Orange County Culinary Events
Hungry? Need to fill your culinary calendar? Here is where you will find all the restaurant and culinary happenings in Orange County. GAYOT features a calendar of special dinners, tasting menus, prix-fixe meals, food festivals and other culinary events, including regularly occurring food events as well as special one-time-only events featuring top chefs. Keep checking back so you can know all that's going on in the world of restaurant and food events in Orange County. We've also got the latest Orange County Restaurant News and Wine Events.
La Quinta Resort & Club will host James Beard Foundation's Celebrity Chef Tour. Participating chefs include Jimmy Schmidt (Morgan's in the desert), Larry Forgione (The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone), Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill), Suzanne Tracht (Jar), Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy) and more. Events include a rustic dinner under the stars on Friday and the gala on Saturday. Prices range from $100 to $325. For more information, visit James Beard Foundation's website. La Quinta Resort & Club, 49-499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta, CA 92253, 855-884-9315.
During the Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week, participating restaurants will be serving up prix-fixe menus, with lunches available for $10, $15, $20 or $25 and dinners for $20, $30, $40 or $50. For more information, visit Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week's website
The California Wine Festival in Orange County will take place April 15-16, 2016. The event will include the Sunset Rare & Reserve Wine Tasting and Beachside Wine Festival main event with unlimited tastings of hundreds of California wines and local and regional craft brews, as well as food samples, including gourmet appetizers and artisan cheeses. For more information, visit California Wine Festival's website
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach gets a head start on the late-night happy hour concept with their "8 for $9 ‘til 10" menu. The popular Fashion Island venue known for their happening bar scene is featuring eight different cocktails and wines by the glass to go along with eight unique a la carte bar bites that can be enjoyed from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. for $9 each. Selections include ahi tuna tacos with radish-jicama slaw and creamy soy-lime aioli; short rib empanadas with fire-roasted poblano sauce; lobster lettuce wraps with crumbled bacon and onion strings; and a chocolate lava milkshake with Maker’s Mark bourbon. For more information, visit www.flemingssteakhouse.com. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Fashion Island, 455 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-720-9633.
Paul Martin's American Grill has rolled out a special Taste of Paul Martin's happy hour menu featuring a host of small plates not found on the Irvine Spectrum eatery's regular menu. Selected bites include street tacos with handmade corn tortillas, smoked salmon lettuce cups, and mesquite-grilled steak skewers. The menu also features a burger, beer and fries section, which allows guests to mix and match various takes on the three items to create their own combinations. The discounts are available in both the bar area and on the patio, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. daily. Items range from $4-$12. For more information, please visit www.paulmartinsamericanbistro.com. Paul Martin's American Grill, Irvine Spectrum Center, 31 Fortune Dr., Ste. 302, Irvine, CA 92618, 949-453-1144.
Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar in Costa Mesa has started up a happy hour patio program. Dubbed the "high five happy hour," the program invites guests to sit in the venue's lakeside dining area and select from a large number of $5 food and beverage items. Featured bites include a Vietnamese beef bahn mi sandwich served with tangy Asian slaw, classic wings tossed in a sweet and spicy honey glaze, and a daily rotating selection of sushi. The program's list of libations includes a wide arrangement of seasonal fruit cocktails, house wines and craft beers. The happy hour is offered from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. daily. Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar, Wyndham Orange County, 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-442-8593.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach has renewed their "5 for 6 'til 7" happy hour program with a trio of additional menu items. The latest $6 selections include the roasted mushroom ravioli appetizer stuffed with Portobello and shiitake mushrooms in a porcini butter sauce, and the sparkling "tickled pink" cocktail, a 99-calorie beverage that features a blend of Belevdere Vodka, orange juice, raspberries and a splash of Italian Mionetto Prosecco. The new choices are featured alongside a host of $6 wines and $6 appetizers, including seared ahi tuna and a prime burger. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Fashion Island, 455 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-720-9633.
The Crow Bar and Kitchen host Fried Chicken Night, a weekly special built around one of the Corona Del Mar restaurant's most popular items. For $16, guests can enjoy one-half of a Shelton Farms fried chicken and a constantly changing rotation of side dishes, such as Yukon Gold potato and melted leek mash. Guests can also pair the meal with a specialty craft beer from San Diego's Stone Brewery for $5 more. Take-out is available. For more information, please visit www.crowbarcdm.com. The Crow Bar and Kitchen, 2325 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, CA 92625, 949-675-0070.
1st Tuesday of the Month
The French-Swiss restaurant Basilic Restaurant in Newport Beach's Balboa Island offers a special Raclette Night. Guests can drop by the eatery and enjoy unlimited helpings of chef/owner Bernard Althaus's take on the classic Swiss dish of freshly melted fatty cheese scraped directly off the round and served with boiled potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions. The cost for this special all-you-can-eat feast is $21.50; a plate of charcuterie can be added for an additional $7. Basilic Restaurant, 217 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662, 949-673-0570.
Andrea, the flagship restaurant of The Resort at Pelican Hill, offers a two-course menu espresso (express menu) at lunch served in 45 minutes or less. Diners select one appetizer, soup or salad to begin, followed by one hand-made pasta dish or lunch entrée. The meal concludes with coffee service. The cost is $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity Andrea, The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Rd. S., Newport Coast, CA 92657, 949-467-6800.
The North Left in downtown Santa Ana holds a Farm to Forage dining event every Thursday. Chefs Ryan Adams, Aron Habiger and Ashley Guzman combine their talents to create a four-course menu built around ingredients culled from trips to the local farmers’ market and ingredients culled from the trio’s own local morning foraging excursions. The cost of the meal is $45 per person, with an optional wine pairing of $12 for matched two-ounce pours. Seating is limited. Reservations are recommended. The North Left, 400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-543-3543.
Red Bar and Lounge, the Hotel Irvine watering hole adjacent to flagship restaurant EATS Kitchen & Bar, is hosting NFL Sunday --- a sophisticated take on the time-honored ritual of watching Sunday football. Starting at 10 a.m., guests can settle into the bar’s lounge-like seating and check out five games at once on the venue’s 10-foot, nine-panel split screen. Patrons will also have the opportunity to enjoy a special gameday menu created by EATS executive chef, Jason Montelibano, which features bites like the pulled pork and a french fry-stuffed California breakfast burrito. Discounted prices on mimosas and bottled beer are also available. EATS Kitchen & Drink, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92614, 949-230-4452.
SOCIAL Costa Mesa hosts special Sunday Supper menus. Executive chef Jeffrey Boullt taps into his Southern roots by crafting a hearty weekly menu that emphasizes flavors and ingredients from the region, such as Cajun-style fried chicken and ham and cheddar biscuits. Bar director Mike West will also be creating fresh craft cocktails to pair with the dishes. SOCIAL Costa Mesa, 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-642-2425.
Scott’s Restaurant & Bar brings the worlds of cuisine and music together by hosting a jazz brunch. This weekly gathering, co-hosted by 88.1 KJAZZ FM on-air personality Bubba Jackson and Scott’s General Manager Robert Redaelli, allows guests to unwind by enjoying live jazz music from talented artists. Select dishes include eggs Benedict with Dungeness crab; pulled pork pancakes with bourbon maple syrup, butternut squash and fried egg; and brioche French toast. Guests can also indulge in various brunch cocktails, as well as a Bloody Mary bar. Scott's Restaurant & Bar Sunday Jazz Brunch, South Coast Plaza, 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-979-2400.
2nd Sunday of the Month
Lucca Cafe in Irvine hosts a special mid-afternoon Sunday Supper designed to replicate the feel and ambiance of a traditional family dinner. Executive chef/owner Cathy Pavlos rolls out a four-course menu, with a monthly changing theme focusing on a Mediterranean country, an intriguing European region, or the food of a renowned chef. This meal is augmented by rare and unique wines, as well as other edible surprises. Pricing is per person, and varies from month to month. Lucca Cafe, Quail Hill Village Center, 6507 Quail Hill Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92603, 949-725-1773.
SideDoor, the gastropub attached the legendary Five Crowns restaurant, features Sunday Sessions, their lively, eclectic take on the traditional Sunday brunch. From 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., the Corona Del Mar venue features innovative contemporary items like a "green eggs and ham" version of eggs Benedict, DJ's spinning music, art being created in real time, and limited-release craft beers. For more information, please visit www.sidedoorcdm.com. SideDoor, Five Crowns, 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, 949-717-4322.
Zimzala in Huntington Beach features their Sunday Bloody Mary Bar, a drink program boasting several intriguing variations on the classic tomato juice-based weekend cocktail ($7). Highlighted takes of the beverage include a version infused with Corona beer, a Cuban-themed variant made with spiced rum and red peppers, and an adaptation involving basil vodka and fresh basil leaves. For more information, please visit www.restaurantzimzala.com. Zimzala, Shorebreak Hotel, 500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648, 714-861-4470.
The Playground in Santa Ana offers a unique Sunday Supper experience that showcases the restaurant's dedication to fresh ingredients and spontaneous creativity. Rather than receiving a menu upon arrival, each party will be informed of what fresh ingredients are in the kitchen, and will then work with the restaurant to design a multi-course menu based on what is available. The cost is $40 per person, including tax and gratuity. The first seating takes place at 5 p.m. Reservations are mandatory, and there is one reservation for every 15-minute block. For more information, please visit www.theplaygrounddtsa.com. The Playground, 220 E. 4th St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-560-4444.
Three-Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink hosts a special Sunday Social dinner specifically designed to be reminiscent of a classic Sunday family supper. From 4 p.m.-9 p.m., restaurant owner and executive chef Ryan Adams jettisons the restaurant's normal menu and prepares one rotating, multi-course dinner based on seasonality, fresh ingredients and the concept of comfort food. Prices vary. For a look at the weekly changing menu, please visit www.370common.com. Three Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink, 370 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-494-8686.
Check out the 2015 edition of GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Issue, which features the Top 40 Restaurants in the US and more.