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Taco Tuesday at Raya, Newport Beach Restaurant Week, Parking Lot Chicken, and More

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

Zov's Grab-and-Go at John Wayne Airport
Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register

Chef/owner Deborah Schneider of Sol Cocina (949.675.9800, solcocina.com) has revamped her menu to include eight new seasonal dishes. A few new items to try are chicken enmolada, shrimp and bacon guacamole with chicharron and green apple, grilled pork loin taco, and yellowtail autarchies verde with volcano salsa. On Mondays, 4:30 to close, select bottles of wine are half-priced with the purchase of a food item.

Pascal Olhats, chef/owner of Tradition by Pascal (949.752.0107) and Pascal Epicerie (949.261.9041) has introduced Staff Meals, a new takeout service available for pickup at the Epicerie back door. From Monday through Friday, 4:30-6:30 p.m., meals prepared for the staff are available for takeout only. Besides French, the meal may be Indian, Chinese-style, Mexican, Italian, or American. Each dinner is packed individually in a microwaveable container. Dinner tickets at $10 per person, can be purchased at the Epicerie during its open business hours.

Taco Tuesday at Raya at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel (949.240.2000, ritzcarlton.com) is a tasty way to sample the fare of Raya’s new Chef Marissa Gerlach. In collaboration with Executive Chef/Entrepreneur Richard Sandoval, these extraordinary tacos are filled with lobster and black bean puree, Korean fried chicken with dragon sauce, smoked swordfish, and other unique fillings. The tacos are priced at $4 each, and the menu changes weekly.

Nancy Wilhelm, proprietor of Tabu Grill (949.494.7743, tabugrill.com) has announced the appointment of Joshua Hasho as the new executive chef. Hasho, most recently chef de cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, also cooked at BLT by Laurent Tourondel in New York City and The French Laundry in Yountville, California. Wilhelm also owns Starfish in Laguna Beach (949.715.9200, starfishlaguna.com).

Chef/owner Delia Snyder of Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach (562.592.1321, donthebeachcomber.com) has added Huli Huli Chicken to the menu. Developed in Honolulu in the ‘50s, the dish, also called “Oil Drum Chicken” or “Parking Lot Chicken,” comes from the original cooking method that was usually seen roadside with a smoky fire in an old oil drum, and a well marinated chicken sizzling on top.

The 2012 Newport Beach Restaurant Week, Savor the Flavor, runs January 20-29. The finest restaurants will be participating in this citywide culinary celebration for a full nine days and two weekends. Most of the eateries will offer a minimum of three offerings per course. The special prix fixe gourmet menus will have a tiered price point of $10, $15 or $20 for lunch, and $20, $30 or $40 for dinner. For detailed information call 877.4NB.DINE or visit newportbeachdining.com.  

Islands Restaurants (islandsrestaurants.com) recognized for fine burgers and drinks, has introduced the all-new Point Break Burger. This new addition to Islands’ classic menu of signature favorites, is layered with a savory array of bold flavors and gourmet toppings, including blue cheese crumbles, shredded Gruyere and bacon onion relish. The burger pairs well with one of Islands’ new signature brews. During football season, an All-Night Happy Hour takes place in the bar on Monday and Thursday nights from 4 p.m. to close.

Travelers at John Wayne Airport have two opportunities to enjoy the casual offerings from Zov’s (zovs.com). Zov’s, located beyond the security check in the food court, features freshly-made dishes, notably the golden lentil soup, pitas and hummus, grilled paninis, salads, gourmet sandwiches, and many breakfast items. Zov’s Grab-and-Go, located in the pre-security area, carries several of the same items, but with various mezzes and sandwiches to round out the menu.

Chef Louis Jocson, is manning the burners at Red Table, a casual, moderately-priced restaurant in the Huntington Harbour Mall (714.846.4700, redtablerestaurants.com). Flatbreads excel here, and one is always on the daily special. Other fun foods include a choice from five takes on French fries. Serious dinner entrees include the seared albacore salad, grilled shrimp noodles and braised beef short ribs. One kid’s meal, noodles and shaky cheese, is on the house (dine-in only).

The results of the finals of the Sunday Night Chef Fight found Chef James Harris of the Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach (949.494.8001, royalhawaiianlaguna.net) to be the “Champion Chef of Orange County."

Addison, located at The Grand Del Mar, has named Anthony Secviar as its new chef de cuisine. Secviar, a six-year culinary team member of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, will work closely with Addison’s Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef William Bradley to create the contemporary French cuisine that has maintained its award-winning status.

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