Restaurant Week Brings More Choices

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Did you go to Taste of Newport?

The 22nd annual coastal foodie fest was a fun mix of restaurants and music. We ran into friends, sampled some wonderful cuisine, and listened to headliner bands while planning our next food foray.

Among our favorites:

Five Crowns. The booth was decorated to look like the real Five Crowns restaurant, and their roast beef sandwiches were as good as the ones we sampled the week before during our taste test at Five Crowns’ Side Door Gastropub. It was great to see Chef Dennis Brask at the Five Crowns counter handing out his delicious sandwiches. And their crème brulee was pretty tasty too!

Sabatino Sausage Company. Their onsite barbecues cooked up giant sausage links all weekend. The sausage sandwiches with peppers, onions and marinara sauce were so good that we vowed to go there for dinner soon.

The Batmobile. OK, so you can’t eat the Batmobile, but it was a rare opportunity to check out the original vehicle from the 1966 TV series and imagine Adam West and Burt Ward zooming off to do battle with Joker, Riddler and Catwoman.

As always, there were so many restaurants and so little time (and only so much room in our stomachs). From what we saw, all of the food looked fantastic, and everyone appeared to be having a fabulous time. If you missed Taste of Newport, don’t worry, you only have 358 days left (and counting) until next year’s.

 

Taste of Newport may have just ended, but you can still sample a cornucopia of culinary delights thanks to OC Restaurant Week that runs Sept. 26–Oct. 2.

The Newport Beach restaurants participating this year include:  Bayside, Brasserie Pascal, Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, Harborside, Newport Landing, Palm Terrace, Port, Rustica, Rusty Pelican, Sage Eastbluff, Sapori Ristorante, SOL Cocina, The Lido Deck, The Crow Bar and Kitchen, The Ritz Restaurant and Garden, Tradition by Pascal, Wildfish Seafood Grille, and Zov’s in Newport Coast.

The special prix fixe lunch and dinner menus being offered range from $15 to $40 and provide an excellent sampling of signature items these restaurants have become known for.

Stasha and I have written about many of these restaurants in our column, but there are a few we haven’t dined at yet, so OC Restaurant Week offers the perfect excuse to dine at a new restaurant or revisit a favorite for a reasonable price. The only problem we have is actually coming to an agreement and making a decision.

“I think the Bayside menu looks good, but only if we can go on a Thursday and listen to the Ron Kobayashi Trio while we dine,” I said, certain there would be no argument. I was wrong.

“Thursday? Maybe, but Brasserie Pascal is offering Mussels Sauvignon Blanc,” replied Stasha. “And I’m craving mussels.”

I was about to interject on behalf of Bayside’s menu-and-music combo, when Stasha again stopped me.

“Oh no? Palm Court at The Island Hotel has their mac and cheese with crushed truffles. I could live on that.”

“Yes, well I know that, but…“

“I can’t believe Tradition by Pascal is offering a $30 prix fixe menu!” exclaimed Stasha. “I would sell my soul for the Pan Roasted Duck Magret and the Oeuf á la Neige.”

“I vote for going back to Rustica, Chef MacPherson has his Char-Grilled Octopus and Pappardelle on the menu.”

”I know. But shouldn’t we try a new spot?” asked Stasha. “What about Newport Landing? They offer Macadamia nut crusted Opakapaka, and the New Zealand Rack of Lamb sounds good, too.”

I was about to agree when she cut me off.

“Did you see what Sapori is offering? Linguine Vongole Veraci or Veal Scaloppini Gorgonzola definitely appeal.”

I took a breath to speak, but too late.

“Oh wow!” she barreled on. “Canaletto has Casonzei Con Stracchino e Pere. I love Stracchino cheese!”

Her dramatic monologue continued with rising momentum: “Lido Deck has Grilled Pork Porterhouse, Harborside has Orange Coconut Salmon and Macadamia nut crusted Opakapaka, too, and Sage Eastbluff has Pepitas Crusted Sea Bass with maple bourbon butter nut squash. Ooooh, that sounds yummy.”

She paused long enough for me to speak.

“So does the Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake,” I said triumphantly. I felt like a football player who just scored the winning touchdown.

“Right.” Stasha looked up with a big smile.

“And what about The Ritz? Their $20 lunch menu includes steak and lobster, plus an appetizer and dessert,” I noted enthusiastically.

“Or how about Zov’s? They’re legendary,” said Stasha. “I’m dying to try her famous Golden Lentil Soup.”

“SOL Cocina has a pretty good dinner menu–remember their muddled cocktails?”

“Oh, those were so good,” sighed Stasha. “I can’t decide. I want to do them all. How many restaurants do you think we could do?

“In one week? Well, I’m not sure.” I spluttered. “At this rate, we better just flip a coin or we’re going to miss OC Restaurant week altogether and have to wait until next year.”

So how many restaurants will you make it to in one week?

For more information, including a list of restaurants and their special prix fixe menus, visit www.ocrestaurantweek.com.

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