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Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, Bacon Burgers and More

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Find out what's cookin' in Orange County food and dining news.

Nutella and bananas waffle sandwich at Bruxie in Old Towne Orange

Iva Lee’s in San Clemente (949.361.2855, ivalees.com) will celebrate New Year’s Eve with a three-course, Southern Creole-style dinner created by Chef Chris Starr. Feathered masks and beads will be handed out to all guests, and Nathan James will entertain from 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Cost, $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations suggested.

The Resort at Pelican Hill (949.467.6800, pelicanhill.com) will host a Christmas Day Brunch in the ballroom, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A classical harpist will entertain, while children enjoy photos with Santa Claus, cupcake decorating and a puppet marionette show. Cost, $98 per adult, $45 per child. “Il Cenone,” the Italian Gala, comes to Andrea on New Year’s Eve with a four-course menu and two dinner seatings, 5-7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. The first seating is $130 per adult without wine pairing, the second is $170 per adult without wine pairing. Visit the resort’s website calendar for complete holiday activities.

From December 28-31, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Fashion Island (949.720.9633, flemingssteakhouse.com) will welcome the new year with Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine poured by the glass or magnum, and special elegant additions to the menu. Dine on Delmonico steak with blue crab, filet mignon with lobster brioche pudding or lobster tail with mac and cheese. Gulf shrimp appetizers included. Prices range from $69.95 to $79.95.

Bruxie (bruxie.com), the home of savory and sweet gourmet waffle sandwiches in Old Towne Orange, Downtown Brea and Rancho Santa Margarita, has opened its fourth location at Shoppes at Chino Hills. While waffles may be the main attraction, the menu also includes salads, old-fashioned cane sugar sodas and shakes, sundaes and floats using real Wisconsin frozen custard. Nothing on the menu exceeds $10.

Savory Spice Shops in Corona del Mar (949.717.7776, savoryspiceshop.com) and Costa Mesa (949.284.0576) have pre-arranged and custom spice sets starting at $19 each. Custom spice baskets are easily put together, with over 400 herbs and spices to choose from.

Executive Chef and co-owner Cathy Pavlos of Lucca in Irvine (949.725.1773, luccacafe.net) has introduced her new fall menu, with many comfort food dishes, most of them using the season’s freshest ingredients sourced within miles of the restaurant. Farm fresh, seasonal items include pan-roasted apples, dried cranberries, oven-roasted purple carrots, sweet potato puree, roasted fairytale squash, and roasted butternut squash risotto.

Restaurateur Bruno Serato of the Anaheim White House (714.772.1381, anaheimwhitehouse.com) is now Sir Bruno. Already recognized as a CNN Hero for his nonprofit Caterina’s Club, which has served nearly a half-million meals to “motel” children, Serato has received recognition from The Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana for his display of exceptional merit in philanthropic and humanitarian activities.

December 20, 2 p.m., will be the last chance to enjoy Third Thursday Tea at Sage Eastbluff (949.718.9650) before the lease runs out at the end of the year. Fresh scones, cookies, petit-fours, crustless cucumber, watercress, and chicken and egg salad sandwiches are served with 14 styles of loose-leaf tea for $20 per person.

The ultimate culinary stocking stuffer: a ticket on the Silversea Culinary Cruise with Yvon Goetz, executive chef/partner at The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, May 25 to June 4, 2013, through Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, and Monaco. For more information, contact Patti Jenkins at Luxury Culinary Adventures (805.501.4997, pattiejenkins@att.net). Or a 10-night culinary cruise, September 3-13, 2013, with Chef Jamie Gwen, through Copenhagen, Berlin, Gdansk, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm, onboard Oceana Cruises’ Marina. For detailed information, visit chefjamie.com or call 800.367.5348.

Slater’s 50/50 in Huntington Beach (714.685.1103, slaters5050.com), famous for its signature burgers of 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon, and bacon featured prominently on its menu, has new items for fall. The latest bacon burger is the B’B’B’ bacon burger made with a 50/50 patty with bacon, American cheese, a sunny side up egg, thick cut bacon, and bacon island dressing on a bacon pretzel bun. Mac n’ cheeses can now be ordered with buffalo chicken, sun dried tomato and pesto.

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