Wouldn’t it be great if restaurants and bars had happy hour ALL THE TIME!? I’m sure there are many folks that have pondered this thought.
For one week each year, that dream becomes reality….but only in Orange County. Featuring cocktail and dining specials, OC Happy Hour Week runs from October 24th until the 30th.
The Orange County Restaurant Association — the same group that produces OC Restaurant Week — wanted to have some fun while promoting the best in food and beverages around OC. The result is Happy Hour Week.
The week long event began on Sunday, October 24 with a kick off event at Sol Cocina. Eager to sample a margarita or two, I was on hand as LA’s happy hour “ambassador”.
The Sunday drive down from Torrance was pleasant enough; everyone was probably at home watching football! Arrving at Sol in Newport Beach, I was happy to see they had complimentary valet parking. Representatives from the radio station Jill FM were on hand to check folks in and get the party started.
Complimenting the exterior’s mission style architecture, the interior was decked out with cozy tables gathered under a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams. The main room was open and airy with cooks busy in the kitchen on one end while bartenders mixed drinks on the other.
Outside on the patio, the folks from Peligroso Tequila were mixing margaritas for the guests to sample. The media were swarming around like paparazzi capturing all of the Kodak moments of the event.
I sampled the Peligroso margarita, of course, but found the beverage to be a little on the weak side. I could taste the tequila and enjoyed the flavor, but it was a free drink after all and there were a couple hundred thristy folks in line behind me. I can’t blame the mixologist for trying to stretch the liquor to make sure everyone got a sample.
To bridge the gap, I perused the happy hour menu and ordered a house margarita ($5) and street tacos with lemon-mezcal chicken (2 for $4). The margarita was very well made and the tacos were tremendous; citrusy and savory with a tender texture.
My order was accompanied by complimentary house-made tostadas and two delectable salsas. The black bean sauce with roasted pepitas was my favorite of the two. This dish could almost be an appetizer all by itself! And it must be mentioned that, just as quickly as I devoured crisp snack, the friendly staff refilled the plate with warm, fresh tostadas.
But don’t think I was chomping all those tostadas myself! I was joined by Aaron and Teresita, a very friendly couple from San Clemente. Along with helping me finish off the chips and salsas, they were kind enough to let me sample their seafood cocktail and take pictures of their empanadas. Teresita admitted to being a Yelper and was glad that I was snapping pictures of food too.
All the while we were grubbing on prime Mexican cuisine, the Sol servers were making their way around the room with tray passed hors d’oeuvres of ceviche on cucumber slices and freshly made guacamole on tortilla chips.
To keep the crowd moving while they sipped and sampled, a DJ was on hand mixing music. While everyone mingled and soaked in the relaxed vibe, Jill FM gave away prizes to a few lucky attendees.
I didn’t get any of the door prizes, but I still felt like a winner. The Happy Hour Week kick-off was a great success, I met some cool people, and I found a great place for tasty Mexican food in Orange County.
251 Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660
You can still take advantage of some of the great OC Happy Hour Week specials! The event is going on until Saturday, October 30th. Check out their website for participating locations and deals.