What’s the dish on the restaurant industry in O.C.?
by Samar Khoury
Season’s 52 launches fall menu
Seasons 52 changes its offerings on a regular basis to use the freshest available ingredients throughout the year – hence its name. The national chain revealed its new menu items for fall, and its South Coast Plaza location served as the local epicenter for the announcement in O.C.
The menu highlights include cider-glazed grilled chicken skewers, Maple Leaf Farms sesame duck, and “mini-indulgence” pumpkin pie. Additionally, six wines were added to the Drink Them Before They’re Famous list, including, among others, Vista Hills pinot grigio orange, Avanthia godello and Glenelly cabernet sauvignon.
“Our Drink Them Before They’re Famous wines are an important element in creating a personalized dining experience that is focused on adventure and exploration,” says George Miliotes, master sommelier, who travels extensively to all the great wine regions and personally selects his favorites. seasons52.com
Save on your celebrations
This holiday season, King’s Seafood Company restaurants – including King’s Fish House and Fish Camp – are offering guests a free $20 gift certificate to use in 2013 for every $100 gift card purchased between Nov. 16 and Dec. 27. These gift cards are available online or at any of the above restaurants, and are redeemable at all 18 King’s Seafood Company restaurants and its other eateries. kingsfishhouse.com
SOL spices it up
Newport Beach-based SOL Cocina, a restaurant and bar that serves coastal Mexican cuisine, has added new items to its menu, including seasonal guacamole with pomegranate and walnuts, mushroom chicharron, pozole verde, pork pibil and deep-fried bananas.
The lunch menu includes flavorful new items, such as a tropical ceviche de coco “Cabo,” inspired by Cabo San Lucas; and a spicy chipotle chicken salad with bacon, walnuts and avocado.
“My menu revolves around the philosophy that the freshest ingredients ensure the best-tasting, most flavorful dishes, so I like to change things up seasonally,” says Deborah Schneider, executive chef. “SOL’s menu stays true to the simple and fresh Baja style of cooking, and this menu features recipes from my latest cookbook, ‘The Mexican Slow Cooker,’ which guests can purchase during their meal.” solcocina.com
Greenleaf gets even healthier
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Costa Mesa, known for its farm-fresh organic foods and salads, has added more new healthy items to its menu.
The meals include an ahi burger, a vegan gluten-free burger, and spicy turkey sausage. The restaurant has also created a variety of smaller meals: turkey meatballs and steak sliders, among others.
Customers can also enjoy Greenleaf’s new happy hour: All small plates and side dishes are 50 percent off, and glasses of wine and beers are $4 each. greenleafchopshop.com
Three silver anniversaries
Three landmark Orange County restaurants are marking 25 years in business this year. In a notoriously tough industry, that is something to be celebrated – especially in such a competitive market:
Zov’s Bistro, Tustin: Zov’s has earned kudos from the culinary world by virtue of its innovative menu offerings and comfortable atmosphere. Additionally, its cooking school’s esteemed guest chefs read like a who’s who of the cooking industry, including Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, Jim Dodge, Barbara Kafka and David Rosengarten.
Bistango, Irvine: Celebrating 25 years of artful dining, Bistango is known for its diverse menu of fine American cuisine set in an airy atmosphere distinguished by art exhibits and large umbrellas suspended from the ceiling. A 400-bottle wine list heralded by Wine Spectator is just one of its trademark offerings.
Anaheim White House, Anaheim: The Anaheim White House has hosted celebrities, dignitaries, world leaders and regional culinary aficionados alike in its historic mansion, which dates to 1909. Owner and chef Bruno Serato applies a variety of presidential themes to his restaurant, and the menu, coupled with an extensive wine list, is a blend of Northern Italian/French.
The Golden Foodie Awards debuts
The first-ever Golden Foodie Awards kicked off to a rousing success on Sept 30. The inaugural celebration – which honors the best restaurants, chefs and food in Orange County – took place at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach. Celebrities, star chefs and foodie fans from throughout the area enjoyed fine cuisine, delicious cocktails and an entertaining awards show.
Celebrities who attended included Tamra Barney, Eddie Judge and Slade Smiley, as well as star chefs Susan Irby and Jamie Gwen. Thirty awards were presented:
Best Mixologist: Forrest Taylor, French 75
Best Happy Hour: Brasserie Pascal
Best Cocktails: 320 Main
Best Wine List: The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar
Best Steak: The Ranch
Best Beer Menu: TAPS Fish House and Brewery
Best Burger: Crow Burger Kitchen
Best Pizza: Il Dolce Pizzeria
Best Italian Food: Antonello’s
Best Tacos: SOL Cocina
Best Mexican Food: Javier’s
Best Sushi: Riptide Sushi
Best Asian Cuisine: AnQi
Best American Food: Playground
Best California Cuisine: SeaLegs Wine Bar
Best Vegetarian Cuisine: 118 Degrees
Best Indian Cuisine: Tamarind of London
Best French Food: French 75
Best Mediterranean: Lucca Cafe
Excellent Service in Fine Dining: Anaheim White House
Excellent Service in Casual Dining: Bruxie
Best Seafood: Bluewater Grill
Delicious Dessert: Ralph Brennon’s Jazz Kitchen, for its Double Chocolate Bread Pudding
Best Food Truck: The Lime Truck
Best OC Food Blog: Nancy Luna, Fast Food Maven
Best Interior Design: Cucina Enoteca
Best Restaurant Branding: Wahoo’s Fish Taco
The Next Golden Chef: Francis Laureano
The Golden Pastry Chef Award: Chef Rachel Klemek, of Blackmarket Bakery
The Golden Chef Award: Chef Yvon Goetz, of The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar