Greer's OC: Eat your way through the fair

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The theme of this year's Orange County Fair, which starts Friday, is "Let's Eat!" For many, that's the theme each year and a great reason to visit the fair.

Put healthy eating aside for a day (or two) and fill up on battered, deep-fried, jumbo-sized foods and tasty treats served on a stick or in a corn husk, or try new items such as deep-fried Kool-Aid, deep-fried brownies, deep-fried Girl Scout cookies and deep-fried barbecue ribs.

Also new for fairgoers this year are chocolate-covered corn dogs, beer-battered bacon from the deep-fried butter stand and icy sweets from the new Legendairy Gelato. Not to be missed from past years' menus will be deep-fried frogs' legs, deep-fried Oreos and Krispy Kreme chicken sandwiches.

If you arrive hungry, here's what's in store for you. Taste samples for $2 during the Taste of Fair Food event from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays. Samples include funnel cake, deep-fried Oreos, barbecue tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon roll, corn dog, falafel, gelato, sushi, bratwurst and more.

Every Thursday in the Hangar, celebrity chefs will be sharing cooking tips and doing demos. Stop by to learn culinary secrets from Food Network's "Ace of Cakes" Duff Goldman (1:30 p.m. July 21); Bravo's "Top Chef" season-five finalist Carla Hall (5 p.m. July 28); "Top Chef" season-six winner Michael Voltaggio (1:30 p.m. Aug. 4); and Las Vegas-based RM Seafood's Rick Moonen (1:30 p.m. Aug. 11). The popular Food Truck Fare continues from noon to 10 p.m. every Thursday. Featured food trucks include the OC Food Truck, the Burnt Truck, Baconmania, Piaggio On Wheels, Dos Chinos and more.

Fairgoers can also compete in free daily eating contests held in the Fun Zone Tent at 6:30 p.m. (Registration is 30 minutes prior to each contest.)

Each Saturday, compete in the Culinary Arts contests for the best lunch bags, spicy hot wings, pies, cupcakes and cuisine on a stick. Online entry registration starts the Wednesday before each contest. Visit http://www.ocfair.com/competitions for information and to register.

The O.C. Fair also includes rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well as the popular Super Pass (season pass), Pacific Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series and Action Sports Arena.

The fair is open Wednesdays to Sundays through Aug. 24. The OC Fair & Event Center is off the San Diego (405) and Costa Mesa (55) freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit http://www.ocfair.com.

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Munch and run

Here's a clever way to eat and run! The first-ever Munchathon arrives in Orange County at Oak Canyon Park near Irvine Lake. The good people who thought up this one are combining a 5K food-themed fun run/obstacle course with food and beverage stops, as well as a festival of more than 40 gourmet food trucks.

Gourmet food truck followers will be thrilled to know that favorite trucks will be participating including Nom Nom, the Lime Truck, Seabirds, Ludotruck (some say the best fried chicken there is).

Registration (includes festival admission) through Friday for runners costs $55 and for a team is $220. General admission tickets cost $12 and early admission festival tickets (10 a.m. entry time) cost $22. Children ages 6 and younger get in for free. Oak Canyon Park is at 5305 Santiago Canyon Road in Silverado. Register or buy tickets at munchathon.com.

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Wines of the world

Generously poured wines for just $25 per person at dinner? Where can you sign up? Tuesday through Sept. 4, the Capital Grille at South Coast Plaza will be offering ample servings of nine rare and limited vintage varietals, hand-selected by a master sommelier, that perfectly pair with signature appetizers, premium dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood and house-made desserts.

During the summer-long Generous Pour Summer Wine Event, you can sample all nine wines or choose to have multiple tastings of one or more of their favorites from the Generous Pour list. The restaurant will also prepare custom wine flights upon request, if you prefer to compare and contrast wines.

Highlights from the collection of choice whites and reds include Tarima Hill Monastrell, 2009, a Spanish medium-bodied red wine; Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, considered one of Sonoma Valley's best wines; Marquis de la Tour, NV, a sparkling wine from France's Loire Valley, producing wines since 1885; and Conte Brandolini Vistorta Merlot, 2006, harvested from century old vines in Northeast Italy.

The Capital Grille is open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday at 3333 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 432-1140.

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Find your 'Heart' in Laguna

"I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett" is running at the Laguna Playhouse through Aug. 21. The tribute show consists of 40 songs recorded by Bennett, including popular favorites like "Because of You," "Stranger in Paradise," "The Best Is Yet To Come," "When Will the Bells Ring for Me?" and his biggest hit, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."

Laguna Playhouse at Moulton Theater is at 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. For performance dates, times and tickets sales, call (949) 497-2787 or visit http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

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Nothing square about Perse

James Perse is opening a pop-up sample sale shop this weekend at Triangle Square. It's the time to stock up on James Perse men's and women's comfy tees, hoodies, cargo pants, footwear and accessories as well as bedding. And enjoy drinks and snacks while you shop. The sale will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Triangle Square at Newport Boulevard and 19th Street in Costa Mesa.

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Curls, quickly

Put some smooth curls quickly in your hair with the Sultra Bombshell, now available in pink exclusively at Nordstrom for just $99 at its anniversary sale starting Friday. It's easy to use, and its Japanese Kyocera heating technology is designed to reduce heat damage. Nordstrom is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at 3333 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 549-8300.

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 e-mail 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.

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