Back in March, we were offered a challenge: Dine at as many South Coast Plaza restaurants participating in their 50th Anniversary. We powered through three hours and six eateries. Well, another roundup of dining specials is happening right now through the end of October. And yes, we took that rematch quite seriously. How did we do? Find out below.
Course One: Spaghetti alla Segerstrom
Our first stop was a familiar one, as we previously visited during our first challenge. Over in South Coast Plaza Village, Antonello Ristorante is one of the longstanding tenants. Featuring classic Italian tastes in a cozy setting, we sat down for Spaghetti alla Segerstrom. Named after a dish Henry fell in love with while visiting Italy, Antonio Cagnolo searched high and low to locate and recreate the specific recipe. Al dente pasta, San Marzano tomatoes, Parmigiana-Reggiano, shallots and European butter come together for a perfect bite. And you can’t only have pasta without some focaccia and vino. We eventually found the strength to continue our quest. www.antonello.com.
Course Two: Golden Carousel Blend
An 8.8 ounce blend of 80% Veranda and 20% Single origin Ethiopia awaited us at the fancy Carousel Court location of SCP. We already had a coffee date in the very near future, so this would be a quick hop in and out. Per the descriptive text on the back,
Bright with notes of soft cocoa and toasted nuts and a hint of spice. Warm and inviting with iridescent notes and highlights of spice from Ethiopia. The coffee finishes with flavors of soft cocoa and toasted nuts from Latin America. “The perfect cup that revolves around your morning.”
The fact that a mega brand like Starbucks wanted to collaborate was pretty damn special. Our favorite part was that there was next to no wait at this location. www.starbucks.com
Course Three: Prix-Fixe at Mezzet
Our hands-down favorite, it was a short stroll from Starbucks to this ode to Mediterranean cuisine. For $50, diners were presented a three-course feast, starting with their choice of hummus or baba ghanoush. We had a chance to dip into both, and as much as we love hummus, the eggplant-based spread won us over. Deciding between entrees was easy when one of them looked like the photo above. A sweet taste of baklava finished our dinner. We almost forgot to mention the inclusion of wine with our meal. From start to finish, Mezzet’s deal did not disappoint. www.mezzetsouthcoastplaza.com.
Course Four: Coffee drinks
By the time we sat down for our coffee break, it dawned on us that we were still across the street. With so much ground covered, we treated ourselves to a few sips of personalized cappuccino before crossing over Bear. Tucked away on the first floor, Champagne French Bakery Cafe (celebrating 30 years this year) was exactly what we needed to continue. www.champagnebakery.com.
Course Five: Chocolate
What could possibly be better than coffee? Godiva Chocolate. Sold as an eight-piece box, this sweet roundup is packaged with a commemorative sleeve to celebrate the occasion. Known throughout the company as the busiest location in the WORLD, we took a peek at the diverse chews inside. Here’s what you have to look forward to: Almond Praline Raindrop, Dark Chocolate Ganache Bliss, Pecan Caramel Duet, Midnight Swirl, Raspberry Ganache Twirl, Raspberry Star, Milk Chocolate Praline Heart and Dark Chocolate Lion of Belgium. You’re welcome. www.godiva.com.
Course Six: Mini dessert duo
Chef Hutten stepped away from The Capital Grille’s kitchen to say hello as we settled in for our final course. A Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake and Cheesecake found their way to us, thanks to booking our reservation ahead of time and mentioning “SCP50” when booking via OpenTable (Phoning in your request also works). Despite their petite size, both packed a great deal of flavor. Chocoholics will want to argue with us, but the cheesecake was both a simple and sweet way to end our evening. www.thecapitalgrille.com.
All of South Coast Plaza’s dining specials are available through the end of October. The next time you’re there, check out the deals at Water Grill and Vie de France, among other places. www.southcoastplaza.com.