Union Market Mission Viejo has been on my list to experience. The open environment, the dining choices, the casual vibe, and the indie-artisan flair is appealing. Just walking by Union Market at Kaleidoscope recently made me feel like I was missing out as I saw guests playing pool, logging onto laptops, clinking glasses together, and ultimately, relaxing and chatting. I was excited when a couple of good friends suggested we go for lunch.
I was concerned when we walked in as the entire market was d.e.a.d. Granted, it was a weekday, but lunchtime nonetheless. After perusing the open restaurants, we chose Marketplace, which specializes in fresh pasta and salads. I inquired about a glass of wine to pair with my salad. I’d already spied a large bar and wall of wine glasses. The Marketplace Manager pointed me toward Dry Society, aka the large bar. Awaiting our salads, we saddled up to the bar. We waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually, a nice young woman asked how she could help us. I inquired about their wine-by-the-glass choices. She then shared that they “are, um, out of wine.” Huh? Yep. Plum out of wine.
She explained that they’d been undergoing some “challenges,” and hadn’t purchased wine in a bit. I asked to view the wine menu anyhow and was handed sad, crinkly, stapled printer pages. I saw cocktails and beer galore. On the last stapled page were the wines. One sparkling (La Marca, sigh), one white (a chenin blanc), and four reds. The reds were actually slightly intriguing, with two French choices. I was mystified that the one white was a chenin blanc. Sitting in Mission Viejo, I expected a couple of popular OC Mom chardonnay choices or even a sauvignon blanc. Almost as if on cue, the sweet waitress shared what great cocktails they have and how the OC Moms gather there for their vodka sodas.
The manager arrived to work about this time, and the poor server tried to have him engage with us about wine. He noted they were wine-less because of a very busy weekend and giant party. HMMM. Alrighty then.
Bottom line, I had a dry lunch at Dry Society. The server thought they may have some of the Dry Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc available, but by this point I was over it. The wall of wine glasses and the Nickel & Nickel wooden wine box décor was all a tease. Dry Society’s Facebook page notes, “We specialize in Perfectly Hand-Crafted Cocktails and Craft Beer. All of our cocktails are made from scratch with freshly squeezed juices and all-natural ingredients. Our beers are all hand-selected, rotated regularly, and served off the tap. Wine drinkers, we didn’t forget about you. Indulge in a carefully curated wine selection by the glass or bottle.”
The curator was clearly enjoying a glass of wine somewhere else.