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FESTIVALS & EVENTS : ‘Taste of San Clemente’ to Be Romantica Night

<i> Zion Banks is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition. </i>

San Clemente residents are getting a bit of a jump on the holidays.

Billed as a “pre-holiday season event,” the Chamber of Commerce’s second annual “Taste of San Clemente” will be held at the Casa Romantica this Friday night, under a tent laced with lights in the building’s foyer. The event offers an opportunity to sample hors d’oeuvres, entrees, desserts and wine from 22 local restaurants, along with live music and dancing.

Chamber spokesperson Sue Monlux said that the hope is the festive spirit of this year’s event, plus the opportunity to view Casa Romantica--home of the city’s late founder, Ole Hanson--will attract residents.

“Everyone can dress up in their holiday attire,” Monlux said. “There are not a whole lot of formal events that happen in San Clemente, and this is formal.”

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Maureen Gates, owner of Events By Design--a company that books private functions at Casa Romantica--says the affair will allow the public a chance to get inside the city’s 64-year-old centerpiece, which sits on 2.5 acres above the San Clemente Pier.

Gates leases the building for $8,900 a month from the city and uses it to host mostly weddings and corporate parties. “Once a year, we do ‘Taste of San Clemente’ at no charge. I do it for the people . . . The people of San Clemente never get into the Casa Romantica, so this is something for the locals.”

Last year, the chamber sold 350 tickets to the event, which featured cuisine from 12 restaurants.

Friday’s festivities run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $25 and entitle participants to buffet-style tasting from all 22 restaurants, samples from three wineries, a complimentary wine glass embossed with the chamber’s logo and valet parking.

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What: “Taste of San Clemente.”

When: Friday, Nov. 8, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: The Casa Romantica, 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente.

Whereabouts: Take the San Diego Freeway to Palizada. Exit south to El Camino Real. Left on El Camino Real, then right onto Avenida Del Mar--follow until it meets Avenida Granada.

Wherewithal: $25.

Where to Call: Chamber of Commerce, (714) 492-1131.


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