Greer's OC: Pair the perfect wines with Italian creations

You are in for an Italian culinary treat. One of Orange County's most accomplished chefs, Franco Barone, former executive chef of Antonello Ristorante for nearly 20 years, and his wife, Donatella, are hosting their first wine dinner at 6 p.m. July 27 at their namesake Il Barone Ristorante in Newport Beach. You can taste his old-world-meets-modern-Italian culinary creations paired with Mission Wine Co. wines from Ciro Cirillo. Space is limited, and the wine dinner is priced at $65 per person, all inclusive.

Reserve your spot at For more information, visit

The dinner starts with assaggini, a selection of antipasto, thin slices of cured swordfish drizzled with orange, citrus mustard vinaigrette topped with baby greens and paired with a glass of Falanghina. Next dish is homemade thin pasta twills in a old fashion lamb ragú paired with Sangiovese Puglia. The second course, thin pounded medallions of beef tenderloin rolled with Parma prosciutto, provolone cheese, pine nuts bread crumbs and fresh herbs in a garlic white wine tomato sauce, paired with La Cattura. For dessert, fresh peaches and vanilla custard tarts served with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato, paired with Moscato d'Asti.

If you can't make the wine dinner, you must stop in for lunch or dinner. Il Barone, a hidden gem, is one of our favorite Italian restaurants. From the kitchen, you can taste Donatella's mother's recipes, like her breadsticks and cannelloni di Mamma Giovanna, homemade crepes, braised beef and veal, tomato, mozzarella and parmigiano ($15) and Franco's homemade pastas and family tradition classics. You must try the grilled octopus salad with celery, red onions, arugula and lemon ($10); the homemade pasta twills in delicate rabbit ragu ($14); and the tasty vitello al vapore, veal scaloppini, steamed in a clay pot with lemon juice and herbs. And save room for dessert: layered chocolate mousse sponge cake with raspberry sauce, ricotta and mascarapone cheesecake, and raisins cooked in mosto sauce.

The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Il Barone is at 4251 Martingale Way, Newport Beach. For more information, call (949) 955-2755.

Denim, denim and more denim

Here's great fashion news to share. The new LU LU boutique and gallery in Costa Mesa is having a "done with denim" sale — save 50% on all denim. And new arrivals from Alternative, the renowned tee and casual basic line, are reduced 20%. And in its back warehouse room, you can save up to 80% on sales merchandise. Choose from darling summer dresses, tee's, light cashmere sweaters, denim and one-of-a kind vintage jewelry and handbags. LU LU carries favorite lines, including Vince, 7 For All Mankind, Kensie, Free People, Three Dots, CP Shades, Suzan and Elizabeth & James jewelry. The boutique is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 1724 Tustin Ave. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (949) 650-5858 or visit

Groove to charity beats

Celebrate summer at the second annual Surf Fest music festival that's raising funds for veterans and youth groups. The charity fundraiser is from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday at American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach. For $20 pre-sale and $25 at the door, you can enjoy live music from Eddie Would Tow, the Surftones with Kerry Chester, the Fabulous Nomads, the Surfaris, the Chantays and the Jan & Dean Show. There's also a classic surf car show, chili cook-off and much more. Food and drinks are available at an additional cost. The Legion hall is at 215 15th St. in Newport Beach. More information is available at

Exercise with bikes

Bike it to downtown Huntington Beach — and leave the parking to the Surf City Bike Valet Program debuting this weekend. The valets will park your bike for you near Fifth Street and Walnut Avenue at the Strand. And on Tuesdays, starting July 20, in celebration of Surf City Nights, you can park your bike for a good cause — the Boys & Girls Club will benefit from donations. Bike Valet opens from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays; and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays. For more information, call (714) 536-5582.

Head to Laguna for kids' art

Children can explore their artistic side at the Festival of Arts Junior Art Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Laguna Beach. Fun activities include an art exhibit treasure hunt where children can find and identify certain items from artists' booths and receive a small prize. There will also be stiltwalkers, face painters, a balloon artist, arts and crafts, hula-hoops, juggling beanbags, plate spinning and tumbling on mats. It's free for children younger than 12, and adult admission costs $7. Attendance is on a first come-first served basis and supplies are limited. The Festival of Arts is at 650 Laguna Canyon Road. For more information, call (949) 494-1145 or visit

Students in kindergarten to eighth grade can also learn the art of shack-making from Hurley resident artist and "Art Shack" artist Jason Maloney and take home their very own art shack at 1 p.m. Sunday. The workshop is part of the Laguna Art Museum's exhibition "Art Shack" running through Oct. 3. There are only 40 spots available. Cost is $25 for materials fee. Send reservations to Jackie Bunge at (949) 494-8971 ext. 207 or e-mail The museum is at 307 Cliff Drive. For more information, visit

GREER WYLDER writes Greer's OC for the Huntington Beach Independent each Thursday and the Daily Pilot and Coastline Pilot each Friday. She's the founder and president of, a free daily e-mail service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed and she can be contacted at

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