Bar bites to remember
Quell your salty craving with unexpected salty savors
Watertable’s slow-roasted California almonds glisten with an olive oil sheen. Each savory bite is flaked with sea salt and dotted with green rosemary shards. The addicting crunch pairs well with a crisp cider or a pilsner on draft. Watertable’s bar jars – sharable small bites like those rosemary-salted almonds as well as creamy tapenades – lure you in, but even more interesting flavors stem from the kitchen. Equal parts bar and restaurant, Watertable touts its beverages as seriously as its food.
For craft beer aficionados, the restaurant partners with Four Sons Brewing to host a five-course dinner on October 9. Dishes such as the Imperial IPA fried chicken will be paired with a none-too-humble brew named The Great One, reflecting the hearty pub fare typically served with ales. Other unexpected flavors such as The Coco, a coconut amber brew, inspired a Southeast Asian mussel plate infused with fresh lemongrass and chilies, might change your conceptions of bar food.
Watertable at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, 714.845.7446 :: watertablehb.com
Chef Kathy Pavlos’ Provenance brings a touch of Napa Valley to Newport Beach. An organic garden backdrop on the patio almost makes you forget the eatery is located in a Ralph’s shopping center. The full bar is stocked with ingredients plucked from the vines growing out back. Mint and berries cultivated just feet from the bar are muddled into cocktails while squash and baby carrots find their way onto that night’s dinner plates. The chef’s selection of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie is the real conversation starter. Served on a wooden board with grainy Dijon mustard and pickled vegetables harvested from the garden, the platter of cured offal pairs well with beer, wine or a stiff cocktail, making it an ideal starter to share.
Provenance, 2531 Eastbluff Drive, Newport Beach, 949.718.0477 :: provenanceoc.com
Toast to That
At Fig & Olive, executive chef Pascal Lorange concocts mini meals plated onto delicate crostinis. Topped with seasonal ingredients such as goat cheese with caramelized onions and chives or salty Manchego cheddar with sweet figs and crunchy Marcona almonds, these samplings pair well with Champagne or a refreshing Pear Blanche gin cocktail sweetened with house made pear syrup and a pinch of black pepper. The salmon with ricotta and avocado crostini culminates the tasting trio. It is a familiar combination seen on most Orange County menus, chef Lorange adds a dash of Spanish flair but with flecks of pimentón (paprika).
Fig & Olive at Fashion Island, 151 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.877.3005 :: figandolive.com