Anniversary Specials Serve Dinners at 10

Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to the Times Orange County

Tenth anniversaries traditionally mean tin or aluminum. But at Capriccio Italiano Ristorante, it means a pasta festival, while at Antoine it means a retrospective of its recipes, served with some of the more celebrated 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons.

In both cases, way better than tin.

Sunday through March 23, Capriccio offers a six-course meal for $12.95 any time after 4 p.m.

"It's a bargain," agreed owner Valentino Marciano. "Some people have already made reservations to come three of the nights, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday."

Dinner features a Caesar salad, four pasta dishes--including sedanini alla Bella Otero (tube pasta with fresh tomato sauce, cream, pancetta , tarragon and vodka) and farfalline alla Norma (bow-tie pasta with prosciutto, pine nuts, walnuts and cream sauce)--and tiramisu, not to mention a classical guitarist.

When that festival ends, you can run over to Antoine, where on March 24, for $150 per plate (and after a canape reception featuring a selection of 1985 Chardonnays) chef Jean Pierre Lemanissier serves up a paupiette of marinated salmon and crayfish remoulade with 1985 Reserve Cabernets from Robert Mondavi and Clos du Val.

The meal continues with roasted filet of sea bass in an herb crust, with flagship Cabernets from Beaulieu Vineyards and Beringer; chilled grapefruit and cantaloupe in Sauternes; gratineed veal tenderloin on a bed of cepe mushroom s , with Silver Oak and Caymus Special Select Cabernets, and white and dark chocolate mousse with griotte cherries, alongside 1985 Opus One.

The 10th anniversary dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Reservations are recommended at Capriccio and required at Antoine. Neither price includes tax or gratuity.

Antoine, 4500 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach. (714) 476-2001, Ext. 2158. (In the Sutton Place Hotel, formerly Le Meridien.)

Capriccio Italiano Ristorante, 25380 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. (714) 855-6866. (In the Alpha Beta Shopping Center.)


For just $10, you can taste as many as 20 current releases of Cabernet Sauvignon from California wineries from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Wine Club.

Wineries already confirmed include Chateau Montelena, Heitz, Jordan and Far Niente. Guests are asked to use moderation--and, with a lineup like that, that's going to take some extra care.

Wine Club, 2110 E. McFadden Ave., Suite E, Santa Ana. (714) 835-6485.

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