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.
January 19–February 1
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 dinenb.com/restaurant-week
SOCIAL Costa Mesa is putting together a special Brunch for Lunch program throughout January. Every Sunday during the month, the restaurant will be donating $2.50 from each brunch entrée purchased to Project Hope Alliance, a local non-profit organization focused on ending childhood homelessness in Orange County. The brunch itself features several Southern-inspired dishes crafted by executive chef Jeffrey Boullt, and the venue’s bar director has created a host of special brunch cocktails to go with these entrées. SOCIAL Costa Mesa, 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-642-2425.
The Annual Orange County Restaurant Week will descend upon all corners of OC March 1-7, 2015. Dozens of the county's top restaurants will be cobbling together special prix-fixe, multi-course lunch and dinner menus. For more information, please visit www.orangecountyrestaurantweek.com
The fifth annual Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert will feature wine and craft beer seminars, celebrity chef book signings and two “Grand Tastings” with more than 50 restaurants and 70 wineries, brewers and spirits purveyors. For more information, visit www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com
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.
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.
First Monday of the Month
AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean hosts GourMondays, a multi-course dining experience designed to highlight exquisite takes of epicurean expression. The meal pairs with carefully selected wines with a varying number of dining courses constructed on an evolving theme. Some of these themes touch on the South Coast Plaza-based restaurant’s adherence to fusion, while others focus on the enjoyment of traditionally indulgent dishes. Seats are limited to 18 patrons. The cost of the meal varies and excludes tax and tip. The dinners are slated to start at 6:30 p.m. AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-557-5679.
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.
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.
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.
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.