Brunched my way, girl. Let me TELL you!
I recently attended OC Weekly’s Fresh Toast which brings together a bunch of the top vendors in Orange County for a big giant brunch festival. Literally, what could be better than bubbly, and brunch bites?
I am going to break this down into a few sections: venue, food & drinks, and atmosphere & aesthetic.
The venue for Fresh Toast was The Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. It is located near the Sawdust Festival, and just a few miles from the beach. Really, it is a prime location for Southern California because there is so much around it. It is a wonderful, outdoor venue, but it also has some coverage for rainy days. We don’t get too many rainy days here in orange County, but that Saturday, it happened to be pouring. Since it is a rain or shine event, I know some people can be turned off by that since it happens to be a slight inconvenience. Of course, I wanted some sunshine to go with my brunch bites and bubbly.
Since it was raining, and the event was also a sold out event (!!), it made it a little more crowded than desired since everyone was trying to eat, sip, repeat while also attempting to stay dry and out of the rain. However, the venue was still big enough to house the crowd, and there was ample amount of seating and standing room. Since everyone was trying to crowd under, trying to stay dry, it did make the aisles a little more crowded, but it was still movable.
When coming into the venue, you are also given a box to hold your findings in, with a Bloody Mary voting coin, and a cup to use for the bubbly or keep as a souvenir. The box was definitely a helpful, and necessary accessory to have so you could stack on good stuff.
Food & Drinks
I was really pleasantly surprised how many places where there promoting their restaurant, cafe, brands, etc. For not a huge space, they really fit a lot of vendors without making it overfilled. Not only did they have a lot of vendors, but all the vendors were dishing out some of their more favorite menu items.
There were so many things to try, and nibble on from sweet mini donuts and milkshakes, to savory breakfast burritos and different types of toast piled with all the good stuff (don’t worry – there was avocado toast).
They also brought booze into the mix because who doesn’t love some bubbly with brunch?! There were alcoholic milkshakes, cocktails, and a Bloody Mary Battle.
The Bloody Mary Battle had six vendors fighting for the champion title with their take on a bloody mary. Some of the bloody mary’s were traditional, and others put a whole new twist on it – which was really nice. I am not a huge fan of bloody mary’s, however, my fiancé tried them and said there were a few really good ones.
Now, for the non-alcoholic beverages, there were plenty of those as well. There were juices made from vinegar, green juice, coffee stations, and more. It was really nice because they had a bit for everyone.
A couple of my favorite vendors were:
Crema Café fave one of the best versions of avocado toast there. Very traditional, super delicious.
For a sweet treat, Miss Mini Donuts was perfect. These bite sized little guys were so tasty. She had so many flavors ranging from Fruitloops, to cookies in cream, to plain and cinnamon (plus tons more!) The flavors were really unique and fun, and they were so delicious.
Waterman’s Harbor milk and cereal cup was also really great. It is definitely more of a sweet treat, but it is so delicious. With a pink strawberry custard, whipped cream, and captain crunch toppings it definitely is reminiscent of my childhood.
Hands down, on of my most favorite things came from Lido Bottle Works. They had *delicious* cold smoked salmon toast that was actually to die for. I definitely went back to this lil mama. Rye bread, avo mash, topped with salmon, green olive relish and a shallot cream. OH GURL. Will definitely be visiting this place in the v near future – *drools*
Waffles are some of my favorite things, especially when you get a fancy dressed up on like the one The Fifth was offering. The Fifth is a rooftop bar in Anaheim (near Disney!) so the fact that I haven’t been here yet is beyond me, but whatever, this is about the FOOD. They served Fruitloop waffles which were such a treat. Waffles are great because you can go sweet or savory with them, and they did the sweet side, justice.
Suja juice was there, which I was excited about because their juice is so great. We were able to grab a few bottles while we were there.
BUT, The Straw was one of my more favorite drinks there. They have alcoholic milkshakes, like how can you not fall in love? Hi, yes, and oh… they come in dairy free options as well. Such a win-win. I tried their Donkey Kong which is a banana, cookie butter, and chocolate chip mix, topped with delicious whip and a cannoli crumbles. And let me tell you, heaven was singin’.
A few other places we stopped by were: Jan’s Health bar for a mini veggie dish, A Market for a scone, Farmer Boys for a picture perfect breakfast burrito, The Cellar for some delicious mini ice cream cones, and so many more.
Atmosphere + Aesthetic
I really liked the venue, despite the more condensed crowd due to the rain. I think The Festival of Arts is such a lovely venue, and their space is kept really clean, and trimmed and just overall looked great. Everyone was having a great time, talking with vendors, exploring different types of food and drink. I mean who can be in a bad mood with food, sweet treats and booze?
The venue also had a few areas for selfies, group photos, and all your Instagram aesthetic needs. It really was picture perfect, and so was the food. On top of all the goings-on, they had a few live bands playing and it was really great. Provided great entertainment through the entire time.
It was my first Fresh Toast event, and it definitely did not disappoint. You practically had to roll us out of the place when we were done.
Thanks OC Weekly for hosting another year of delicious food!