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Cooking with Chocolate, Summer Menus and More

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Find out what's hot in OC food and dining.

Savannah Chop House Chefs Chris and Manny will demonstrate cooking Light Summer Appetizers June 5, 11:30 a.m. The menu includes mozzarella bruschetta, marinated skewers of chicken, shrimp and vegetables, basic dipping sauces, finger sandwiches, and mini-sliders. The $35 fee, per person, includes a specialty drink and lunch. To reserve a spot, call 949.493.7107 (savannahchophouse.net).

On June 9, 4 p.m., Rich Mead, chef/owner of Canyon Restaurant in Anaheim Hills (714.283.1062, canyonrestaurantoc.com) and formerly Sage Restaurants, will cook with chef friends at an Outstanding in the Field Dinner at Schaner Farms, Valley Center, San Diego County. OTIF dinners are designed to reconnect diners to the land and origins of their food, and to honor local farmers and artisans who cultivate it. Tickets are $210 per person, plus tax and service fee; can be obtained online at outstandinginthefield.com.

Surfas at The OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa (surfasonline.com) will have a hands-on cooking class, Cooking with Chocolate, June 9, noon-3 p.m. Learn to make a wilted spinach salad with chocolate and blackberries, chicken mole tacos, cocoa and porcini-crusted tenderloin, and chocolate pots de crème. The class is $85 per person and reservations are required. Call 714.453.2665, or sign up at the store. Stacy Horn has been appointed Surfas’ new culinary events manager and chef instructor.

June 13, 5-8 p.m., is Yappy Hour, the favorite cocktail party for canines and their companions at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Dana Lawn (ritzcarlton.com/lagunayappyhour). Visit the website for a list of Yappy Hour dates, including holiday celebrations.

Brasserie Pascal (brasseriepascal.net) has a new seasonal summer menu that focuses on healthier fare inspired by the cuisines of Provence and the Mediterranean. Flavor is not sacrificed in such dishes as poulet Provencal, grilled halibut, braised rabbit, soupe au pistou, or the heirloom tomato salad. The light and healthy plates are available during lunch, Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and daily for dinner from 5-9 p.m. Prices range from $9 to $30.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (949.720.9633, flemingssteakhouse.com) has  introduced the WiNEPAD, a custom app on iPad to help guests navigate through its extensive wine list. Along with basic wine information, standard features include Perfect Pairings, a wine suggested based on the guests’ menu selection; Spin the Bottle for indecisive diners; Mood Matcher that matches the current mood of the guest to specific varietal categories; and Maeve’s Raves, wine selections recommended by the national director of Wine Maeve Pesquera. A traditional wine list is also available.

Iva Lee’s in San Clemente (949.361.2855, ivalees.com) has expanded its lounge and has added more plush booths, live sports on new TVs, a new musician’s stage, and more of the stylish New Orleans ambiance. A new list of hand-crafted cocktails is on the bar menu, and beginning this month, Chef Chris Starr introduces a new summer dining menu.

Chef Jamie Gwen, popular radio and television personality and cookbook author, along with her mother and partner, Lana Sills, have become artisan jam makers. The duo has introduced In A Jam jams that are all-natural, less sweet and have lower calories. The 16-ounce jars, available in three varieties, strawberry rosemary, ginger peach and pomegranate jalapeno, sell for $7.99 and can be found exclusively at Bristol Farms grocery stores.

On June 24, 6:30 p.m., Old Vine Café’s Wine Education Series, led by Advanced Sommelier Mario Miranda, will explore Northern Italy’s most award-winning wine regions with tastings from the regions of Piedmont, Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli. Classes are $40 per class (non-refundable), and participants must register in advance (714.545.1411, oldvinecafe.com).

The Microbar has opened at Mercantile West in Ladera Ranch (949.429.3380). The chic, contemporary eatery sports a white and chocolate brown décor, and offers a seasonal menu of small plates and heartier dishes created by Chef Brad Robison. The bar opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and features craft beers, acclaimed small release wines, and classic and signature cocktails. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. nightly.

June 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., is the next Parrot Head Sunday at Bayside Restaurant (949.721.1222, baysiderestaurant.com). These special Sundays have special entertainment by Mark Wood & The Parrot Head Band Duet. A three-course, free-flowing Champagne brunch is offered for $29.95 per person, along with the regular menu.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (714.257.9322, cbtl.com) has debuted its first drive-through service in Brea. Order signature, custom-roasted coffee and hand-plucked whole leaf tea, as well as tea cappuccinos and sweet black teas, espressos, lattes, and ice blended drinks, while truly on the go.

New at the Seventh Tea Bar at The OC Mart Mix (714.656.2590) is the revolutionary  Steampunk 4.0 from Alpha Dominche for brewing the perfect cup of tea. Whole tea leaves wildly swirl around in the temperature-controlled immersion brewer, and at the perfect moment get pressed for full flavor extraction, ensuring the most flavorful cup of tea.

Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks (islandsrestaurants.com) has its summer menu June 17 through September 8. Look for the new Heatwave Burger with chilis and served with endless Islands Fries, and Hawaiian sliders topped with fresh grilled pineapple. A half-dozen refreshing beverages will also make an appearance on the menu, among them, Moonlight Sangria, Coco Colada Boozy Shake and Beachside Shandy.

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