Our Rating: SOOOOO Good!
Address: 2981 Bristol St Ste B-5 Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9am to 10pm (last seating at 9pm)
Sun. 10am – 9pm (last seating at 8pm), Sunday Brunch 10am to 3pm
Contact: 714-754-0718, shop118degrees.com
Via Maureen Whitehouse…
Sustainable, organic, love-filled, vegan, raw food that’s entirely out of this world!
Venturing out of downtown LA to explore what was, for me, the uncharted territory of Orange County was interesting enough. But my excursion to 118 Degrees became even more captivating when I found myself in Costa Mesa’s oasis of consciousness known to locals as “The Camp.” This eclectic and innovative neighborhood has been labeled an “anti-mall adventure,” a small enclave of hip, eco- and health-conscious businesses, including Patagonia, Cyclewerks, Bikram Yoga, Native Foods and Humanitaire, which sells vegan, faux-leather fashions, footwear and bags.
Back to 118 Degrees…
The restaurant’s design shows a sense of style and sensitivity that’s warm and inviting. We chose a table by the window with a view of the entire restaurant and its open kitchen. Since I’d skipped breakfast that morning, I arrived famished. So my lunch companion and I settled ourselves in for a substantial meal…
The menu is loaded with sumptuous choices, my friend and I opted to share a few dishes so we could not only get a good sampling of the fare, but be sure to fill our bellies. Sometimes getting enough food to satiate a voracious appetite can be a bit challenging at raw food eateries, where meals may be inviting, but diminutive. Happily that is not the case with 118 Degrees, where portions are substantial and the prices still very affordable. We began our dining experience with some “Small Bites” – a Mezze Platter, which is a palate pleasing plate of tahini “cheese” and avocado served with olive bread, cucumber and red bell pepper tapenade. A perfect complement to the Tortilla Soup I’d ordered which I found to be a delightfully light and just-spicy-enough tomato soup with chilies, corn, red bell pepper, and chili squash served with corn chips and avocado.
We moved onto the “Greens” – the salad selection is considerable, so again it wasn’t easy settling on our choices, but we opted to try out the Compressed Spinach Salad – fresh baby spinach tossed with citrus pistachio dressing and herbed cheese, pressed and topped with Applewood Balsamic apple and a half-portion of the Seaweed Salad, which is a lovely presentation of baby romaine tossed with a creamy sesame miso dressing and topped with sea veggie medley along with avocado and coconut strips.
Though my stomach’s growling had by now subsided, I didn’t hesitate to dig in when our entrees arrived. We enjoyed the Lemon Pesto Pasta, spaghetti-thin strips of zucchini with a tangy lemon pesto sauce complimented by mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil, and a Surfer Sandwich, an inventive combination of smashed avocado, kale and mixed vegetables served on house sprouted olive kamut bread.
I must say, the executive chef of 118 Degrees, Jenny Ross has got it all goin’ on. As a decidedly conscious restaurateur she is not just committed to facilitating a superior dining experience for her customers, but when asked, she reveals that she also has a larger, more Soul-Full mission in mind. She feels that by serving the raw food community great food she’s not only helping people be happier and healthier, but advancing the cause of environmentalism. “Eating raw is probably one of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the Earth, she says, “You’re eating all plant-based foods, and 99% of the time and you’re supporting organic and biodynamic farming, which replenishes the ecosystem where food is grown. It’s one of the great things you can do for your body, your soul and the planet!”
Forgoing all philosophy, no matter how fulfilling it may be, jf your intention is just to relax and enjoy a superior dining experience 118 Degrees is a sure bet. Not only is Chef Jenny amazingly creative in her dishes, but she is quite happy to make alterations if necessary for those who may have food allergies, sensitivities or express other preferences.
The menu is artful and varied, with sumptuous and satisfying selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner – salads, desserts, smoothies, fresh juices, organic beer and biodynamic wines. And you may lift your eyes between forkfuls to see a famous face or two… as some the more health focused Hollywood celebs have been known to wander in to 118 Degrees for a bite to eat.
118 Degrees mission statement: 118 Degrees serves to empower the community of Orange County with fresh, organic living cuisine, presented in an artful context, to be enjoyed with family and friends. We are here to usher in the future of food by offering a menu that is full of nutrient rich selections that are pleasing to the body and the mind. We hope you’ll join us for a bite, a sip or a divine dessert and enjoy the feel-good energy of organic living cuisine. May you enjoy vibrant health!
As Jenny so Soul-Fully states… “People say the next revolution will be a food revolution, and I believe that.” My intuitive sentiments exactly—You go girl!
Photos courtesy 118 Degrees.