Thursday, July 06, 2006


I'm so jealous of my fiance's sister! She's got a friend in the culinary world - a chef at the cozy and eclectic Habana. Don't fret the simple website, at least they're smart enough to have one with a number on it. I was fortunate to live vicariously through my fiance's sister and get the VIP treatment for a late lunch at this really interesting place. I don't even know what the front door looks like because I got taken through the back entrance and almost ran into a bus boy on the way in. I've NEVER walked through the kitchen unless you were going to Bucca di Beppo (it's the tradition there to take you through the kitchen first). Anyway, back to Habana...after getting a greeting from the Sou Chef there, we were taken through the restaurant to the outside patio area where tall bushy grass outlines the rustic seating area for a zen like feel. But it really isn't has a more spanish feel to it with the textured walls... or were they just richly colored? I don't remember, but I do remember saying, "am I in Orange County?" The outdoor umbrellas provided enough shade for us and there was actually a breeze. Yes, you can hear some cars in the distance and I read some reviewer who only had a view of the parking lot but they must've been sitting right by the exit gate because that's the only way you'll see the parking lot - that tall grass I told you about blocks the rest of the parking lot view completely that you get the sense you're somewhere else. It was just nice and I would definitely go back just for the feel of it.

It's smack dab in the middle of Orange County, not far from South Coast. Given the trendy clientele, I thought I was in LA (no offense OC). It felt very chic. We were visited by the bartender and the manager and the sou chef...this may not be normal mind you - I was apart of a vip visit so don't expect this. But...the bartender was this totally cool woman who is heard to make drinks out of this world. Write ups online rave about the bar coming to life after hours and heralds the sangria there as one of the best. The day was looking more like a Mojito day for me so I settled in for one of those while my fiance's sister had what they called the "Kelly"...I could've swore there was an inside joke that I missed when they told us the name of that drink. :P

The food is catergorized as Cuban/Jamaican with some Mexican flavors thrown in too. I am neither of these so I can't comment on the authenticity. But I can tell you the salad I had was awesome...the empanadas came with a sauce that was soooo yummmy... and the fried bananas I had would make any Filipino proud. I wish I had a menu to describe the actual titles of the food that was ordered...but then again, they might've been something special that was made just for us. Regardless - a chef who would do that has creativity and has care for their customers and that care shows in their food and also in the steady stream of customers that came through that afternoon. It may not be 100% Cuban or 100% Jamaican or 100% Mexican...but that's the point. It's called FUSION people, give it a try and you just might find yourself having a great time - ambiance and tastebuds wise like I did.

Kick back - order a drink and enjoy the interesting hideaway in the middle of OC otherwise known as Habana. Just have fun with it okay?

2930 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: 714-556-0176
Fax: 714-556-5862