The Cheese Shop is Open!
Scott Mindeaux, Editor
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What a delight I had this past week with three visits to the newest addition to The OC Mart Mix, The Cheese Shop. I previously reported that they were opening this month.
My first visit was a bit of a re-union with a former co-worker of sorts. I sampled a few slivers of cheese and this sumptuous Brie called Brie de Meaux – more on this later. So while I’m saying hello to myself a somewhat familiar face looks at me and asks if we have met somewhere before. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it. She rattled off some names and then said Sur La Table. Yes!! Kim used to work at the Newport Beach Sur La Table and I had met her while I was working at Sur La Table corporate. Wow, what a nice surprise!
This little cheese shop in the middle of The OC Mart Mix, is in close proximity to Portola Coffee, We Olive and Wine Bar and The Spice Stop. This little shop shop sure packs a punch! Two cooled cases filled with some of the best cheeses. Mostly domestic cheeses from some phenomenal cheese makers, but imported cheeses as well. They also have a nice assortment of charcuterie, breads and accouterments…
They often have samples on the counter and you’ll probably have to fight a small crowd, but make your way to the front and try some of their offerings. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample, they will give you a slice of anything on the menu. My first visit would include a wonderful Brie de Meaux. From the town of Meaux, in Northern Central France, this soft cow’s milk cheese has hints of fruit and hazelnut in this creamy cheese. The next cheese I tried was the Rush Creek Reserve. Another cow’s milk cheese with woodsy tones. This cheese is made by the Upland Cheese Company in Wisconsin. The cheese is only made in the Fall and served as a young cheese.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to try some of their Prosciutto and Duck Breast. The Duck Breast was awesome. You place it on your tongue and then there is a moment of delay as the gaminess of the duck comes thru. I had to buy some. The prosciutto was shaved thing and of course, melted on contact with my mouth.
Today, I swung by to replenish my supply of Brie de Meaux. I love this stuff!
I noticed they had a Spanish Fig Cake in the display case. Intrigued, I asked about it and then was offered a taste challenged by one of the owners, Dawn Mednick. In addition to the Fig Cake, they also had a Panforte from the Napa Cakes company up North. The fig cake was dense with chunks of almonds through out. You can see the fig seeds throughout the “cake”. Next we tried the Panforte. Richer in appearance, it was also equally rich in taste. Kim said the smell from the Panforte reminded her of Christmas. The Panforte had a richer taste and more chewier than the Spanish Fig Cake. They recommended a slice of Pecorino cheese to accompany the Panforte. So what do they do? They sliced up some slivers of pecorino to make sure we sampled the Panforte “properly”. I enjoyed the sampling and I have to say that I preferred the Panforte. I bought some [smile].
So when you get a chance, get yourself to Costa Mesa over to 3313 Hyland – Hyland and Sunflower (off Harbor Blvd) and try the newest gem to the food scene here in The OC. Say hello to Dawn. She is very knowledgeable, knows her cheeses and passionate about her shop. If you see Kim or Dawn, tell them Foodie In Disguise sent you!
Oh by the way…they can special order cheeses as well!
While you are there, don’t forget to stop by the Portola Coffee Lab or the We Olive and Wine Bar!