Charlie Palmer's house-made sausage and pâté includes pork rillette, prosciutto, chorizo blanco, bresaola and fennel sausage.

Charlie Palmer's house-made sausage and pâté includes pork rillette, prosciutto, chorizo blanco, bresaola and fennel sausage. (August 17, 2012)

With one of the hottest summers on record finally drawing to a close, Popsicles and hot dogs are making way for more creative culinary experiences.

Enter Costa Mesa Restaurant Week, a perfect opportunity to try out 34 area restaurants with fixed-price menus that are ideal for all palates and budgets. Starting Friday, Restaurant Week runs through Aug. 24.

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A price good for the soul

Soul food favorite Memphis, 2920 Bristol St., is offering a steal of a deal. A prix fixe lunch there will set you back $14.12.

First, make a selection from roasted beet salad, chicken or shrimp gumbo, or barbecued duck quesadilla. For a main course, choose from the "Cobra" fried chicken sandwich, buttermilk fried chicken, Southern meatloaf or popcorn shrimp tacos.

The $25.12 dinner menu includes selections like a mixed green salad or gumbo, pulled pork sliders, buttermilk fried chicken, Southern meatloaf stack, hickory smoked barbecue, cornmeal fried catfish, and desserts like a bourbon-pecan tart or whiskey-raisin bread pudding.

For more information, call (714) 432-7685.

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Delicious right off the Vine

Up the street a bit, the Old Vine Café in the Camp, 2937 Bristol St., will offer a $20.12 three-course, prix fixe lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

First-course selections include porcini mushroom bisque, gazpacho, the Old Vine salad, crispy blue salad or mozzarella Buratta caprese. Second-course options include porcini mushroom mac and cheese, or a choice of panini including mozzarella di Bufala, tuna melt, quattro fromaggi, pulled pork, ham and cheddar, meatball or reuben.

For dessert, enjoy grandma's cheesecake.

For more information, call (714) 545-1411.

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Master your taste buds

At Mastro's Steakhouse, 633 Anton Blvd., $45.12 yields an excellent three-course meal with a choice of Caesar or chopped salad; choice of 10-ounce New York strip, Atlantic salmon, pork chop or half rack of lamb (additions like a twin lobster tail or crab legs are available for a fee); sides like garlic mashed potatoes or creamed spinach; and a choice between chocolate sin cake and cheesecake for dessert.

For more information, call (714) 546-7405.

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Charlie pulls out the stops