We’re a firm believer in drinking your troubles away (as long as you have a ride home). So pick up your wine glass, pint glass, can or whatnot and gear up for the mid-week holiday early. Or just screw it and go straight for dessert; that’s fine, too. Cheers!
Austrian Rieslings Cometh at Hi-Time – Costa Mesa
Our trusty wine guide Veronica clued us in to the tasty dry Riesling tasting going on tonight. Featuring export director Barbara Koller, it’s only $20 for all the tastes you see pictured from Schloss Gobelsburg. Mosey up to the downstairs tasting area and make some friends. 250 Ogle St., (949) 650-8463; www.hitimewine.net.
Getting a Life (Time) – Laguna Niguel
When we were invited to visit what we thought was a gym in South County, we rolled our eyes. Inviting a food writer to workout was humor, and we thought we were the punchline. But we have to say, Life Time Athletic stunned in a good way. Three floors of wellness, indoor and outdoor lap pools, summer camps, rock climbing wall and spacious locker rooms. Also, their on-site spa and cafe are open to the public. To be honest, we could spend an entire afternoon here hitting the weights.
Instead, we sat down with Corporate Chef Ryan Dodge and discussed his goal to provide the best possible nourishment to diners. Over our Very Berry Blast Smoothie and an ahi salad, Dodge discussed their menu (plus grab-and-go options) that are balanced with protein, healthy fats and great flavors, “I spend the time of my life at Life Time.” The lifestyle of balanced eating and exercise makes him happy, and that’s what they want all their members to experience. 25600 Rancho Niguel Rd., (949) 238-2700; www.lifetime.life.
And the Winner of Beerland Season 3 Is . . . Anaheim
San Diego’s own Mark Oberle, John Botica and Andrew Segina with their Brother’s Brood, a 7.5 A.B.V Milk Porter/Mead hybrid referred to as a Braggot. Pretty darn different from what Golden Road normally produces, you’ll find orange blossom and wildflower honey in each sip. Our taster at the finale screening was paired with the pub’s delicious cheesecake, and it was a match made in dessert heaven. Find them in stores soon. 2210 E. Orangewood Ave., (714) 912-4015; www.goldenroad.la
Be a Lazy Dog – Orange, Irvine, Westminster, Brea
Speaking of beers, we found ourselves at Lazy Dog last week to check out their newest summer brew, Huckleberry Haze IPA. With an A.B.V. of 6.7%, it was a pleasing blend of tropical fruit, citrus, and berry goodness. We sipped with one hand, and threw back a few of their sticky Chili Peanut Wings (caramelized in lime, fish sauce and pineapple juice) with the other. Although the best nosh belonged to their Nathan’s Mini Corn Dogs with the killer IPA mustard sauce. Bring your pooch to the patio and chill for a while. www.lazydogrestaurants.com.
Summertime Satiates at Salt Creek – Laguna Niguel
Four cheese Mornay and caramelized shallots upgrade Prosciutto Mac & Cheese. When did Salt Creek Grille revise their cuisine? Right around the time Chef David Fune joined. Now you’ll discover Watermelon Salad with lime vinaigrette, and Garlic-Soy Steak and Mango Salad with avocado and rice noodles. It’s a welcome change for the recent change in seasons. Enjoy it all on their outdoor patio, and take in some of the ocean air. 32802 Pacific Coast Hwy., (949) 661-7799; www.saltcreekgrille.com.
Yogurtland Goes Light – now available
In the ever-changing world of Yogurtland, the limited tastes are what keep bringing us back. For example, Butter Pecan Light Ice Cream– What? Candy fans will drool over the Blue Raspberry Sorbet flavored with Jolly Rancher (sing it with us, “Rasp-berry Sorbet!; the kind you find in a Yogurtland store”). And check out the marshmallow swirls in their Cookies and Creme Smores Frozen Yogurt. There are no wrong answers, just whether you want to top with their seasonal toppings of Double Fudge Cookies or Sour Watermelon Gummies. www.yogurt-land.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.