WHEN EVERYONE IS ALL IN... and throwing their hats in the ring, in unison, during a special event, do you want to be in the thick of it or step back and wait? And then show what you've got once the fervor has wrapped? That's a bit of the case with OC's Restaurant Week. The tastiest save-money span on the county's calendar, the Orange County Restaurant Week arrives nearly a month after California Restaurant Month -- aka January -- has bid adieu. January is also the month when a lot of cities and neighborhoods and counties jump on board with their own takes on the money-nice eat-out events, but not Orange County. The region waits a few weeks, and then takes the savory-sweet spotlight for its very own. Very smartly played, OC.
THE DATES? Sunday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, March 1. Over a hundred restaurants will participate, across the breadth and width of the county, so wherever you are, there's probably a $10 lunch menu or $20 dinner menu within shouting distance. (But don't shout once you enter the restaurant of your choice, because you'll probably be asked to leave.) Those two price points are on the low end of the prix fixe range of things, but things don't get too high: Top dollar for a multi-course lunch is $20 and top dollar for dinner is $40.
RESTAURANTS SHALL INCLUDE... Lark Creek in Newport Beach (where chicken and waffles are on the menu), Splashes in Laguna Beach (hello, beef short rib sandwich), and The Cellar (old-school souffles are the dessert choices). As always, a restaurant week is a fine time to find your next go-to restaurant, and for a song, or at least adjacent to a song. More than one course for ten or twenty bucks? Restaurant weeks do it right, and so does the OC, by delaying their eat-out extravaganza just a little each year.