Just this May 2019; Michelin released the first ever California statewide list of Bib Gourmand selections. The list highlights “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.” One of the restaurants listed was Mix Mix Kitchen and Bar. Located in Downtown Santa Ana, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is the global inspired restaurant concept by famed Chef Ross Pangilinan. The restaurant is not new to earning recognition. In 2017; they also Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year!
Chef Ross Pangilinan was previously the executive chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. In 2017; he opened up Mix Mix Kitchen Bar. Since it’s opening; the restaurant has earned both awards as well as the hearts of foodies from all over.
Chef Ross Pangilinan’s dishes have a hint of Filipino flare and European touch. The menu is filled with unique and tasty dishes and one of the best ways to go while visiting is trying out their “Oui Chef” tasting menu. For $65; diners get to partake in 5 dishes personally picked by the chef himself. I got to try the “Oui Chef” tasting menu recently and had the most amazing time!
Our meal first started off with Chicharrones and spicy vinegar.
Chicharrones; a classic Filipino snack; was the perfect starter for our big meal. The Chicharrones were thin and crisp and great when dipped in the Datu Puti vinegar; a well known Filipino vinegar.
Next up; we were presented with several of Mix Mix’s famed snacks..
First was the Seared Albacore Tostada & Filipino ceviche.
The Seared Albacore Tostada came with avocado, seaweed, Japanese dressing, sriracha aioli, radish on top of a round crisp tostada. On the side was the Filipino ceviche with coconut lime dressing, tangerine, avocado, Thai chili and bits of pork crackling.
One of the nicest things I liked about the Oui Chef tasting menu was it was customizable to guests. One guest can have a different dish versus the other if the other guest has different dining preferences (non-pescatarian, vegetarian etc).
Since I am non-pescatarian; I was presented with a lovely plate with Chorizo & Potato Croquettes and Bacon Wrapped Date.
The Chorizo & Potato Croquettes came with jalapeno lime aioli, Oaxaca cheese while the Bacon Wrapped Date came with harissa yogurt, Marcona almonds. Both were lovely and full of flavor! I loved the softness of the croquettes and sweetness of the date.
The snacks did not end there as next was a plate of Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon salad to share.
This had watermelon, tomato, candied pistachio and white balsamic gastrique. Pieces of crisp toast were placed on top. I loved how they made this seasonal dish with watermelon. It was so refreshing for a summer night.
Next up were several selections from Mix Mix Kitchen Bar’s small plates menu.
The first was Short Rib Bao Buns.
It is rare to find bao buns at restaurants and I have to say that this is one of the best that I’ve ever had! It was packed with braised short rib topped with pickled onions and cilantro. It also had ”pho” cream which gave a pho like taste to great small plate!
Pork Cheek Adobo was followed as our next small plate.
Adobo is a famed Filipino dish and one knows a Filipino restaurant is good based off their adobo! I am happy to say Filipino Chef Ross definitely knows his adobo. This small plate was delicious and was accompanied with tasty garlic fried rice and chimichurri. It reminds me of home.
The dish served with the Pork Cheek Adobo was the restaurant’s Market Fish selection dish.
The Market Fish was a lovely looking plate. The fish was roasted barramundi and it was accompanied with Spanish beans, Spanish chorizo, zucchini and pickled chili emulsion. Healthy and delightful are two words that come to mind.
Soft Egg Raviolo awaited our palates next.
The Soft Egg Raviolo had a soft cooked egg in the middle of a large disk of stuffed black pepper pasta, topped with herb ricotta, guanciale, parmesan and brown butter. The egg yolk oozed out of the middle as I sliced this delectable dish. The ravioli itself was so soft and cooked perfectly.
Our following starter plate was a surprise. It was the Rabbit Guitar Pasta.
The pasta itself is representative of guitar strings and hence the name “Guitar Pasta.” On top was shredded meat that at first we were debating whether it was chicken or pork. It turned out to be Fryer Rabbit; a lean young rabbit with fine-textured white meat. This dish is not on the menu but a special of the restaurant. It was definitely one of their more unique dishes!
At this point; we were getting quite full but up next was the main entree; New York steak and Lamb.
Once again; Mix Mix Kitchen Bar got it right! Both meats were cooked medium and were so tender. Accompanied with brussel sprouts and potatoes; it felt like we were at high end steakhouse. The lamb was another off the menu special.
The desserts were a sweet ending to a very special tasting menu. We got not one but two of their famous desserts.
First up was the Chocolate Fondant.
Our waiter described this as a lava cake like type dessert with passion fruit cream, salted caramel on the side. The chocolate itself was so rich and smooth. It was dark chocolate at it’s finest. The passion fruit cream gave a nice, sweet offset to the dark chocolate.
Once again; Chef Ross Pangalinan pays homage to his Filipino roots with this dessert that is a twist on the Filipino halo- halo. It had coconut panna cotta, macadamia nuts and tropical fruit and mango sorbe and ube ice cream. Definitely save room for dessert as this sweet treat is pure heaven!
Oui Chef experience at Mix Mix Kitchen was the most amazing culinary experience. I can definitely see why this restaurant won Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year and is on the list of Michelin Guide California 2019 Bib Gourmand. Chef Ross Pangilinan along with Chef de Cusine; Ross Harris came up with some of the best dishes ever and provided us with a dining experience we will never forget! Oui Chef!
For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Mix Mix Kitchen Bar.