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Greer's OC: Fusion eatery opens downtown

Digg's Restaurant & Bar, a new international fusion concept, just opened near downtown Huntington Beach. And in celebration of the opening, it's offering Greer's OC readers 20% off through November just for mentioning Greer's OC. From gourmet burgers and salads to USDA Prime steaks and seafood, at Digg's you're going to find something for everyone. There are also international dishes like dakine, tender-sliced, marinated beef in a Mongolian sauce and Digg's deep pow, lightly breaded chicken or halibut chunks sautéed in Asian sauce. Other options include honey-glazed salmon, Alaskan crab cakes and a brandy pepper rib eye. The menu also offers a variety of appetizers such as roasted garlic, coconut shrimp and seared ahi sashimi.

The lunch and bar menus offer items from the main menu as well as an assortment of sandwiches and burgers, even Brazilian Acai bowls, exotic berry and other fresh fruit topped with granola and drizzled with honey.

Owner Phil Mack Chung comes from a background of restaurant owners with his dad, a chef of more than 30 years, at one point operating a dozen restaurants. After moving to Huntington Beach from Lake Tahoe to help his dad during a sickness, Chung was inspired by local culture and dining experiences and wanted to carry on the family tradition in this environment. "I wanted to build a restaurant that represented me, the people in my life and HB," Chung says. "Laid back, healthy, great music, drinks and amazing, unique food. Everything you dig is at Digg's." Chung used all his resources to make it happen, pulled together a skilled slew of friends to handle everything from carpentry and painting to running the kitchen and bar. And what started out as a dream soon became a reality.

Digg's chic design is complemented by more relaxed details reminiscent of the local beach culture with surf art and photography as well as eight HD plasma screen televisions. Digg's will also offer outdoor dining, a full bar and a happy hour menu to satisfy the casual after-work cocktail or the perfect ale to enjoy while watching the game.

Digg's is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday at 8052 Adams Ave. in Huntington Beach. For more information, call (714) 960-3670 or visit http://www.diggsrestaurant.com.

Mobile food cart festival

We all know about the food truck phenomenon, but let's not forget about its origins: the indispensable food cart. Celebrating the evolution of roaming food is the country's first mobile food cart festival, Cartchella, rolling into Halecrest Park in Costa Mesa on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Attendees can enjoy foodie favorites, all served from favorite food carts, including Board & Brew Sandwiches, Coolhaus, Baby's Badass Burgers, the Classic Hot Dog Cart, I Cater BBQ, Rasta Taco and Tropical Shaved Ice. Live music makes any event even better, and that's covered with local bands performing, including Pilot Touhill, James Ide and Kevin Smith. The festival will also include unique vendors and adult beverages. What's even better than spending an afternoon grazing on hot dogs, burgers, shaved ice, barbecue, tacos and more is that proceeds will benefit the Kaiser Woodland Schools Foundation in Costa Mesa. With each bite you take, you'll be helping enrich academic programs at their school. Halecrest Park is at 3107 Killybrooke Lane in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit http://www.cartchella.com or call Mario Melendez at (949) 842-6936.

Tommy Bahama in Laguna

Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach is opening Saturday, giving you a new choice for open-air dining and indulging in a shopping spree before or after drinks and bites. (Its adjacent Tommy Bahama store features the popular lifestyle brand's men's and women's apparel and home décor.) Just steps away from Laguna's Main Beach and shops, Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach offers contemporary American cuisine for lunch, dinner and in-between pick-me-ups in its open-air dining area and casual bar.

You can sip on hand-crafted, tropical-inspired cocktail quenchers, or order a microbrew on tap or a relaxing glass of wine from the rather extensive wine list.

Highlights from the starter menu include a selection of lobster corn dogs, ahi tuna tacos, shrimp Avalon (chilled tiger shrimp and Dungeness crab), a wedge salad or a generous cheese plate. There is also chilled shrimp Avalon and light and crispy ahi tuna tacos made with wonton shells, wasabi-lime infused avocado and Asian slaw. Starter prices range from $5 to $16.

The entrée choices include a shrimp BLT, loaded with Nueske's applewood-smoked bacon, romaine lettuce, roma tomatoes, avocado and garlic aioli on toasted sourdough; a swordfish sandwich, pablano chicken fillet, shrimp and mahi mahi. With the "Laguna Harvest" burger, you can choose the protein from Prime angus beef, chicken breast or veggie. Try a side of lobster macaroni and cheese, crispy fries with truffle oil and dried tomato risotto. Sides go for $5 to $16 and entrees from $12 to $25.

Desserts are reasonably priced from $6 to $10. Choose a real honest-to-goodness root beer float or a heavenly slice of banana cream pie or the triple chocolate cake with mocha mousse whipped cream.

After a time in Tommy Bahama's Laguna food and drink paradise, browse the retail store for this quality lifestyle brand's men's and women's sportswear, swimwear, accessories and home décor.

The store is open 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday at 400 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. Call the restaurant at (949) 376-6886, the retail store at (949) 376-6881 or visit http://www.tommybahama.com.

Explore Japanese culture, arts

JapanOC has arrived. Following on the success of last year's festival celebrating Chinese culture, JapanOC was made possible from an amazing collaboration among Henry Segerstrom, Carnegie Hall and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. This unprecedented festival of Japanese culture will call Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa home through April. It's a thrilling seasonlong festival that explores the fascinating diversity of Japanese and Japanese-American arts and culture with world-class classical musicians, traditional and contemporary dance, jazz and traditional Japanese musical performances. There will also be intriguing films, lectures, readings, museum exhibits and more.

Highlights from the festival will include world-renowned violinist Midori in recital joined by pianist Robert McDonald, (March 11 at 8 p.m. Samueli Theater); one of the most innovative ukulele players in the world, Jake Shimabukuro, with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, playing jazz, blues, funk, classical and bluegrass (March 24 at 8 p.m., Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall); and the award-winning Tokyo String Quartet (April 19 at 8 p.m. at Samueli Theater).

You can also attend tributes to composer T??ru Takemitsu (Dec. 19 at 8 p.m., Samueli Theater); and "Noguchi East Meets West" featuring about 50 sculptures and 50 drawings, spanning more than 60 years of Isamu Noguchi's career (Feb. 27 to May 15 at Laguna Art Museum.)

We don't want you to miss a thing, and you can find the entire JapanOC calendar at http://www.philharmonicsociety.org/JapanOC/ including venues, tickets and more.

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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