Los Angeles Times

Greer's OC: A haven for innovative tacos

Tacos will be going global when Taco Asylum opens at the Camp in Costa Mesa on Thursday. The same masterminds that brought us the delicious Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange are thinking out of the box when it comes to tacos.

They're serving up gourmet tacos with non-traditional ingredients ranging from Mediterranean-style grilled octopus to East Indian-style curried paneer.

Executive Chef Greg Daniels has constructed 10 taco offerings, each with a distinct flavor profile, ingredients and accompaniments. You may have never tasted tortillas like this before, including naan, herbed and cabernet tortillas, that are made in-house and from-scratch marinades and sauces. Each taco is filled with sustainable meats and seafood and most produce comes from local farms.

A sampling of what's on the menu includes pork belly with flour tortilla, carrots, daikon, onions and cilantro ($5); short rib with flour tortilla, pickled red onion, salsa verde, cotija cheese and cilantro ($5); curried paneer with naan tortilla, raita and tomato chutney ($5); and wild mushroom with herbed tortilla, mushrooms, garbanzo puree, parsley salad and fried chickpeas ($5).

And we know you'll be thirsty, so take care of that with unique craft beers, of which six are on tap and 18 are canned beers (all $6), or try an all-natural bottled soda, many of which are handcrafted in small batches (all $4).

Taco Asylum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Camp (between Native Foods and Seed People's Market) at 2937 S. Bristol St. in Costa Mesa.

For more information, call (714) 922-6010 or visit http://www.tacoasylum.com.


Big savings at closing sale

One of our favorite indie boutiques, Shop L. Hermann in Newport Beach, is having a closing sale. All chic local and European designers will be reduced 60% to 70% off the original price. Top-selling lines include Fifteen-Twenty, Bishop, Saivana, Raven, Twenty, For Joseph and Avant Garde. Shop L. Hermann's last day is Jan. 28. The store is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at 357 N. Old Newport Blvd. For more information, call (949) 378-7741 or visit shoplhermann.com


Always time to help

It's already the one-year anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake, and here are some ways you can easily aid in relief efforts and add a stylish timepiece to your collection.

Newport Coast residents Jeff and Jackie Bird spent six months in Haiti following the earthquake and returned home to launch Epic Timepieces, an online watch company raising funds for clean drinking water in Haiti. For each sold watch (they come in 15 color choices and cost $39.95), Epic will provide filters that purify water, which will help halt the recent cholera outbreak.

After Epic provides 10,000 filters to Haitians from the first 10,000 watches, it will focus efforts on another developing country in need. There is free shipping on U.S. orders of $100 or more. For more information, call (800) 921-7065, e-mail info@epictimepieces.com or visit http://www.epictimepieces.com


Helping bring clean water to Haiti

Jesse Baker and Chrissy Gray, co-founders of Ecofficiency.org, a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit that promotes social equality, minimizes waste and reduces pollution by advancing consumer responsibility, just returned from Haiti to develop a pilot program to help eliminate the spread of cholera.

Working with local organizations in Haiti, they distributed 20 water filtration systems and provided critical education in areas that had been previously ignored. Each system will bring clean water to 100 people for five years.

Ecofficiency.org will be returning to Haiti in the coming months to continue their efforts. For further information about their recent journey and to make a donation, please visit http://www.ecofficiency.org.


Something for all eaters

Fairmont Newport Beach is giving diners with specific dietary requests new choices with health and flavor in mind. Bambú Restaurant at the Fairmont will be offering Lifestyle Cuisine Plus, a new menu available upon request for specific diet-dependent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and gluten free, as well as unique dietary preferences including, macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets.

The luxury hotel's motto: "Why stop eating well just because you're on the road?" Bambú is set in the middle of a four-story atrium with tropical gardens filled with palms, orchids and towering bamboo trees. The menu offers culinary treats for every palate.

And for those of you in a hurry, Bambú offers a Petite Quattro Lunch. Choose from two items in each category: soup, salad, entrée and dessert. The meal will arrive in less than 20 minutes or it's free.

The restaurant is open weekdays for breakfast 6 to 11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Weekend breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to noon and closed for lunch and dinner. The hotel is at 4500 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach. For more information, call (949) 476-2001 or visit http://www.fairmont.com


Food on wheels

Every Tuesday, enjoy a gourmet food truck lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SoCo in Costa Mesa. All trucks will offer a special $5 meal deal. The Tuesday SoCo Food Truck Lunch is in addition to the weekly SoCo Farmers Market and Food Truck Brunch happening Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There's plenty of free parking available for customers, along with shaded seating available in the newly remodeled courtyard at 3303 Hyland Ave. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (949) 922-4344 or visit http://www.southcoastcollection.com.

GREER WYLDER writes Greer's OC for the Huntington Beach Independent each Thursday and the Daily Pilot and Coastline Pilot each Friday. She's the founder and president of greersoc.com, a free daily e-mail service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed http://www.greersoc.com and she can be contacted at greer@greersoc.com.

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