By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
NOW SHOWING AT A BEACH NEAR YOU
Days go by before I make it to The Yard House at the Irvine Spectrum (71 Fortune Dr., Irvine, 949-642-0090). With other locations in Costa Mesa and Long Beach, the place looks just like a Cheesecake Factory or a P.F. Changs. Until now, I'd thought the Yard House specialized in imaginatively worded menus of bland food. Then I tried the martinis and realized those huge throngs pack in there for a reason—the drinks! So if you don't mind the "scene" and can somehow avoid watching the desperate-looking girls making rounds of the bar looking for someone, anyone (!) to talk to, then try the Miami Icemade with Zone peach vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple schnapps, sweet and sour, and blue curaçao. Substance and style!
CAN YOU LAMINATE THAT?
Having heard much about the power scene and martinis at Roy's of Newport Beach(453 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, 949-640-7697), I'm looking forward to checking it out on a Thursday night. We arrive a little after 9 p.m. and find the place teeming with blondes and suits over 35. The bartender offers us the martini menu, a laminated piece of plastic about the size of an index card. With just five very traditional offerings (why did they bother to print and laminate?), we once again ask an expert for recommendations. The bartender tells us to try the Razzatini or Vitamin C, neither of which is on the menu—again, why did they print it? The Razzatini is a mix of Grey Goose and Chambord that tastes a little like cough syrup, and the Vitamin C starts off smooth but ends with a bitter afterbite that is inexplicably grapefruit-y from the combination of peach schnapps; lemon vodka; and pineapple, orange and cranberry juices. The Vitamin C softens as it goes, and by the time we're halfway through, the bitter taste has faded—or maybe just worn our taste buds out. Pretty disappointed overall with the drinks, we can however happily recommend the mushroom pizza (yum!). Just ask for it un-laminated.