With a holiday looming and the weather flip flopping, we found an amusing mix of eats and drinks to look forward to. And if you haven’t figured it out, we don’t discriminate against chains. They bring just as much variety as independent storefronts. Gotta go– we suddenly crave shawarma.
Do You Negroni? – Santa Ana
If you have yet to participate in Negroni Week (or want to keep the party going), then head down to Playground this Sunday for the throwdown we’ve been waiting for. Some of the craftiest folks in the business will be pouring their custom concoctions at the fifth annual event. You can taste them all for a donation of $10, which includes a visit to an oh-so-tasty Campari aperol cart. In addition to six competitors vying for your vote, the crew from The Burnt Truck will be hawking some of their classic slider fare, as well as a few bites made specifically for the occasion. We’re talking Blinking Owl Aquavit in the garlic honey glaze for their fried chicken slider. Oh, and the slaw has a Blinking Owl Gin-infused fish sauce. What the what? 220 E. 4th St., Ste. 102; www.negroniweek.com.
It’s All Mediterranean to Us – Irvine and Rancho Santa Margarita
This is more of a two-fer, because we have news about a duo of chains. Yesterday was the grand opening of Daphne’s in Irvine’s Quail Hill neighborhood. It’s apparently been a while since we frequented a Daphne’s, because they’ve got extras we never remembered like a Chermoula (cilantro jalapeño) and Harissa (red pepper) hot sauce, plus a honey mint iced green tea. We checked out their tumeric specials like the spiced gyro pita and a falafel appetizer drizzled with tumeric tahini and pickled red cabbage. Shout out to the decorator who hung the swankiest light fixtures we’ve ever seen in a quick-service spot. In other news, SAJJ is celebrating their first year in RSM with 50% off all dine in orders through the end of this month. That’s basically feeding two for the price of one, so call a friend and treat them to lunch. www.daphnes.biz; www.sajjstreeteats.com.
Andrei’s Fundraiser Celebrating 10 Years – Irvine
A decade is quite the milestone for any restaurant, and Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine is no exception. To mark the occasion, they’re in a giving mood. For example, 20% of all sales next month will go to Miracles for Kids, a charity that improves the lives of critically-ill children. From July 1st through 13th, they’ll also have a series of $10 dishes to satisfy your appetite. Specials include a dessert tasting, calamari, lamb burger, and chop salad. Finally, to mark their opening date of Bastille Day in 2009, one of the $10 deals is a bubbly specialty cocktail. It’s a grand time to visit the corner of Main and Siglo. 2607 Main St., (949) 387-8887; www.andreisrestaurant.com.
Dunkin’ Opens Store 100 in Santa Ana
It seems like only a year or two ago Dunkin’ announced a reboot. Now, they’ve celebrated their 100th store in California. Featuring a digital kiosk, mobile pick-up, a cold drink tap system, and energy efficient infrastructure, they are pretty too cool for school if you ask us. Grand opening is actually today, so if you’re nearby when you read this, pop in to spin the prize wheel and hear some DJ tunes. And let us know what you think of their modern design. 1302 17th St.; www.dunkindonuts.com.
MG Laguna Grand Opening Shindig – Laguna Beach
Mediterrania Grill has a second location (the first is by John Wayne Airport) that’s ready to celebrate its official grand opening. Make a beeline for 320 N. Coast Hwy., next door to Urth Cafe, this Saturday from 1-6 p.m for some barbecue and food tastings. Chef Rami Hakmi will be on site answering questions about Halal cuisine. If this photo is any indicator, it’ll be a yummy afternoon. (949) 494-0137; www.mediterraniagardens.com.
Lady M Gets Into the Holiday Spirit Once More – Irvine
It’s not like you need an excuse to purchase a decadent treat from Lady M. However, if you did require one, this 4th of July is as good a reason as any. Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries take up some dense real estate between pastry cream and vanilla sponge cake in their Berry Berry Shortcake. This dessert is so patriotic, you won’t even need to add a sparkler. 2967 Michelson Dr., Ste. B, (323) 825-8888; www.ladym.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.