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. We feature 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.
The first ever edition of OC Cocktail Week is coming to Orange County. Chefs and mixologists from several dozen area restaurants will be working together to celebrate the mixed drink by creating special pairings of craft cocktails, appetizers and small bites, all priced at $20.14. Select restaurants slated to participate include 320 Main, HopScotch, Little Sparrow, Red O and Scott’s Restaurant and Bar. For more information, visit www.occocktailweek.com
The fourth annual Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert will feature chef demonstrations, wine and craft beer seminars, book signings and two “Grand Tastings” with more than 50 restaurants and 70 wineries, brewers and spirits purveyors. Participating chefs will include Roy Choi (Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go, Chego, A-Frame), David LeFevre (M.B. Post, Fishing With Dynamite) and Ari Taymor (Alma), among others. For more information, visit www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com
FirkFest, an afternoon cask ale festival celebrating the burgeoning Orange County craft beer scene, will take place at Farmer’s Park in Anaheim. Thirty of Southern California’s top breweries will come together to offer unlimited pours from casks filled with beers that are meant to be served within 24-48 hours of the vessel being opened. Orange County restaurants/breweries Beachwood BBQ and TAPS Fish House & Brewery will be on hand, along with other popular local breweries such as The Bruery, Noble Ale Works and Bootlegger’s Brewery. The cost is $50 for general admission, or $10 for designated drivers. Food will be served at an additional cost. The event is slated to run from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.firkfest.com.
Through March 23
Roy's is offering a winter prix-fixe menu that will be available through March 23, 2014. Start with lobster bisque followed by pork osso buco. Butterscotch and miso budino provides a sweet ending. The cost is $36.95 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Roy's, Fashion Island, 453 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-640-7697.
Food, music, art and cinema combine at Tangata with a special multi-course dinner experience inspired by the works of Ludwig van Beethoven. Guests will come to the Bowers Museum’s flagship restaurant to enjoy a three-course dinner designed by executive chef Chris Brodeur, before settling in to see a screening of the film Beethoven: The Late Great. One of the courses will be constructed around the legendary composer’s favorite dish, spaetzle mac and cheese. For more information, visit www.bowers.org. Tangata, Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706, 714-550-0906.
Some of Orange County’s top chefs will descend upon Costa Mesa to partake in the 21st-Annual Wild & Crazy Taco Night --- an evening dedicated to celebrating the versatility of the taco. This fundraising event, whose proceeds benefit the Share Our Selves Food Pantry, will feature 25 talented individuals from the local culinary scene putting together innovative takes on the classic Mexican menu staple. Participating chefs include Noah Blom of ARC, Manny Gonzalez of TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Alan Greeley of Golden Truffle, and Deborah Schneider at SOL Cocina. Tickets are $70 for general admission, or $150 for VIP. The event is scheduled to run from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. A pre-party for VIPs is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.shareourselves.org.
The California Wine Festival in Orange County will take place April 25-26, 2014. The event will include the Sunset Rare & Reserve Wine Tasting and California 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, call 800-797-7753 or visit www.californiawinefestival.com
The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach is hosting their fourth annual Festa dell’Autunno event --- a weekend fete designed to celebrate the bounty of the autumn harvest and the release of the venue’s own property-cultivated olive oil. Guests that come to this weekend festival can indulge in special wine-pairing dinners featuring regional Italian cuisine, an al fresco jazz brunch, wine tastings and a street fair brimming with art, music and specially prepared bites. For more information, visit www.pelicanhill.com. The Resort at Pelican Hill, The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Rd. S., Newport Coast, CA 92657, 949-467-6800.
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.
Memphis Café in Costa Mesa has extended happy hour to every day of the week from 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. with both drink and appetizer specials. Sister restaurant Memphis at the Santora in downtown Santa Ana now offers happy hour from Tuesday through Saturday from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Memphis Café, 2920 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-432-7685.
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.
Sol Cocina, located on the waterfront in Newport Harbor's Balboa Marina, hosts Taco & Tequila Tuesdays every week starting at 4 p.m. These events feature live music and food and drink specials, including $2.50 grilled fish tacos, $5 guacamole, $3 Mexican beers, $5.50 margaritas, and tequila tasting flights. Sol Cocina, 251 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-675-9800.
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.
Bruno’s Trattoria is now offering a weekly Sunday Supper --- a special family-style, multi-course dinner designed to replicate a classic end-of-the-weekend family dinner. Guests that come to the downtown Brea eatery can share an antipasto platter; a pasta trio of spaghetti and meatballs, gnocchi and penne puttanesca; and a homemade dessert platter. The cost is $23.50, or $9.95 for children under 11. For more information, please visit www.brunosbrea.com. Bruno's Trattoria, 210 W. Birch St., Brea, CA 92821, 714-257-1000.
Tabu Grill offers a special prix-fixe menu Sundays through Thursdays. Guests that come to the cozy Laguna Beach restaurant may enjoy a four-course menu that changes weekly, based on seasonality and sustainability. The cost is $29 per person. The dinner can enjoyed with wine pairings for an additional $10 per person. Tabu Grill, 2892 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-494-7743.
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.