Something great is starting to happen at Tangata, the Bowers Museum’s restaurant for ladies who lunch. I first found out last year, when MacArthur genius (and USC professor) Josh Kun had a presentation on old Southern California songs accompanied by a special throwback dinner. Later, a spokesperson with the Patina Group (which runs Tangata) sent me word that they were doing a paring dinner with Intelligentsia Coffee—wait, what?
I visited Tangata for the first time in years last month for a quick drink behind the lecture. The cocktail program as a whole isn’t there just yet, but you know someone smart is behind the bar thanks to a bottle of higher-end Evan Williams and cocktails aging in mini-barrels. And, of course, the Oaxaca Old Fashioned.
Just a quick note to all OC bartenders: Don’t use “Oaxaca” as a name for all your mezcal-based drinks, you know? That said, Bowers’ take on the Kentucky classic matches its traditional sweetness with smoky mezcal and chocolate bitters—AJUA! Whoever’s running Tangata day-to- day: more innovation, por favor.
Tangata at the Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-0906.