Adding to the growing culinary scene that can be found in Orange County, The Peel Craftbar & Kitchen is now open in Orange at Hotel Fera, a DoubleTree by Hilton.
Featuring a chef-driven menu that includes local ingredients and global influences, The Peel offers a unique take on coastal California cuisine.
Upon entering the space, guests are met with a U-shaped bar. The restaurant takes full advantage of the weather of Southern California with a retractable window that enables outdoor seating at the main bar, and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for natural light throughout the restaurant. A patio allows for alfresco dining surrounded by lush greenery, a water feature, and fire pits.
The seasonally focused menu created by Executive Chef Luis Martinez offers made from-scratch coastal California dishes and libations.
“My passion in the kitchen comes from cooking with my grandmother as a young boy in Mexico, and my experience comes from more than 40 years in hotel restaurants,” Chef Martinez comments in a statement, whose inspiration from his grandmother’s wood-fire cooking can be found throughout the menu. “The Peel menu combines my passion and experience to create a new type of hotel dining experience that focuses on cooking as I would for my own family.”
On the menu of global dishes, Chef Martinez’s roots can be seen as he combines the flavors of Mexico with Southern California’s bounty in his Peel Fish Tacos, which features a Sour Orange Adobo, and his Horchata Ice Cream, which can be found on his dessert menu.
“My cooking philosophy highlights fresh, flavorful ingredients that change by season, which is why it’s so exciting to have access to high-quality, seasonal items in our backyard,” adds Chef Martinez, who revealed that the majority of his produce comes from within 150 miles of the restaurant. “Our lettuces come from Babe Farms in Santa Barbara, our strawberries come from Harry’s Berries in Oxnard, our microgreens come from Coleman Family Farms in Carpinteria, and our olive oil comes from the Temecula Olive Oil Company in Aguanga.”
Chef Martinez’s focus on sustainable, naturally raised proteins can be seen with Skuna Bay Salmon and Mary’s Free-Range Chicken, both family owned businesses. Care is put into sourcing quality products throughout the menu with dishes featuring PEI Mussels, USDA Prime Beef, and Applewood Smoked Bacon.
On the menu, shareable bites include three types of flatbreads, California Hummus, and a Mediterranean Charcuterie Board. A selection of Leaves & Greens and Power Bowls feature farm-fresh produce and seasonal ingredients. Larger Bites include The Butcher Boy Burger; Mary’s Fried Chicken Sandwich with a cajun aioli and citrus coleslaw; Cuban Slow-Roasted Pork BBQ Sandwich, with a unique citrus spicy BBQ sauce; and The Parisian Steak Sandwich with dijon mustard and chimichurri.
With the bar as a focal point of the restaurant, the bar program revolves around the same philosophy the kitchen follows with a commitment to the freshest, seasonal ingredients to ensure the best tasting, most flavorful cocktails. Guests seated at the bar and nearby tables have a front-row seat as “bar chefs” utilize technique, innovation, and a variety of spirits to create attention-grabbing craft cocktails. The bars signature cocktails bring a contemporary approach to traditional mixed drinks, with a focus on immediate flavors and the purity of ingredients, including house-made syrups and fresh juices, fruits, vegetables, peppers, and herbs. Current libations feature the season’s most vibrant citrus and berries.
Among the summer cocktails are the French Butterfly, made with Empress 1908 Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lemon, cava raspberry-citrus foam, and dehydrated berries; and the Agave Summer, featuring Espolòn Blanco Tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde Chile Poblano Liqueur, passion fruit, and fresh lime.
The bar’s culinary approach to its libations comes through in the Hat Trick, which begins with duck fat-washed Knob Creek Bourbon, amaro, demerara, and bourbon barrel-aged bitters; and the Apertivo & Chill, which features Aviation American Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, and coconut-washed Aperol.
In addition to the cocktail program, The Peel carries a selection of wines by the glass and by the bottle. Craft beers add to the beverage offerings, with many local and regional breweries highlighted on draft.
The Peel’s food and cocktail menus will change throughout the year as ingredients reach their peak flavor.
The Peel is located at 100 The City Drive in Orange. Current hours are Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to midnight.