the playground in santa ana

What I love about food is the sense of community, creativity, passion, and beauty. My dear and close friend (and OC resident) treated me to a memorable meal at the playground in downtown Santa Ana for my birthday. The playground embodies the qualities of a memorable dining experience and then some, leaving me longing for another visit as their menu changes daily. Led by Chef Jason Quinn (he was on Food Network’s Chopped), they take their food seriously in the sense of the highest quality, seasonal ingredients but in an unpretentious way, served tapas-style so you can try a variety of flavors, techniques, and ingredients (and b.y.o.wine).

Their food philosophy which is presented with their menu is unabashedly asking diners to trust them; submit to our whim. Isn’t this why we go to the movies? Read books? …to immerse ourselves into a whole new experience. And an experience it was. I thoroughly enjoyed everything we ordered.

pg menu

poke

a light and refreshing bluefin poke w/avocado, mango, macadamia, toasted coconut

mushrooms

grilled matsutake mushrooms w/garlic

ramen

Mazeman ramen w/wagyu beef fat, poached egg, and bone marrow

uncle lou's chicken

Uncle Lou’s fried chicken (vinegary finger linkin’ goodness)

I wholeheartedly recommend you take a chance on the playground for a cozy and memorable meal (do make reservations). I would recommend at least coming with a party of 4 so you can order a variety of dishes. By the fried chicken dish, I was  as good as a stuffed turkey and packed most of it to-go. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a bottle of your favorite wine (no corkage fee; YEah!).

Also, I’ll put in a plug for Crave (a few blocks away) for their fresh salads and sandwiches in an airy restaurant (don’t leave w/o a cookie as they are to.die.for).

The Playground | 220 E 4th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701

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