OC Spring Menu Coverage, Part One

Roast lemon garlic chicken
Do the chicken dance. Photo courtesy Montage Laguna

Not too hot, not too cold: Spring is just right in our book. It’s also the time of year when restaurants flaunt seasonal menus. Grab a fork and join us!

Montage, Laguna Beach
In a recent partnership with nutrition expert and best-selling author Kelly LeVeque, Montage dining outlets the Loft and Mosaic Bar & Grille now include Be Well by Kelly menus, designed for guests wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle while visiting the resort. Dishes include a wild French salmon salad, a Southwestern scramble and a lemon-garlic roast chicken (pictured above). LeVeque’s celebrity clientele and UCLA/UC Berkeley post-graduate clinical nutrition education mean a focus on quality and overall wellness. Expect this ongoing collaboration to adjust with the seasons. 30801 S. Coast Hwy., (949) 715-6000; www.montagelagunabeach.com.


Pan-roasted Chicken from Memphis
We feel like chicken tonight! Photo courtesy Memphis Cafe

Memphis Cafe, Costa Mesa
Chef Diego Velasco’s Southern-style home cookin’ is always a solid meal, and this spring, he’s changing things up. “You will see seasonal interpretations of our classics alongside dishes focused on presentation and fresh flavors that highlight the various regions of American cuisine,” he says. Roasted beet poke mimics the trending seafood with sesame, hazelnuts and gorgonzola. The pickled-shrimp salad toes the line of healthly and heavy thanks to chicories, crispy tasso ham, smoked paprika vinaigrette and biscuit (what!?) croutons. We also suggest the pan-roasted chicken with green beans haricot vert, Cajun creamed corn and chicken andouille sausage (pictured). 2920 Bristol St., (714) 432-7685; www.memphiscafe.com.


Seared duck breast from Recess Room
Seared, smoked and scorched. Photo by Anne Marie Panoringan

The Recess Room, Fountain Valley
Even though no one’s referring to it as a spring menu, the Recess Room is serving new items. We loved the pork cheek confit, as it reminded us of Filipino adobo, but an honorable mention goes to chef Nikko Marquez’s Spanish octopus with matcha crispy quinoa and Okinawa potato. Another fine dish: the seared duck breast with soba and scorched rice tea (pictured). 18380 Brookhurst St., (714) 377-0398; www.therecessroom.com.


Vegetarian frittata
Getting eggy with it. Photo courtesy Snooze

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, Tustin
A favorite brekkie spot, Snooze’s new selection of eats recently dropped to the tune of strong Kentucky Coffee and an eclectic soundtrack. Do yourself a favor and drop by the Market Place location for some grub. Über-indulgent eats such as I Want Sum’oa Cakes (signature pancakes topped with vanilla crème anglaise, caramel, chocolate sauce, coconut and powdered sugar) pretty much demand a siesta afterward. Lighter fare include the Spring Harvest Benny with cheesy quinoa cakes and a Spring Has Sprung frittata filled with mushroom and asparagus (pictured). 3032 El Camino Real, (714) 415-6269; www.snoozeeatery.com.


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