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HOLIDAY DINING : This Year Leave the Cooking to Others; Yule Not Regret It

Beverly Bush Smith is a free-lance writer who regularly covers restaurant news for The Times Orange County Edition.

If you still have a yard-long list of to-do’s before Christmas, it’s time to eliminate something. Why not forget the preparation of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner? Most Orange County hotels and a number of restaurants stand ready to serve you. Here’s a sampling:

CHRISTMAS EVE

The upside-down Christmas tree, a longstanding tradition at Revere House, is back, thanks to new owner Robert Restaino. And on Christmas Eve, from 5 to 10 p.m., the restaurant will serve complete turkey and ham dinners for $12.95. Dinners of halibut, prime rib, filet mignon, veal Oscar, steak and shrimp scampi and lobster tail also will be available for $15.95 to $32.50. Children’s meals are half-price plus $1. Getting there: Since the 1st Street exit from the Costa Mesa Freeway is closed, exit at 4th Street, then head west to Tustin Avenue and south to the restaurant at 900 W. 1st St. in Tustin. Reservations: (714) 543-9319.

Carolers will entertain at the ocean-view Las Brisas, where reservations are available from 5 to 8 p.m. The regular menu, with the accent on foods of Mexico, will be served. Entree prices range from $10 to $23; 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. (714) 497-5434.

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For an English country Christmas, head for Summit House in Fullerton, which will be serving carved-to-order prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. Also on the menu: rack of lamb, roast duckling, salmon Wellington and broiled swordfish. And don’t forget the English trifle. A la carte prices: $12.95 to $19.95. Extended Christmas Eve hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Reservations: (714) 671-4111; 2000 E. Bastanchury Road.

At Le Meridien Newport Beach, Cafe Fleuri will serve a three-course menu, with an entree choice of roast goose and juniper berry sauce or steamed filet of salmon with champagne sauce. Dessert: a traditional French Yule log. It’s $20 per adult and $15 per child. Meanwhile, in the hotel’s Restaurant Antoine, chef Jean Pierre Lemanissier will offer three-, four- and five-course menus. An entree of sauteed turkey breast medallions with rosemary sauce may be augmented with such choices as oysters wrapped in smoked salmon and caviar, and foie gras with apple cider sauce. A harpist will entertain. Prices: $42 for three courses, $48 for four courses and $58 for five courses. Both restaurants will serve from 6 to 10 p.m. Le Meridien is at 4500 MacArthur Blvd. Reservations: (714) 476-2001.

Dickens & Co. carolers perform at Chanteclair, where chef Bryan Gemmell’s holiday entrees include Christmas roast goose with black current sauce, apples and raisins, and venison with grand veneur sauce, baked apples and chestnut puree. Entrees are $17 to $29; dinner hours from 5 to 10 p.m.; 18912 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine. (714) 752-8001.

A three-course dinner of soup or salad, 10-ounce prime rib dinner and dessert will be served for $13.95 at Cafe Alicante in the Hyatt Regency Alicante. Come between 5 and 10 p.m., Harbor Boulevard and Chapman Avenue, Anaheim. Reservations: (714) 750-1234, Ext. 6047.

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At the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, the Terrace Restaurant plans a four-course dinner with choice of entrees: roast turkey with chestnut dressing, lamb roast stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, or roasted goose with rosemary focaccia stuffing. It’s $45 for adults, $22.50 for children under 12. The hotel’s Dining Room will serve a five-course menu with entree selection of poached sturgeon, roasted goose with red onion marmalade, venison loin or beef tenderloin gratinee. The cost: $65 for adults, $32.50 for children under 12. And the Club Grill and Bar’s four-course menu offers a choice of goose, veal loin or Dover sole at $55 for adults, $27.50 for children under 12. All three restaurants will serve from 6 to 10 p.m. The hotel is at 33533 Ritz-Carlton Drive. Reservations: (714) 240-2000.

CHRISTMAS DAY

The Revere House in Tustin will serve the same menu as on Christmas Eve (see above). Hours: noon to 9 p.m.

“A Snow White Christmas” sets the scene for the Disneyland Hotel’s Yuletide dinner in the Grand Ballroom. For the noon to 7 p.m. celebration, the ballroom will become the Seven Dwarfs’ cottage, where Snow White and friends celebrate the holiday and mingle with guests. The all-you-can-eat buffet features roasted turkey, ham and carved round of beef. An old-fashioned brass ensemble will play, and guests receive a tree ornament. The cost: $29.50 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 3 to 11, free for those under 3. Reservations: (714) 956-6413. In addition, the hotel’s Caffe Villa Verde restaurant will offer “Carve Your Own Turkey” between 1 and 9 p.m. This family-style dinner with traditional trimmings is $19.95 for adults, $9.95 for ages 12 and under. Reservations: (714) 956-6403. The hotel’s address: 1150 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim, adjacent to Disneyland.

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The Dana Point Resort has scheduled a Christmas buffet with cold items, salads and desserts, and entrees such as carved ham and turkey, roast filet of beef, grilled salmon, and roulade of chicken with crab meat. At Watercolors Restaurant from noon to 9 p.m. $32 for adults, $16 for children under 12; 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point. (714) 661-5000.

At the Surf & Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach, Towers restaurant presents a three-course prix fixe menu from noon to 8 p.m. It’s $35 per person ($18 for children under 12) and includes choice of appetizer, entree and dessert, hot spiced wine or sparkling cider, coffee or tea. Entree choices include roast turkey with corn bread stuffing, sauteed salmon with lobster, grilled tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, and roasted leg of lamb with rosemary potatoes. At the same time, the Surf & Sand’s new beachfront Splashes restaurant will serve from an a la carte Christmas menu. Entrees (which include turkey with corn bread stuffing, grilled Angus rib eye with roasted potatoes, and cassoulet of lamb tenderloin with pancetta and tarragon) range from $15 to $20. Special child’s platter: $12. Splashes serves from noon to 10 p.m. For reservations in either restaurant, call (714) 497-4477; 1555 S. Coast Highway.

The Hyatt Regency Alicante’s Cafe Alicante will begin the day with a “Christmas Country Breakfast,” from 9 a.m. to noon. A holiday buffet will feature baked ham, eggs Benedict, cheese blintzes, scrambled eggs and more. It’s $10.95 for adults, $5.50 for ages 5 to 12 and free for children under 5. Then, from 1 to 9 p.m. the Cafe will feature dinners that include both a soup and salad bar and a dessert bar. Entree selections range from turkey and ham to leg of lamb with minted Tuscan bean ragout. The cost: $14.95 for adults, $7.50 for ages 5 to 12, free for children under 5.

At the Westin South Coast Plaza, Alfredo’s Ristorante presents a four-course dinner with entree choices of rosemary and garlic roasted turkey, roast rack of lamb with chestnut crust, and grilled swordfish with orange-cranberry sauce. Adults, $28; children under 12, $14. The hotel’s The Cafe will celebrate with a hearty holiday buffet including turkey, leg of lamb and halibut with champagne sauce, priced at $18 for adults, $11 for children under 12. Both restaurants will serve from noon to 6 p.m. Reservations: (714) 540-2500; 666 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa.

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A holiday brunch will be offered in La Plaza at the Anaheim Marriott from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $14.95 per person includes champagne. 700 W. Convention Way. (714) 750-8000.

At the Ritz-Carlton, the Dining Room, Club Grill and Bar and the Terrace Restaurant will all serve from their regular menus from 4 to 10 p.m. Terrace, however, will also serve a buffet brunch, similar to the hotel’s elaborate Sunday brunch, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It’s $38.50 for adults, $19 for children under 12.

The Fullerton Marriott will serve from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., beginning with a breakfast buffet that includes omelet and waffle stations and a juice bar. It’s $9.95 per person until 10 a.m., when lunch and dinner items--such as a full salad bar and sliced turkey and ham--will be added, increasing the cost to $15.95 per person. 2701 Nutwood Ave. (714) 738-7100.

JW’s Sea Grill at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Tennis Club in Fashion Island plans a Christmas buffet with entrees such as roasted goose with red cabbage, honey-glazed ham, baked salmon, prime rib and turkey. Seating times are noon, 12:30, 2, 2:30, 4:30, 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. The cost: $21.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors, $12.95 for children under 12. (714) 729-3565.

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At Le Meridien Newport Beach, brunch in the Cafe Fleuri features a seafood table of Dungeness crab, jumbo shrimp, assorted smoked fish and fresh Washington oysters on the half shell. Entrees include roast goose, leg of lamb with apple cider sauce, and Atlantic cod with champagne sauce. Santa will be on hand, too. The cost: $24 per person, $15 per child under age 12. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 4500 MacArthur Blvd. (714) 476-2001.

CHRISTMAS TO GO

The Clay Oven will repeat its Thanksgiving takeout offering of tandoori-style turkey; plus, the restaurant will prepare a tandoori goose for this holiday. Orders need to be placed by Tuesday noon, so that birds can be marinated in Indian spices before roasting. Pick up your order between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Christmas Eve. The cost is $80 for a 12- to 14-pound goose, stuffed with basmati rice and vegetables, served with naan and apple-raisin-ginger chutney. The turkey with rice stuffing and cranberry chutney is $35. (714) 552-2851; 15435 Jeffrey Road, Irvine.

The Westin South Coast Plaza will prepare complete dinners of turkey, stuffing, salad, accompaniments and dessert. The cost is based on number of people: for two, $45; three, $59; four, $75--on up to dinner for 12 at $215. You may also purchase the prepared turkey only: 10 to 12 pounds, $38; 13 to 18 pounds, $53; 19 to 22 pounds, $76. Orders must be placed by noon on Monday. (714) 540-2500, Ext. 5490, or (714) 662-6694. Location: 666 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa.

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