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Eat your way through Newport

Taste of Newport shows off dozens of restaurants to prove the city is the place to eat.

September 13, 2007|By Sue Thoensen

It’s one huge block party.

This weekend — just as it’s been for one weekend in September the past 18 years — the streets in Fashion Island will be closed to traffic, as Newport Beach gives locals and visitors alike a taste of what this city has to offer.

The 2007 Taste of Newport, sponsored by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and presented by Wells Fargo, will feature “warm summer nights, cool drinks and great food” as chefs from about 35 local restaurants get out of the kitchen and take to the streets with samples from their menus.

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With 15 California wineries represented, and ice-cold beer and specialty cocktails on tap, diners will have plenty to choose from when their thirst needs to be quenched.

“The Taste is just another great way to boast Newport Beach as Southern California’s Riviera,” said Jessica Quadra, public relations director for the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

“Sort of a way to celebrate the city you live in, or to prove to out-of-towners that dining here is worth the drive. The entertainment this year is also going to bring on such a great vibe.”

And it’s a blast from the past this year musically, as pop bands from the ’80s and ’90s take to the stage with live performances featuring Huey Lewis and the News Friday night and Devo Saturday night.

Sunday night, Academy Award-winning actor, producer and director Kevin Costner wears a different hat — backward, no less, in publicity photos — as he and his band, Modern West, perform original music to close out the weekend’s festivities.

A crowd of more than 75,000 is expected, and that requires a lot of extra hands. According to the chamber, at least 900 volunteers will be helping sell tickets, pour wine and serve food.

While this community-wide event allows businesses and visitors a chance to enjoy the scenery and mingle, being able to give back to the community by supporting local organizations is also made possible through the Taste of Newport Grant program.

The chamber has contributed more than $165,000 to organizations including the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, Leadership Tomorrow, Serving People in Need, the Orange Coast College Foundation and Youth Employment Service of the Harbor Area.

Many restaurants are repeat entries this year, including Daily Grill, Five Crowns, McCormick & Schmick’s, Sabatino’s and Ten Asian Bistro.

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