If you have not yet had a chance to visit the South Coast Collection, also known as SOCO that houses a variety of eclectic stores and restaurants, the time is now. Located within SOCO is the OC Mart Mix, which is a marketplace with eco friendly products, gourmet food, coffee, and wines as well as unique shops.
In the past year the SOCO Collection & the OC Mart Mix has grown exponentially with new businesses moving in regularly to be a part of the excitement. Formerly the large Ikea store off of Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa, the SOCO/OC Mart Mix has become the Orange County Mecca for divine foodie restaurants, crafty shops, clothing, olive, oils, spices, coffees, and everything else your heart desires when shopping!
I recently went on a tour with some other women blogger friends of mine and we had the opportunity to check out each venue within the OC Mart Mix, as well as the SOCO Farmer’s market & a group of us dined at the Surfas Culinary District restaurant, also housed in Hollywood. There is certainly a little something for everyone in this shopping/dining plaza, located off of Hyland Avenue & Harbor Blvd in the convenient central Orange County city of Costa Mesa, California.:)
On Saturdays from 9am till 2pm there is the SOCO Farmer’s Market where fresh local produce and other fabulous fresh food items are sold. Fresh produce is brought to the farmers market from local farmers! There are also local items from bakeries and butchers. My husband was excited to buy a great cut of tri-tip!
My most exciting moment at the SOCO farmer’s market was when I had the excitement to meet some people from Homeboy Industries. I had the opportunity to purchase their fresh baked sourdough bread made by hand. In case you are not familiar with Homeboy Industries, they are a company created by Father Gregory Boyle that assisted in pulling people in Gangs out of that lifestyle and helping them to make a better life for themselves by helping to create mass job opportunities for them, one of the being the Homeboy bakery in Los Angeles.
I recently had the opportunity to hear Father Gregory Boyle Speak at a Gang conference (I teach alternative high school) at University of California, Irvine. He was fabulous. See a picture I snapped of him accepting an award in this post.:) For more information about Homeboy Industries, click here: Homeboy Industries. Father Gregory Boyle also has a movie coming out at the end of April all about his success in helping to support people in the gang culture and to turn their lives around! For information about his upcoming movie called “G-Dog” (Father Gregory Boyle’s Nickname) click on this link here: Gdog Movie information
While walking around the OC Mart mix, I had a few personal favorite stores of my own. These included N’Ice Cream, a lovely homemade gelato and sorbet store that regularly has 16 flavors offered, never more than 12 hours old, The Cheese Shop with a large variety of domestic & imported cheeses as well as crackers, jams mustards, etc, Milk & Honey Baby, which has unique upscale beach clothing for newborns up to six years old, Portola Coffee Lab, in which each cup of coffee is made individually to order, the savory spice shop with a variety of spices, and last but not least, the We Olive & Wine Bar that offers over 20 different complimentary tastings of locally produced oils, as well as a variety of wines by the glass and even a happy hour!
For many other stores in the OC Mart Mix & the SOCO Collection please go to their links here: OC Mart Mix Stores & Restaurants & SOCO Collection Stores & Restaurants
One other really cool item housed within the SOCO Collection/OC Mart Mix is the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. This place was bustling with many people when I visited as there was an art class going on for children. The Chuck Jones Center is a Non-Profit Organization which houses a nice size art gallery in which there is art classes, exhibitions, lectures, film festivals. The huge space can also be rented out for special occasions, such as weddings. The Catering Company that operates the venue is one of the most prominent in Orange County and is called 24 Carrots that is well known for catering events throughout southern California. To see more about 24 Carrots and their venues click here: 24 Carrots Catering Company.
Something else really cool that is going on at the Chuck Jones Center that I think is worth mentioning is the “Drop Off & Dine Program.” This is a great program that gives parents the ability to have a date night or some time with their friends at one of the delectable restaurants within the SOCO Collection/OC Mart Mix while their kids ages 4 & up have the opportunity to participate in various creative activities with the inspiration of Chuck Jones’s animation, film, and fine art. For more details about this program, click here: Drop Off & Dine Program.
Whether you live in the local area or are planning to visit from afar, The SOCO Collection/OC Mart Mix & SOCO Farmer’s Market are definitely worth checking out!! Everything is conveniently located in one spot to shop, dine, and relax! Did I mention there is also rock climbing inside? You will have to visit to find out more! 🙂
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For a few other fun places in the city of Costa Mesa, Check out these places as well:
OC Fair Deals & Yummy Fried Goodness
OC Mart Mix Shopping & Dining
Anne Watson Photography
Apples & Oranges
Birdie Bowl and Juicery
Eva’s Trunk Denim Bar
Fashion Camp OC
Heirlooms and Hardware
Lollipop Nail Studio
Milk And Honey Baby
Portola Coffee Lab
Savory Spice Stop
Shuck Oyster Bar
We Olive & Wine Bar
Whiskey Tango 1977
WOW! What amazing pics and info! Cool pic of the awesome cow at the cheese shop! I love all of it! Thanks so much for sharing these experiences! Love it!
Thank you so much Alexandra! It was a great place! You must visit SOCO when you are in town.:) Thanks for the comment! ❤
What great info!! I love how you are so thorough with all the information that you share! Keep it up!
Thank you so much for the comment and the compliment:) Have a great day.:)
Thanks for sharing!
Okay I would love to visit SOCO Collection/OC Mart Mix & SOCO Farmer’s Market! I love fresh food and am from farm country! Thank you so much for sharing the reviews about theses companies that are making good products and trying to make a difference!
SOCO sounds like a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the comment Meryl:)
I didn’t know you were a teacher, very cool! I am very interested in that rock climbing wall, and the eco friendly products : )
Yes Karla:) I teach alternative high school. I love it! Rock climbing wall does look awesome! I need to go back and do it myself. 🙂 Eco friendly is fabulous! Thank you for the comment:)
I love the SOCO and the OC Mart Mix. This is the type of thing that orange county has been needing from a cultural and community perspective for a long time. I am happy to see that they are aligning themselves around the gourmet and craft food movement.
So true Tom! Thank you for the comment! We will have to do that date there soon my love:) SOCO totally reminded me of a shopping mall in Seattle.
Amazing photos and looks like a great time! I love going to farmers Markets!
Thanks Anita! The fresh products at farmer’s markets are amazing!:-)
Thank you for sharing! I love the cow!!
Thanks Barbara:-) Isn’t the cow adorable?:-)
Dang it darlin, you find the kewlest stuff! It looks like you’re having so much fun!
Laugh Lots, Love More!
Thanks Mama Red! 🙂 We do love to have a time and love & laugh ❤
For the life of me, I don’t know how you manage to find all this each week! YOU are a ROCK star!!! Love how you spell it all out clearly… Thanks!!! x0x
I know Norma…I am pretty exhausted! Lol.Thanks for the compliment:-) Have a fabulous night!
Oh my goodness, Danielle. . . . This is so cool! Thanks so much for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed it:)
Looks like a great place to spend some time! Our local farmer’s market just started today for the summer!
Awesome! Farmer’s Markets are a lot of fun.:)
Sounds like an awesome place to visit! Great pics and descriptions – I bet those in the area will be on their way, ASAP!
For sure!! It was pretty cool…There is a little something for everyone there:)
Ok, so if I ever get to the West Coast, I know where to go! Love this site Danielle.
Hello Susan, Thank you so much for the compliment.:) It is an awesome place.:) I do hope you get the opportunity to check it out:)
There’s something about farmers markets that absolute reek of community, isn’t there, Dani? Probably has to do with getting back to basics … getting grounded and away from the distractions of everyday life. You always bring us new (ad)ventures!
Very true about Farmer’s Markets Sharon:) Thank you for the kind compliment:) It is very much appreciated:)
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Thank you do much:) That is so kind of you:) I just looked for a blog roll on your page and could not find it. Where is it located?:)