Bower’s Museum and Tangata, Santa Ana, California

Bower's Museum




Are you good about playing a tourist in your home town or area?  I’m not, and I need to do better.

The Bower’s Museum is one of those treasures in our area and I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get there.

Friends had been recently and recommended going to see the current 1968 Exhibit which is only open until September 13, 2015.

With a Saturday open, we decided to check out the exhibit and have lunch at Tangata at Bower’s Museum.  The restaurant has been on my “to eat at list” for a long time.  So here we go….

The Bower’s Museum:
It was a hot summer day and I was looking forward to a nice day inside with air conditioning.  Pulling into the parking lot, we pay the $6.00 parking fee, find a spot in the shade and head for the museum.  The courtyard sets the tone for the museum with sculptures and a peacefulness hangs in the air.  The interior is reminiscent of the California mission style and larger than I expected.  After paying the entrance fee, we set off to explore.

If you are going to be in Orange County before Sept. 13th, I highly recommend heading to the museum to check out the 1968 exhibit.  Most of us remember 1968 as a turbulent year, the war was raging, Robert Kennedy was shot, the race for President was close, and the all American Andy Griffith was a favorite TV show.  The exhibit is so well done.  As you walk through, you can’t help but feeling at home if you grew up in the 60’s.  I imagine you will find the furniture and decor to bring back memories, the color palette used in decorating was flower power, greens and oranges, can’t you remember?  The music playing takes one back in time.  In the TV room pull up a bean bag chair and watch the different TV’s highlighting all of the popular shows, test your music knowledge at the music test center.

Stop at the Huey helicopter, press the buttons which will bring up short films about men and women that fought in the war.  It is fascinating and so well done.

Until November 29, 2015, you can view American West photography by Ansel Adams, Edward Curtis and Edward Weston.  The photos are fascinating.  We lucked out and got to join a lecture on the life of Edward Curtis, which brought his photos more to life.

Stop and enjoy the Sacred Realms, Temple Murals in the main hallway and watch the short video as to how the monks paint them, it is amazing.

The other halls feature California Mission history, paintings and items from this time.  Paintings and artwork of California.

The museum is a treasure, and it was a day well spent.


The restaurant is beautiful, with its Southwest decor, glass walls, linen covered tables and views overlooking the courtyard.  They do offer dining on the patio.  The service was excellent and the food not only beautiful, but delicious.

Tangata is open the same hours as the museum, Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and I recommend reservations, either from the museum website or Open Table.

Menu as of August 2015
Mango Sangria










We started with a Mango Sangria, the perfect drink for a warm day.  The Amuse Bouche, which really is more than a bite, but are popovers and they are incredible. They simply melt in your mouth.

Beet Salad
Beet Salad










The beet salad was not only beautiful to look out, but extremely refreshing.  The beets are placed artistically on the plate atop a thin slice of prosciutto. Topped with crunchy shaved fennel, Parmesan, chopped Marcona almonds and pea shoots.

Sweet Pea Ravioli

The Sweet Pea Ravioli was amazing. Each Ravioli was filled with a sweet pea puree, topped with a brown butter sauce and English peas that added a nice crunch to the dish.

Lobster Tacos
Lobster Tacos

Tangata is celebrating Lobster and Rose summer and has put several lobster dishes on the menu.  The Lobster tacos were spectacular.  Fresh lobster inside a crispy wonton shell, topped with an avocado cream, micro cilantro and a splattering of Siracha, adding a nice spice to every bite.

Chocolate Pretzel Croissant Bread Pudding.
Chocolate Pretzel Croissant Bread Pudding.










Don’t skip dessert.  I typically don’t have dessert and never at lunch, but when you see Chocolate Pretzel Croissant Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream and a Bacon Popcorn Tuile on top, you just gotta have it.

The bread pudding was melt in your mouth tender, the salted caramel bathed every bite and the bacon popcorn tuile added another crunchy texture.  You will love every single bite and if manners didn’t get in the way, you will want to lick the plate clean.

Here is a link to the museum and restaurant:

The Bower’s museum and lunch at the Tangata is a great, fun and educational way to spend a day.  If you have the opportunity, on Saturday, August 15th, they will be offering another lecture in the theater on the life and career of the photographer Edward Weston.

Explore your own neighborhoods,



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