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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here's an awesome forward from the lovely Mona.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to make the kick-off,
so tip one back for me if you're lucky enough to go.

Look forward to a few blogs from me by the end of
OC Wine Week and OC Beer Week ;D

Two New Events Debut in OC!
OC Wine Week Begins This Weekend!

OC WINE WEEK: September 25 – October 1, 2011
OC BEER WEEK: October 2 – 8, 2011

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., September 2011 - The Orange County Restaurant Association debuts two new events this weekend: OC Wine Week, September 25th through October 1st, and OC Beer Week, October 2nd through October 8th. These back-to-back weeklong events will be similar to Restaurant Week with great menus from Orange County’s top restaurants, but will also offer fantastic wine and beer pairing options at unbeatable prices.

Following are confirmed to participate in both events (menus are posted online at,
the official site for both events):

o 6ix Park Grill
o Alcatraz Brewing Company
o Auld Dubliner Irish Pub
o Anaheim White House
o Andrei's
o AnQi
o Avanti Cafe
o Bacchus Secret Cellar
o Bayside
o Bistango
o Buffalo Wild Wings
o Bluewater Grill Seafood Restaurant
o Brasserie Pascal
o Brix Brews
o Canyon Restaurant
o Capital Grille
o Catal and Uva Bar
o Chapter One
o Charlie Palmer
o CLAES Ovation
o Clancy's Clubhouse
o Crow Burger Kitchen
o Enne Cucina Italiana
o French 75
o GG's Bistro
o Great Maple
o Harborside Restaurant
o Haven Gastropub
o Hooter's
o House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer
o House of Blues
o JT Schmid's Restaurant & Brewery
o Katsuya
o Kimera
o K'ya Bistro
o K'ya Street Fare
o Leatherby's
o Luggatti's
o Lulu's Creperie Cafe
o Maggiano's Little Italy
o Matador Cantina
o Marrakesh
o Mayur Cuisine of India
o Memphis at the Santora
o Mozambique
o Nello Cucina
o Newport Beach Brewing Co.
o Newport Landing
o Nieuport 17
o Nirvana Grille
o OC Brewhouse
o O'Neill's Bar & Grill
o Orange Hill Restaurant
o Orea Taverna & Wine Bar
o Pablos
o Phans 55 Irvine | Fullerton
o Pinot Provence
o Pizzeria Ortica
o Primecut Cafe
o Quattro Cafe
o RA Sushi
o Red Table Restaurant
o Riptide Rockin' Sushi & Teppan Grills
o Royal Khyber
o Ruth's Chris Steak House Irvine | Anaheim
o Sage
o Savannah Chop House
o Signature Kitchen
o Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar
o Simply Fondue
o SOL Cocina
o Splashes
o Starfish
o Sundried Tomato
o taco asylum
o Tapas Restaurant
o The Cannery
o The Crow Bar and Kitchen
o The Deck on Laguna
o The Derby Deli and Dueling Piano Bar
o The Dock
o The Loft
o The Melting Pot
o The Pint House
o The Porch
o The Ritz Restaurant & Garden
o Tommy Bahama Island Grille
o Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach Bar & Grill
o Tradition by Pascal
o True Food Kitchen
o Tusca
o Wine Lab
o Yard House | Multiple Locations
o Zimzala

“Our goal is to keep things fresh, fun and delicious, so it seemed natural to shake things up by producing an event that builds on the success of OC Restaurant Week with fabulous wine and beer pairings,” commented Pamela Waitt, president of the OC Restaurant Association. “The back-to-back weeks of wine and beer fun will offers options for every taste and budget so that those interested may take advantage of amazing deals at the best restaurants in OC and maybe even try new restaurants. Really, there will be something for everyone!”

The unique culinary celebration will replace the fall OC Restaurant Week with prix-fixe menus and wine-pairing options during OC Wine Week, September 25th through October 1st. Immediately following will be OC Beer Week, October 2nd through October 8th with equally interesting beer offerings throughout the county.

Presenting sponsors for the 2011 OC Wine Week and OC Beer Week include Orange Coast Magazine, Cox Wireless, OC Metro, LA Times, M Magazine, Socal PBS, Playlist 92.7 FM, Moxxe PR, Greer’s OC, DiningOut Magazine, OCStandard, OpenTable, and OCfoodies. For general information, or to learn about participation or sponsorship opportunities for the Orange County Restaurant Association, please visit

For more information, contact: Mona Shah, Moxxe PR at +1 818 749 1931 or

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today's livingsocial deal: (50%OFF) One Ticket to the OC Wine and Beer Week Kickoff Party

Alrighty! So I'm a little late to actually posting this one, and there are only 6 MORE HOURS! to get this deal, but livingsocial has a 50% off savings for one ticket to the OC Wine and Beer Week Kickoff Party! WOOO HOOO!!

Here's their link in case anybody is interested:

OC Restaurant Association
One Ticket to the OC Wine and Beer Week Kickoff Party

If it makes you melancholy that happy hour ends on Friday, uncork today's deal and spend the weekend rubbing elbows with a bevy of beer buffs and wine aficionados at the OC Wine and Beer Week kickoff party. With today's deal, pay $15 (regularly $30) for one ticket to this Saturday, September 24 boozy block party at The District in Tustin. Your ticket includes admission to the 4- to 7-p.m. event, a Tustin District commemorative glass, wine stopper, and eight pours of wine and beer -- plus live music on two stages. Knock back Lagunitas and Shock Top, sip West Coast wines like Cambria and Freemark Abbey, and mow down a mélange of munchies from local eateries. Tickets are limited, and proceeds benefit the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation; so nip this half-off deal in the bud(weiser) before last call.

2437 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782

The Fine Print
Buy as many as you like • Limit one voucher per person per event • Present your voucher and receive a "Tustin District" commemorative glass, LS wine stopper and 8-10 pours of wine/beer, food and live music • Entire value must be used in a single visit • No refunds will be given if the event is missed • Other conditions apply • PAID VALUE DOES NOT EXPIRE • PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES ON September 24, 2011

Want more? Check out OC Wine and Beer Week on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Haven Gastropub Showcases Full Bar Offerings With Prohibition-Era Cocktails

Orange, CA (July 2011) – On the heels of launching a new summer menu, Haven Gastropub introduces intriguing Prohibition-Era cocktails, created with top-shelf spirits, and the purity of fresh fruit and herbs. Known for its expansive craft beer selection and boutique wines, Haven aims to showcase its bar-chef mentality with unique bar offerings.

“These are vintage cocktails from the Prohibition Era – many of them forgotten classics from the roaring ‘20s,” commented Wil Dee, Managing Partner & Beverage Director at Haven Gastropub. “From the period between 1920 and 1933, the many illegal speakeasies that popped up were forced to serve what they could find, making it necessary to get creative with cocktails to mask the poor quality of the liquor. We’ve put our unique twist on some of these cocktails, with remarkable spirits and interesting, quality ingredients to make them our own.”

Following are the new specialty cocktails created by Haven Gastropub bartenders, and Partners Wil Dee and Executive Chef Greg Daniels:

Atomic No. 47
Old Grove Gin by Ballast Point
Orchard Apricot Liqueur

Death or Glory
Michter’s Straight Rye Whiskey
Grapefruit Bitters

Knock – Knock
Death’s Door Gin
Aperol Aperitivo
Carpano Antica Vermouth

One-Ninety Manhattan
“On the Rocks”
Bulleit Rye Whiskey
Carpano Antica Vermouth

Setting Sun
Bulleit Rye Whiskey
Courvoisier VS Cognac
Combier Liqueur d’Orange

Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
Ginger Beer
Fresh strawberry, Lemon, Orange,
Mint, Cucumber

Aviation Gin
Carpano Antica Vermouth
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Grounds for Divorce
Junipero Gin
Vanilla Simple Syrup
Cherry Bitters
Haven-Made Maraschino Cherries

Old and Bitter
Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
Aperol Aperitivo
Peychaud’s bitters

The Aviation
Bols Genever Gin
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Crème De Violette Liqueur

Beg, Borrow, or Steal
Bulleit Bourbon
Maple Foam

The Green Monk
Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
Green Chartreuse
Fresh Cucumber + Sage

Walnut Manhattan
Buffalo Trace
Carpano Antica
Walnut Liqueur

For more information, or to see Haven Gastropub’s food and beer/wine menus, visit

With its first location in historic Old Towne Orange and another set to open in Old Pasadena, Haven Gastropub is a unique concept where “pub meets gourmet eats.” Named “Best New Gastropub” by Draft Magazine, which touted it as one of three new restaurants across the country that have “breathed new life into the old gastropub concept.” Gastropub, a British term blending gastronomy and pub, sprouted in the 1990s and has seen a revival as the idea behind the concept was to provide a place where friends and family could gather in a warm comfortable setting and enjoy good conversation with quality food and spirited libations. Haven boasts a selection of beers on draught and more than 100 bottled craft beers. In addition, Haven serves more than 50 specialty single-malt whiskeys, scotches and bourbons; and a worldly wine list, with nearly 50 wines by the glass. Almost every dish on the menu has a beer or wine pairing suggestion.

The menu, created by Le Cordon Bleu-trained Executive Chef/Partner Greg Daniels, offers a blend of old world European fare with a modern American twist. Under the tutelage of Pascal Olhats of Tradition by Pascal, and then on to Napa Rose with Andrew Sutton, Chef Daniels learned what it means to feed people great food. The result is a refreshing combination of treasured dishes from around the world fused with familiar stateside staples from Mac n’ Cheese with black truffles, to hearty Chicken n’ Waffles served with housemade hot sauce and bärenjäger maple syrup.

Each menu item is made using farm-to-table fresh ingredients with dishes prepared entirely from scratch, including the award-winning Haven Burger, piled high with roasted red bell peppers, wild arugula, pickled red onions and St. Agur blue cheese; and housemade Salt & Vinegar Chips of red wine vinegar and sea salt and truffle fries served with garlic aïoli dipping sauce or housemade ketchup, also Haven’s own. The affordably priced menu ($5-$20), will also entice with a full selection of delectable desserts, including noteworthy ice creams flavors, including candied bacon, salted caramel and tobacco-infused.

Paired to elevate and complement the overall dining experience, world selection of craft beer offered alongside a distinct selection of boutique wines, scotches, whiskeys and bourbons. Craft beers flow regularly on rotating taps, including offerings from such breweries as Russian River, Mikkeller, Brewdog, Stone, and The Bruery.

Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange is located at 190 South Glassell Street. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily. Happy Hour menu offered 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. daily. Walk-ins welcome. For more information or to make reservations, call 714.221.0680 or visit (on Facebook,

Partners Greg Daniels, Wil Dee and Ace Patel opened their first restaurant, Haven Gastropub, in the heart of Historic Old Towne Orange in September 2009. Since then, Haven’s “pub meets gourmet eats” concept has earned rave reviews locally, regionally and nationally, being named one of the country’s “Best New Gastropub” by Draft Magazine, which commended the restaurant for having “breathed new life into the old gastropub concept.” On the heels of the Haven Gastropub’s ongoing success, the Partners decided to open a unique fast-casual concept, taco asylum, at The CAMP in Costa Mesa in January 2011. As part of The Haven Collective, the three Partners play distinct roles at each restaurant with Wil Dee serving as Beverage Director and Greg Daniels as Executive Chef.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2nd Annual OC BREW HA HA Festival to Feature 150+ Craft Beers, 60+ Breweries-Saturday, September 10, 2011

Festival Fundraiser to Support Orange County Fallen Firefighters Relief Fund

The Orange County community will be given the opportunity to honor fallen firefighters during a unique celebration, the 2nd annual OC Brew Ha Ha festival fundraiser from noon to 3 p.m. at Hidden Valley Park in Irvine. On Saturday, September 10th, attendees will have the opportunity to sample more than 150 custom craft and imported beers from more than 60 prestigious breweries! Voted “Southern California’s BEST Beer Festival” in its inaugural year by the OC Beer Society, the event also features a variety of notable food trucks, live entertainment and exclusive beer seminars. In addition, off-duty firefighters will be pouring and serving up brews to the public throughout the event.

This 9/11 tribute event will serve as a way to observe and show appreciation for local firefighters as a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the Fallen Firefighters Relief Fund, a non-profit organization that aids families of Orange County firefighters lost in the line of duty.

All tickets, restricted to those 21 years and older, include a commemorative glass, beer appreciation seminars, 10 four-oz. samplings, free water/soft drinks, and free parking. Additional samplings may be purchased at the event. General Admission is $40 per adult and $55 for VIP, offering early admission (11 a.m. entry), four extra tastes, and VIP exclusive seminars by renowned experts with rare beer tastes. A $10 Designated Driver ticket is available for those who will not be sampling brews (must accompany paid entry and no admission to seminars). For more details or to purchase tickets, visit or call (949) 363-1774.

“Now in our second year, the OC Brew Ha Ha has established itself as a premiere beer festival and gained attention for being a unique fundraising event. We are grateful to our many breweries and other sponsors for their support,” commented Carrie James, event producer for the OC Brew Ha Ha fundraiser and retired Lieutenant Commander from the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves. “Our goal is to celebrate the contributions of the many brave men and women who wear uniforms to serve and protect, while having a great time enjoying quality beers at what has now become an annual craft beer festival in Orange County.”

Festival attendees will be able to gain knowledge from Beer Appreciation Presentations led by renowned beer experts. In the beer industry, this is the equivalent of a wine Sommelier, and the OC Brew Ha Ha will feature some of the most respected authorities on beer in the nation together at one event: Ed Heethuis (Celebrator Beer News), discussing Sensory Analysis of Beer; Jonathan Porter (Tustin Brewing), on The Journey from Homebrew to Going Pro and Dr. Bill Sysak (Stone Brewing), revealing the Secrets of Exceptional Food & Beer Pairing. In addition, VIP guests will have the opportunity to sample rare beer, personally selected by Beer Cicerone, Dr. Bill from Stone Brewing.

The OC Brew Ha Ha will be held at Hidden Valley Park (8800 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618), one of the premier private-event facilities in Southern California. It is centrally located in Irvine, between the Verizon Amphitheater and Wild Rivers, where the 5 and 405 come together. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Thursday, February 24, 2011


San Juan Capistrano’s beloved fondue restaurant hosts an indulgent evening of savory wine and flavorful food pairings to honor “Fat Tuesday”

WHAT:To celebrate the practice of eating one last extravagant meal before Ash Wednesday, Simply Fondue has created a Cajun inspired menu complete with wine pairings. This special five course menu stays true to the restaurant's trademark fondue style, but has Creole inspired flavors. Each course will be paired with a wine meant to complement the flavors of the food fare and a wine expert will be on hand to interact with the guests and share details about each selection.

WHERE:Simply Fondue
31761 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

WHEN:Tuesday, March 8th
Seatings available from 5:30pm to 8pm


Cajun Chicken Skewars
Served with hot, sweet & savory dipping sauces

Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs NV

* * *

Tomato & Haricot Vert Salad
Served with green beans, tomato & fenel
One of our four creative salads

Trimbach Pinot Blanc ‘07

* * *
Cajun Cheddar & Rock Shrimp

Served with bread, fresh vegetables & green apples

Chalone Estate Chardonnay ‘08

* * *
Smoked Sausage, Spicy Shrimp, Creole Beef, Coconut Shrimp, Jamaican Chicken & Shrimp
Cook all items above in one of our four unique cooking styles

Uppercut Cabernet Sauvignon ‘07

* * *
Pecan Caramel Chocolate Turtle
Delicious imported milk or dark chocolate, rich creamy caramel & crunch pecans flambéed tableside & served with all of our incredible dippers

Rosenblum Cellars Chocolate Cabernet Port NV

PRICE:$59 per person + Tax & Gratuity

RESERVATIONS:(949) 240-0300


Simply Fondue combines state-of-the art cooking with ambrosial cheeses and a variety of savory seasoned bouillon broths for dipping a wide array of entrées such as fresh beef,lobster, shrimp, pork, poultry, tofu and gourmet vegetables. If you have a sweet tooth, you will most certainly enjoy Simply Fondue’s delicious selection of specialty chocolate fondues. Round out the evening with a glass of wine from our award-winning wine list or try one of our popular, creative martinis. Open for dinner daily. Simply Fondue has two Orange County locations: 28719 Los Alisos Blvd., Mission Viejo (949) 707-5200 and 31761 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano (949) 240-0300.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SOL Mexican Cocina - "Thursdays at 901"

Sol Cocina
251 Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone: 949.675.9800

This past week I attended SOL Mexican Cocina's first “Thursdays at 901” event highlighting the OC debut of Justin Timberlake’s 901 Tequila. I'll start with my general reaction to the verbalization of the word tequila: "BLEH!" Tequila and me ARE NOT the best of friends. This one, however, had me quite delighted and returning to the bar for more.

We were offered a list of four different concoctions... I only took pictures of two (blame it on the alcohol haha), but all are listed below starting with my favorite.

Strawberry-Kiwi Margarita

(Fresh strawberry, kiwi, lime and 901 Silver Tequila)

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! I believe I went back for a total of three of these bad boys! Sweet, with a slight sour tang, a smooth back-end of tequila, and yummy tid-bits of strawberry at the bottom. This one was an easy sipper if you have the self-control to not just down it right away.


(The perfect combination of cucumber,basil, pineapple, lime, Cointreau and 901 Silver Tequila)

I agree completely with the drink's description. The Pepino was a different one in its own. It had a sweet vegetable taste. Nothing too bold. Very sippable. I believe I had two.

901 Paloma

(Fresh grapefruit juice, 901 Silver Tequila and a splash of grapefruit soda)

Grapefruit... sweet/sour. I liked this drink, personally. It was a nice kick to my taste buds, but took third place on my list after I tried the Strawberry-Kiwi Margarita and the Pepino.

901 Rocks-Lime

I was a little too ripped to remember a picture by the time I had this one, but it's a pretty self-explanatory drink. 901 on the rocks with a lime! The tequila is very smooth, but does have a nippy little bite at the end. Not as bad as a hyperactive chihuahua's, and MUCH better than any other tequila I've tried so far, but I would recommend this one as a shot rather than a sipper if you don't like the sting of tequila (like me).

I was also fortunate enough to try the corn chowder and a stuffed flor de calabaza with panela cheese and mole sauce. The chowder was smooth and creamy - not thick at all like the normal chowders I'm used to. My date promised to take me back for a late night of chowder and margaritas, and I REALLY wish SOL Cocina was open late-night every night because I would take him up on his offer right this minute!

The fried, stuffed flor de calabaza had a flavor that I can't really describe, but I will definitely be returning for more.

So... never been the type to go out on a Thursday night to start off my weekend early, but the thought isn't so bad now that I've tried it. It was actually quite a nice outing, though it threw off my mental calendar of the REAL weekend. Oh well, and well worth it!

SOL’s Happy Hour will still be offered from 4–7 p.m. (bar and patio only). SOL’s Late Night is offered from 11p.m-1a.m. (Thurs-Sat). For more information, menus, hours of operations, online reservations and directions, visit

Monday, February 7, 2011

SOL Cocina Introduces Late Night at SOL

SOL Cocina introduces late-night at SOL – every Thursday with live music, 901 Tequila specialty cocktails and menu until 1 a.m.

Launch date: Thursday, February 10 @ 9:01 p.m.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (January 2011)
SOL Mexican Cocina will host its first “Thursdays at 901” event highlighting the OC debut of Justin Timberlake’s 901 Tequila with live music, 901 tequila sampling, Chef-created antojitos, Live Nation concert ticket giveaways and a digital photo booth for guests to enjoy at SOL Cocina (251 E. PCH at Bayside in Newport Beach) on Thursday, February 10th at 9:01 p.m.

“Thursday night is really the start of the weekend,” said Matt Baumayr, SOL’s general manager. “With ‘Thursdays at 901’ we want to create a great, relaxed vibe for our guests – a place to come and kick back with friends, listen to music and just chill. Launching our Thursday events with the debut of a sophisticated brand like 901 Tequila seems like a perfect fit.”

Space for the red-carpet launch is limited and guests must RSVP to Thursdays at 901” will continue every Thursday following its launch with guests able to enjoy late-night cocktails and menu options until 1 a.m.

SOL’s Happy Hour will still be offered from 4–7 p.m. (bar and patio only). For more information, menus, hours of operations, online reservations and directions, visit

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wines Take Flight at Haven

Wine flights allow guests to experience horizontal tastings from worldy wine list

Following the success and popularity of its beer flights, Haven Gastropub introduces Wine Flight offerings to its guests. Managing Partner & Beverage Director Wil Dee has created three distinct wine tasting flights, each a horizontal tasting of a particular varietal presented together for sampling and comparison.

Although selections will vary throughout the year, the current offerings are as follows:

Chardonnay ~ $12
Clos LaChance “Unoaked” – Monterey County ‘09
Bearboat – Russian River ‘08
Zaca Mesa – Santa Ynez Valley ‘08
Groth – Napa Valley ’08

Cabernet Sauvignon ~ $12
Leese-Fitch – California ‘09
The Show – California ‘07
Smith & Hook – Central Coast ‘07
Trig Point – Alexander Valley ‘07

Pinot Noir ~ $14
Fritz – Russian Ricer Valley ‘08
Row Eleven “Vinas 3” – California ‘08
Laetitia “Estate” – Arroyo Grande Valley ‘08
Robert Stemmler – Carneros ‘07

Haven Gastropub boasts a worldly wine list, with nearly 50 wines by the glass. The beverage menu also includes 14 rotating beers on draft and more than 100 bottled craft beers, as well as a full bar selection of unique spirits.

Haven Gastropub menus can be found online at

Prego Ristorante inaugural wine dinner of 2011

Prego Ristorante celebrates its first wine dinner of the year with a five-course menu paired with Italian wines from one of Chianti’s most highly regarded estates, Rocca delle Macie, on Friday, January 28 at 7 p.m.
Chef Ugo Allesina will present five-courses created to complement dynamic wines from the Chianti region of Tuscany. Guests will be able to experience the winery’s diverse offerings that have spanned almost three decades. The dinner, priced at $54.95 per guest (excluding tax & gratuity), will be held at Prego in Irvine (18420 Von Karman Avenue). For more information or reservations, call 949.553.1333.

Rocca delle Macie Wine Dinner
Friday, January 28, 2011 | 7 p.m.

Canapè Assortiti
Rocca delle Macie Galestro, Tuscany

Zuppa di Lenticchie
rustic lentil and sausage soup
Rocca delle Macie Sangiovese, Tuscany

Farfalle con Salmon Affumicato
bowtie pasta, smoked salmon and chives in vodka-cream sauce
Rocca delle Macie Vernaccia, Tuscany

Costina di Manzo Brasata
slow-braised bone-in beef in a chianti reduction
Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico, Tuscany

Torta di Cioccolato Delirio
chocolate delirium cake with raspberry sauce
Bottega, Moscato Spumante, Veneto

For more information or reservations, call 949.553.1333 or visit