At the top of a new summer menu for Kachina in Laguna Beach, which reopened recently after being closed five weeks for repairs and a remodel, John Sharpe plans to use an 1852 quote from Chief Seattle: "All things are connected like the blood that connects us all." That certainly seems to be the case with Orange County restaurants.
Sharpe, former executive chef at West Coast Restaurant Ventures, now owns Kachina, as well as Diva in Costa Mesa, Topaz Cafe in Santa Ana and Bistro 201 in Newport Beach, all bought from WCRV in a foreclosure sale earlier this year. That sale was all well and good, until it turned out that Kachina's liquor license was in default.
"It had been for 5 1/2 years," said Sharpe, who's still waiting for a new license. "David and Nancy [Wilhelm] had unfortunately never transferred the license from their personal names to West Coast Restaurant Ventures." David Wilhelm, Sharpe's predecessor at WCRV, recently surfaced at Chimayo Grille in Newport Beach, a joint venture with Taco Bell.
Summer items at Kachina range from chilled "Fire in the Wind," gespacho soup in a glass with a splash of Stoli that has been flavored with habanero chile ($5.50) and "little big pie" with turkey mole, pepitas and roasted chiles ($6.95) to mesquite-grilled 22-ounce prime rib chop with fire-roasted salsa, fresh horseradish and red chile mashed potatoes ($24).
Open nightly, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
222 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. (714) 497-5546.
Among wine-tasting dinners this week are one Friday at Mr. Stox, featuring France's Chateau Beaucastel and one Tuesday at Dolce focusing on Northern California-based Jekel Vineyards. The events couldn't be more different.
The Beaucastel dinner will feature at least five vintages of the estate's revered Chateauneuf-du-Papes Rouge, which uses as many as 13 types of grapes, as well as a rare Chateauneuf-du-Papes Blanc. Dishes include a "corral" of smoked chicken and spring greens on sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, and thyme infused sweetbreads with braised veal shank and chanterelles.
Dinner's at 7 p.m.; $85 all-inclusive.
The four-course Jekel dinner will feature nine different, mostly single-varietal wines, among them Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec alongside the more familiar Chardonnay and Merlot. Dishes include smoked trout parfait on baby mixed greens and duck ravioli with radicchio and mushroom sauce. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.; $45 without tax or tip.
Mr. Stox, 1105 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim. (714) 634-2994.
Dolce, 800 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach. (714) 631-4334.