Despite the departure of restaurants in Laguna Beach this past year (The Royal Hawaiian, The Cottage, French 75 and now Katsuya), the third-annual A La Carte event hasn't skipped a beat. The four-day celebration begins Thursday with kick-off dinners galore. There are events and specials throughout the city the rest of the week, so no worries if that's a bad night for you.
Leaning toward the modest end, Umami Burger has a $17 prix fixe meal of its truffle burger, truffle fries and tropical iced tea. For oenophiles, a $25 wine-tasting flight at Oceanview Bar and Grill inside Hotel Laguna is being offered with an assorted-cheese platter. Not bad for one of the pricier, coastal cities.
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On the other hand, Broadway By Amar Santana has three nights planned to host Tablas Creek Vineyard dinners. The four-course menu, which can be seen here, includes roasted Sonoma leg of lamb and cured Japanese hamachi. With wine pairings, the bill comes out to $125. Although most will gravitate toward Saturday's Uncorked! festival, showcasing more than 20 restaurants and 30 wineries; VIP ticketholders ($145) will be treated to a special seminar hosted by master sommelier Michael Jordan.
We're thinking of checking out Sunday's Snack, Sip and Surf gathering at Pacific Edge Hotel. For $45, patrons will graze on passed appetizers and witness a friendly cocktail competition, as well as a paddleboard contest. Proceeds will benefit Surfrider Foundation in South Orange County.
Whatever you end up doing, we're happy there are plenty of options. For a complete rundown of events, you can go here. Now where did we put our stretchy pants?