Crazy Horse Galloping to Spectrum; New Chef at Mamma Gina Has the Chops
One of America’s premier female winemakers, Dawnine Dyer of Domaine Chandon, will be on hand to share with us (yes, I’m going to be there) the story of her 23 years with the winery at an exceptional dinner at Trilogy in Irvine on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. She will be presenting six very fine wines with colorful commentary on each, accompanied by a six-course dinner prepared by chef Jim Strausbaugh (formerly chef at the Ritz-Carlton’s Club Bar & Grill). Grey Goose vodka martinis for the reception will accompany a trio of appetizers. The dinner will commence with roasted oysters and Champagne Glassage, followed by a seasonal salad and Brut Reserve 2000. A small Champagne granita matched with Chandon’s Blanc de Noir will cleanse the palate. Grilled fillet of sturgeon over leaf spinach will complement the Etoile Ros & #233; before the main course of roasted Long Island duck breast matched with the Etoile Mount Veeder Chardonnay. The meal will end with the luscious Mo & #235;t & Chandon Nectar and a frozen Champagne parfait. Price is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call (949) 955-0757 right now for reservations.
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Tonight is the final concert at the Crazy Horse Steak House in Santa Ana before it relocates to the Irvine Spectrum in December. That move will more than double the concert seating and allow for lower ticket prices for concerts. The Crazy Horse has been at its present location for 20 years and during that time has become world famous. It has been chosen Nightclub of the Year by the Academy of Country Music for eight of the past 10 years.
Tonight, country legend Buck Owens will entertain at two shows, at 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. In his repertoire he’ll include his big hits such as “Cryin’ Time,” “Act Naturally,” and “Tiger by the Tail.” Tickets for the concert are $60, $70 and $80. The last night the restaurant will serve dinner to the public at this location is Saturday, Nov. 20. However, holiday parties will be booked through Dec. 18. Call (714) 549-1512 for concert tickets or dinner reservations.
Attention doctors, nurses, medical personnel. Till the end of November you can shave $10 off your check at Villa Nova in Newport Beach if you’ve got a medical identification card or pay stub (present it to your server when you’re seated). This is the restaurant’s way of celebrating Medical Appreciation Month. Your total meal purchase must be at least $40, not including the complimentary dessert you’ll be offered. Offer is valid every evening but Saturdays. Call (949) 642-7880 for reservations.
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The Anaheim White House sells out every year for the Christmas Tree Lighting Dinner. It’s a pretty spectacular sight to see the lights go on in the huge tree in the meadow-like lawn fronting the house so reminiscent of that other one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Then, after Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, diners move inside to feast on a multi-course meal overseen by restaurant impresario Bruno Serato (one of my former Restaurateurs of the Year). Better call now to secure a place at this table and sigh at the grandeur and meaning of it all. Price for the evening is $125, including Champagne.
Bruno tells me that they still have private rooms available on many good dates in December. So, there’s a clue if you’re still on the hunt. Call (714) 772-1381.
Sometimes I want a little entertainment with my meal. If it’s a good murder mystery, so much the better. The Gourmet Detective dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel are comical, thought provoking, and wonderfully creative. The food part is serious. The current production, “Mumm’s the Word” recreates a 1929 Harlem speakeasy. The New York gang lords and bootleggers have infiltrated the room and are seated in the audience.
While the diners try to solve the mystery, jokes are created at the expense of the performers. For $55, you get a three-course dinner — entr & #233;e choice of chicken Marsala, grilled top sirloin, broiled striped sea bass and linguine pasta — and all this fun. The Anaheim Hilton is also offering a Mystery Getaway Hotel Package at $201 that includes dinner, show, tax and one night’s accommodations for two. For nine years, Gourmet Detective has received rave reviews for its productions and this one is really great. Call (714) 979-2583 or visit the web site: www.GourmetDetective.com for ticket information and reservations.
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Ristorante Mamma Gina in Newport Beach has a new chef carrying impressive credentials. Umberto Rubelli of Milan practiced his art in a trio of restaurants in Northern Italy, all carrying either two or three Michelin stars. He transitioned to the original Mamma Gina in Florence, then to the sibling restaurant in Palm Desert for a short stint before taking over the kitchen of the Newport Beach location. The restaurants he has worked in espouse a philosophy of preparing simple and earthy recipes using the freshest ingredients. Rubelli appears happily ensconced in the local kitchen and obviously has an abundance of love for the cooking profession. While the menu continues to offer the Northern Italian specialties we’ve become addicted to, I’m sure you’ll notice the clarity of flavors he is imparting to the dishes. Ristorante Mamma Gina is at 251 E. Coast Highway, Newport Beach. Phone (949) 673-9500 for reservations or information.
This is the time of year when my phone rings more than usual with requests for information on where to have a holiday gathering. Many restaurants are sold out through the end of the year, but there are possibilities, including hotel packages, that I will share with you in the next few columns. Here’s a consideration for today.
If it’s the New Year you’re looking to ring in, the Anaheim Marriott hotel still has openings for its value-priced New Millennium Celebration. Groups of various sizes can book at only $100 per person for the dinner, party favors, glass of wine with dinner and Champagne toast at midnight (the price includes tax, tip and self-parking as well). The menu consists of butler-passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a choice of hazelnut and lobster ravioli, grilled sea scallops and shrimp or fresh vegetable terrine. Choose from thee salads for the second course. Have an intermezzo sorbet. Main course: tenderloin of beef with Madeira sauce, roasted free-range chicken with mushroom polenta, or walnut-crusted fillet of salmon. Dessert is a special millennium presentation. Included is Arabica gourmet coffee or choice of international teas. Call (714) 748-2437 for reservations and information.