You say you were too busy to plan anything? Did your significant other drop the ball (pun intended)? Sure, you can stay in and watch people freeze their asses off. Or you can frantically call around for availability. Here's a handy dandy reference for some of the more popular (read: pricy) venues.
OC Fair New Year's Eve Block Party
Back for a third year, the venue that brought you deep fried everything will host four stages of flashback bands from the 60s through today. This is also your final luxe lonchera roundup at the fairgrounds for 2012. Fireworks, casino gaming and a demolition derby round out the festivities. The box office is open on Monday, but you can click here for more information.
Pizzeria Ortica - Costa Mesa
In addition to their dinner menu, Chef Justin Miller created an Italian family-style menu for the evening. Featuring Chino Farms roasted American Kunekune pig served with soft polenta and roasted winter vegetables, plus seasonal dessert. The cost is $40, but hope the phrase "roasted pig" doesn't equate to "sold out". Click here for all the info.
St. Regis - Monarch Beach
Our favorite, this "Decades of Bond" theme will have Aston Martin photo ops, local band Flashback Heart Attack rocking the 80s, a handful of food stations and cocktails galore (in addition to their midnight champagne toast). Here's hoping for a Daniel Craig look-a-like. Click here to find out more.
AnQi by Crustacean - Costa Mesa
One of our 10 romantic restaurants in Orange County, Elizabeth An's establishment is offering an extravagant six course dinner at 8:30 p.m., with an a la carte menu available earlier in the evening. Notable courses feature Australian lobster, truffles and Wagyu beef ribeye. Music, dancing and a midnight balloon drop are also in store. They require reservations, so call (714) 557-5679 or visit www.anqibistro.com.
Orange County Great Park - Irvine
For a curve ball, here's a free event (not including the $10 parking fee) that's actually family-friendly. And the best part? You can still attend a real midnight shindig, since this one is over at 9 p.m.! More luxe loncheras, carnival games and a disco DJ will culminate with the great balloon drop on East Coast time. For more info on this "Great Night", click here.
Bistro Bleu - Anaheim
Those seeking a more intimate affair should check in with David Kesler's duo of seatings. Your four course dinner includes sparkling wine and is priced at $67 per person. Every course has at least four options, but we like their starter of assorted seafood (tiger shrimp, oysters, smoked salmon and crab salad). Warm up with silky lobster bisque before an entree of seared filet mignon of beef with molten Brie and port wine sauce. And wait the extra 25 minutes for his Grand Marnier souffle with strawberries and vanilla sauce. Check out their website at this link.
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Sapphire Laguna - Laguna Beach
Party hats, noisemakers, and a globally-inspired dinner await you at chef Azmin Ghahreman's PCH locale. The menu is served until 11:00 p.m, but for those who can't make it, they've got more! A la carte brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. New Year's Day for those nursing their hangover. Make reservations at (949) 715-9888.
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop - Costa Mesa
A relatively new kid on the 17th Street block (more on that in a future post), Greenleaf is also going the brunch route starting at 8 a.m. Breakfast pizzas, eggs Benedict on pretzel bread and huevos rancheros will get you back on your feet. If you're still in a celebrating mood, order their hot apple soju cider or holiday sangria to liven things up. Find out more when you visit www.greenleafchopshop.com.
Antonello Ristorante - Costa Mesa
There's apparently a whole lotta partying in this city. To celebrate Antonello's 33rd anniversary, they are hosting a "Late, Light & Celebrate" menu. Three courses at the appropriately priced $33 includes party favors and champagne toast at midnight. Call for reservations at (714) 751-7153.