Eat | Drink

A Taste of Dawn

A Vintage Food Tour in Old Towne Orange

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ORANGE COUNTY, CA – When I first look at the outside of Ruby’s Streamliner Diner in Orange, there isn’t anything wonderfully distinctive about it—and to many travelers, the same sentiment could be assumed of Orange County itself. Thanks to reality television, the OC is viewed by outsiders as a cultural wasteland; a place where plasticized housewives claw and snarl at each other over designer handbags. However, there is an extensive arts and cultural scene growing faster than weeds through cracks in the pavement …

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A Taste of Dawn

Dinner with Winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani

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ORANGE COUNTY, CA – As I approach the Antonello Ristorante entrance, the warm, humid temperatures and blustering Santa Ana winds are painting beads of sweat across my face. My guest and photographer for the night is snapping photos—his striped tie fluttering in the breeze on a warm Southern California evening. It is both our first time dining here at Antonello Ristorante, a highly-acclaimed Italian restaurant and landmark of Orange County for the past three decades, boasting an authentic menu and impressive wine list that captures Old World sensibilities.

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A Taste of Dawn

Holiday Recipe No. 3 by Christopher Hill

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Christopher Hill is known for creating easy-to-make incredibly tasty, impress-any-girl kind of meals. So this year, I asked him to throw his hat into the ring and offer readers some more holiday recipes. For those haven’t noticed, all of the #Recipes we’ve posted this season are totally non-traditional. First, Recipe No. 1 by Chef Jason Hook was a gourmet take on sweet potatoes that looks and tastes like art. Second, Recipe No. 2 by Ally’s Kitchen Alice D’Antoni Phillips offering us a scrumptious course taking the concept of bluchetta to an all new high. And now, well, Recipe No. 3 is ALL about Southern Comfort and rich flavors.

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A Taste of Dawn

Herringbone by Brian Malarkey

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The moment you pull in to the parking lot, raw ornate panels of wood adorn the entry, a branched fish hangs happily to the left of the main door and a patio with ease and warmth lines the sidewalk. As you enter inside, to your right are two Moroccan style chairs designed in bright colors directly across from the tiled fireplace emitting just the right amount of heat. With glass orbs listlessly leaning to light the way, a subtle and secret disco ball looms above it all. Soon you find your legs walking through the restaurant, the wooden floors cushioning your steps, your eyes bewildered and overcome with a tranquility that doesn’t in any way obstruct the anticipation of a hearty prospect of fare.

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A Taste of Dawn

The Playground DTSA

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I noticed a small touch: a glass of Szigeti Sparkling Gruner Veltliner was waiting at my place setting. Opening a dinner with a nice glass of bubbles does wonders to not only clean the palate, but it allows one to relax before the Amuse Bouche, our first course. We were presented with an extremely interesting, but amazing, choice for the Amuse Bouche: a green chile Mexican chocolate milk with a crispy tortilla lavash topped with age cheddar cheese foam. The warm chocolate milk with a slight hint of acidity perked the taste buds, while the quesadilla soothed them, as if foreshadowing the flavors to come; at the same time, telling the taste buds, “Relax. There is plenty more where that came from.”

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A Taste of Dawn

Holiday Recipe No. 2 Alice d’Antoni Phillips

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I have watched as Chef Alice d’Antoni Phillips (aka Ally) takes readers and fans through the grocery store, her culinary explorations around the world, and the many beautiful recipes she shares through her Facebook Page and Website. Her charisma and genuine enthusiasm for cooking and sharing color and life of food is contagious.

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A Taste of Dawn

A Winter Menu Southwestern Style

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As we try to make room on the table and rearrange our plates in order from lunch to dinner, we decide that our first conquest on the lunch menu will be the Winter Arugula Salad—a peak of arugula drizzled with Champagne vinaigrette and topped with creamy goat cheese crumbles, roasted golden beets, pickled leeks, shaved roasted fennel, crunchy noodles, and crisp gala apples. The salad is simple—but not to a fault. The Champagne dressing and goat cheese meld together delightfully and the added crunch of the Asian noodles, bell peppers and apple frolic with the taste buds, never feeling overwrought by an overuse of contrasting flavors and textures.

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A Taste of Dawn

Fig & Olive The Music Collection Release Event

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nvited to attend the Fig & Olive Music Collection Release Event on Wednesday, December 4th I was beyond elated to be heading to the pristine Melrose Place restaurant where Chef Pascal Lorange creates truly delightful Mediterranean inspired cuisine. The space has been home to Grammy Events, Oscar Events, celebrity parties and the like but it’s not because it is pretentious. In fact it boasts a truly wonderful airy feel, spacious rooms, earthy envelopment’s, crisp clean dècor with rich hues of color to warm you.

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A Taste of Dawn

Estado Puro Madrid

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I’m looking at a glass, filled with a rich, creamy foam. It looks and feels to the touch like an expensive coffee. Only I know it is filled with eggs. And caramelised onions. And liquidised potato. If ever there was such a thing as a post-modern tortilla español, this is definitely it. I plunge in and to my relief – and despite still definitely looking like a coffee – it tastes like the best omelette I’ve ever had.
Estado Puro is full of little surprises like that. This is Madrid tapas culture Kubrick style, a culinary Odyssey which keeps all the tradition and rich historic flavour of old Spain and playfully tips it on its head. It should be said that if there was ever a Spanish-themed space station, it would probably look like this.

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A Taste of Dawn

Wine and Wagyu

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The “Dairyman”, in my opinion, had much more character than the Silver Oak, and certainly complimented the intricate blueprint of the Wagyu. Rather than compounding the flavors into a long-after-finished linger as its Cabernet counterpart, this Pinot Noir serves more as a brief, albeit refreshing, clearing of the palate between bites. However, being the glutton that I am, my love affair with the smoother and prolonged effect of the Silver Oak’s constitution was almost a given before I’d sat down to enjoy the meal.

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A Taste of Dawn

David Arthur + Laura Long of David Arthur Vineyards

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Soon after that event, I ran into David at the Pacific Wine Food & Wine Festival. The one thing you should know about David is he is one of the nicest men you’ll meet and he is a sheer pleasure to talk to. He has this uncanny magnetic draw that makes you want to stay and talk about wine, life, and really, anything as long as possible! He invited me to join him and his group of travelers and friends at Newport Beach’s 3Thirty3 and I happily did. I arrived and was sat inside with David and Antonello’s Sommelier Steve Ebol, a familiar face, Thaddeus Forret, and a group of David’s friends and colleagues. We all enjoyed wines that David graciously brought and poured because to him, what is the point of being around friends if you don’t enjoy wine, share stories and just live in the moment?!

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A Taste of Dawn

Chronic Cellars Masquerade Ball

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The room is dimly lit with hues of reds and blacks, tables adorned with black linens, subtle lighting, stacks and stacks of barrels aged with time and fastened with story, a couple of couches strategically placed on the cold concrete floor, a photo booth for secrets and fun, and a V-shaped bar. Bottles of Chronic’s Bubbles – Spritz & Giggles, Reds – 2011 Ricardo Grande, late harvest Tranquilo, 2011 The Unteachables, and what I think is their bottle of 2012 Stone Fox line the bar top. At the pivoted corner? A neon lit Sangria fountain. Behind that, the man in the green mask (and bartenders) but him – well, HE is JOSEPH! I am elated!

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A Taste of Dawn

Porktoberfest

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It is Halloween’s Eve, a little before 7 P.M. I pull into the parking lot outside of Five Crowns Restaurant and Steakhouse and immediately start to panic—valet parking. Suddenly I’m extremely nervous, not because I fear strangers driving my car, but because my car is literally beginning to disintegrate—rendering it almost inoperable. After three broken door handles inside and outside, getting in and out of my car has proven to be a difficult and ridiculous affair: I have to roll down my window and open it from the outside door handle (fortunately only halfway broken) to get out.

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A Taste of Dawn

QUICK TIPS For A Spontaneous Journey Up The Central Coast

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At the beginning of this summer, I decided to do something rather spontaneous. I figured of all of the many topics I’ve covered, the food I’ve enjoyed, and the cities I’ve been to – everything I’ve written about or gone to has been fairly planned out. I figured it was time to be totally off-the-cuff, get in the car and just drive up the California Coast – during one of the busiest holiday weeks of the year no less: the 4th of July. I wanted to see what was possible if and when any one of my readers decided to take a last minute trip during a nationally busy time. And so, the journey began.

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A Taste of Dawn

The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

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I had the great pleasure of sending my 3 writers and photographer: Cord Montgomery, Greg Barraza, Tyler Dean and Clarence Alford to experience the new launch of a phenomenal menu and a beautiful venue this past week. While I was unable to make it myself, I was proud to send in my exceptional staff to experience what I had hoped was an unforgettable venue. Turns out, it was. Thanks to Nancy Zwart for the invitation and to Chefs Michael and David Rossi for creating something these fellas won’t soon forget. I look forward to coming in myself. For now, enjoy three very different perspectives of one unforgettable evening.

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A Taste of Dawn

Supperclub + Wine Tasting

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On August 2nd and 3rd, ATOD Magazine™ partnered with Los Angeles’ premier venue and nightclub, Supperclub in Hollywood to do a dinner + wine tasting with D’Alfonso Curran Winery. Wines created by Bruno D’Alfonso and Kris Curran, the lineup of wines expands well into any palate with a passion and love that can appeal to just about anyone. Below is a video of how the evening went. Thanks to Supperclub, the 4-Course dinner pairing was sublime.

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A Taste of Dawn

Five0Four HOLLYWOOD

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The evening begins with a plethora of tastings. A throw back to the streets of New Orleans, the ostentatious melody of flavor and combination, and a wetting of ones appetite. It must be told that Five0Four is a restaurant and bar that has that open-air appeal with a subtle familiarity you’ve been there before. A testament to the environment they create and while it’s located right off of the infamous Hollywood Boulevard, you can sit outside, feast your eyes on the passersby, the tourists, the entertaining factor of life in real time.

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