Event: Tastemakers of Orange County

Organized by The Orange County Asian & Pacific Island Community Alliance (OCAPICA), Tastemakers of OC event brought together renowned chefs across Orange County to celebrate the heritage and culture of the API community. Along with that, all proceeds from the event benefited the the non-profit organization to support health, youth education and civic engagement opportunities to low income families in Orange County. Long story short, great event for a great cause!

In collaboration with SOCO and The OC Mix, a premier destination for food, drinks and small businesses, they ran multiple contests on Instagram to garner interest. Luckily, my friend was a winner of one of them, so I came along as her guest for the evening! As we checked in, we received a map of the vendor stands, a plate and a wine cup to get our grub on. 

The event took place at SOCO's Farmer Market stands, so each chef had their own booth to dish out some of their best offerings. Here are the samples I had from the evening, but you can go to my Instagram (@mealswithjamie) for full details of each sample.

There were definitely some tastings that stood out! Here are a few of my favorites from the night: 

Modern Filipino Kitchen's "Kinilaw" Filipino ceviche. Wild caught tuna is "cooked" in calamansi and lime juice with coconut milk, ginger, grape tomato, red onions and cilantro. The citrus juices along with the coconut milk base was really tasty. You could easily just eat it as is or with the chip it was served with. 

Garlic and Chives' pomelo salad on a puffed rice chip. It was absolutely amazing! I didn't think it would be that great given the very vague description, but it was seasoned perfectly and topped with fried scallions & dried shrimp. 

Crema Cafe's Loco Moco and Coconut Cream Puff. The loco moco had a coconut rice base topped with truffle gravy, braised beef cheek and a fried quail egg. The presence of truffles was definitely there and the beef cheek was tender, but I didn't get the full effect of a loco moco. The coconut cream puff though, that was perfection! We came back for seconds.

There were also a lot of sushi or poke options from various restaurants such as, the rainbow poke from Shuck Oyster Bar, salmon poke from Tacklebox OC and tuna/yellowtail nigiri from Bluefin Sushi. They were all delicious!

There was live entertainment, a silent auction and a ton of great food/drinks all around. Overall, the event gathered a good amount of people without overcrowding the space. Hope OCAPICA was able to meet their fundraising goal and looking forward to future events!

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