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Fireside Tavern’s Fresh Summer Menu

Acclaimed Chef Scott Brandon at Fireside Tavern, in the newly renovated Crowne Plaza hotel in Costa Mesa, just unveiled a new summer menu for lunch and dinner that’s all about fresh seasonal ingredients.

At the classic American tavern with a modern feel, you can enjoy Chef Brandon's new lunch menu items such as Asparagus on Toast (roasted jumbo asparagus with extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest, served on grilled Rockenwagner raisin-walnut bread spread with Bellwether Farm’s ricotta cheese and topped with a soft poached organic egg and shaved Manchego cheese); Heirloom Tomato Bisque (prepared fresh in-house, a rich tomato soup made from Brandywine heirloom tomatoes and aromatic vegetables, finished with a touch of cream and drizzled with basil oil infused with orange zest, and served with a mini grilled Vermont cheddar cheese sandwich for dipping).

There's also a Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad (thinly shaved Tuscan kale and Brussels sprouts, tossed with sliced heirloom apples, Marcona apples, shaved Fiscalini Bandage cheddar and house made peppercorn ranch dressing).

New Dinner selections include Steamed Venus Clams (clams steamed in Reisling wine, Spanish chorizo, roasted garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs and butter, and served with grilled rustic bread); Jumbo Lump Crab Cake (a 3 oz. crab cake made from all white, jumbo lump crab, sauteed in clarified butter and served on a nest of Tavern Slaw, and topped with house made Sweet 100 tomato relish); Wild Gulf Shrimp Spaghetti (sautéed with fava beans, asparagus, roasted field mushrooms, rainbow carrots and tossed with Rusticella di Abruzzi Italian spaghetti in a sweet Piquillo pepper sauce with hints of Sherry vinegar, honey and cream).

Or, choose from the Grilled Loch Duart Salmon (prime Scottish salmon fillet, grilled and served over chilled yellow tomato gazpacho, roasted asparagus spears, frisee and crispy twice-cooked fingerling potatoes); and Pan Roasted Pacific Halibut (center loin Pacific Halibut served with a Bilbao chorizo, potato hash and a house made preserved lemon salsa verde.)

Fireside also offers a Bar menu from 3 p.m. until midnight, featuring small plates to accompany a signature cocktail, craft beer or glass of wine. A new addition to the Bar menu is Blue Crab Deviled Eggs (with lump crabmeat, smoked bacon breadcrumbs and a radish salad.)

Open for a breakfast buffet from 6 to 9 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. There are two Happy Hours, from 3 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. until midnight.

Fireside is in the Crowne Plaza at 3131 Bristol St., off the San Diego Freeway, in Costa Mesa. 714.557.3000.,

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The New Waterfront A&O Kitchen+Bar

Newport’s newest waterfront bar and restaurant, A&O Kitchen+Bar just opened at the Balboa Bay Resort. A&O, an abbreviation for Anchors & Oceans, specializes in gastropub fare such as shared plates, hearty dishes, and creative cocktails.

A&O also features a centerpiece tap system with eight craft beers from renowned breweries and two wines on tap from ONEHOPE Wine. Proceeds from sales of the ONEHOPE’s sparkling wine are dedicated to ending childhood hunger; the Chardonnay and Cabernet wine kegs will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County.

On the A&O menu, Executive Chef Vincent Lesage and chef de cuisine Rachel Haggstrom are offering a twist on classic favorites such as the Nice Rack (baby back ribs), Birthday Suit (beef tartar, raw beef and French fries), and Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (beer marinated fried chicken with biscuit and gravy). Pastry chef Brooke Martin offers innovative desserts such as Nutella Pot De Crème, Tobacco and Whiskey Brulee, and a selection of Hangover Beer Floats.

The full menu can be viewed here.

The interior of A&O is casual and rustic, with wood floors, reclaimed barn siding wall, and live edge wood communal dining tables and bar top. The large horseshoe-shaped bar, overlooks the harbor, and it’s a great place to watch a game or enjoy the sunset. We loved the custom lighting fixtures with sailing rope looping over amber glass. For the outdoors, you can relax and stay warm near two fire pits during cool evenings.

Open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

A&O Kitchen+Bar is at Balboa Bay Resort at 1221 Coast Highway in Newport Beach. 949.630.4285.

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