Pork Belly Banh Mi

Pork Belly Banh Mi

Mendocino Farms, the Los Angeles-based restaurant recognized for its commitment to the art of the sandwich and its use of seasonal ingredients from local Southern California farmers, opens its first Orange County location in Costa Mesa in May 2014. Founded in 2005 by co-owners Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, Mendocino Farms Costa Mesa will add to the seven current locations in Marina del Rey, Downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Sherman Oaks.

Mendocino Farms’ menu, created by Del Pero and Chen along with the culinary expertise of Corporate Executive Chef Judy Han, elevates the quintessential American favorite by placing the spirit of fine dining between two slices of bread. Han, who learned her craft from Michelin-starred chefs, designs innovative, soulful sandwiches with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and artisans, and finishes them with housemade aiolis, chutneys, pickled veggies, and mustards.

On the restaurant’s menu, signature sandwich favorites include the Pork Belly Banh Mi, a playful reinterpretation of the Vietnamese classic made with rich, caramelized Kurobuta Pork Belly, bright pickled daikon and carrots, cooling cilantro, and spicy fresh jalapeño on toasted ciabatta; the Not So Fried Chicken, a lighter version of a cold fried chicken sandwich with shaved free range chicken breast, Mendo’s krispies (which mimic a crunchy fried chicken buttermilk batter), herb aioli, juicy tomatoes, pickled red onions, and mustard pickle slaw served with a side of house made barbeque sauce; and The Drunk’n Goat on Highway 128, a sandwich inspired by the Anderson Valley wine country where Mendocino is located, featuring creamy Drake Family Farms goat cheese, French brie, sweet cranberry chutney, and Scarborough Farms mixed greens, balanced by slices of tart green apple between two pieces of hearty cranberry walnut bread.

Vegans and omnivores alike crave selections from the “Vegan for All” section of the menu, which features full-flavored offerings like the Vegan Shawarma made with Mediterranean spiced chickpea (instead of the traditional spiced beef or lamb) and a creamy cucumber tzatziki made without yogurt. Salads also receive the gourmet treatment, including the Kale Caesar, a healthier version of a classic Caesar salad featuring Scarborough Farms butter lettuce and romaine, crispy wheatberries, and fresh local kale massaged with a light lemon parmesan vinaigrette. Younger Mendo fans choose from kids menu items such as PB&J with housemade peanut butter and strawberry rhubarb jam from Coldwater Canyon Provisions, served with a side of fresh fruit and a drink.

Designed by Eddie Bitton of Bitton Design Group, the cozy space will feature natural elements with a polished flair in line with the concept’s ideology, including a 25-foot tall towering tree piercing through the restaurant’s ceiling, turf-covered benches, brasserie chalk art, an open kitchen showcasing the art of sandwich making, and a signature Mendocino Farms kids’ corner with a communal table and interactive chalkboard walls.

Mendocino Farms Costa Mesa is located at 450 E. 17th Street, Costa Mesa, CA, 92627, and will open in May 2014. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. For more information, visit Mendocino Farms online.

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