Bonefish Grill, “The Fish Experts,” has opened at the Tustin Market Place (714.368.7613, bonefishgrill.com). Open for lunch and dinner daily, Sunday brunch and happy hour Sunday through Thursday, 4-6:30 p.m., Bonefish serves freshly hand-cut, seasonal seafood from local purveyors and globally sourced resources, as well as wood-grilled specialties. Enjoy Chef Mark Adair’s signature appetizers and hand-helds, as well as entrees of pasta, chicken and pork dishes and fine hand-cut steaks. Gluten-free, kids and calorie-count menus are available upon request.
Ways & Means, Oyster House and Seafood Kitchen, opened in Old Towne Orange, in a space formerly occupied by CoCo’s (714.516.1800, wmoysters.com). Inspired by the oyster bars and fish houses that border waters around the world, Chef Conrad Gallagher created a menu of traditional and non-traditional seafood dishes, plus a unique oyster bar. The bar serves special “vacation” cocktails, such as mai tais and daiquiris, in addition to premium beers and global and coastal wines.
Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern (949.234.3318, michaelmina.net), normally closed on Monday and Tuesday, will be open December 23 and 24. The service for Christmas Eve will be a condensed a la carte menu with a special Christmas Eve Tasting Menu.
The OC Mix at SOCO has welcomed Michelle haut Chocolat, a hand-crafted artisanal chocolate store, to its conglomeration of eclectic stores (michellehautchocolat.com). Popular on the Web, it is the first store for Michelle, a graduate of the International Culinary School Art Institute, and an outlet for her passion for art, cooking and design. Her specialty sweet treats include gourmet truffles, handmade caramels and other haut desserts fashioned from Belgian dark chocolate and her own custom chocolate blend.
Savannah Chop House Chef Manny Tzorin will teach a class on holiday appetizers, December 4, 11:30 a.m. Cost, $35, plus tax and service. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 949.493.7107, savannahchophouse.net.
December 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. is the last Parrot Head Sunday of the year at Bayside (949.721.1222, baysiderestaurant.com). This unique Sunday features a three-course, free-flowing Champagne brunch for $29.95, and special entertainment provided by Mark Wood and the Parrot Head Band Duet. Contemporary artist Mark Leysen is currently the featured artist in a solo exhibition. A new art collection has also been installed at Bistango in Irvine (949.752.5222, bistango.com).
Jeff Hall and Jeff Jensen, owners of Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana (714.352.2225, chapteronetml.com) have opened C4 Deli: The Cure for the Common, a New York-style deli a block away (c4deli.com). The handsome interiors integrate the Art Deco flair of the 1920s with a touch of the 1950s. Freshly baked bread on-site elevates the lowly sandwich to a new level. C4 is open for breakfast, a quick-paced lunch, late-night bites, or just for a glass of beer or wine.
Chef Rich Mead may not be operating his Sage restaurants anymore, but he is available for catering small and medium-sized parties. If interested, contact Mary Ann at 949.683.3184, or Rich at 949.922.9123.
Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar opened in Laguna Beach (949.793.4320, okurasushi.com). Managing the front of the house is affable Danny Reyes, while Executive Chef Jin Heo heads the kitchen staff to create such dishes as a sushi nigiri sampler plate with 12 different types of fish, black cod that has been marinated for three to four days, three types of carpaccio, and roasted herb chicken with a shiso-yukari crust.
Pinot Provence at Westin South Coast Plaza (714.444.5900, patinagroup.com/pinotprovence) has a new social hour daily, 6-8 p.m. The Le Bar & Patio offers a menu of Trois Petites Bouchees (three small bites) that are chef-crafted and in the price range of $3, $6 or $9. They can be paired with house-made signature cocktails, beer, wine, or Champagne. On Wine Wednesdays, enjoy 25% off any bottle of wine, all day.
The Californian, the signature restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa (714.698.1234, huntingtonbeach.hyatt.com) is closing, only to re-emerge in March 2014 with an entirely new look, vibe and dining approach. New Executive Chef Manfred Lassahn plans to feature “comfort food with attitude,” bar jars for noshing with culinary cocktails, and Meat+Three California-style Sunday suppers.
Laguna Niguel resident, Andrea Smetona, author and founder of Cakewalk Desserts (cakewalkdesserts.com) has released her latest book, Easy as Pie Pops. Pie pops and cake pops are portable miniature sweet treats on a stick that are fun to eat and easy to make. The detailed book includes Smetona’s favorite recipes for fruit and savory pie pops, cake pops and tea cakes, as well as helpful tips that she has learned along the way. To contact the author, either call 949.701.2395, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pelican Hill Culinary Academy has two cooking classes in December. On December 6, Chef Marc of Coliseum Pool & Grill heads the class on A Christmas Family Feast, a menu of holiday classics to delight all ages and palates. On December 13, Executive Sous Chef Arnaud prepares a New Year’s gourmet menu with five simple courses designed to impress. Cost, $175 per person, including wine pairings is $195 per person. Reservations required. Call 800.820.6800 to book a space.
On December 5, SOL Cocina will offer a complimentary tequila tasting of Dos Armadillos. To make a reservation, call 949.675.9800 or visit solcocina.com.
December 5, noon to 1 p.m., will be the last Thursday of the year to enjoy a Southwest-themed lunch at the Cypress Bistro, where students combine their classroom knowledge with practical application. The nominal lunch fee supports the Cypress College Hotel, Restaurant & Culinary program. Reservations recommended. Private parties of 12-80 are welcome. Contact email@example.com or Tracey at 714.808.4554. Preview menus at cypresscollege.edu/hrc.
The Pelican Hill Cabanas at Coliseum Pool turn into Party Cabanas on New Year’s Eve from 6 p.m. to midnight. Flat-screen TVs are provided, along with an a la carte celebration menu, and a complimentary Prosecco toast at midnight. Live music is nearby at Coliseum Pool & Grill. Cost, $175 per cabana (up to eight guests), plus tax and gratuity. Call 800.820.6800 for reservations.
Bidding for The Ritz-Carlton Sixth Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction closes on December 31. The auction features a unique collection of surfboards from surfing legends, talented artists, celebrities, and renowned musicians. All of the boards are on display at the hotel. Bids can be made online at biddingforgood.com/surfersheaing.
The new Fig & Olive (949.877.3005, figandolive.com) opens at Fashion Island late December. Executive Chef Pascal Lorange, a protege of Georges Blanc in Vonnas, France, brings South of France classics to his olive oil-based menu. A Bar and Crostini Station in the lounge area features cured meats, marinated vegetables and cheeses. Thirty different varietals of olive oil will be available for purchase.