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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival… A Few Of My Favorite Things

We attended as a guest of the venue


Imagine spending two days at The Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival wine tasting, sipping cocktails, and sampling the incredible creations of some of our area’s favorite chefs like The Loft’s Casey Overton, Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge’s Marc Johnson, and Stonehill Tavern’s Raj Dixit to name but a few.

Add in the opportunity to:



Laugh with Top Chef Master, Hubert Keller and local favorite, Chef Pascal Olhats as they banter back and forth while preparing Keller’s Beer Braised Waygu Beef Cheeks enhanced with ginger and lemongrass for a grateful audience…



Learn a few secrets on making mole from Top Chef Master, Rick Bayless as he makes his delicious “quick” Red Peanut Mole with Chicken…



And go on a journey with Top Chef Master, Rick Moonen as he shares the inspiration for his Salmon Chilly Chili and trades all in good fun barbs with his friend, Orange County’s very own Chef Alan Greeley, Chef/Owner of The Golden Truffle.


Not to mention take a Pinot Noir tour up the 101 along California’s coastline with Master Sommeliers Michael Jordan, Thomas Price, Sur Lucero, and Steven Poe and you have the recipe for a perfect weekend!


A weekend I felt fortunate to participate in made all the more perfect because my sister, Shan was there with me.

Besides getting to hang out with my sister for the weekend, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the cooking demos were my favorite part of the event, but the tasting was pretty off the charts as well, and and while it would be too difficult to single out any one dish as our favorite, here are several that were deliciously memorable.


Chef Marc Johnson, Oak Grill ~ Foie gras terrine with pickled kumquats, strawberries on toasted brioche with a drizzle of bourbon maple sauce


Chef Shirley Chung, Twenty Eight ~ Smoked trout with sea bean and salmon caviar


Chef Rachel Haggstrom, Back Bay Resort & Waterline ~ Foie gras ice cream with huckleberry sauce


Chef Rainer Schwarz, Driftwood Kitchen ~ Porchetta sandwich with shaved fennel, pecorino toscano and pequillo pepper


Chef Raj Dixit, Stonehill Tavern ~ Tuna tartare with crisp fired nori chip


Chef Jo-Jo Doyle, Honda Center ~ Braised beef cheeks


Chef Mathieu Royer, Boathouse Collective ~ Hiramasa nigiri with nori and butter miso


Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish ~ Clobster roll on toasted buttered bun


As for cocktails, I have to go with the Down the Isle made with Bowmore’s Scotch, pineapple, strawberry, lemon, and rosemary. The not pictured, Smoke on the Water with Auchentoshan 3 wood Scotch, lemon, ginger, honey, and Laphroaig Scotch was the perfect sipper as well.

I believe anyone attending would call this year’s event a real success. Maybe even a little too successful if the heavy crowds were any indication.


The comfy seating nooks scattered about did help however. Overall, what a fantastic weekend of food, wine, and fun! Crowded or not, count me in for next year!

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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