On March 12, 6:30 p.m., Bluewater Grill at Newport Beach (949.675.3474, bluewatergrill.com) and The District at Tustin Legacy (714.258.3474) celebrate Taste of Louisiana, a California-inspired version of crawfish, gumbo, crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller, and specialized drinks including the New Orleans Fizz, aka Ramos Gin Fizz. Classic Bananas Foster top off the celebratory dinner. Cost of the pairing is $29.95 per person. Advance reservations are required. An a la carte sampling of the Louisiana-styled meal is available to diners throughout the month, as well as the Gin Fizz.
The Fish Camp in Huntington Beach (562.592.2267, samsfishcamp.com) has a new easy-to-follow menu that offers more than 700 customizable combinations. Select the seafood then choose a serving style - salad, sandwich, taco, or on a plate. Lastly, choose the method of preparation. The restaurant also has a small seafood market with a live lobster tank and a glass display case abundantly stocked with catch-of-the-day seafood. The open air patio is dog-friendly.
Slater's 50/50 famous for novelty gourmet burgers, has opened at the Big 5 Shopping Center in Lake Forest (949.460.9314, slaters5050.com). The new Slater’s will carry all of its famous burgers, including the signature 50/50 made with half ground beef and half ground bacon. Also on the menu are salads, sandwiches, mac n’cheese, and more than 100 craft beers on tap.
Enjoy a coffee happy hour on Monday through Saturday mornings, 6:30-8:30 a.m., at Blackmarket Bakery at The CAMP (714.662.3095, blackmarketbakery.com). The bakery takes $1 off of any breakfast pastry, croissant, scone, muffin, and other made-from-scratch breakfast goodies.
On March 3, noon to 4 p.m., Corona del Mar will host a bridal walk with 30 participating businesses to help a bride put the finishing touches on her wedding day. Brides can register online at cdmbride.com or on the event day from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rothschild’s Restaurant (949.673.3750, rothschildscdm.com). Following the walk, 4-5 p.m., a reception and fashion show will be held at Five Crowns (949.760.0331, lawrysonline.com/five-crowns).
On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Muldoon’s Irish Pub (949.640.4110, muldoonspub.com) will open its doors at 10 a.m. to serve traditional Irish fare, such as corned beef cabbage, bangers and mash and Irish stew. Van Diemen’s Band will entertain until 4 p.m. Taking over from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. is Mike Fitz & The Droppers.
Sapphire Laguna (949.715.9888, sapphirellc.com) will serve a three-course Easter brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost of the brunch depends on the entrée chosen, and is exclusive of beverage, tax and gratuity. Reservations recommended.
On March 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., a traditional Easter brunch will take place in the Mar Vista grand ballroom at The Resort at Pelican Hill (949.467.6800, pelicanhill.com). An Easter egg hunt will be held for the children, along with Easter bunny visits, face painting and balloon shaping on the Rotunda Lawn. Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Dubray will prepare traditional brunch favorites with California and Tuscan accents. Cost, $110 per adult, $50 per child ages 5-12 and complimentary for children under five. The Pelican Grill and the Coliseum Pool & Grill are also offering special Easter menus throughout the day.
On March 25, 6:30 p.m., the Wine Education Series at Old Vine Café at The CAMP (714.545.1411, oldvinecafe.com) will present An Introduction to Italian Wines. The cost of each class is $40, and reservations are required.
Every Sunday, Starfish Laguna Beach (949.715.9200, starfishlaguna.com) offers a 20% discount at lunch or dinner, and on all takeout and Party-to-Go orders. A 24-hour notice is requested for large parties. Call the special hotline, 949.715.8205, for takeout and party orders.
The Tradition by Pascal pop-up at Brasserie Pascal (949.640.2700, brasseriepascal.net) no longer exists, but many of the classic French favorites once enjoyed at Tradition may be found on the regular BP menu.
Andy Crean, 20-year owner of the Villa Nova Restaurant in Newport Beach (949.642.7880, villanovarestaurant.com) has announced that the restaurant will close at the end of this month.
Chef/consultant Bill Bracken is no longer affiliated with DivBar.
Savory Spice Shops at Corona del Mar Plaza (949.717.7776, savoryspiceshop.com) and The OC Mix (949.284.0576), are featuring the Limnos Lamb Rub for a memorable Easter meal. Combined with olive oil and fresh garlic, the original spice blend adds a rich flavor to lamb, poultry, venison, goose, and duck.
Pigs & Pinot, a celebration of pork and wine enthusiasts and headed by Chef Charlie Palmer, will take place in Healdsburg, California March 22-23. Ten chefs will showcase their talents and over 60 wineries will be represented. Tickets to individual events (non-refundable) are available for purchase online via hotelhealdsburg.com/pigsandpinot. Tickets to Taste of Pigs & Pinot are $175 per person. Seminars are $125. Pigs and Pinot Late Night are free to all weekend participants.
Zen Sushi (949.722.2520), formerly located at Triangle Square, has moved to a larger, more convenient location in the Cannery Village on Balboa Peninsula. Chef Jinu has created a new menu for lunch and dinner offering Bento boxes, sushi, tempura, and vegetarian rolls. Hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. During happy hour, 3-6 p.m., sakes are $1 and a special menu is discounted 50%.
Chef Carlos Olivera has taken over the kitchen at The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove (949.376.6900, thebeachcombercafe.com) and has bumped up the dinner menu to fine dining status. The breakfast and lunch menus still list the morning favorites. The new dinner menu includes such items as prosciutto and sage wrapped chicken breast, Pacific sand dabs, Carnaroli risotto filled with morsels of Maine lobster, scallops, and shrimp with a delicate mascarpone sauce, and Kosher-style short ribs. The freshly made powdered sugar-dusted beignets and killer chocolate cake for dessert are among the best.
Arc, a restaurant featuring a wood-fired oven, rustic foods and a full bar, has opened in The OC Mix (949.500.5561, arcrestaurant.com). Three young entrepreneurs, Noah Blom, who co-founded Shuck Oyster Bar also at The OC Mix, his wife Marin Howarth, and Korie Rogers, have brought back true comfort food in the form of chicken casseroles, steak and potatoes, and meatballs with a contemporary touch of garlic and whiskey. A vegetarian option is available. Eco-conscious, Arc uses locally sourced ingredients and artisan-crafted products. Food is served in cast iron, wood or black clay serving dishes. The doors are open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Prices range between $10 and $15.
On March 6, 11:30 a.m., Savannah Chop House (949.493.7107, savannahchophouse.net) will present Executive Chef Chris Tzorin and guest Chef Emanuel Medina-Ramirez of Montage Laguna Beach, at a St. Patrick’s Day cooking class. Drink green beer, learn to make spiced corned beef and cabbage, dilled red potatoes and various techniques, plus added information on what to do with leftovers. The $35 fee includes lunch and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Reservations required. Visit online to view the new SCH Buffet Hybrid Sunday Brunch menu, served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
A one-time-only event, Locally Grown Healing Foods Dinner, will be held March 7, 7 p.m., at the Bluewater Grill at The District at Tustin Legacy (714.258.3474, bluewatergrill.com). The five-course dinner will highlight sustainable seafood locally sourced by the restaurant, and vegetables grown hydroponically by Alegria Fresh in Laguna Beach. Organic wines from Tolosa Winery in Paso Robles will accompany the dinner. The $75 fee includes wine pairings and gratuity. Advance ticket purchase is required. For tickets and details, visit alegriafresh.com or call Bluewater Grill in Tustin.
Through March 10, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (949.720.9633, flemingssteakhouse.com) will feature a Taste of the Season menu, a two-course prix-fixe menu, with an entrée of iron-seared Delmonico steak, for $40.95, plus tax and gratuity. In addition, four new menu items have debuted, there are new wines by the glass, and the cocktail menu has been totally refreshed.
Alessandro Pirozzi, chef/owner of Alessa Laguna Beach (949.497.8222, pirozziculinary.com) and Mare Culinary Lounge (949.715.9581, mareculinarylounge.com), has severed relations with his former Alessa restaurants in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Pirozzi now devotes his time and attention solely to his Laguna Beach locations, and on the development of several new concepts being launched in Orange County later this year.