“FIRST BITES” OC RESTAURANT WEEK LAUNCH PARTY
Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California
Sponsored by Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Verdict Is In: A Resounding Success Celebrating Food and Drink
By Kay Schroeder
Irvine,CA,CA(Perfect Meal Today)3/10/16/–Enthusiasm and high anticipation were in the air as throngs of jovial in the mood to party guests wasted no time in getting this kickoff event to the 2016 Orange County Restaurant Week into full swing.
With 140 restaurants in 21 Orange County cities represented, this event is the largest culinary event of the year. Restaurant Week runs from March 6 thru March 12. The complete list of participating restaurants may be viewed at: http://www.ocrestaurantweek.com/ Prix fixe menus are priced at $10, $15 and $20 per person for lunch, and $20, $30, $40 and $50 per person for dinner.
Although the event was somewhat crowded, the guests didn’t seem to mind as they enjoyed the beautifully sunny weather outdoors and eagerly visited each restaurant’s booth to sample the food and drink offerings. Chefs graciously invited and answered questions regarding the names of the dishes, the ingredients used, and a brief description of the techniques used in their preparation.
Cuisines of Mexico, Spain, Italy, Asia, Cuba, the Mediterranean, Latin countries, and the U.S. yielded seafood tacos, braised beef, and tiramisu just to name a few. The awesome beef sliders prepared by Slater’s 50/50 Restaurant were not only delicious; they were a picture-perfect work of art as evidenced below.
In possibly the largest electric paella pan in the United States, if not the entire world, the chef cooked to perfection the rice, clams, mussels, succulent jumbo shrimp, sausage, and fish finished off with a wonderful mixture of spices. Paella is an ancient rice dish that originated from the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia and is traditionally cooked in a large, round, very shallow pan. The deftly prepared small bites were served in an array of innovative bite sized hors d’oeuvre spoons, miniature square plates and stylized bowls, in generous tasting sizes.
Chambord went all out elegant on their display of the black raspberry liqueur. Chambord and chocolate dressed the beautiful, individually crafted berry tartlets, so deserving of the crystal chandelier shining down on them. The animated mixologists who prepared specially designed cocktails to pair with their food did a great job entertaining those waiting to sample their concoctions. Wines available for sampling included malbec, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and several more, if you were so inclined to sample them all.
Perhaps the display that offered the most unique and fun-filled sampling was the nitrogen frozen strawberries. Barely perceptible in the photo below is the “white smoke” emanating from the frozen berry being held by the chef. What is not visible in the second picture below is the “white smoke” being breathed out by the young lady immediately after popping the frozen berry into her mouth. After observing several of these, the reaction of the crowd was always the same, shock and raucous laughter.
Hoping that their luck was with them today, many people used IPads to register for an opportunity to win one of the two gorgeous, fully loaded Jeep Grand Cherokees on display. Even if everyone could not win a Grand Cherokee, most if not all would probably agree that this was a deliciously fun-filled event and are looking forward to the Orange County Restaurant Week Launch Party in 2017.
Photography: Kay Schroeder, Tom Wright
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211