Downtown Santa Ana is home to many unique bars which bring crowds of people during the weekends. The Twisted Tiki opened at McFadden Public Market back in May of this year and has quickly gained a massive following. Their island vibes and deliciously crafted drinks make this the perfect place to escape the at times hectic weekend environment.
Mana is the visionary behind the Twisted Tiki. A native Hawaiian, Mana was determined to bring a little piece of paradise to Orange County. “I want it to feel like you are back home with me in Hawaii. I want the vibe to be chill and relaxed.”
Once you enter the bar you are instantly transported to another place. The venue is very intimate with ukulele music playing in the background and a live stream of a Hawaiian beach playing on the TV making it the perfect atmosphere to sit back, relax, and enjoy a drink.
The Purple Polynesian Sunset is one of Twisted Tiki’s signature cocktails and their number one bestseller. Mana named it after the purple sunsets of the Hawaiian Islands. If you come at the right time you can see it for yourself on their live stream. This purple pina colada is a smooth and creamy cocktail that is garnished with a made-to-order caramelized pineapple slice. There is a reason why this drink is their best seller, it is simply delicious.
The Lua Punch is another one of the Twisted Tiki’s signature cocktails. This drink has Malibu Run, Captain Morgan dark rum, and a mix of tropical juices and bitters. The Lua punch can be purchased as a single cocktail or served in a half shell for two-four people to share.
The Twisted Tiki created fun names for all their signature drinks like the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, a tequila based drink named after the state fish of Hawaii. The King Kamehameha pays homage to the great first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The drink is made with ghost pepper syrup and packs a powerful punch.
Twisted Tiki is also serving the classics like Mai Tais, Daiquiris, and Painkillers. When it comes to crafting cocktails, Mana strives to create well-balanced drinks that everyone can enjoy. His philosophy on cocktails works. The ingredients of the beverages are perfect blends of alcohol, spices, and tropical flavors, leaving you satisfied and wanting more.
To ensure that everyone gets a chance to visit paradise the Twisted Tiki has a time limit of 1 hour per visit. This policy is played out only when there is a wait. Coming in on a weekday will probably guarantee you some more time in this tropical oasis.
Mana is already planning on expanding the Twisted Tiki to an outdoor lounge. His concept is to have outdoor seating where customers can take their drinks and feel like they are in someones backyard in Hawaii.
Mana credits the success of the Tiki bar to having a menu of well balanced and delicious drinks that are made by amazing people. The Twisted Tiki is open Tuesday - Thursday from 5 pm - 10 pm and Friday - Saturday from 5 pm - 1 pm.
Make it a hop: Enjoy a downtown tropical trist by starting at Twisted Tiki, then sailing over to Vacation Bar, Mix Mix Kitchen & Bar and Irenia for a full trek of tropical high-end drinks.
Article by Jennifer Morones
Photos provided by Twisted Tiki, Jennifer Morones and Arlene Viveros
Vegan cuisine is sweeping the nation with many restaurants creating unique dishes to appeal to their vegan customers. Downtown Santa Ana is home to some amazing vegan restaurants and vegan options, so we decided to highlight some of our favorite dishes!
1. Vegan Pozole at Alta Baja.
Alta Baja carries a selection of vegan dishes on their menu daily, but we wanted to highlight the Green Vegan Pozole. This dish is so good it was featured in The New Yorker. The green pozole is made with squash, beans, and hominy in a delicious green chili sauce and served with all the fixings. This dish is only served every last Sunday of the month and is known to sell out so make sure to get to Alta Baja early and get your hands on a warm savory bowl of Vegan Green Pozole.
2. Hummus Sandwich at Black Market Bakery
This sandwich is so fresh Black Market Bakery has dubbed it “The Fresh Air.” Don’t let the name fool you, this sandwich is packed with flavor and will leave you feeling satisfied. It is made with hummus, avocado, Roma tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, arugula, lemon vinaigrette on toasted lemon rosemary bread. Black Market Bakery also has a selection of vegan desserts like sprinkle cookies, hand-pulled brittle, and seasonal pies!
3. Vegan ice cream sandwich at Chunk-N-Chip
Ice cream lovers can thank Chunk-N-Chip for this tasty vegan dessert. With seasonal flavors like vegan Thai tea and vegan dragon fruit and strawberries, customers always have something new to look forward too. They also have a gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie so everyone can enjoy their famous ice cream “sammich.” Two vegan cookies are oven warmed to gooey perfection holding your choice of ice cream creating dessert heaven.
4. Vegan Ceviche at La Vegana Mexicana
La Vegana Mexicana is a family-owned and operated vegan eatery created by chef and owner Loreta Ruiz. Ruiz started experimenting with plant-based Mexican recipes after her daughter converted to veganism. Her take on “ceviche” is made with chopped cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro, served over a crunchy corn tostada and drizzled with lime and hot sauce. Healthy and delicious. La Vegana Mexicana is also known for their vegan tamales so be sure to grab some while you are there!
Vegan Breakfast Burrito at The Den
The Den, formerly known as The Gypsy Den, has a wide selection of vegan dishes. They are a trendy spot for brunching a-la vegan. Their Saucy Vegan Breakfast Burrito is a fan favorite. The burrito is loaded with vegan chipotle chicken, turmeric rice, tofu scramble, beans, roasted red peppers, and chipotle aioli. The burrito is then smothered with green or red enchilada sauce and served with your choice of fresh fruit, house potatoes, or balsamic dressed salad. Is it big enough to share but this burrito is so good we wouldn’t.
6. Vegan sausages at Wursthaus
Craving handmade sausages and German and Polish Beer? Wursthaus is the gastropub to deliver such items. With their vegan sausages, veggie eaters can too enjoy a frankfurter and beer. Their vegan sausage options include Smoked Apple and Sage, Mexican Chipotle and the Italian. The sausages are topped with grilled onions and pepper and stuffed into a toasted bun. This is the perfect watering hole suitable for all eaters.
7. Western Bacon Shroom Burger at Munchies Diner
Munchies Diner is the newest vegan eatery to join Downtown Santa Ana. They have taken your traditional diner favorites, like buttery pancakes and tuna melts, and made them vegan approved. There are so many amazing dishes to try but the fan favorite is their Western Bacon Shroom Burger. This burger contains bacon, a beef patty, melted provolone, beer-battered organic mushroom, BBQ sauce, garlic aioli, and organic house cheese sauce. You would never be able to guess this burger is 100% plant-based. All burgers and sandwiches come with a side of fries and for $5 more you can upgrade to their Human-Style Fries. Their take on “Animal Style Fries.”
8. Beyond Bulgogi Wraps at Next Round
It is great to see how many restaurants are catering to the vegan diet and bars are quickly following suit. Next Round Bar & Grill has an amazing vegan appetizer on their menu called Beyond Bulgogi Wraps. This dish is made with beyond meat sautéed in a bulgogi glaze and served on top of butter lettuce then topped with pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños, and sesame seeds. Come during happy hour Monday – Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm to get $4-$5 draft beers and 25% off your vegan appetizer.
9. Vegan Michelada at Mission Bar
Micheladas are a popular spicy Mexican cocktail made with Mexican beer and a tomato mix called clamato which, you guessed it, contains clam juice. This makes most Micheladas non vegan. Luckily Mission bar has a vegan Michelada mix to craft this popular drink. Enjoy your Vegan Michelada with a chamoy, lime and tajin rim that adds the perfect kick and tang to your drink.
Video Roundup of the 9 Tasty Vegan Dishes
Video by Hector Gomez
Video and Article by Jennifer Morones