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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

My Favorite Things at the Newport Wine and Food Festival

We visited as a guest of the venue


One of the events I most look forward to each Fall as a food blogger, is the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival. And although I was not able to go both days this year, I was fortunate to be able to make it for several hours on the last day, a Sunday. This is the third year of this event and the third year I’ve attended. And it seems to get better and better each year.


This outdoor festival, held on the grounds of Newport’s Civic Center, makes the most of the beautiful weather October brings and offers an elegant setting to taste wines, spirits, and beers while sampling creative dishes prepared by some of the area’s best chefs, all the while listening to live jazz.

One of my favorite parts of the festival is the celebrity chef food demos and book signings, and last year I pretty much made it a point to attend all of the demos. But sad to say, this year my schedule just wasn’t aligning so I missed out. I was however, able to try many of the wonderful dishes. Here are several that really stood out for me:


This ceviche by Five Crowns Chef, Steve Kling was so refreshing and perfect for a warm day. Shrimp and yellowtail were marinated and served atop avocado gazpacho and garnished with salmon caviar. I have not stopped thinking about that dish and could drink that gazpacho.


Another standout was Andrea’s Chef Marco Criscuolo’s saffron infused gnochetti sardi with truffle sausage norcina sauce. This dish was an absolute favor bomb. The pasta was hand made and combined with the sauce and the slightly spiced toasted bread crumbs topping it made for perfect texture.



Nordstrom Café Bistro’s Chef Anthony Santos also delighted with a crispy pork belly served with tart cherry and pinot noir gastrique and a little Asian pear. And for the vegetable lover, a roasted pickled beet salad with house made ricotta, toasted pistachios, crispy prosciutto and a balsamic cloud.


And while I take it easy when it comes to dessert, I simply could not resist A & O Chef Rachel Haggstrom’s foie gras s’mores with dark chocolate ganache on house made branded graham crackers. Seriously sinful and decadent.


Finally, I have to mention one of the more unusual dishes came from Gratitude’s Chef Dreux Ellis. His kelp noodle salad with basil pesto, heirloom tomatoes, olives, arugula, cashew mozzarella and Brazil nut parmesan is entirely vegan and plant based and has me dying to try his restaurant.

While I could not try everything, here are some of the other dishes I ran across:


Warm White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Raspberry and White Chocolate Sauces, Nordstrom Café Bistro, Chef Anthony Santos


Bartlett Pear Salad, Selanne Steak Tavern, Chef Joshua Severson


Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Selanne Steak Tavern, Chef Joshua Severson

Version 2

Kobe Beef Bourgignon and Parsnip Foam, Selanne Steak Tavern, Chef Joshua Severson


Beet Stained Scallop Crudo, Watertable, Chef Manfred Lassahn


Steak Tartar with Quail Egg, A & O, Chef Rachel Haggstrom


Focaccia with Persimmon Jam and Foie Gras Spread, Tanners at Paseo Hotel and Resort, Chef Igor Krickmar


Bourbon soaked French Toast with Fig Molasses and Spicy Caramel Corn, Sam & Harry’s Newport Beach Marriott, Chef Andy Arndt


Baja Octopus Ceviche, Montage Laguna Beach, Chef Rob Wilson


Italian Sausage and Fresh Cavatelli Pasta with signature Sunday Sauce, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, Chef Linda Johnson


Tuna Hand Roll and Crab Hand Roll in Soy Paper, Sushi Roku


Surf and turf steak with lobster mashed potatoes, Mastros Ocean Club, Chef Eddie Albarran and

Mastros Steak House, Chef Stephen LaFountain


Chicken Sous Vide with Forbidden Rice, Café Beau Soleil, Chef Pascal Gimenez


Bulgogi meatballs with Asian fried rice, Honda Center, Chef Jo-Jo Doyle


Kalua Pork Slider with lilikoi slaw, Roy’s Newport Beach


Gorgeous, tempting cakes and desserts, Sweet Lady Jane, Pastry Chef Jane Lockhart


Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pastry Chef Linda Kirkpatrick


Tiny scoops of ice cream, B. Candy

Such a beautiful and tasty event… I can hardly wait until next year’s!

Dana Wilde grew up playing “sous chef” for her father as he churned out one amazing meal after the next for family and friends. She inherited her father’s life long passion for cooking and has spent the past two decades studying, reading, practicing, experimenting, and creating in the kitchen.
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