The sun is finally out, temperatures are rising, and so is my appetite. Lucky all the best restaurants in Orange County are unveiling their new summer menus. To begin we joined Chef Diego Velasco and his culinary team at Memphis Cafe in Costa Mesa. Diners can expect new and innovative twists to classic southern favorites.
Diners can expect new and innovative twists to classic southern favorites.
To begin our evening we all were surprised with a fun dining experience inside this awesome vintage trailer that sits outside of Memphis Cafe. I can’t think of a more festive way to start diving into the Orange County summer culinary scene, beginning with a few new cocktails to entice the appetite.
The Retirement, as shown above, with California Gin, Wine Aperitif, & Amaro.
All of the new featured summer cocktails are created by Phil, the Memphis Cafe bar program director. Phil’s creativity shines as he works hand in hand with Chef Diego to create cocktails that pair perfectly with the new cuisine. Expect flavors of hickory smoke and thoughtful unique ingredients like chai tea. New Cocktails include The Retirement, as shown above, with California Gin, Wine Aperitif, & Amaro.
The Chai on Fire with Mezcal, Coconut Rum, Lime, Honey, Chai Spiced Tea.
The Chai on Fire with Mezcal, Coconut Rum, Lime, Honey, Chai Spiced Tea and the Melt Banana with Aquavit, Banana Liqueur, Lemon, & Absinthe were also new additions. Guests especially enjoyed the creativity and smokiness of The Chai on Fire.
Fried Washington Oysters with red beans and rice, and smoked pork belly.
For our first course, we enjoyed their new Fried Washington Oysters with red beans and rice, smoked pork belly, and zucchini mignonette. The oysters were perfectly crisp and crunchy with cornmeal breading perfectly complimenting Memphis Cafes southern charm.
I especially love the use of fresh baby corns in this fun and flavorful dish.
Next, we enjoyed my personal favorite dish off the new menu, the Caledonian Prawns with baby corn. These prawns were served with the head on in a fantastic queso fresco and green tomato conserva that was packed with flavor. I especially love the use of fresh baby corns in this fun and vibrant dish.
Surprisingly one of my favorite components of this dish were the amazing scallion pancakes.
For our third dish, we enjoyed the Spice Crusted Striped Bass. I really enjoyed the flavors of this dish made with a soy lime glaze. This dish utilizes the entire fish including the collar which @madhungrywomen couldn’t wait to get her hands on to bring home. Surprisingly one of my favorite components were the amazing scallion pancakes.
Hickory Smoked platter that was perfect for the 4th of July!
As if we all weren’t already incredibly full, our fourth dish was a Hickory Smoked platter that was perfect for the 4th of July! This generous platter comes with BBQ ribs, roast chicken, burnt beef ends, cornbread, and coleslaw. Now that’s a southern feast.
Finally, for the grand finale, we all dove into the Blackened Ribcap Steak.
Finally, for the grand finale, we all dove into the Blackened Ribcap Steak. This dish was served with corn cheese, hen of the wood mushrooms, and housemade steak sauce. The corn cheese was Chef Diego’s take on a Mac and cheese such a guilty pleasure, using fresh in-season corn.
Chef Diego actually spent time living with a Southern Rock Band who introduced him to the art of southern cuisine.
Everything was so amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down with Chef Diego to learn more about his background and culinary influence. While growing up Chef Diego actually spent time living with a Southern Rock Band who introduced him to the art of southern cuisine. Believe it or not, Chef Diego actually went to school for finance, but soon realized it was not for him. Little did he know his days living with a Southern Rock Band would inspire him to change paths and go to Culinary school, eventually leading to the amazing restaurant we all get to enjoy today, Memphis Cafe in Costa Mesa!
Thank you to Chef Diego, Phil, and the entire Memphis Cafe team for impressing me again with another of their fantastic and innovative seasonal menus. Shown above is another one of my favorite dishes from their regular menu, the fried chicken with greens, mashed potatoes, and southern gravy. It’s a must try!
2920 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626