All About Food: A week free from doing dishes

February 19, 2013|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • Raw California sushi roll appetizer, prepared using yellow squash and mango rolls with sweet sushi dipping sauce. It's at 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa for OC Restaurant Week.
Raw California sushi roll appetizer, prepared using… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Orange County Restaurant Week is celebrating its fifth delicious year with prix fixe menus from every corner of the county. Between Sunday and March 2, about 100 restaurants will feature specially priced menus. Lunch will be $10, $15 or $20. Dinner will be $20, $30 or $40. Most of the menus are three courses, and a few include a glass of wine, beer or other beverage with your meal.

They range in style from Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants in Brea and Mission Viejo to Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa. Check out, which lists all the eateries by cities, types of cuisine and styles, including fine dining, steakhouses, gastropubs, seafood, ethnic and vegan, as well as kid-friendly, romantic or friends and fun.

It's amusing to peruse this wide variety of menus and plan your dining experiences. The promoters of this culinary event suggest, "The only thing to make for dinner this week is reservations."


We've compiled a number of the menus that were most appealing to us and thought we'd share them with you. They all have a little extra flair.

Zimzala in Huntington Beach has our favorite menu, in part because the choices sound so mouth-watering and in part because they offer more options than anyone else on the list. Its $40 dinner includes five different menus: "I Love Fish," "I Love Meat," "I Love Bread," "A Lighter Dinner" or "Mix or Match," and each category has an extensive number of choices for appetizers and entrées. The two desserts are the same for all.

If we were dining there, Elle might choose as an appetizer the Manila clams with roasted dried corn, smoked bacon, Dutch yellow potatoes, double cream and grilled sourdough bread. For an entrée, the cast-iron duck breast sounds good, with celery root puree, caramelized fennel, apple gastrique and micro celery. Dessert would be the German chocolate waffle with caramel sauce and almond coffee ice cream.

For Terry's dinner, the starter would be the Middle Eastern Zimzala platter with hummus, faro salad, cous cous salad and heirloom tomato mozzarella. Her entrée would definitely be the Moroccan chicken tajine with caramelized onions, carrots, preserved lemon, picholine olives and golden couscous. For dessert, she'd choose crème brulée with pistachio biscotti and fresh raspberries.

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