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 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