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.
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?