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Wine Wednesday, Teen Baking Camp and More

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


The new, open look of UVA Bar & Café at Downtown Disneyland (patinagroup.com) is  reminiscent of Spanish eateries found in Barcelona. For its Cal-Mediterranean “gastropub” cuisine, Executive Chef Nick Weber has embraced the “la plancha” technique meant for al fresco dining. Enjoy new items such as the lamb burger with piquillo peppers, feta, arugula, lemon dill aioli, and pickled red onions, or the market fish with artichoke heart, preserved lemon puree, blistered tomatoes, and olives. Traditional bar snacks are also available. The full bar carries local and regional microbrews, including 12 draft handles.

Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café opened last month at Westcliff Plaza at 17th and Irvine in Newport Beach. Pandor, a bread supplier to upscale hotels and restaurants, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and specialize in authentic French artisan breads, Viennoiseries, pastries, tartines, paninis, and salads.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Fashion Island (949.720.9633, flemingssteakhouse.com) has introduced Bar la Carte, a new bar menu that features generously-portioned appetizers meant for sharing. A few choices include salt and pepper shrimp, prime steakhouse meatballs, mushroom and artichoke flatbread, and Fleming’s original rib melt. Prices vary from $9-$16.

TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea Downtown (714.257.0101, tapsfishhouse.com) celebrates summer with the best seafood of the season. Look for soft shell crab, halibut and Skuna Bay salmon, complemented by a shaved spring vegetable salad. Thomas Jefferson Ale, brewed by award-winning brewmaster Victor Novak, is available for a limited time.

On Wine Wednesday, July 18, 5:30 p.m., Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza (714.352.2525, charliepalmer.com) will feature D’Alfonso wine selections. On July 25, 6:30 p.m., Tantara wines will be highlighted at a five-course winemaker dinner. Cost, $135 per person.

After successful ventures in Old Towne Orange and Brea, Bruxie, famous for its gourmet waffle sandwiches, has opened a third location in Rancho Santa Margarita (bruxie.com). The newest Bruxie stays true to its roots by serving two styles of Belgian waffles, salads and Wisconsin frozen custard as its base for sundaes, shakes and floats.

Lovers of French macarons will swoon over ‘lette, the new macarons boutique in Fashion Island (949.651.0201, lettemacarons.com). Crafted by world-renowned French pastry chef Christophe Michalak, and made fresh daily at the Beverly Hills location, the shop carries 14 colorful, classic flavors, as well as seasonal flavors throughout the year. Top favorites include salted caramel, passion fruit, sweet wedding almond, and classic Caribbean chocolate and raspberry.

July 24, 4 p.m., is the beginning of the 2012 Teen Baking Camp at Blackmarket Bakery (949.852.4609, blackmarketbakery.com). The classes are geared toward the motivated teenager, 12-17 years of age, who is looking for new skills in baking and pastry. The hands-on experience introduces students to professional kitchen protocol and techniques. Cost of the entire four-part series is $298. Classes are under the guidance of chef-owner Rachel Klemek.

Executive Chef/Partner Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange (714.221.0680, havengastropub.com) has partnered with JustFoodForDogs to create a special dog menu for canines to be enjoyed on the patio. The five diverse dishes, each made with quality ingredients, certified by the USDA/FDA, and balanced for canine nutrition, are completely free of preservatives. Each seven ounce serving is priced at $4.

French 75 Bistro & Champagne Bar (949.494.8444, french75.net) has a new bistro fare prix fixe menu that is available every day, and is served as either a three-course meal or two courses with a glass of wine for $20. The restaurant opens at 4:30 p.m.

The summer menu is in full swing at SOL Cocina (949.675.9800, solcocina.com) with new, authentic coastal Mexican dishes featured weekly. Small boat owners will appreciate SOL’s Dock n’ Dine, a service provided for dockside pickup. Call to place your order from the catering or regular menu, and it is ready in 45 minutes. Happy hour pricing does not apply to takeout.

Southwestern crab salad, pork quesadilla and glazed snapper are just a few of the items on the new summer menu at Z’Tejas South Coast Plaza (714.979.7469, ztejas.com). Two new summer cocktails have made their debut: the White Grape Cilantro Margarita and the Skinny Pineapple Honey Faux-jito at 250 calories.

The next Yappy Hour, a monthly cocktail party for canines and their companions, will be held on the Dana Lawn at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel July 5, 5-8 p.m. Proceeds from sales are donated to the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

Mi Casa, the landmark Mexican restaurant in Costa Mesa (949.645.7626, micasa1.com) has a second restaurant in Rancho Santa Margarita (949.635.9538). Along with its legendary tortilla and albondigas soups, the menu is filled with traditional Mexican favorites, as well as a few “gringo” items. Happy hour is enjoyed from 3-6 p.m., with $3 drink specials.

Tabu Shabu, a most attractive hot pot eatery, has opened for lunch and dinner on 17th Street behind Pancakes R Us in Costa Mesa (949.642.2660, tabushabu.com). The food is custom-ordered and cooked by the guests. Selections include thinly-sliced Kobe rib-eye, Kurobuta pork shoulder, free-range chicken, shrimp, scallops, salmon, or just veggies. Accompaniments include house-made sauces and fresh, local produce. The small 33-seat restaurant does not take reservations.

Pho Kobe, a casual Vietnamese restaurant specializing in pho, has opened for lunch and dinner at Sand Canyon Plaza in Irvine (949.387.6608). The specialties are Kobe beef pho and fresh spring rolls, although the menu includes an array of appetizers, a wide selection of pho and barbecue pork, chicken or Kobe beef with shrimp cake.

Taco Asylum (714.922.6010, tacoasylum.com) has added the falafel taco to its lineup of 10 regular offerings. The newest taco is filled with tabbouleh, spicy tzatziki, dates, and cucumbers in a naan tortilla. The taco, priced at $5, can be enjoyed for $4 during happy hour Monday through Friday, 2-6 p.m.

To commemorate National Lollipop Day, July 20, See’s Candies (seescandies.com) will give away free lollipops to everyone that comes into one of the more than 200 locations. Enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of See’s lollipop factory in Burlingame. The price on boxes of lollipops will be reduced July 16-23.

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