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HOLIDAY DINING : Restaurants Roll Out the Green Carpet for St. Patrick’s Day

Time for the simmerin’ of the corned beef and pourin’ of the green beer. St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, and here are a few restaurants and pubs where you might celebrate:

Think green is the mandate at Champions Sports Bar in the Irvine Marriott this Friday through Sunday. A $2 food buffet will set forth corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew, and those who wear green will be offered drink specials. There will be deejay music and “Irish activities” from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday; 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday. Information: (714) 553-0100.

Irish tacos? Yup, most El Toritos in Orange County will serve 50-cent corned-beef tacos--corn tortilla, corned beef and shredded cabbage (mustard on the side)--starting Friday afternoon and continuing through Sunday evening. The corned-beef tacos will be complimentary on the Sunday brunch buffets.

At the Five Crowns in Corona del Mar, leprechauns will give away gold chocolate coins and potted shamrocks on Sunday. Corned beef and cabbage will be added to the regular menu, with corned-beef sandwiches in the pub. Brunch, priced from $11.50, will be served from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; dinner from 4 p.m. 3801 Pacific Coast Highway. Reservations: (714) 760-0331.

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Bennigan’s has a variety of celebrations planned at its Orange County restaurants:

In Laguna Hills, they’ll be coloring the drinks green, serving corned beef and cabbage ($5.95) and offering contests and deejay dancing Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. till 1:30 a.m. Bagpipers will play on Sunday. 24231 Avenida de la Carlota; (714) 837-0340.

The Costa Mesa Bennigan’s will throw a “big party” from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday. There’ll be a deejay, live music, dancing and green beer at 3333 Bristol St. (714) 241-8938.

Bennigan’s in Westminster will charge $1.50 for any kind of drink on Saturday. Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. there will be a deejay and dancing, plenty of green beer and food specials such as corned beef and cabbage for $5.45. It’s at 545 Westminster Mall. (714) 891-4522.

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The Cat & the Custard Cup will add corned beef and cabbage as well as Irish lamb stew to its Sunday dinner menu, served from 5 to 9 p.m. Entree prices: $12 to $15. The restaurant is at 800 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra. (213) 694-3812.

Hogue Barmichael’s in Costa Mesa will cook up corned beef and cabbage and serve pitchers of green beer for $3.50 on Sunday. There’ll be free sodas for designated drivers during the celebration, from noon till 2 a.m. 1976 Newport Blvd. (714) 645- 3678.

Studio Cafe in Corona del Mar will pour green beer and Irishmen’s Black and Tan (Guinness and Harp’s) and feature a “high energy” band in place of its usual Sunday jazz. The restaurant is open all day from 10 a.m., serving brunch till 2 p.m., dinner till 2 a.m. 3201 Pacific Coast Highway. (714) 675-7575.

St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest day of the year for the Heritage Brewing Co., so it sets up an outside bar. However, it refuses to defile its own brews with green coloring. It’s brewing a special Irish red ale for the occasion and will serve a champagne or ale brunch this Sunday only from 9 to 11:30 a.m., followed by the regular menu. Food specials include corned beef, mulligan stew, Irish pot pie and Irish soda bread. “Wear green or get pinched,” cautions co-owner John Stoner. 24921 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point. (714) 240-2060.

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In Huntington Beach, in the West Coast Club bar at the Waterfront Hilton, anyone with an Irish name and the I.D. to prove it will receive two-for-one drinks on Sunday. Specialties for the day: grasshoppers, black ale and Irish coffee. 2100 Pacific Coast Highway. (714) 960-7873.

To touch off the holiday, Zeb O’Breen’s Goat Hill Tavern on Sunday will unveil Zeb O’Breen’s Irish ale, a private label on tap. It’s the newest addition to the 104 tap offerings served here. There will be green beer, Irish music and “little prizes” from 10 a.m. till 2 a.m. It’s at 1830 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa. (714) 548-8428.

McCormick and Schmick’s will present a fund-raiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. in its nightclub from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets (a $5 donation) may be purchased at the restaurant or the Muscular Dystrophy Assn., 12465 Lewis St., Garden Grove. The Irish buffet will include Irish potatoes, shepherd’s pie and Irish stew. There will be drink specials, live and deejay music and drawings for prizes such as a trip to Hawaii and lunch with a celebrity. The restaurant will open early, at 2 p.m., with St. Patrick’s Day specials such as corned beef and cabbage at $11.95, plus the regular a la carte menu. A jazz band will play for diners from 6 to 10 p.m. 2000 Main St., Irvine. (714) 756-0505.

Muldoon’s in Newport Center will open at 9 a.m. and serve brunch till 2 p.m. on St. Paddy’s Day. Offerings include egg dishes, corned beef and cabbage and fish and chips, all in the $7.95-to-$14 range. Dinner, from 2 to 11 p.m., features Mrs. Murphy’s pot roast, its “original” Irish stew, boiled dinner, fresh fish and leg of lamb Bally Maloe (with rosemary). Prices: $10.95 to $18. The Fenians, a three-piece Irish folk band will play from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and another band, Aisling, will perform from 2 p.m. till midnight. Harp’s and Guinness will be on tap, and you may sip Irish coffee made with Bushmill’s or Irish tea laced with Jameson’s. (714) 640-4110. 202 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach.

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The Blarney Stone in Fountain Valley will open at 7 a.m. and serve till 2 a.m. Sunday. The Irish Beggermen (who play here the first of each month) will perform with tenor Tommy Keogh from Dublin and Ross Raymond on the Irish fiddle. Special drinks include Irish coffee and Bailey’s and coffee. And corned-beef sandwiches will be available. 11761 Edinger Ave., Fountain Valley. (714) 775-9987.

Malarkey’s Irish Pub will open Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 7 a.m. to serve green beer and a corned-beef hash breakfast. On Sunday there will be giveaways, videos of guests on the big screen and corned-beef sandwiches. 3011 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach (714) 675-2340.

Malone’s in Irvine, normally closed on Sunday, will open to celebrate at 11 a.m. on the holiday, as well as on Friday and Saturday. Specials include corned beef and cabbage and lamb stew. 604 Dyer Road, Irvine. (714) 540-6667.


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