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Spotlight on Easter

April 14, 2006|By Dave Brooks

Easter is upon us once again, that unofficial late start of spring that brings families together in celebration of spirituality and renewal.

Though the Easter holiday is considered the most sacred of religious dates on the Christian calendar, it's also become an important culinary event marked by elaborate brunches.

Visitors and locals of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa have dozens of brunch options to chose from this weekend, along with a few Easter egg events for children.

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As always, it's best to make reservations if you're planning a brunch out:

Easter Bunny: A couple of shopping centers will have the Easter Bunny on hand through Saturday evening.

Children can have a conversation with an Easter Bunny operated by Disney puppeteers in South Coast Plaza's Carousel Court, take a ride on the carousel for $1, or have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny in the Crate and Barrel wing.

Fashion Island will host Easter Bunny photos at the Spring Garden on Atrium Lawn until 6 p.m.

Newport Beach Marriot: On the more affordable end of the spectrum, the Marriott is offering a traditional brunch for $24 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

The meal is a chance to check out the hotel's new Sam and Harry's steakhouse, which has moderate prices but an upscale feel. The meal includes made-to-order omelets, salmon, cheeses, fruits, and prime rib and ham carved to order. Call (949) 640-4000.

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach: Sushi on Easter? Stranger things have been attempted, but if it's coming from Hyatt, you can expect high-quality dishes and an upscale, family friendly atmosphere.

You can also expect to fork over some money. Brunch will set you back $52 for adults and $20 for children under 12. Kids are invited to paint or scramble their eggs. Call (949) 729-6280.

Back Bay Cafe: This meal seems like the best bang for your buck. For $30 for adults and $14 for children under 12, visitors get a wide variety of brunch options including sirloin tri-tip, chicken with lemon beurre blanc and capers, and three-cheese stuffed ravioli on pesto.

Make sure to save room for the Belgian chocolate fountain and a few glasses of bubbly. Call (949) 729-1144.

Balboa Bay Club: If you want the best, you have to pay a premium.

At $65 for adults and $32.50 for children under 12, the extravagant brunch at the Balboa Bay Club is one of the most expensive meals you can find this Sunday.

So what does $200 buy a family of four? The cheese tray alone is a masterpiece, offering marinated buffalo mozzarella, Sonoma goat cheese and Bavarian blue.

Look for jumbo shrimp, crab claws, cioppino, New York steak, Colorado leg of lamb, prime rib and the club's famous eggs benedict.

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