Seasons 52 – South Coast Plaza

There is a great new restaurant at South Coast Plaza called Seasons 52 (former Clubhouse location), which is part of a small chain focused on high quality ingredients prepared in a healthy way.  They use no butter, and everything on the menu is under 475 calories (per item). 

We started with an artichoke appetizer, which was served with arugula, shaved fennel, tiny tomatoes, and a balsamic glaze.  Really tasty.  The produce is incredibly fresh and exceptional quality.

For entrees, we had the steak flatbread (flatbreads are a specialty of theirs) which comes with mushrooms and wonderfully flavored blue cheese. Also had the cedar plank salmon, served with roasted carrots, asparagus and potatoes, and the barbecue chicken salad.  Hard to believe this is less than 475 calories for the whole plate.  They are willing to back up their claims with a very complete nutritional menu.

They have a full bar, and extensive wine list, including organic wines.

Just because you are eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert!  The small desserts are presented on a rack and they deliver spoons before you even order!  Great sales technique, and it worked.  We tried key lime pie, meyer lemon pound cake and carrot cake.  These mini indulgences are only 210-275 calories, and so satisfying, we wouldn’t have wanted more. 

The decor is craftsman with stone walls in the bar, and lots of wood.  Only complaint is that the main dining area was noisy – next time (and there will be many return visits) we might ask for a table in the bar area or one of the further dining rooms.

If you like locavore high quality healthy cooking that tastes great, this place is for you!


LA Times Food & Wine Report

The LA Times Celebration of Food & Wine on 9/5/10 was a great event.  We splurged for VIP tickets, and it was worth it!  No lines, great food and wine samples and fun events.  Wonderful setting at Paramount Studios.

We spotted the Tar Pit (a Mark Peel restaurant) booth offering large glasses (not just a taste) of a rum punch concoction that got us started nicely.  Then we went from booth to booth, tasting so fast we couldn’t stop for pictures or to write things down.  It became a blur (or was that the punch?). 

I know we had good food samples, including ribs, chicken mole, gazpacho, tacos, and other interesting tastes, from Susan Feniger’s STREET, Border Grill, Rock Sugar, palate Food & Wine, La Casita Mexicana, Mar’sel (at the Tereana Resort), Eva and others, plus wine, cognac, tequila, sake and other samples from The Girls in the Vineyard, Grgich Hills, Hope Family Wines, Bracero Tequila, and more. 

I signed up for 2 competitions sponsored by Share Our Strength – a vegetable stacking contest (came in second) and a Food Trivia contest (won this). 

I got Mark Peel’s book New Classic Family Dinners, and was able to meet Chef Mark (Top Chef Masters, Campanile, Tar Pit), and get him to autograph the book!

One of the most exciting parts was that the contests were hosted by Michael Voltaggio, the Top Chef Winner from season 6 (Bravo). 

After winning the trivia, I didn’t realize the individual contest winners were coming back up, but we were called up for a taste test against Chef Voltaggio!  We had to name ingredients in a bowl of Mole we were given, and the winner would be the last person to guess correctly.  Would you believe Voltaggio was eliminated on his second guess?  No sugar in this mole!  In any case, I was the last person standing, having guessed bittersweet chocolate, ancho chiles, and garlic – so you could say I beat Michael Voltaggio. 

Michael was great, high-fived me, and gave me a magnum of Abraxas wine, which is made by Robert Sinskey Vineyards, and is a blend of 47% Pinot Gris, 23% Riesling, 17% Gewurztraminer, 13% Pinot Blanc.  The notes say it is good with spicy food, so maybe we’ll have to have friends over for Thai, or maybe save this for Thanksgiving.

We stayed for a little of the She & Him concert (Zooey Deschanel), but we were so ready to call it a day.  Thanks to Amanda for the photos!

6ix Park Grill – Great Lunch!

Visited 6ix Park Grill (at the Hyatt Regency Irvine) today for lunch and sat outside on their lovely patio. 

We enjoyed the tenderloin skewers (really butter-soft beef) with very tasty mushrooms alongside. 

Also had the scallops with a really fresh tasting salad in a bright vinaigrette, with Point Reyes blue cheese garnish.  My companions had carne asada tacos and cobb salad with a side of fries.

The cocktails were tasty, although oddly, we needed to ask for the caipirinha to be remade, because it contained basil!  There are some basil infused versions, but the basic caipirinha shouldn’t have any.  My Kamikaze was perfect.

OC Wine Mart Tasting Bar – Coming Soon

I want to support OC Wine Mart.  This small independent local wine shop, because I love their concept: 90 point wines for $20 or less.

Their new tasting bar opens soon.  Subscribe to their newsletter mailing list to stay informed, and learn about great buys on great wines.

OC’s Premier Wine Shop & Networking Wine Tasting Bar
(Coming in September)
State of the Art Wine Self-Serve System featuring 24 wines from $1 per taste
(949) 250-0033
2272 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Free Delivery in OC!

Eat Out – Fight Hunger

Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out is this month.  You can find all the local restaurants that are participating on this page.  All are offering great deals for really tiny ($1) donations.  Help solve hunger in America with the NO KID HUNGRY program, and enjoy yourself in the process.