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What You're Eating: OC Restaurant Week

(credit: Provenance)

The highly anticipated 2015 Orange County Restaurant Week is back and bigger than ever! Running from Sunday, March 1st through Saturday, March 7th, the hottest chefs and OC restaurants have prepared three-course prix-fixed tasting menus sure to please even the toughest critics. To mix things up a bit and make dining out even more exciting, many menus not only include a cocktail or signature item at no additional charge, but a handful of the participating restaurants are including special desserts created around your favorite Girl Scout Cookies.

(credit: Provenance)

2531 Eastbluff Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 718-0477

If there is only one spot you dare try during the entire Orange County Restaurant Week, it really must be Provenance. The selection being offered is too good to be true, so consider yourself truly blessed should you be able to actually snag a reservation during this event. Located in the Eastbluff Village Center, Chef Cathy Pavlos brings "your local wine country farmhouse and organic produce garden" to Newport Beach. During restaurant week, Provenance is staying true to their promise of delivering "seasonal, local and responsible" dishes, by planning a special "garden-to-table" menu centered around ingredients grown in the restaurant's own 1,300 square foot raised-bed garden. Lunch $15 | Dinner $40

(credit: HopScotch Tavern)

136 E Commonwealth Ave,
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-2222

Welcome to HopScotch Tavern where delicious food, whiskey and craft beers reign supreme. This local tavern in Downtown Fullerton is located in the old Pacific Electric Railway Station, and serves up some of the best culinary creations this side of Orange County. For Restaurant Week, Chef Linh Nguyen has prepared a menu of "spirited interpretations on New American classics" that compliments HopScotch's rotating list of 75 craft beers and over 125 types of brown spirits. For this special event, draft beer is included, and for a nominal upcharge, dinner includes a featured crafted cocktail. The Coffee Rubbed Hanger Steak with red wine bordelaise sauce, mixed wild mushrooms, roasted fingerling potatoes and broccoli rabe must not be missed. Lunch $20 | Dinner $50

(credit: SOL Cocina)

SOL Cocina
251 Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 675-9800

Directly on the docks of Newport Harbor, SOL Cocina could easily be considered one of the very best Mexican restaurants in all of Orange County. Serving up traditional Baja dishes with genius modern twists, SOL Cocina uses only the freshest ingredients made available. So fresh, that every single item on the menu is made from scratch daily. Are you ready to step into a world that embraces everything that Baja is known for? Because you are about to enjoy a collection of rainbow salsas, slow-simmered meats, freshly caught fish and flavorful, yet simple sauces. It's no wonder SOL Cocina is an OC favorite. While everything on their menu is delicious, the Vampiro Tacos are award winning. Lunch $15 | Dinner $30

(credit: Twenty Eight)

Twenty Eight Restaurant & Lounge
19530 Jamboree Rd.
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 852-2828

Step inside and discover Chef Shirley Chung's world as she serves up modern Chinese cuisine with sweet California flavors. The Top Chef finalist has some amazing dishes planned for OC Restaurant Week that must not be missed. For starters, the Caramel Lace Prawns and "My Favorite Steak Tartar" made from filet mignon and sliced mushrooms served with a Chinese savory donut will leave you completely speechless. Another stand out dish on this very special menu is the "Leave Your Mark" which was her Top Chef New Orleans winning dish consisting of pan roasted local yellowtail, West-Lake beurre rouge, shiitake mushrooms and cajun holy trinity. Lunch $15 | Dinner $40

(credit: Surf and Sand Resort)

1555 S Coast Hwy,
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 376-2779

Once you sneak a peek at the menu, it will be hard to resist making reservations for Splashes inside Laguna Beach's premier getaway destination, Surf and Sand. The restaurant is pulling out all of the stops for Restaurant Week as Chef David Fune prepares his famous mouth watering Seared Scallops with kamut risotto and root vegetables with carrot puree; and Forest Mushroom-Pork Belly with pickled baby apples, soy caramel, and brie cheese. While those dishes are always superstars, guests will have an exceptionally hard time choosing because the Lobster and Toast with lobster salad on a grilled honey-oat thick bread, slaw erica, and vinegar chips is downright amazing. Lunch $20 | Dinner $50

(credit: Wildfish)

1370 Bison Ave,
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 720-9925

Combine sleek sophistication with a vast collection of world class wines, fresh seafood and prime steaks, you must be dining at Wildfish. This luxury dining experience is best known for the "finest ingredients, uncompromising quality and culinary excellence" making it a leader in Orange County. The three-course menu starts off with Pot Stickers filled with spicy shrimp and pork in a beautiful light soy broth, or a heartier Maine Lobster and Shrimp Bisque. For the entree, choices include: Scottish Salmon, North Atlantic Lemon Sole, Roasted Double Breast of Chicken, and Filet Mignon Medallions with Sauteed Gulf Shrimp "scampi style." The Hot "Bananas Foster" Butter Cake for dessert will leave for wanting more. Dinner $50

(credit: Chapter One: the modern local)

Chapter One: The Modern Local
227 N Broadway,
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 352-2225

Where "local produce and seasonal fare will satisfy your appetite as well as your imagination," order up a Chapter One FAMOUS Moscow Mule and get ready for one of the best culinary experiences imaginable. Serving up both lunch and dinner during Orange County Restaurant Week, Chapter One can't be beat, especially when it comes to some of their standout vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes like the Organic OC Vegetable Basket offering the best of local Orange County farms; Portobello Napoleon risotto cakes with tomato relish, roasted seasonal vegetables, sauteed tofu, marinated and grilled portobello served with a spinach truffle sauce; and Yakisoba Stir-fry in a sambal-soy reduction. Lunch $20 | Dinner $30

(credit: Fire+ice)

321 W Katella Ave #315,
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 808-9757

The next time you are up for something a little different, bring the kids and try Fire+ice Grill + Bar. This restaurant is based on a "create-your-own-meal" concept which is a blast for the families and foodies. First you begin by filling us your plate at their in-house market with all of the ingredients YOU want to experience. Choose from fresh vegetables, meats, seafood and pasta to satisfy your craving. Once your bowl is overflowing, travel the world and incorporate Latin, Asian, American or Italian flavors at the sauce bar where there is also an array of herbs, infused oils and spices. Bring your culinary masterpiece to the grill and watch the chefs do their magic. Want more? No problem. Fire+ice is all-you-can-eat! Lunch $10 | Dinner $20

Nicole Standley a.k.a. JetSet Mom, is a social influencer + lifestylist covering luxury travel, fine-dining, fashion & pop culture for The JetSet Family. Follow her latest travels and escapades on Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.
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