Exec Chef Chat… On Oceania Cruise Line’s Impressive Marina Ship

Chef Alban and My Friend Karen during our interview! Our Baltic cruise began in Stockholm-Sweden, with stops in Tallinn-Estonia, St. Petersburg-Russia, Helsinki-Finland, Gdansk-Poland, Berlin-Germany, Copenhagen-Denmark, Oslo-Norway and we disembarked in Southampton-England (just about two hours south west of London). This epic itinerary allowed us to visit two spots that have had on our “bucket list” for some time. A visit to the Hermitage Museum was so impressive. It was magical, historical, and truly epic to see these famous works of art. Most have not been seen outside of this museum. Exploring the wonders of St. Petersburg, Russia was a real treat. And on the back-end of our sojourn, to visit Stonehenge (just outside of Southampton) was equally impressive. It was a fabulous trip and we enjoyed exploring all of it with our good friends from Southern California.  So much of my research and writings revolve around food.  I love to …
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Brick Restaurant Offers Impressive Farm-To-Table Cuisine!

As I sauntered into this restaurant last week in the heart of San Clemente to meet some gal pals, I was instantly impressed with the wood décor, the amazing light fixtures and the long bar where each bar chair is quite unique. There is probably a story to be told about each one, but wait…. I got totally distracted.  Peeking around the corner and behind the long, open-format kitchen line were two huge Santa Maria BBQ grills. And to the right was a huge fire brewing that you just cannot miss! This 750-degree wood-burning Italian Valoriani oven cooks flavorful pizzas, breads and all kinds of roasted goodies. White oak wood was piled high in a tin pail to stoke the fire. It was only 11:30 in the morning, but heck, life was running at full-throttle here at Brick Restaurant in San Clemente. Meet Executive Chef and Owner David Pratt. The …
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Prego Is Stirring Up Some Excellent Italian Cuisine & Events!

The word Prego in Italian refers to the “welcoming” and that it does!  “Prego, entri pure” (please come in).  And if you have not visited Prego Mediterranean in its newer location at The District at Tustin Legacy, come join the fun.  Husband and wife team Tony and Ruth Lee Bedi are a passionate restaurant owner team and together with renowned Chef Ugo Allesina and Sous Chef Victor Sanchez, they are rocking it at The District.  The dining room is stunning—-rather expansive with high ceilings and seating up to 250. I just love how the red napkins stand at attention at each place setting adding a dash of color to the natural wood tones.  The bar is perfectly positioned to the left, with six flat screen TV’s for sports viewing and cocktail, wine and beer toasting. This has a cosmopolitan vibe with lively exhibition kitchens allowing diners a peek in …
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Table For 10—Elegant Chefs Dinner Benefiting The Teen Project

This Sunday, March 3rd, 2019 will be the annual “Table For 10” event held at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, CA.  A total of 350 guests will raise funds for The Teen Project. This Table for 10 event is an extraordinary culinary adventure, which showcased Southern California’s top chefs. The optional black tie evening begins with a festive cocktail reception and top-drawer live auction, which showcases “Best of Chefs” dining experiences, luxury goods and inviting trips to exotic locales. Guests and chefs alike are thrilled as the Ballroom doors open to reveal the elegant dining room. Each table is decorated with a different and dramatic theme. With creative one-of-a-kind table-scapes, each chef creates their own special dining experience for the guests and prepares masterful dinner tableside for 10 guests. Exquisite wines are paired with the cuisine, and each table is abuzz with interesting conversation. It …
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Harvesting A Grand Dinner In South Laguna Beach

So… about the other night. We joined two other wonderful couples to dine at Harvest Restaurant in south Laguna Beach. (This is located at The Ranch LB Hotel & Spa, formerly Ben Brown’s Golf Course, and is owned by Aliso Creek Properties.) One of our table-mates had been raving about this restaurant, and boy were they right!  There is a wrap-around patio that overlooks the first tee of the 9-hole golf course.  I used to play here years ago. I look forward to returning during the day time to enjoy that view! The restaurant is “ranch-inspired” with rustic wood, leather, a horseshoe shaped bar and a huge stone fireplace. The space is comfortable and cozy. Expansive windows let the outdoors inside. Executive Chef Kyle St. John hails from other local iconic spots including Selanne’s Steakhouse and The Center Club where he championed popular wine & beer dining events. He and …
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Orange County Restaurant Week is Coming!

Celebrating 11 years, this year’s Orange County Restaurant Week will be the best thus far!  There are three events to keep in mind. First is the LAUNCH PARTY for Restaurant Week on Saturday afternoon, March 2, the AFTER PARTY upstairs in the late afternoon and evening on Saturday March 2nd and a full week of Restaurant Dining from March 3-9, 2019. Ready, set, go!  Here is a quick overview of all three and what is not to miss! LAUNCH PARTY! Celebrating 11 years of OC Restaurant Week, join your foodie friends on the red carpet for an upscale experience of Food, Spirits, Music and Wine at the beautiful NEW Marriott Irvine Spectrum. When/Where: March 2, 2019 – Marriott Irvine Spectrum 7905 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine California Time:  General Admission is 2pm – 5pm for $70. The VIP’s will be from 1pm – 5pm, however those tickets are sold out. Sorry …
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