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Irish Pubs, Native Foods and More

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Get the scoop on Orange County food and dining news.

Native Foods Cafe

On March 17, Gallagher’s Irish Pub & Grill in Huntington Beach (714.536.2422, gallagherspub.com) will be open from 9-2 a.m. The entertainment lineup includes Dunnrussagens playing from noon until 4 p.m., and the Dirty Filthy Mugs, 4-6 p.m. The Galway Hooker Band will play on Saturday and Sunday from 7 p.m.-midnight. Chili, burgers, stews, and pies are the favorites here. Breakfast is served all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Malarky’s Irish Pub (949.675.2340, malarkysirishpub.com) greets the crowd at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast. The pub’s eclectic menu will be available throughout the day.

The Harp Inn in Costa Mesa (949.646.8855, harpinn.com), another classic Irish pub, will also have a celebratory St. Patrick’s Day.

Native Foods Café, a vegan fast/casual restaurant has opened at the Island Terrace, next to Island Cinema (949.760.9999, nativefoods.com). Chef-crafted recipes, capturing the flavors of foods from around the globe, are freshly prepared and use 100% plant-based ingredients. Dishes are made to order in under 10 minutes for under $10. Visit the eatery’s website for more information about Native Community Days charity events, free cooking classes and other events.

Deborah Schneider, chef/owner of SOL Cocina (949.675.9800) has introduced a vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free menu that covers most dietary restrictions. The more than 30 items on the supplemental menu parallel the freshly made, seasonal and sustainable ingredients that are used in her regular fare. Visit solcocina.com for detailed menus.

On March 25, The Coliseum Pool & Grill at The Resort at Pelican Hill (949.467.6800, pelicanhill.com) will partner with Karl Strauss brew masters to present a custom five-course dinner that will be paired with a full flight of five handcrafted draft beers. The brew masters, alongside with Chef Marc, will narrate the entire dining experience and discuss the pairing of brew and food. Cost, $65, excluding tax and gratuity.

Throughout March, Chef Luca at Andrea at Pelican Hill Resort will present Primavera in Firenze, a culinary experience to savor the regional dishes of Florence and the surrounding hills of Tuscany in the spring - when spring peas, radishes, artichokes, asparagus, and morel mushrooms are at their peak. Cost, $95 per person, or $145 per person with wine pairing, non-inclusive.

On Monday and Tuesday evenings at The Grill at Pelican Hill, the menu features a Farm to Fork $40 prix fixe menu, highlighting the fresh flavors of the Irvine Ranch. The corkage fee is waived, so bring a favorite bottle of wine. The second Wednesday night of each month is Wine Tasting Night when a variety of six California wines and a chef’s selection of light bites are offered for $25 per person.

Pita Jungle (949.706.7711, pitajungle.com) is open at the former Blockbuster building in the Newport North Center. Stylishly attractive, the eatery focuses on healthy Mediterranean cuisine made from scratch. The restaurant has a full bar with happy hour from 3-6 p.m., and an inviting, sheltered patio with a fire pit.

The new Spike’s Fish House in Laguna Niguel (949.448.8488, spikesfishhouse.com) is fast  becoming a favorite for its variety of lettuce fish wraps made with slaw, pico de gallo and a house-made Greek yogurt sauce that add up to less than 150 calories each.  

Lots of buzz going on about the new South of Nick’s in San Clemente (949.481.4545, thenickco.com), the sister restaurant of Nick’s Laguna Beach (949.376.8595). Housed in the former Gordon James Grill, Chef Omar Gonzalez is wowing crowds with his Latin-inspired dishes that include snapper Veracruz, shrimp diablo, huevos rancheros, and desserts of tres leches cake and caramelized banana flan. The filet mignon and lobster tail duet is also a big hit. Coming soon is Nick’s on 2nd, in the heart of Belmont Shore in Long Beach.

Chef/partner Greg Daniels of Taco Asylum, recognized for non-traditional gourmet tacos, is serving Sunday Suppers between 8 and 11 p.m. Enjoy a taco plate with a choice of any two tacos, “rice" (Israeli couscous) and beans (lentil salad), and a draft beer for $12. The regular menu, also available, offers nine taco options, including vegetarian.

Sizzling Fajitas and Grande Margaritas are half-priced on Monday nights at Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen in Brea (714.255.1040, chachasbrea.com). On Wednesday nights, enchiladas, sangria and all white wines are discounted 50%.

Restaurateur Pascal Olhats, the wearer of many hats in the culinary industry, shuttered his 24-year-old Tradition by Pascal in February to concentrate on his other restaurants and to pursue personal interests. He will continue to oversee and expand his offerings at Pascal Epicerie (949.261.9041) and Café Jardin at the Sherman Garden and Library (949.673.0033), plus continue to be a consultant to French 75 (949.494.8444), Brasserie Pascal in Fashion Island (949.640.2700) and Savannah Chop House (949.493.7107).

A few days are left to book the Splendors of South Italy cruise that departs March 10 for a 10-day culinary tour with Chef Mark McDonald of Old Vine Café (oldvinecafe.com). For detailed information, contact McDonald at 714.655.6142.

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