Taste of the Town: August/September 2014

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A restaurant resource for dining in Newport Beach

By Newport Beach Magazine Staff

 

Anchored by the Ocean

140606 A and O Kitchen61957A&O Kitchen and Bar, a new gastropub at Balboa Bay Resort, debuted in late June with a menu packed with creative fare and libations. The new hangout is housed in a renovated area of the hotel overlooking the harbor that previously housed Duke’s Place. Unlike its predecessor, A&O’s menu features casual comfort food prepared in innovative ways by Executive Chef Vincent Lesage and Chef de Cuisine Rachel Haggstrom. A basic Kobe beef burger, for example, is reinvented by the duo with a special “baconnaise” sauce, pickled onions, grilled romaine lettuce and heirloom tomatoes between a cheddar bacon bun. There’s also the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner,” which features beer-marinated fried chicken served alongside biscuits and gravy. Smaller bites include pepperoni pizza fries, bacon-wrapped dates and “popcorn and pig,” a handful of caramel popcorn, bacon, peanuts and fleur de sel.

The innovation continues with libations such as the real beer floats: Try the Blue Moon and mango sorbet, or Guinness Stout and salted caramel ice cream. Eight beers and two wines are available on tap, in addition to the extensive wine and cocktail list. A&O is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. (949-630-4285; balboabayresort.com) —K.C.

 

Emily Osterberg - Credit Bella Bambino Photography
Photo by Bella Bambino Photography

One Smart Cookie
A sweet tooth is no mystery to Emily Osterberg, who’s served cookies since 2009 at local restaurants, mall kiosks and by delivery. And just recently, Emily opened her first Baking Betty’s store in Fashion Island. With a new place to call home, she bakes throughout the day and provides her guests with a wide array of indulgences. “All of our cookies are creative flavors that you probably can’t get anywhere else,” she says. “We have the traditional classics, but then we have flavors like s’more, creme brulee, French toast and caramel apple.”

The cookies are available in two sizes and can be used to create handmade ice cream sandwiches. Emily also reinvents traditional treats by serving cookie malts with any flavor of cookie paired with ice cream. With more than 20 flavors daily, she ensures guests can have their cookies and eat them too. (949-640-2253; bakingbettys.com) —L.M.

Dine All Day

Flatbread
Sessions Sandwiches

Two eateries have recently expanded their hours to feed patrons all day long. The Bungalow reintroduced its lunch service beginning daily at 11:30 a.m., with options that range from light bites to hearty helpings that can be savored from the newly remodeled dining patio (949-673-6585; thebungalowrestaurant.com).

Meanwhile, Sessions Sandwiches is now open for dinner, so customers can dig into its signature sandwiches as well as salads and savory flatbreads like the Garcia, which features layers of zucchini, ricotta, mozzarella, basil pesto and sundried tomato. The eatery has also expanded its breakfast menu to include a handful of new sandwiches served on Shirley’s Bagels in addition to more coffee drinks. (949-220-9001; sessionssandwiches.com) —L.M.

 

A Fresh Philosophy

DaWorks Pizza-Photo Courtesy of FreshBrothers.com
Photo courtesy of freshbrothers.com

Freshness is a family affair for the Goldbergs, who recently opened Fresh Bros. restaurant in town. The eatery specializes in pizza based on a 30-year-old family recipe, as well as baked wings dipped in savory sauces like sweet chili or roasted garlic barbecue, and a salad bar offering more than 50 toppings and dressings.

“One of the main reasons we picked Newport Beach is because it’s such a tightly knit, family-oriented community,” explains co-owner Adam Goldberg. “[It’s] a perfect area for Fresh Bros. because not only do we serve a great product, but we are a very good partner in the community itself.”

In an effort to make pizza available for discerning palates to enjoy, Adam has made it a point to stock bread and cheese alternatives for those who suffer from gluten and dairy allergies or adhere to vegan diets. (freshbrothers.com) —L.M.

 

Save Room for More

Grab a bite at one of these new eateries slated to open in Newport in the coming months.

green juices
Pressed Juicery

Rita’s Italian Ice is bringing its frozen treats to the Balboa Peninsula. Founded in 1984 in Bensalem, Pa., by firefighter Bob Tumolo and named after his wife, the shop’s Italian ice comes in more than 65 flavors made daily with real fruit. The menu at Rita’s also includes milkshakes, frozen custard sundaes and cool treats that blend the signature Italian ice and frozen custard with sweet mix-ins like candy bar pieces, gummy bears and fruit. (ritasicenb.com)

Based on the simple idea that bodies need to be fueled with the right nutrients to perform at their peak levels, Pressed Juicery creates drinks personalized for any lifestyle. This fall, the cold-pressed juice company, which already has 20 California locations, is bringing its fruits and veggies to Fashion Island and Westcliff Plaza. Customers can choose from three types of cleanses or design their own with more than 50 drink varieties. (pressedjuicery.com)

Authenticity is the name of the game at the recently opened Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. Co-owners Brad Otton, Tim Otton and Michael Brooks sourced ingredients and even the head chef straight from Napoli, Italy. “The most important thing is the oven, and that’s handmade in Napoli,” Brad says. “Our tomatoes come from the Napoli area, … and we get our meats and cheeses from other parts of Italy.” (settebello.net)

Ron Salisbury, Newport Beach resident and owner of The Cannery, will be at the helm of a new restaurant in town, as El Cholo is relocating its Irvine location to Corona del Mar this fall. “I’ve noticed in Corona del Mar there are a lot of owner-operated restaurants opening, and it’s becoming a really special dining destination,” Ron explains. Until then, Ron says the goal is to make a seamless transition after the Irvine restaurant closes Sept. 30. (elcholo.com) —L.M.

 

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