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ALL ABOUT FOOD: For your late-night food fix

Is it true that eating late will make you fat? It’s been commonly assumed that late evening is the worst time to eat because your body slows down then. Could this be another urban myth? Maybe so!

Apparently there are no conclusive studies proving that it makes any difference when you consume those essential calories. “Your body doesn’t really recognize what time it is, it is a little bit of a myth," said Nigel Denby, of the British Dietetic Assn. “The bottom line is a calorie is a calorie whenever you eat it."

Scientists at Oregon Health and Science University carried out tests on female monkeys and discovered no link between when they ate and whether they gained weight.

Of course, it is important to differentiate between eating an extra meal of fatty snacks while watching TV and eating a healthy dinner late in the evening as they do in Spain, for instance.

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“The truth is that variables such as frequency of meals, the glycemic index of food, calorie intake and hormonal balance are the real power brokers in the body’s capacity to burn or gain fat," wrote Ori Hofmekler in “The Warrior Diet."

We carry the same genes as our hunter-gatherer forebears who ate at night while resting.

Our body operates according to the circadian clock, active during the day and relaxed at night. The highly alert “fight or flight" state is responsible for actions or reactions to stress during the day and responsible for relaxation, digestion and sleep during the night. For that matter, our body digests and utilizes nutrients better at night.

Finally, late meals often have a relaxing effect on the body, preparing you for sleep. If nothing else, late meals can bring a happy ending to a tough day.

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Armed with this information, you are now ready to take advantage of Laguna’s late-night dining spots after the movies, the theater, a concert or a club. Maybe you just want a bite to eat to soak up some of the excess liquid refreshment swirling through your system.

Special late night menus are featured at Hush, Mosun and Sorrento Grill. After 11 p.m. at Mosun’s Club M, at the VIP tables, you can get appetizers or a sashimi platter until they decide to close.

Hush has a bar menu Wednesday through Saturday where they serve food until 1 a.m. and the bar is open until 2 a.m. They offer 10 different choices, some of which sound really yummy: truffled macaroni and cheese; spicy shrimp spring rolls; Dungeness crab cake; cheeseburger and fries; ahi tuna tartar; and a rosemary lamb bite. If your wallet seems unbearably heavy or you’re out to make a lasting impression on your bank balance as well as your guest, you can get a caviar tasting featuring an ounce of Beluga and an ounce of Osetra with traditional garnishes and a shot of Grey Goose for a mere $250. Add a 1997 Louis Roederer Cristal and the tab will come to $595.

The newest hot spot to come on the scene for late-night fare is Sorrento After Dark, the nocturnal incarnation of Sorrento Grill, serving appetizers and desserts on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight. A hearty corn chowder with applewood smoked bacon and rock shrimp will dilute the evening’s libations, as will chicken sausage and green chili tortilla soup. If you’re just hungry, try the Angus sirloin sliders with crispy fried onions and Roquefort sauce or the chicken Caesar salad, in the traditional style or wood grilled. Other yummy nibbles include lobster beignet with spicy remoulade or grilled artichokes with Hollandaise. There are also three desserts to satisfy that sweet tooth: tiramisu, crème brulee and the Avalanche, a brownie soufflé with ice cream and two sauces.

Hennessey’s serves its regular menu every night until 12:30 a.m. and cold food until 1 a.m. The classic bar food includes: buffalo wings, Irish nachos (potato planks instead of chips), burgers, steaks, meatloaf, corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips. Cold food means salads and sandwiches.

The Aegean Café is opened until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, serving its regular menu. Greek food makes good late-night eating because it features a long list of appetizers like hummus, eggplant and tarama (caviar) dips as well as saganaki "” melted cheese, flamed with brandy. Other tasty choices include Spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, fried or marinated calamari and beeftekia (grilled ground beef).

There are those who might say that a closing hour of 11 p.m. hardly constitutes late-night dining; but in Laguna, 11 p.m. seems to be the witching hour in a number of places, while the vast majority close by 10 p.m.

The following restaurants serve their regular menu until 11 p.m. K’ya, downstairs, is now open every day until 11 p.m. but they may go back to 10:30 p.m. during the winter months. Cedar Creek is open late Monday through Saturday. At Mastro’s Ocean Club, it’s Thursday through Saturday.

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On Fridays and Saturdays, for 11 p.m. closings, you have a choice of Cabana, Five Feet, Javier’s, Partners Bistro, San Shi Go, Sapphire, Splashes, Shebeen at Mozambique and the Terrace at Hotel Laguna.


ELLE HARROW and TERRY MARKOWITZ owned A La Carte for 20 years. They can be reached for comments or questions at themarkos755@yahoo.com.


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