In the Kaleidoscope Center across from the Mission Viejo Mall is the new Union Market. Open just a few months, not all stores are open. But there are several eating spots open serving a variety of food options. Jennifer and I opted for something healthy. The Hummus Bowl offers a variety of vegetarian options. Special of the Day was two falafel tacos. We ordered that and the Market Hummus which was served in a bowl with cauliflower, chopped salad, red cabbage and charred Brussel sprouts. There were freshly baked pita wedges for dipping in the hummus. It was all quite tasty.

The food halls are quite popular now – OC Mart Mix at SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa, Anaheim Packing House, Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market, Union Market at The District in Tustin, Lot 579 at Pacific City in Huntington Beach, and the new Trade in Irvine to open on Michelson near the John Wayne Airport. Lots of independent retail stores and small cafes offer a variety of reasonably priced eating and shopping options.

One other thing — the coffee.  Jennifer was stuck in the 405 parking lot so I decided to have dessert first while I waited for her. Portola Coffee is branching out and is at Union Market now. Their special holiday drink is Spiced Gingersnap Latte. It is served with a slice of candied ginger. Not overly sweet – actually quite delicious!! There is something about gingersnaps and gingerbread that scream Christmas to me.