➜ Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure
The popular festival returns with new culinary tastings with this year’s standout items including pepperoni pizza egg rolls, the Impossible cheeseburger mac and cheese, garlic carbonara mac and cheese with Nueske’s bacon, and the brunch-inspired fried chicken and waffles sandwich. Take advantage of complimentary experiences such as meeting Chef Goofy, photo-worthy murals, the Jammin’ Chefs show with Chip ‘n’ Dale, hands-on activities for kids, and cooking demos by chefs including O.C.’s own Wing Lam of Wahoo’s Fish Taco on Mar. 28 and Richard Blais of Costa Mesa’s Crack Shack Mar. 14.
Tickets are available for beverage seminars, winemaker receptions, and a behind-the-scenes tour of what goes into producing the festival every year. This year’s offerings seem to be the most wide-ranging catering to both vegans and vegetarians alike with an increase in plant-based Impossible food products and dishes such as the technique-driven watermelon poke. On top of all the beverages being completely new this year, you can also sample pours from local O.C. breweries such as Backstreet Brewery in Anaheim and Lost Winds Brewing Company in San Clemente.
Orange Coast College grad and culinary director Jeremiah Balogh commented on how the team gets their inspiration every year and how the festival fits into O.C.’s local food scene: “There are huge pockets of communities within Orange County, and a lot of our cast members live here. When you think about the influences their cultures have, they’re going to local restaurants, they’re seeing what’s going on, and they’re bringing some of those ideas here.”
Now through April 21. Ticked admission required. Purchase the Sip & Savor Pass ($56) for 8 tastings. 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, disneyland.disney.go.com
➜ Family-Style Tablitas at Taco Rosa
The new tablitas or family-style platters invite you to gather ’round the table and dig into a truly shared meal with loved ones. Choose from the traditional tablita with a 12-ounce pork chop, chille rellenos, and chicken mole enchiladas or the seafood tablita with wild sea bass, seafood paella, and calamari tacos. Don’t miss the vibrant and fun margaritas; we love the mango chamoy option. Each tablita serves four. Get the taquiza (serves two) which includes skirt steak, free-range chicken breast, and prawns. Two locations in Irvine and Newport Beach: 13792 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, 714-505-6080; 2632 San Miguel Road, Newport Beach, 949-720-0980
➜ OC Vegan Night Market
This Leap Day (Feb. 29), head to Magic Mike’s Pizza Pub in Westminster for over 30 vegan vendors and food trucks, artisan vendors, a beer garden, and live music. Here is a chance to sample some of the best local vegan joints such as Cinnaholic and The Donuttery in one place. By the end of the night, you might become a convert. 4 to 9:30 p.m. 6152 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster, instagram.com/ocvegannightmarket
➜ Chef’s Kitchen Dinner at Heirloom Farmhouse at Marriott Irvine Spectrum
At this intimate, chef’s table dining experience on Mar. 20, executive chef Leonel De Leon prepares a custom menu of six to eight courses inspired by seasonal ingredients, with each course paired with wine. 7 to 10 p.m., $125 per person. 7905 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, 949-759-0200. Get tickets at eventbrite.com
➜ The Flavor Vault Series at Salt & Straw at Downtown Disney
This March, the Portland-based creamery is reintroducing some of their most popular flavors from the vault for the first time: cinnatopia cinnamon bun, wild foraged berry pie, and salted caramel cupcake. $5.15 to $11.95, 1550 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, saltandstraw.com