UPDATE, FEB. 29, 1:30 P.M. No real update to report this week, other than it's ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. GO GO GO!
UPDATE, FEB. 21, 2:30 P.M.: Just got word that Ricky Yarnall, the magus of Manhattans who shuttles between Broadway by Amar Santana and Memphis at the Santora, will be joining the rest of the crew. HOLY SHIT! Yarnell was originally supposed to be in New York that day, but changed plans because he wanted in.
That bumps up the number of all-star bartenders we'll have to five--this'll be the greatest day of drinking in Orange County since the end of Prohibition. GO GO GO!
UPDATE, FEB. 15, 2:30 P.M. I'm just going to unveil all the goodies for our event one at a time, once a week so we can build up anticipation, and this one should create a madhouse: as part of our Good Food/OC Weekly happy hour, our featured bartenders will concentrate on making one signature drink the entire night, and offering samples for free. Yes, you read right: FREE!!!
We're still working out the details, and the bartenders are still deciding what cocktails will be offered, but we're going to do it as followed: everyone who goes to the Happy Hour will get four tickets that'll allow them one sample from each bartender that night:: Gabrielle Dion of Broadway By Amar Santana, Jason Schiffer of 320 Main, Matt "RumDood" Robold, Southern California's king of rum-based drinks, and Felicia Chavez of Two 40 South in Brea. It won't be a full size--we want folks to try all the bartenders' magic, but four cocktails will leave even the hardiest livers plastered. And these samples ain't going to be in plastic cups, either: Memphis is working to secure glasses that'll do the deed in a way that won't dilute the drink's allure.
Best of all? IT'S FREE. Just make sure to tip 'em, ya cheap basterds
Consider our coming Happy Hour like a Taste of OC Bartenders, except you won't have to pay to come in, and everyone participating is badass. Mark your calendars again: March 13, 7 p.m., and GO GO GO!
UPDATED, FEB. 7, 12:30 p.m.: Now I can reveal the big secret: Not only will March 13 be the usual KCRW/OC Weekly awesome Happy Hour, not only will we be treated to the awesome food and drinks by the crew at Memphis at the Santora, but we're also going to be joined by four of the best bartenders in Orange County -- together just one night to show the world what Orange County bartending is about.
Scheduled to be slinging drinks that night are three members of the Orange County Bartender's Cabinet, the secretive cabal working to make Orange County drink better with each Manhattan, Negroni and Old-Fashioned, a group you'll read more about in these pages VERY soon.
Gabrielle Dion of Broadway By Amar Santana, Jason Schiffer of 320 Main, and Matt "RumDood" Robold, Southern California's king of rum-based drinks, will be joined by Felicia Chavez of Two 40 South, the brightest star in Brea since Brea's Best. These avatars of alcohol will take turns throughout the night preparing their magic and are the mixologist equivalent of the Avengers -- and they're only going to be together for one night. Start camping outside Memphis NOW, and expect more details to come. . . .
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 2, 9:30 A.M.: Mark your calendar, folks, for the next KCRW Good Food/OC Weekly Happy Hour to invade our fair county: March 13 starting at 7 p.m., at Memphis At the Santora in downtown SanTana!
Memphis, of course, needs little introduction: The pioneering restaurant that introduced fine non-Latino dining to the city's downtown a decade ago still stands above the growing dining wave by remaining steadfast to its Southern food and amping up its cocktail craft. I wanted to hold it here because it is my local, for its patio and ample booth -- but also for a surprise that I'm confirming today and, inshallah, will reveal next week.
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The usual Good Food/OC Weekly Happy Hour protocol will follow: free giveaways, raffles, specials on drinks and food, and the Martin and Lewis act that is me and food goddess Evan Kleiman. Mark your calendar now, and stay tuned early next week for my exciting announcement regarding this particular happy hour. See you there!