From truck to a physical restaurant, Seabirds Kitchen in OC keeps offering seasonal dishes that will make you a regular!
Before there was Seabirds Kitchen it was the Seabirds Truck, a vegan gourmet food truck that traveled around Orange County (and the United States, in the second season of the The Great Food Truck Race). The first time I ate at Seabirds I was blown away. I hadn’t ever eaten food off of a gourmet food truck before, so I really had no idea what to expect. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Their Beer Battered Avocado Tacos were fantastic. Picture perfectly ripe avocados that are lightly beer battered, in a warm corn tortilla with lime, red onion, cabbage, and an amazingly creamy sauce. Hungry yet?
Once I ate that first order of tacos I was hooked. I ended up following the truck all over Orange County whenever I could, and tried nearly everything they made. Part of what I loved about Seabirds was the adventure of locating them. I found them at the OC Fairgrounds, the Teller Lot in Irvine, off of the City Drive in Orange, in a Best Buy parking lot, at Roger’s Gardens, and more. One weekend, I looked on their website and discovered that they were going to be serving at a new housing community. I hadn’t eaten at the truck for two weeks (much too long), so I was determined to go. My husband and I drove to the area, but discovered upon arriving at a dusty parking lot that the Seabirds Truck was parked inside the community, which was still under development and only accessible by shuttle. Unwilling to give up the prospect of eating their food, we got on the bus, took the tour of the homes, and happily ate lunch before taking the shuttle back to our car.
When word started to get out about the opening of a brick and mortar restaurant, I was excited. I was even more excited when I found out that they were opening in The Lab Antimall in Costa Mesa, a unique indoor/outdoor shopping and dining area that is eclectic and ever-evolving. I can’t imagine a more perfect home for Seabirds Kitchen, whose food is the perfect creative compliment to the area. The only downside to the location is that parking can be a challenge, but I’ve never spent more than five minutes trying to find a spot. Valet is available to those who don’t have the patience to drive around in circles for a little while.
When I ate at the restaurant I was happy to discover that many of my favorite dishes from the truck were still on the menu, with some awesome new additions. The menu changes seasonally, but right now my favorite dishes are the, Jack Asada Tacos, Holy Smokes Bowl, and the Burnt Brussels. The Organic Beet and Cara Cara Orange Salad is a great start to the meal and features romaine hearts, kale, oranges, locally grown organic beets, candied walnuts (easily omitted for those with allergies, like myself), and coconut bacon tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. If you’re looking for something to share, the Burnt Brussels have been a favorite of everyone I’ve brought to the restaurant. They are perfectly roasted with fried garlic and finished with a dijon mustard sauce. I always recommend the Beer Battered Avocado Tacos to those who are able to eat gluten, but since I’m not, I stick with the equally delicious Jack Asada Tacos. I love jackfruit, which Seabirds Kitchen grills and marinates, and combines with cabbage, pickled red onion, and cilantro in a warm corn tortilla. Jackfruit also makes an appearance in the amazing Holy Smokes bowl, where it is grilled and combined with sauteed greens, brown rice, pickled red onion, yams, coconut bacon, Seabirds sauce, and Kentucky BBQ sauce. Desserts are fantastic too (I recommend the Joyful Almond Cookie), but I usually don’t have room!
I have to be honest and admit that I do miss the adventure of finding the Seabirds Truck, but knowing that they are always there in Costa Mesa when I need a jackfruit fix is great too. They have some killer brunch specials, and their Birdy Mary looks pretty impressive. They offer catering and party trays, so if you’re planning a vegan event in the Orange County area make sure you give them a call! They also host different tasting events and special events throughout the year, so be sure to follow them on Facebook for the latest happenings.