Food Hall Mania

The food court from the 1980s has received a culinary makeover.

Chew on this… food as rock star. It would make sense then that it’s ready to perform in a bigger venue than the mere restaurant. Welcome to the food hall, many of which are sprouting up around California. We take you on Bite Tour 2015.

1. The Birdy Mary cocktail, garnished with fried pickles, with a “gruyere” grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough with a basil avocado sauce. That cheese? Cashews, because at Seabirds, it’s completely vegan (at the rebellious yet Zen-styled anti-mall, The Labin Costa Mesa).

Seabirds Kitchen Blirdy MaryPhoto courtesy of Seabirds Kitchen

The-Lab-Costa-Mesa_photo-Cynthia-KanousePhoto of The Lab courtyard by Cynthia Kanouse via Flickr

2. The hazelnut and chocolate-y babka loaf, old-fashioned-styled pretzels, and berry poppins (pop-tarts redone!) at the self-proclaimed retro-tisnal Blackmarket Bakery run by baker-darling Rachel Lemek (at Camp in Costa Mesa).

Blackbird-pretzel

3. Fish, but how prepared? The crispy-battered Old English style at The Chippy, steamed and spiced in a pan roast at Kettlebar, or Mexican-style ceviche at Urbana. Flip a coin, then follow up with a coconut popGelato with coconut shavings, half-dipped in chocolate from Popbar (at the two-level 1919-built Anaheim Packing District).

4. A breakfast breakfast. The Iron Press bases every meal around the waffle, like the waffles with Cap’n’Crunch (at Anaheim Packing District).

Iron Press Are You CerealxPhoto courtesy of The Iron Press

5. Friday’s wild shrimp taco special, fried and with a spicy chipotle crema, squeezes of lime, and cabbage slaw, Baja-style at Cosecha in Oakland’s Swan’s Market.

swan'sPhoto courtesy of Anaheim Packing District 

5. Roasted Malaysian spiced chicken rice paired with a pear iced tea at Azalina’s at The Market in San Francisco’s Twitter building.

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