Zov's Bistro Will Cozy Up to Hearty Comfort Foods

The popular Zov's Bistro in Tustin will open a new takeout section, including its own bakery, at the end of July. "Nothing frou-frou," insists owner Zov Karamardian. She'll focus on comfort foods: roasted chicken with fresh herbs, pot pies, leg of lamb, casseroles, salads and appetizers at "family-oriented" prices. Breads and pastries will include brioches, hearty yeast loaves, muffins and Danishes. In the meantime, Karamardian will conduct a cooking class on June 8 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the restaurant, demonstrating three different, easy, 60-minute menus. Each will consist of three courses--appetizer, entree and dessert--which means you taste nine courses for $45. The address is 17440 E. 17th St., Tustin. (714) 838-8855.

Tandoori cuisine will come to Laguna late in July with the opening of a second Clay Oven (the first is in Irvine). Stay tuned for details on the location and menu. Meanwhile, the Irvine Clay Oven will present a winemaker's dinner featuring J. Lohr wines on Monday. The five-course menu will include seafood, chicken and lamb. It's $35, tax included, and begins at 6:30 p.m. The address is 15435 Jeffrey Road. (714) 552-2851.

The Back Bay Cafe, that casual bayside restaurant at Newport Dunes Resort, has extended its summer hours to include dinner Thursday through Sunday. Those arriving by boat will find complimentary guest slips next to the Dunes' boat launch ramp. By land, enter the main Newport Dunes gate and go through the parking lot to the water's edge at the far right. The cafe, with its bay-view patio, serves breakfast weekdays from 7 to 11 a.m., Saturday and Sunday till noon. It's open until 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and until 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The lunch menu emphasizes salads and sandwiches. Evening specials include shrimp, scallops and halibut at $6.95 and $7.95. There is free parking at 1131 Backbay Drive. (714) 729-DUNE.

The Single Gourmet group will dine on Wednesday at Tutto Mare in Newport Beach, June 10 at Caffe Looma in Newport Beach, June 16 at the Hobbit in Orange, and June 25 at Monique in Laguna Beach. Dinners begin at 6:30 p.m. And on July 12, the group will begin the evening at Five Feet in Laguna Beach, then attend the Pageant of the Masters (the cost of this package event ranges from $40 to $75). Information: (714) 854-6552.

The secrets of the cuisine and fine wine service at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point are now accessible to amateur chefs. Christian Rassinoux, the hotel's award-winning French executive chef, recently debuted a Cooking With the Masters school, which will offer its next class on Monday. Other classes are scheduled for June 8 and 22, July 6 and 20 and Aug. 3, 17 and 31, with a fall-winter series to be announced later. Rassinoux oversees the school and utilizes the talents of all the hotel chefs, including Michelin star-ranked Boris Keller, chef of the Dining Room; Patrick Glennon, the Terrace Restaurant; John Gray, Club Grill & Bar; Donald Berger, executive sous chef, and Nicholas Sonveau, pastry chef. Each class includes continental breakfasts with the instructing chef, plus a tour of the hotel's herb garden and six kitchens. Instruction in preparing a four-course menu will be hands-on. (This Monday's menu includes rack of lamb with wild mushroom sauce, zucchini cake mousse, gratin Dauphinoise and caramel apple tatin. ) Then, students discuss foods and wine while dining on all four courses in a formal luncheon with two wines. Classes are from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and cost $125 per person, or $300 for a series of three classes. Reservations: (714) 240-5008.

Brazilian Tropical Cafe is the newest addition to the cornucopia of food choices at the Atrium Court in Fashion Island. The cafe offers such menu items as Portuguese sausages with black beans, Spanish rice and onions, and sandwiches a la Brazil, served in corn crepes. (714) 720-1522.

Meanwhile, the buzz continues that the Cheesecake Factory, a high-volume, full-service restaurant, will open in the Fashion Island space formerly occupied by Rex. No official confirmation yet from Fashion Island management, however.

Mr. Stox's summertime trips to the Hollywood Bowl have become so popular, they're almost sold out already; $70 per person covers bus transportation, a gourmet picnic dinner (complete with wine, linens, flowers and cozy tables) and the concert. Scheduled are the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein on July 11, a "Tchaikovsky Spectacular" with fireworks on Aug. 8 and the fireworks finale, John Williams conducting, on Sept. 12. Departure is at 5:15 p.m. from the restaurant at 1105 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim. (714) 634-2994.

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