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Event Recap

OC’s culinary events kept it hot this season

By Morgan Carter

01. OC Chef’s Table

March 3

Forty-two top chefs and 400 attendees gathered at Disneyland® Resort and took a seat to tackle homelessness during the Illumination Foundation’s OC Chef’s Table. The magic was definitely alive and well as the gala raised more than a million dollars geared toward breaking the cycle of homelessness. A veritable list of who’s who, the event drew a number of acclaimed chefs including celebrity chef Jet Tila who co-hosted the evening while talented toques such as The Farmhouse’s Rich Mead and Mastro’s chefs, Magellan Moore and Stephen LaFountain, cooked tableside for guests. Drawing a number of talent from all across California, the gala also included Argentinian cooking legend Martin Molteni of Laguna Beach’s Royal Hawaiian. All in the spirit of giving, the funds supported the Illumination Foundation, a nonprofit that provides emergency and permanent housing for homeless families, children, and individuals. occhefstable.com

02. Table for Ten

March 3

This past March, a handful of OC’s finest gathered at the luxurious Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa for a culinary experience like no other, Table for Ten. Forty-five of Southern California’s top chefs provided top-notch culinary service, creating gastronomic wonders right at the table. In between bites, attendees indulged in coursed wine pairings and gazed in awe surrounded by exquisitely designed tables, each adorned with towering flower arrangements. Dining with a purpose, the proceeds of the gala benefitted The Teen Project, a nonprofit that serves at-risk teens and young adult women with housing, counseling, and career support. tableforten.org

03. OC Restaurant Week

March 3-9

Keeping up with OC’s hottest restaurants can be a challenging (and costly) task. Luckily, Orange County Restaurant Week kept it easy on the wallet and fun on the plate. Over 150 Orange County restaurants—including a number hotspots from Irvine—offered a full week of prix-fixe meals with seriously discounted rates. Think $10-20 lunches at Umami Burger and Pepper Lunch and $20-50 dinners at Del Frisco’s and The Capital Grille. Bon appétit! ocrestaurantassociation.org

04. OCWineFest

March 9-10

This past March, around 1,500 wine lovers made a visit to the beautiful A Stone’s Throw Winery for the second annual OCWineFest. Under the beautiful spring sun, vendors poured a number of varietals from across the region, including a handful of wines sourced and cultivated right here in Orange County. Inclusive for all drinkers, beers and spirits were also on the roster with selections from Highwater Brewing and Towne Park Brewery. In between all the sipping and swirling, the weekend long festival also showcased a number of food trucks from fresh poke from The Poke Hut to German sausages from The Berlin Truck. ocwinefest.com

05. Taste of Fountain Valley

April 6

Fountain Valley Schools Foundation’s signature fundraising event, Taste of Fountain Valley, returned for its 16th year this past April. A lineup of local talent was in attendance, including restaurants, bakeries, and beverage vendors all to benefit the nonprofit’s mission to enrich the academic experience of the 6,500 students in the district. The tennis courts Los Caballeros Sports Village overflowed with the area’s favorites as Au Luc, Farm & Culture, and Stonefire Grill were in attendance for a day full of food and fun for a good cause. tastefv.com

06. Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival

April 27

The gatekeepers to all things OC beer, the OC Brewers Guild held its fourth annual OC Brewers Guild Invitational, gathering craft brewers and drinkers for one buzzed afternoon. Fifty breweries poured unlimited tastings of their favorite creations to over 500 thirsty patrons. A few limited releases also made their debut including Our Zest Friends from TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, the first beer brewed for the Orange County Beer Week. Even the OC chapter of Pink Boots Society—an organization encouraging women in the beer industry—was in attendance, pouring five specialty brews in honor of International Women’s Day. ocbrewers.org

07. The Fourth Annual OC Brewers Guild Invitational

April 27

Brea’s biggest foodie festival of the year draws more than 3,000 locals downtown annually for a full day of food, drink, and dancing. Shutting down the stretch of road between Birch Street and Brea Boulevard and Imperial Highway, dozens of restaurants and bars set up stalls from which hey doled out delicious sips and samples all evening long. The restaurant roster included local favorites, like Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen and Stonefire Grill, as well as some newbies, like Bristol Farms and Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza. Latin pop/jazz band, Cold Duck, kept the tunes rolling while attendees explored and indulged in all that Brea has to offer. tasteofbrea.com

08. Taste of Brea

May 23

Brea’s biggest foodie festival of the year draws more than 3,000 locals downtown annually for a full day of food, drink, and dancing. Shutting down the stretch of road between Birch Street and Brea Boulevard and Imperial Highway, dozens of restaurants and bars set up stalls from which hey doled out delicious sips and samples all evening long. The restaurant roster included local favorites, like Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen and Stonefire Grill, as well as some newbies, like Bristol Farms and Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza. Latin pop/jazz band, Cold Duck, kept the tunes rolling while attendees explored and indulged in all that Brea has to offer. tasteofbrea.com

09. OC Palate: A Beer and Food Event

June 6

In celebration of all things craft—on the plate and in the glass, that is—the OC Brewers Guild hosted its inaugural OC Palate: A Beer and Food Event. Under one roof, OC’s top culinary talent in the kitchen teamed up with the region’s finest brewers to explore the art of pairing these two mediums. Over 50 breweries were on-site, including Bootlegger’s Brewery, Laguna Beach Beer Company, and Stereo Brewing Company, to name a few, who paired up with notable kitchens including Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar, Culinary Underground, and TAPS. ocbrewers.org