Mix Mix
Mix Mix

Like many inspired chefs who develop a signature cuisine, Ross Pangilinan wanted to open his own restaurant so he could cook the way he likes to eat. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena and working in top-notch kitchens in the Southland, Las Vegas and France, in November 2016, he opened Mix Mix Kitchen Bar in Downtown Santa Ana.

Pangilinan’s restaurant features globally inspired cuisine influenced by his Filipino heritage and growing up in Southern California. Orange Coast Magazine recently named the restaurant, located on 3rd and Main, the “2017 Restaurant of the Year.”

“Growing up, I ate an eclectic mix of food, including Mexican, Asian and American, and I lived in France for four months and traveled around Europe,” says Pangilinan, the restaurant’s executive chef and owner. “Modern chefs like me tend to play around with many flavors and cook outside the lines. There are no boundaries or rules—except that the food tastes good.”

The restaurant’s name comes from a popular dessert made in the Philippines known as Halo-halo, which translates to Mix Mix. The colorful sundae-like dish consists of a hodgepodge of sweet ingredients, including fruit and evaporated milk, and is topped with shaved ice.

Like the Halo-halo, which varies, depending on the ingredients on hand, the cuisine at Mix Mix changes frequently, says Pangilinan. “Our menu is constantly evolving—especially our fish and pastas. We do a lot of house made pasta here, so the preparations change, depending on what’s available and fresh.”

Pangilinan believes in creating a lot of interest in his food. “I enjoy many flavors, including sweetness and a little spice and sour and crunchy,” he says. “I like to touch different textures and flavor profiles and balance them.”

Some signature dishes that tantalize the tastebuds at Mix Mix include the Seared Albacore Tostada featuring orange pepper, Sriracha mayo, ginger soy, cilantro and guacamole. His Filipino Ceviche consists of yellowfin tuna, coconut lime, avocado, pork cracklings and Thai chili. And his Pork Cheek Adobo, a national dish of the Philippines, includes garlic fried rice and chimichurri. “The pork cheek is so tender you can cut it with a fork,” he says.

Mix Mix has Happy Hour Tuesday through Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm. Every Wednesday, there’s a 4-course menu for $45 that includes a complementary wine pairing. There’s also a variety of tasty cocktails, as well as small plates and desserts.

Once Pangilinan was ready to open his own restaurant, the choice of location was easy. The space, located where the former Little Sparrow restaurant once was, only required a few minor changes and additions.

Pangilinan is excited about being located in Downtown Santa Ana’s thriving cultural and culinary hub. “It’s great to be here with so many celebrated restaurants and other creative chefs.”

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar
300 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701  /  714-836-5158

Article Published in the
Jul / Aug 17 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Don Cribb Photo by Talia Samuels
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