Monday, 16 June 2014

Newport Beach City Council Approves New NBRA Board

The Newport Beach Restaurant Association is pleased to announce that the Newport Beach City Council approved the appointment of the following  members to the Newport Beach Restaurant Associations BID Board for FY 2014-15.

Alexandra Robinson, Park Avenue Café

Cindy O’Shea, Whole Foods Market

Dan Miller, Village Inn

Jim Walker, The Bungalow Restaurant

Joe Campbell, Ruby’s Diner

John Robinson, Amelia’s Seafood & Italian Restaurant

Ronald Schwartz, Muldoon’s Irish Pub

Sheri Drewry, Wilma’s Patio

Stephen Joyce, Newport Beach Tennis Club

Thomas Giulioni, Newport Dunes/Back Bay Bistro

Monday, 12 May 2014

Wine & Dine at the 11th Annual Newport Beach Wine Festival

Head to Balboa Bay Resort from Friday, May 23, through Sunday, May 25, for the 11th annual Newport Beach Wine Festival. That’s where Executive Chef Vincent Lesage and his culinary team will join some of the region’s top winemakers to present creative wine-tasting experiences, seminars, a cooking class, wine-maker dinner, seafood festival and more. This epicurean extravaganza kicks off Friday, from 6-11 p.m., with the “Master Sommelier Coasting Through California Wine Dinner” ($195 per person, including taxes and gratuities). Limited to 70 guests, this intimate meal showcases six courses (each incorporating locally grown ingredients from a specific region of the state), paired with fine wines selected by master sommeliers Ira Harmon and Ron Mumford.Seafood-on-the-Bay-Wine-Pouring

On Saturday, guests are invited to attend a cooking class and two wine seminars during the day, including a “Cook to This! Cooking Class and Wine Pairing,” from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., where Chef Lesage will help attendees create a three-course lunch using wine as the central ingredient ($90 per person, including taxes and gratuities).

That evening, The Grand Ballroom at Balboa Bay Resort will play host to the “Grand Tasting,” from 7-10:30 p.m. ($135 per person, including taxes and gratuities). Expect samples from more than 90 wineries from the around the world paired with delectable creations from the resort’s culinary team. Think seafood, caviars, cheeses, meats and desserts, all set to a backdrop of live music.

The festival draws to a close on Sunday, with the farewell “Beer for Breakfast,” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., offering the chance to sample brews from renowned beer capitals of the world served alongside a delicious and hearty rustic breakfast ($45 per person, including taxes and gratuities), followed by the “All-American Seafood Festival,” from 2-6 p.m., held outdoors along the waterfront and highlighted by wines from more than 30 wineries and interactive culinary stations boasting an incredible selection of the finest seafood ($99 per person, including taxes and gratuities). It all ends with “Cigar On the Rocks,” from 6-8 p.m., featuring specialty cocktails, top-flight cognacs, scotches, ports, tequilas, specialty cocktails, fine artisan cheeses, desserts and, of course, cigars ($60 per person, including taxes and gratuities).

By the way, room packages are available for those who wish to stay over at the resort. They include “The Taste,” featuring one room on Saturday night and two tickets to “Grand Tasting”; the “Sip and Savor,” with one room on Saturday night and 20 percent off two or more select events/seminars; and “Uncork, Delight and Unwind,” offering one room on Saturday night and tickets to the “Grand Tasting” and one seminar/event. A special “Indulge” package also is available for a three-night stay (Friday-Sunday), two tickets to all events, and even a bottle of champagne and cheese plate upon arrival.

To reserve a room or for more information on the festival, call (885) 977-5104 or visit

Written by Wendy Bowman for Visit Newport Beach.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Mom Trained Chefs

Mother’s Day is May 11, the perfect day to thank our mom’s for all they did for us—including teaching us how to cook!

slidecookingThree local chefs – Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Bistro in Newport Coast, Cathy Pavlos of Provenance in Eastbluff and Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina – recently regaled us with their memories of cooking with mom.

“My mother was a fabulous cook,” recalls Chef Zov, who specializes in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Armenian cuisine. “I remember her always being in the kitchen and cooking all the time, whether it was at home or a ladies auxiliary or volunteering in schools cooking lunch. She loved cooking and sharing. We cooked every day like it was Mother’s Day. It was not a special day because we were always together. Whenever I called my mother on Mother’s Day, I would say ‘mom, this is an official call—Happy Mother’s Day.’”

Zov said her signature golden lentil soup is a family recipe, as is her hummus and baba ghanoush.

“They’re family traditions—they were all her recipes,” says Zov. “Some of my dishes, like the rack of lamb, is a derivative of my mom’s cooking. It’s all inspired by what she used to cook, which was traditional Armenian food.”

And what will Zov be doing on Mother’s Day?

“I will be working,” she laughed. “Maybe we’ll go out, or maybe I’ll cook.”

To cook like Zov, and her mother, visit her website to access a lengthy list of recipes, from rosemary crusted rack of lamb to Greek salad, at

Zov also has two cookbooks available on her website that make perfect Mother’s Day gifts.

Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina has four cookbooks available on her restaurant’s website that also make great Mother’s Day gifts.

Chef Deb specializes in south-of-the-border cuisine, which is unusual for someone who was raised in Canada.

“I grew up in a tiny rural town in southern Ontario,” Chef Deb told us. “My mother grew up on a farm and is a great simple cook. When I read about farm-to-table, I smile, because that’s how everybody ate when I was a kid: local beef from a butcher we knew, farm eggs and chicken, local cheese, and of course eating out of our gardens through the spring, summer and fall.”

Chef Deb says she learned to cook from her mother, starting with her family’s holiday recipes at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“I still make gravy in the pan just like she does, and her stuffing is the best!,” states Chef Deb. “Mom’s cooking style can best be described as ‘great fresh ingredients and don’t do too much to it.’ My favorite meal at home is still the Sunday roast beef dinner with local veggies (now grown by Mennonites) and my stepdad’s homemade wine.”

Visit the SOL website at And visit Chef Deb’s personal website to view a video of her making her signature tacos vampiros.

Chef Cathy Pavlos, who recently opened Provenance (sister restaurant to her noted Lucca Restaurant in Irvine), grew up in Southern California. Her grandfather was a commercial farmer in Huntington Beach, so she grew up cooking and eating only her grandfather’s farm-raised produce, fresh fish from the docks in San Pedro, fresh fruits from family orchards in Whittier, and proteins butchered on the farm.

“I learned to cook when I was four years old, at the side of my Italian grandmother, who was known to be the best cook around,” says Chef Cathy.

When diners enter Provenance, one of the first things they encounter is a hostess station. What’s unusual is that it’s created from Chef Cathy’s grandmother’s 1948 stove that she kept in her kitchen until the day she died—the same stove Chef Cathy learned to cook on when she was a small child.

Visit the Provenance website at

Written by Christopher TrelaFor more articles on dining out in Newport Beach, see the Off the Menu column in the Newport Beach Independent at

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Food Inspired by Sun and Sea at Taste of Balboa

Held during the annual Kick off Fiesta for the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht RaceTaste of Balboa features a variety of local restaurants serving up tastes of their signature dishes for sale.  Savor an assortment of different dishes and tastes including pasta, seafood, burgers, noodles, pizza and so much more from some of Balboa’s most beloved restaurants.

Participating RestaurantsTOB Logo
Bella Luna Café
Crow Burger Kitchen
Cruisers: Pizza Bar Grill
Cucina Alessa
Harborside Restaurant
Ho Sum Bistro
Mint Leaf Thai Cuisine
Newport Landing Restaurant
Ruby’s Diner
Sabatino’s Lido Shipyard Sausage Company
The Porch
The Sliding Door Cafe & Bakery

Taste Prices
$1-$10 per dish
$1 sodas & waters
Tickets sold at the event
Cash and credit cards accepted

Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 11am-4pm at Balboa Village -Home of the Fun Zone

Entertainment & Activities
In addition to great food at Taste of Balboa, there are also a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. Bands will be playing throughout the event, and you can get an up close view of some vintage classic cars. A selection of official Newport to Ensenada race boats will be docked by the ferry where you an learn more about some of the crews’ preparations for this world-famous event. Children can let their imagination set sail at ExplorOcean by building model boats and trying their hands at engaging, ocean-related science exhibits. And, the professional chalk painting artists from the renowned La Strada dell’arte will transform Balboa Village sidewalks into works of art.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Cocktails Anyone?

Cocktails have come a long way from the traditional rum and coke or Seagram’s and seven combos. Modern cocktail concoctions often include items not usually found in mixed drinks, such as flowers, fruits and even savory items.

James Bond might have preferred his martini shaken, not stirred, but these days muddled cocktails have become de rigueur. Bartenders have become mixologists, and mixologists are turning into bar chefs.

Cocktail trends are as tricky to forecast as the weather, but some local restaurants have seen some recent moves to certain types of cocktails and spirits.

occocktailOver at Red O in Fashion Island, Manager Ray Wilkins noted that there has been a dramatic rise in the popularity of drinks featuring dark spirits such as bourbon and rye. He also noted tequila consumption has shot way up, a fact that’s become quite clear to SOL Cocina.

Colin Pflugradt, beverage director for SOL, says tequila is rivaling vodka in popularity. He has nearly 100 different tequilas behind the SOL bar, but it’s the fascinating variety of mixed drinks featuring tequila that take center stage.

“We instituted a farmer’s market tequila, which gives us more of an ability to try things out and see what works,” he explained. “We did a blackberry ginger margarita in September that sold hundreds, so we added it to the menu. Right now we have a special one with muddled strawberries and blackberries, Don Julio, lime juice, and agave, then topped with champagne. It’s a really balanced drink.”

Pflugradt said he uses all sorts of interesting ingredients for his cocktails—fruits and herbs, hibiscus and lavender, and various liquors.

Over at Provenance, which opens in March where Sage Restaurant used to be in Eastbluff, chef Cathy Pavlos has a garden where her bar chefs can pick ingredients as needed for the unusual list of vintage cocktail, some of which date back to the 1800s.

Among the classic cocktails: Corpse Revive (1902) with gin, cointreau, lillet blanc, lemon juice and absinthe, Flying Dutchman (1930) with orange gin, orange juice, lemon juice, and bitters, and Knickerbocker a la Monsieur (1869) with Virgin Islands rum, orange curacao, raspberry syrup, lemon juice, orange, and pineapple. They’ll also have a signature bloody Mary with house bloody Mary mix, chipotle, vodka, and a handful of items fresh from the garden.

Getting thirsty? Check out OC Cocktail Week, which runs March 2 – 8. Nearly 50 restaurants throughout OC are participating, including seven in Newport Beach. Most of the restaurants are offering cocktail and food pairings for $20.14, but these aren’t your daddy’s cocktails!

For a quick rundown of local offerings go to



Thursday, 6 February 2014

Food Trends of 2014

Locally sourced produce, sustainable seafood, gluten-free cuisine and craft cocktails.  TRue Food Kitchen

According to the National Restaurant Association, those are just a few of the top culinary trends for 2014.

Of course, many of the chefs and restaurants in Newport Beach have been ahead of the trends, often introducing guests to exotic or unusual dishes that are soon embraced as mainstream.


A good example of that is The Resort at Pelican Hill. Their trio of restaurants – AndreaColiseum Pool & Grill, and Pelican Grill – all use locally sourced, seasonal produce from the Irvine Ranch whenever possible. The chefs at these restaurants also take pride in introducing diners to unusual ingredients and entrees, such as a fish known as barramundi, one of the recent delicious Restaurant Week menu items at Pelican Grill.  Read more...

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

City Council Members Celebrate Newport Beach Restaurant Week

Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill and other city leaders have kicked off the New Year by supporting the local restaurant community and dining out during Newport Beach Restaurant Week. The annual event started on Friday, January 17th and continues through Sunday, January 26th,

“Every week, events are taking place all over town,” Hill said. “My goal is to draw attention to some of these events and encourage our residents to join me in attending. I want us to get to know our neighbors better and build an even stronger sense of community. When we interact with one another, we can share ideas, develop relationships, and appreciate the people and places of Newport Beach. Let’s occasionally hit the pause button this year and have fun.”

The first weekend of restaurant week had Council Member Leslie Daigle enjoying lunch at The Back Bay Tavern in Fashion Island, Keith Curry dining at Summer House in Corona del Mar and Tony Petros at Cucina Alessa for Dinner. Ed Selich showed his support for Restaurant Week while having dinner at The Bungalow, and both Mayor Hill and council member Mike Henn are looking forward to dinner at The Cannery Restaurant.

With more than 60 participating restaurants are serving up three course menus at set prices, there are many choices in which to dine out. For a complete list of participating restaurants and their menus go to

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Newport Beach Steps Up Their Restaurant Game

Orange County is in a continuous search for its culinary identity. As we move into a more food savvy generation, dining destinations are beginning to surface all over the county that rival great eateries across the country. Newport Beach is taking steps to be the strongest competitor in the restaurant game, and not only the center of the Orange Coast. Here is a list of the restaurants new on the scene or coming soon to your Newport Beach neighborhood.

lemonade newport beach

Sweet potato crumble at Lemonade, Newport Beach.

Lemonade ­
Summertime saw a fresh new face to the OC restaurant scene. Lemonade’s Chef and Founder Alan Jackson says, “I like to think of Lemonade as a chose­your­own­adventure for lunch or dinner, a delicious and healthy change of pace, Lemonade marries quality and convenience.” This may be a grab and go option, but it is far from ordinary. The quality of ingredients and the relaxed feel are the closest you can get to luxury in a 30 minute lunch break.

Lark Creek ­
The warm summer sun brought another delicious edition to the dining culture at Newport Beach. Lark Creek is a respected restaurant group from the San Francisco area, and they have decided to bring their concept to the Fashion Island Shopping Center. Lark Creek promotes the idea of seasonal, sustainable, and farm­fresh cuisine and blends it with a relaxed environment. Original artwork hangs on the vibrant walls, and the walnut tables warm the space.


Red O dining room in Newport Beach.

Red O
Opened in mid November to much acclaim at Fashion Island, this Oaxacan inspired restaurant is the creation of Master Chef Rick Bayless. Rick Bayless is recognized for his regional Mexican cuisine, and this 8,500 square foot restaurant has the class and decorum of a coastal resort. Copper fixtures illuminate the decorative tile work, while the smell of Beer­ Braised Short Ribs sweep the room.

Fig & Olive ­
This little piece of the French Riviera will be coming soon to Fashion Island. The menu focuses on highlighting the main component of their longevity: the olive oil. The cuisine is inspired heavily by true French culture, with rosemary, thyme, and basil lining the menu. Deep roasted flavors will be a fantastic pairing with their incredible Old World wine selections. Opening late 2013.

Sea scallops and truffle artichoke tapenade form Fig & Olive, Newport Beach.

Sea scallops at Fig & Olive, Newport Beach.

Provenance ­
Chef Cathy Pavlos will be bringing a “Napa­esque” menu to the Newport Beach natives in her new concept. Diners will be able to enjoy fresh ingredients from her 1,300 square foot raised­bed garden. Fresh cocktails will also be created with the same ingredients. Pavlos has always prided herself in local and seasonal ingredients and is sure to incorporate that integrity with this California food concept. Opening early 2014.

The Winery Restaurant & Bar will be bringing their famous concept to the Newport Beach locals. The pride of JC Clow, William Lewis and Chef Yvon Goetz has always been “the guest experience”, and now they are able to pair their already incredible guest experience with the magical aesthetic of the Newport Harbor. The award­winning chef brings California cuisine with a contemporary flair, bringing Wine Country to the Orange Coast. Six sommeliers will be on staff to accommodate your every wine need, offering a resort quality experience in a highly personalized setting. Opening early 2014.


Blue C Sushi ­
Modeled after the famous sushi spots in the subways of Tokyo, Blue C Sushi will be bringing vibrant, interactive, and entertaining dining to the Newport Beach dining culture. Rice and sustainable seafood are the pride of this establishment, but the technology makes it incredible. Fresh sushi moves across a conveyor belt of splendid colored plates, take the plate as it moves along the track and your item is automatically recorded on your check, and the chef then makes a fresh portion of that dish.

Margherita pizza from Cucina Enoteca, Newport Beach.

Margherita pizza at Cucina Enoteca, Newport Beach.

CUCINA Enoteca ­

Modern Italian, rustic farm house will be joining the culinary army redefining the dining scene in Newport Beach. Tracy Borkum is bringing her “restaurant to retail” concept into the Fashion Island dining stage. A perfect fit for the shopping scene. The entire restaurant is curated from items hand selected by Tracy, and everything will be available for sale, from vintage light fixtures, to specialty furniture, and retail wine sales.

Some of Newport Beach’s best restaurants will be offering multi­course meals at tiered pricing during this city­wide celebration. January 17 ­ 26 2014, will be the dates to take advantage of the new hot spots and the Newport staples! 


Bobby Navarro 100 EatsCurrently on his quest for the best, this collector of edible experiences studied culinary arts at the Art Institute of California-Orange County before he dove into the biggest dining adventure of his life: 100eats100days. Inspired by hunger, Robert Anthony Navarro has made headlines in multiple publications, including Taste Magazine, the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union Tribune and is a featured contributor in LOCALE magazine’s food section for his fantastical feat of dining in 100 eateries in 100 consecutive days, which he victoriously performed twice.

He is host to large-scale events as well as intimate socials in support of others with diverse, artistic visions of short ribs and mashed potatoes dancing in their heads and plans to be an influential contributor to growing and building unique, new food communities around the world. Follow his food journey at

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Taste of Balboa Island – Saturday September 7th

Taste of Balboa 2013

Monday, 26 August 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The Official E-Newsletter of the Newport Beach Restaurant Association BID

As the end of summer season fast approaches, the NBRA BID has been busy launching the start of yet another new Fiscal Year. We are freshening up our look, starting with this newly designed quarterly email.

Check out some highlights of what else we have in the works to promote your establishment this year including: ongoing development of a new long-term strategic plan, the launch of a new mobile web site, targeted distribution of fresh new dining guides, an Instagram promotional campaign, 2014 Newport Beach Restaurant Week and more.

View the new NBRA BID Restaurateur Informational Brochure.

Welcome New Advisory Board Members

NBRA BID Advisory Board Member elections took place in late July. Congratulations and welcome to all NBRA BID Board Members as we look forward to a successful year ahead. Click Here to view the FY 2014 NBRA BID Advisory Board of Directors. Board meetings take place on the fourth Wednesday of every other month at 9:30AM. All members are welcome. Contact Peggy Fort at: (949) 675-0501 for more information.

CRA Serve-Safe Certification Class 

NBRA BID members and staff are invited to attend a Serve-Safe Certification class at 8:30AM on September 24th at Harborside Restaurant. The class will be instructed by the California Restaurant Association and is $115 per person. To confirm your attendance, please call the Harborside corporate office at: (949) 261-9013.

NBRA Mobile Website Preview Mobile Site Refresh!

We are excited to announce that the Newport Beach Dining web site is getting a mobile site refresh complete with user friendly features and the latest mobile technology. Check out a sneak preview of our new mobile website for the Newport Beach Restaurant Association. The dynamic new mobile site is set to launch in early fall.


Newport Beach Dining Guide 2013

Dining Guides In Full Distribution

Demand for the Newport Beach Dining Guide has never been hotter. The NBRA BID published 100,000 copies of this must have foodie publication. Certified Folder Display and various community partners help to strategically distribute the guide and copies are flying off the shelves. DOWNLOAD A NEWPORT BEACH RESTAURANT DINING GUIDE  or ORDER A DINING GUIDE BROCHURE RACK and supply of Newport Beach Dining Guides to distribute at your establishment call Peggy Fort at: (949) 675-0501.

Eighth Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week 

Savor The Dates….The OC’s first and favorite Restaurant Week will take place January 17-26, 2014. Participant sign up will open soon and is exclusive to Newport Beach restaurants only. View the 2013 Newport Beach Restaurant Week campaign results.


DineNewport Hashtag example for Social Media Campaign for Newport Beach Restaurants


Social Media Alert!

Share your restaurant’s foodie photos with us on Instagram today! Simply label your restaurant photos with the #DineNewport hashtag and watch it instantly show up on our Facebook Page promoting your brand and visibility to our online community. Make sure to click on the NBRA BID social media icons at the bottom of this email to follow DineNewport and leverage your restaurant’s social media marketing campaign.




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