI with years and year ago. We met at the OC Mart Mix in the SOCO District, and it was my first time there. I guess I came on a good day, because there was a farmer's market with food trucks out in the parking lot, and inside the OC Mart Mix. there was an event going on with little booths from local businesses, so all the pop up shops had food and treats out for shoppers.
We walked around for a couple of hours, had some delicious mango iced tea (on tap!!) and macarons from the tea bar, Seventh Tea Bar which I'm told is a new addition to Portola Coffee Lab, which is perfect because I don't drink coffee. Salted Caramel is my favorite macaron flavor but I was more impressed with the chai one here. My favorite salted caramel is still the one at Merely Sweets in Brea, hands down. (It has actual chewy caramel in it along with the salty caramel filling!)
There were so many little shops that I loved, especially the antique/vintage home shop, Heirlooms and Hardware, that had a cubby filled with bags and purses. There was the most perfect small leather backpack that I really wanted but it was over fifty dollars and I couldn't bring myself to pay that much for a used bag. My favorite was probably the cheese shop. It had so many beautiful stinky cheeses, and starter kits and sandwiches. I want to work there! My second favorite place was called Rolling Greens, a home and garden store.
Abby and I also shared some blueberry cheesecake gelato from N'ice Cream. Amazing. Too much goodness. If you haven't been out there and you live in the area or are headed out that way, definitely check it out! I need to go back because I feel like I didn't have enough time to see everything, and there are plenty more food and drink I need to same there, from the oyster bar and the panini place and the cheese shop... They even had a spice shop!
Then I went out to Rancho Santa Margarita to visit my 7 week old niece Quinn and my sister and mom. We went to sushi and shared some sushi and bibimbap in Irvine and then went back to my sister's home and snuggled up with Quinn and ate my mom's Kare Kare and banana cake. Lots of eating in one day. I also gave my mom the orchid I got at the farmer's market earlier in the day, as a Valentine's Day present. It was nice to spend time with everyone because it's rare for me to find the time and money to drive down and visit these days.