Touch of Thai and a Peak Experience

<i> Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to the Times Orange County Edition</i>

The monthly meeting of the American Institute of Wine & Food takes a Thai twist tonight with a dinner at Thai Touch restaurant in Newport Beach.

Appetizers include Thai tacos, egg rolls filled with ground shrimp and chicken and topped with garlic and pepper; pad eggplant, slices of eggplant and shrimp sauteed in a red curry paste, is among three entrees.

Southern Wine and Spirits has donated wines by Geyser Peak. The cost is $42 for members, $47 for non-members, including tax and gratuities. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.

2616 San Miguel Drive, Newport Beach. (714) 955-4542.



Tortilla chips are on the house at the San Clemente Fiesta Salsa Challenge, Aug. 7, but you can bring the dip.

Salsa chefs offer their concoctions for a public taste-testing outdoors under a tent at 11 a.m. Fiesta-goers will decide People’s Choice winners, while official judges will make awards in the best salsa category--based on flavor, color and consistency--and most original team category. Awards will be made in restaurant and individual classes, and winners will be announced at 2 p.m. Winners get framed certificates and a variety of prizes including T-shirts, hotel stays and dinners for two.

Deadline for entries is Aug. 1. Entry fees are $25 for restaurants and $15 for individuals; forms are available at the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce. Tastes are four for $1.


Corner of Avenida Del Mar and El Camino Real, San Clemente. (714) 492-1131.


The Veni Vidi Vici Vino Dining Series at Sfuzzi bistro in Costa Mesa continues Monday with a pairing of Alaska seafoods with the wines of Robert Mondavi.

Chef Susan Kaitz has created a four-course menu including Alaskan king crab and oysters, an array of smoked Alaska seafood with toasted brioche, pan-seared Alaska salmon with bay laurel and Tahitian vanilla and oven-roasted Alaska halibut with black pepper Pinot Noir sauce.

Cost is $45, not including tax and gratuity; a sparkling wine reception begins at 7 p.m.

1870A Harbor Blvd., Suite 200, Costa Mesa, in Triangle Square. (714) 548-9500.

Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to the Times Orange County Edition. Information for this column can be Faxed to (714) 966-7790, or addressed to: Newsbites/OC Live!, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.