This post was most recently updated on July 9th, 2019
My husband and I still regularly date. We’ve gone on a date every week of our marriage, for over 33 years. As you can imagine, it is even more special if we can find something we haven’t done before. The Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School in Costa Mesa, CA, definitely fit the bill!
Taking a cooking class was one of the highlights of a weekend getaway to Costa Mesa. (Note to self: If you take a weekend getaway, everything you do counts as a date!) We were signed up to take the cooking class called, “Steak Your Claim” — a class taught by guest Chef Max Schlutz of Sessions West Coast Deli. I think the steak choice really suited my husband.
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Who cooks at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School?
That was my question. I didn’t know if we’d be cooking the steak ourselves (scary thought for me) or helping with some of the prep work (I might be able to do that). Or just dumping a bunch of ingredients into a bowl and handing it over to someone else. To be honest, I was a little nervous. And I’m not sure my husband would have enjoyed a hands-on experience.
I was actually relieved that the Stonewall Kitchen’s format is to teach demonstration classes. That means we get to sit comfortably and watch someone who knows what he’s doing. And Chef Max could explain what he’s doing (or why he’s chosen particular ingredients) instead of talking the class through a “how to hold your knife” discussion. I felt we learned a lot more this way.
Why is the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School so much fun?
Okay, that’s an easy question. It’s the food and the chef. Watching someone who can really cook is eye-opening. And when the chef shares tips and I feel like I’m actually learning something, that’s fun, too. But the best part is when the food is plated beautifully and presented to each cooking school guest. I thought I might be getting small samples of each item prepared. But no, we each got a generous portion.
So my husband and I ate and watched and learned and ate some more. And took lots of photos! It was oh. so. delicious! Crazy me — I had just started a new eating plan at the beginning of the new year. So I’m eyeing all this incredible-looking food and thinking, “There’s no way I’m not going to gain weight if I eat this!” But I was wrong. I could savor each item, not necessarily eating it all. For example, I ate every bite of all the goodies inside the Breakfast Steak Burrito, but opted to leave the tortilla behind. Fewer carbs — and all the amazing flavor! I’m just sharing this so you won’t use your current “food fad” as an excuse not to take this class.
I’m Sold. Where’s the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School?
This is another reason Stonewall Kitchen is a great date idea. It’s inside the Macy’s store, within the South Coast Plaza — the most beautiful and the largest shopping destination in the United States. Hello!!! Thought you weren’t ever going to get your husband inside a luxury shopping center?
Before and after our cooking lesson, my husband and I rather enjoyed perusing several stores…looking for a new fruit bowl at a kitchen supply store, checking out the clothes at H & M, and finally buying Usborne books for our grandchildren at the Puzzle Zoo. We even strolled across the luscious Bridge of Gardens that one person referred to as the “Eiffel Tower of Costa Mesa.”
It’s kind of cool that Macy’s and the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School have this relationship. The regular chefs for the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School also prepare the food for the Stonewall Kitchen Cafe inside Macy’s. Plus, you can also purchase Stonewall Kitchen food products, including their signature jams, sauces, and pancake mixes.
What to Expect When You Register for a Class
- Here’s the link to a sample month of classes offered at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School. Choose your favorite, click on the “More info/Registration” button to learn more and to register.
- Cooking school classes range from $55 to $65 per person. Remember, they include a full meal with generous proportions, instructions and tips, plus a packet of recipes for every item demonstrated during the class. The key is that these recipes are not too difficult to replicate at home.
- Classroom seating is first come-first served, so you might want to arrive early, especially if you want to sit next to your date (or friend, colleague, etc.)
- There is complimentary water and other beverages served during class.
- You are free to ask questions and interact with the chef.
- If you prefer to register by phone, the number is 714-513-3940.
- There is a large variety of themes, recipes, and times offered by the cooking school. There’s sure to be something that works for you.
What I Learned From my Cooking Class
One of the best things about taking a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School is how much you can learn. I consider myself an average cook, but I guess there’s always room to learn more!
- Max talked to us about different cuts of beef and introduced us to one I’d never heard of before — a Bistro cut (or teres major rounded cut). When marinated 24 hours before cooking, it is sooooo good!
- Grill pans are good for cooking steak because they retain the heat.
- If you add goat cheese to avocado, it gives a pop of flavor to your guacamole.
- When cooking eggs for the breakfast burrito, Max told us we could use creme fresh, milk, or even pancake mix!
- If you don’t heat up a tortilla first, it will crack when you roll it for a burrito.
- Never keep your spices more than a year (I went home and threw out a lot of old spices!)
- Try new things: for example, peruvian peppers, watermelon radishes, or a little bit of turmeric for health and color!
- Always salt your dressing just a little bit before dressing your salad.
- We also learned a little more about our Chef. Did you know that Max Schlutz went to law school and passed the bar before deciding to follow his greater love — cooking?! It just goes to show you should always follow your dream!
After the Class
Of course, there was time to take photos of the plated food and Chef Max and his sous-chef, Tanner Cook. There were coupons provided if we wanted to purchase Stonewall Kitchen products, too.
I also got to meet two of the regular chefs for Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School — Joanna Chun and Susan Carter. It was fun to talk to them, too, and learn more about how the cooking school is run — and their vision and passion for making it a great experience for everyone.
And seriously, you should sign up for a Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School class. Whether it’s for a date like my husband and I…or with friends from work…or with family members — even alone. It’s a fun way to learn and experience great cooking at a reasonable price. Especially if, like me, you are always on the lookout for something new to try!
Interested in more date ideas? See my post, 100 Date Ideas in San Diego (or Anywhere)
I’d like to send a shout-out to Travel Costa Mesa, who set up this amazing date for my husband and I at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School. I have shared with you my experiences and opinions, which have not been influenced by being a guest. I would gladly return and pay for another class!