Butter's Melting: Lobsterfest at Newport Beach

Autumn is clearly on the way 'round these SoCal parts.

SUPPER OF LATE SUMMER: Fall foods are typically portrayed to be caramel apples, caramel cider, caramel apple cider donuts, caramel cookies with a cider glaze, or one of 198 other edibles that incorporate some variation on, you guessed it, caramel. And while we like this gooey nostalgic treat, calling the ciders and the donuts and the caramels the true fall foodstuffs of Southern California would not be correct. We're rather sweet on green chile here, which we order from Hatch by the burlap sackfuls. We like Oktoberfest beers from our local craft breweries. And lobster? Well, evidenced by the trio of mondo lobster festivals that roll out in the middle of September in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Redondo Beach, yeah, we'd call lobster a dish very much associated with the closing down of summer and the kick-off of autumn. But you can get your hands on the buttery delicacy more than a half month ahead of September, when Newport Beach launches the first lobster celebration of the season. And the tie-a-bib-on doings are set for Sunday, Aug. 10 at the Newport Dunes.

LENDING A HAND: The day is about raising support for both Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire and New Directions for Women. Cost? Fifty five bucks ahead of time, seventy five the day of (and there are only a limited number of admissions sold then). You'll nab a whole Maine lobster, grilled tri-tip beef steak, salad, potatoes, and that oft-paired with lobster food, corn on the cob, plus other fixings. As for your surroundings? Think Newport Back Bay with "boats lining the periphery" plus a mile of beachfront. We suppose if you're going to kick off the season of buttery meaty goodness and messy bibs, doing so waterside is spot on. Also spot on? Getting that late summer lobster run going weeks before it really kicks into full gear. Lead the way, Newport Beach.

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