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Newport Beach Restaurant Week begins, Pink Martini returns to SCFTA

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Just another Friday night in OC, right? Well, not quite. It’s the start of the 8th annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week (through January 26). Instead of dining at Taco Bell or Subway, you can choose from over 80 of Newport’s eateries, albeit not at fast food prices but substantially less that you might pay otherwise. Prix-fixe dinner menus are $20, $30 or $40 per person; prix-fixe dinner lunches are $10, $15 or $20 per person depending on the restaurant. In other words, it’s time to break open the piggy bank and splurge.

My significant other and I had the opportunity to preview the Restaurant Week menu at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in Fashion Island last night, and I can honestly say it exceeded all expectations. (After all it’s a chain, and we’d dined at Roy’s in Vegas with predictable results.)

We got off to a spectacular start with an appetizer of “Szechuan” Calamari, which I highly recommend though it’s not on the prix-fixe menu. The Lobster Bisque actually had a sizable chunk of lobster in it (a first for me, I think); I passed on the Ahi Caesar Salad but my lady love says it was tender and tasty, grilled with a hint of sesame. The Hawaiian Ono was nicely accentuated with a black bean sauce which really brought out the flavor.

Although I suspect the Chocolate Caramel Éclair is delicious, we upgraded to Roy’s Signature Hot Chocolate Souffle, which is paired with vanilla bean ice cream—a virtual orgasm on a plate. You’ll find Roy’s at 453 Newport Center Drive; 949-640-7697. For a complete list of participating locations in Newport Beach Restaurant Week, visit NewportBeachDining.com or call 619-233-5008.
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Where to dine before the show in Costa Mesa—Scott’s
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Where to dine before the show in Costa Mesa—Leatherby’s
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Speaking of delish, there’s so much going on at SCFTA the next few weeks it would be easy to miss Pink Martini. And you don’t want to do that—at least I don’t. I’d never heard of this 12-piece group the last time they played Costa Mesa; I just went on a hunch. And it turned out to be right on the money. The orchestra is part big band, part classical ensemble, and part salsa troupe. They play vintage jazz, tangos, ballads, love songs and more—in short, an intoxicating cocktail.

Pink Martini performs with the backing of Pacific Symphony. But wait, there’s more. Their special guests are The von Trapp Family, with whom they’re currently working on a collaborative album. The concert takes place January 23-25, in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. For tickets: 714-755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

More from Jordan:

O’Neill’s ‘Long Day’s Journey’ at Maverick, Culture Clash at SCFTA’s Off-Center http://www.examiner.com/article/o-neill-s-long-day-s-journey-at-maverick...

Best of Orange County Theatre 2013
http://www.examiner.com/article/best-of-orange-county-theatre-2013

Chagall & Magritte highlight NYC exhibits, Hockney shows closing in LA, San Fran
http://www.examiner.com/article/chagall-magritte-highlight-nyc-exhibits-...

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