Making bigger even better is sometimes a challenge, and for a large property such as the Hilton Orange County/ Costa Mesa, big touches of culinary creativity, use of premium product, and artisan detail add up to successful meeting breaks. As the largest hotel in Costa Mesa, the Hilton is located in the heart of South Coast Metro, Orange County’s business district and boasts 55,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. With an optimal location within proximity of the agricultural Imperial and Temecula Valleys, the hotel has privileged access to some of the finest citrus fruit, vegetables, olives, avocados, and wines in southern California.
“Executive Chef Jeff Vosburgh and I spend a great deal of time in formulating menus and collaborating with the culinary and sales teams,” says Director of Sales & Marketing Brad Doell.
“With an average group of 200, and LOS of three days, we have several opportunities for breaks. As part of that, themed breaks are a great upsell for us.”
The trend toward healthy offerings hasn’t avoided the property; Doell says meeting planners are interested in sustainable, organic sources of food product.
“To meet the demand, we utilize California-certified local growers and vendors whenever we can, and we often purchase directly from partners such as Coleman, Kenter Canyon, Weiser and Crows Pass farms,” he says.
The Farmers Market ($15) is the most popular refreshment break and includes market-fresh vegetable crudités such as tri-color cauliflower, broccolini, baby eggplant, and red, orange, and white baby carrots served with housemade avocado Ranch dip. Assorted olives such as matraville, calamata, Sevillano, manzanilla, and Picholine varieties are marinated in olive oil and fresh herbs. And a display of whole fresh fruits such as petite bananas, tiny clementines, and baby figs and plums are served alongside bowls of fresh assorted blackberries, blueberries, and stem strawberries. Fresh fruit-infused waters are provided, and other beverages are additional in cost.
“The presentation on this break is reasonable in labor intensity,” says Vosburgh. “We can set up in under a half hour, and it is simply beautiful and colorful. We utilize props such as hay bales, and add other natural elements such as a wooden crate planted with wheat grass as the base for serving food. The olives are displayed in rustic cast-iron pots, and service is designed for grab ‘n’ go.”
The California Tuscany breaks menu ($17) features Caprese on a stick with local olives and buffalo mozzarella; housemade formaggio flatbread; housemade truffle-and-honey flatbread with rosemary from the hotel’s garden; and Orangina, lemon San Pellegrino, and iced Frappucino.
“We provide freshly baked almond cookies on this menu,” says Vosburgh. “Our local Continental Bakery provides these treats, along with all our pastry.”
A travel industry veteran based in Orlando, Nancy Fox is a regular contributor to Hotel F&B.