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Greer's OC: Sink teeth into Tastefest

Celebrate the inaugural OC Tastefest, a food, wine and entertainment festival, taking place from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. The two-day event will highlight the range of cuisine and culture in Orange County.

More than 25 restaurants will offer samples of new and seasonal items mixed with classic menu items. Participating restaurants include Brasserie Pascal, 118 Degrees, Marrakesh, Salt Creek Grille, Ten Asian Bistro, Wahoo's Fish Taco and Slater's 50/50. Specialty retailers will offer culinary and other items to purchase, including Cutco Cutlery, Olive Oil & Beyond, and Bad Pickle T-Shirts.

Stop by the Celebrity Chef Challenge, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, to find out which dishes six challenger chefs — including Raya Belna of Seabirds food truck, Doug Stratton of Spiced Bamboo, Bridget Reilly of Bite Market, Stef Kelly of Stef Candy Co., Anna Allen of Delicious Nutrition, and Chris Tzorin — will create.

Hosting chefs include Susan Irby the Bikini Chef with Stuart O'Keeffe and Manouschka Guerrier of Food Network's "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills." A few judges include Scotty of 24 Carrots, Pascal Olhats of Pascal Restaurant and Café Jardin, Jonathan Grahm, chocolatier to the stars, Jenny Rose of 118 Degrees and Rachel Marie of Blackmarket Bakery.

Live entertainment includes performances by Steely Dan tribute artist Pretzel Logic and '80s sensation Flashback Heart Attack. On Saturday, the Santana tribute band Savor will perform along with the Eagles tribute band Desperado and L.A. rock favorite the Hollywood Stones.

All registered OC Marathon runners will receive a free ticket to OC Tastefest. Runners can pick up their bibs at the OC Marathon Expo on Friday and Saturday and attend the OC Tastefest later.

OC Tastefest costs $12 for a one-day ticket. General admission at the event will be $20 per day. General admission tickets include10 Tastefest coupons ($5 value). For more information, visit octastefest.com.

 

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Searching for a Mother's Day gift?

TOUS, the Spanish luxury brand, is set to show some motherly love by hosting a pop-up shop in Diamond Jamboree in Irvine through Sunday. The TOUS pop-up will also offer a special Mother's Day promotion.

The promo, in which all customers who spend $250 or more receive either an iPhone case or any TOUS fragrance, will run from May 5 through 13 in all TOUS stores, including its flagship West Coast store in South Coast Plaza.

Meanwhile, at the TOUS pop-up store at Diamond Jamboree, 2750 Alton Parkway, there will be a live DJ, light refreshments and a goodie bag for the first 50 customers each day.

In addition, there will be a TOUS prize giveaway — anyone 18 or older can enter to win online at diamond-jamboree.com or at the TOUS pop-up store over the weekend. One winner will be selected for each of these three prize categories: 3rd prize, TOUS L'eau signature fragrance gift set ($95 retail value); 2nd prize, signature TOUS Bear Black Pendant in Black Onyx/Sterling Silver ($169 retail value) and 1st prize, TOUS KAOS Handbag ($359 retail value).

The TOUS pop-up shop will only be at Diamond Jamboree, so pop in to check out their latest products, grab a goodie bag and enter the prize giveaway — the perfect chance to find your mom something special for Mother's Day!

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Java upgrades

The Java Bakery Café in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Irvine upgraded its menu and added more seasonal treats and specials like panini, summer espressos and iced lattes with fresh citrus, mint and mochas.

You can also order fine cakes including tiramisu, eclairs, fruit tarts, apple tart Normande, pear almond tarts, chocolate decadence, cheesecake, napoleon, mango mouse and delicious flans. Catering is available and Java Bakery will deliver.

In Huntington Beach, the bakery cafe is open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. It's at the 5 Points Plaza Shopping Center, 18685 Main St.. For more information, call (714) 842-5020.

In Newport Beach, the bakery is located at 1064 Bayside Drive. For more information, call (949) 760-6886. In Irvine, it's

18100 Culver Drive. For more information, call (949) 786-9292.

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Exotic flavors at Tamarind of London

Expand your brunch and lunch horizons with exotic flavors created by Executive Chef Shachi Mehra at Tamarind of London in Newport Beach. The restaurant combines traditional Indian flavors with local seasonal fresh and sustainable foods, resulting in tasty unique dishes.

The new menus are available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The brunch menu includes baked eggs with kidney beans spiced with garlic and Kashmiri red chili; keema baked eggs with minced lamb, cilantro and red onion; masala scramble flavored with garlic, red chili and cilantro; and a Delhi-style omelet with black pepper, onions, ginger and serrano chili. All offerings are priced at $13 or less.

Try a brunch cocktail including the "Bloody Good" Mary, the Mangosa (Cruzan mango rum, Kesar mango and Prosecco) and the Pimms O'Clock (Pimms No. 1 and lemonade with fresh muddled strawberries, cucumber and oranges).

At lunch, choose from a trio of Thali plates that complement each other to complete a meal, including traditional Indian dishes like seafood prawn masala and kokum fish curry, for $19; kashmiri lamb curry and butter chicken, at $18; and vegetarian paneer methi masala and three greens saag, at $17. Thali plates come with a vegetable of the day, black lentils, rice, naan and raita.

Out favorite light and summery salad is the quinoa and avocado with cilantro and mixed citrus, at $11. There's also a lime leaf salmon salad with arugula, pickled jicama and chaat masala at $14; grilled shrimp salad with mixed greens, mango and dill, at $14; a cilantro chicken salad with cucumber, red onions, basil and mint, for $13; and the Tamarind salad topped with crisped rice and a pickled lime dressing, for $8.

Chef Mehra has also included several popular items from the dinner menu including starters like chickpea chaat served with sweetened yogurt, for $8, and steamed PEI mussels, at $9. Entrées include Australian lamb chops flavored with red chili, malt vinegar and green papaya, for $29, and a natural grass-fed New York steak with black pepper, dry mango and pomegranate molasses, at $26.

Open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, followed by happy hour, from 2:30 to 5 p.m., and dinner, from 5 p.m to close. Tamarind of London is at 7862 E. Coast Hwy. For more information, call (949) 715-8338, or visit http://www.tamarindoflondon.com.

GREER WYLDER writes Greer's OC for the Huntington Beach Independent each Thursday and the Daily Pilot and Coastline Pilot each Friday. She's the founder and president of greersoc.com, a free daily email service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed http://www.greersoc.com and she can be contacted at greer@greersoc.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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