From the parking spots marked with “Eat Tofu” and “Drink Lots of Water” phrases to the California native landscaping to the eclectic dining and shopping options, The Camp isn’t your average suburban mini-mall. Come for a breath of fresh OC air, stay for one-of-a-kind treasures and treats.
2937 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Blackmarket Bakery’s mantra is “resistance is futile.” If your willpower is in short supply you are in trouble because the use of natural ingredients and lack of preservatives create seriously tasty baked goods worth the drive. The Black Widow tart with chocolate ganache and caramel and the Blackstrap Betty molasses cookie with dried apricots are favorites. If you’ve got kids in tow don’t miss the hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. The recipe was developed by the owner’s middle school-aged son but the result is straight out of a Swiss cafe – thick, rich liquid chocolate.
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Native Foods Cafe
If you’re afraid of vegan food, be brave and try Native Foods Café. This West Coast gourmet vegan chain located in a yurt-like round building with patio seating is not just healthy; it’s palate pleasing for non-vegans too. Burgers, salads, a tempting dessert menu and a “Kids Are Cool” menu with chicken nuggets and a brontosaurus burrito make this a healthy restaurant you’ll come back to.
Old Vine Cafe
The crowd of people waiting to eat at Old Vine Café is the first clue that you’re in for a good meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served with reservations at dinner only. At lunch, try the innovative Caprese Salad of Mozzarella Burrata with flash-fried arugula. For dinner, order from the regular menu or try one of the nine tasting menus with wine pairings. Parents take note that while kids are welcome at breakfast and lunch (not dinner) there are no kid-friendly menu options and they do not accommodate special requests – the grilled cheese comes stuffed with arugula and mushrooms whether or not you want it.
Seed People’s Market
Seed People’s Market is an anchor at The Camp and offers environmentally-friendly products for the outdoor enthusiast and the nature lover. They are a Patagonia retailer, a traveler’s stop for gadgets and gear, and a treasure trove for unique toys and home products. The inside décor features a wooden tree made from recycled wood scraps and your purchase goes home in a shopping bag made from real newspaper.
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Purre has a little bit of everything, from clothing to eco-friendly soaps and bath products to hot chocolate on a stick. It’s located in the back, near Old Vine Café and is a perfect spot to look for a gift for the person that has everything.
Outer Limits Tattoos and Body Piercing
Not your usual shop at the mall, Outer Limits is a body piercing and custom and cosmetic tattoo salon. They have a selection of body jewelry, use organic inks and are known for the quality of their work. Peruse the artists’ galleries of work on the website for ideas for your next tattoo or piercing.
Kristi Marcelle is a travel writer and regular contributor at Ciao Bambino and CBS Los Angeles. She loves planning travel adventures with her family, a good glass of wine at the whining hour and the Green Bay Packers. Follow her on Twitter @kristimarcelle.