Considering the major foodie town that Laguna Beach has become, something like the four-day Laguna Beach a la Carte, which begins tonight (Thursday), seems overdue.
Only in its second year, this is, essentially, a multi-day, multi-venue celebration of eating, drinking and cooking, backed in some places by a gospel or jazz soundtrack if you’re looking for some added atmosphere. Tonight’s kickoff, a series of winemaker and chef’s table dinners, takes place in 10 different restaurants, with fixed-price dinners ranging from $30 to $125, depending where your taste buds (and wallet) take you.
Friday is centered on ’s , where chef Craig Connole will serve up his Mediterranean-inspired grub. At $30 a person, this is also L.B. a la Carte’s most affordable event.
Saturday night, the scene shifts to the , with food prepared by chef Jeff Armstrong, and live tunes and booze. Sunday’s wrap-up schedule takes you to the for a cocktail competition with, the press release says, “some of Orange County’s hottest mixologists.” (Er, hot as in “talented,” or hot as in “I’d hit that?” We don’t know!) Or maybe hors d’oeuvres and champagne at the is more your thing? Gospel and champagne at ? A cooking class at ?
It’s kind of overwhelming, honestly. But we haven’t even said anything yet about the heart of the weekend, which would be Laguna Beach Uncorked, a 25-winery, 25-restaurant affair that goes off Saturday at the grounds. You’ll be able to overindulge on food samples from such high- and higher-end establishments as , , , , , , and . OK, maybe not Jack in the Box, but there’ll also be a lot of wineries with hard-to-pronounce names (Boekenhoutskloof? Gesundheit!) pouring their varietals, as well as beer tastings by Cismontane Brewing Company out of Rancho Santa Margarita and—hello!—sake tastings from Ty Ku Sake.