You Don’t Want to Miss This Intimate, One-on-one Dining Experience Featuring Fresh Italian Cuisine

Written By: Taylor Gorski
Photography Provided By: Chef Joe Sasto

Chef Joe Sasto, a Los Angeles-based chef who has led some of the best kitchens in San Francisco, is making his way down to Orange County for a pop-up dinner series. From Feb. 5-8, he will be at Playground 2.0 in Santa Ana for a dining experience unlike any other. At the intimate 18-seat kitchen counter, the menu will consist of small bites, handmade pastas and sweet treats.

Chef Sasto’s speciality is fresh, handcrafted pasta; his cooking is inspired by coastal Italy and California. “There’s something nostalgic about [pasta]. It’s one of those foods that’s very tactile. You put all of your love and energy into making it, and to be able to share that with someone else while cooking for them makes for a very intimate food experience,” Chef Sasto explains. It’s only fitting that his motto is, “Eat Pasta, Make Love.” 

This is the second time the chef will be hosting a dining experience at Playground 2.0. He says he loves coming back to Playground 2.0 because the community in Downtown Santa Ana is so strong. “Chef Jason Quinn has all of the toys [at Playground 2.0] for a fun environment. It’s a completely open kitchen, which makes for a really unique and interactive experience for the guest. You’re able to see their reactions and give them a personal touch when it comes to explaining food. It’s a one-on-one experience.” 

Chef Sasto made it to the final three on “Top Chef” in 2018, and he will be competing on season 17’s “Top Chef All-Stars” this March. He’s spent the past year traveling the country hosting private dinners, pop-up events and making appearances at a number of food festivals. 

Tickets for the pop-up in Santa Ana range from $220 to $275. This includes a curated beverage pairing, service fees and gratuity. “The food really speaks for itself; there’s a lot of really great chefs out there, and it’s the ones that are cooking from their heart that stand out the most,” Chef Sasto says. 

The bright colors of the foods simply look like they are packed with a variety of different flavors. A sneak peak at what you can expect from the menu? Focaccia. “I’m very proud of it. It took a little over three years to develop, and I’m happy to finally be able to share it,” says Chef Sasto.

At the end of this delectable meal, you’ll be saying “Tanto Si”—meaning “so much yes,” in Italian. 

Playground 2.0
220 E Fourth St, Ste 102
Santa Ana, CA 92701

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