The lively culinary team at Florentine’s Grill cossets palates with its robust menu of flavorful Italian American favorites in a gorgeous dining room swathed in European décor. Delve into Florentine's selection of lunchtime specials for the crisp cobb salad with diced white turkey, bacon, egg, and more greens than Richie Rich's bank account ($9.99). Diners can anchor their incisors in an array of sandwiches, wraps, and half-pound burgers that include the bounteous bruschetta burger, hoisting mozzarella cheese and spicy mayo on focaccia bread ($10.99). For a sea of savory flavors, dive into the tilapia picatta drizzled with a lemon-butter caper sauce ($17.99), or quell a tumultuous tummy before it bellows like a wounded tuba by ordering the thick-cut prime rib, which is slathered in a creamy horseradish sauce and served only on Friday and Saturday nights, with hearty sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach ($22.99).
Starting at age four, Michelle Larson dedicated herself to Irish dance, quickly ascending the ranks from regional to world championship-level dancing. But at 21, hungry for a change of pace, she focused her energy on interior design. It didn't take long, however, for the rhythmic patter of soft shoes to lure her back like a siren song, and in 1990 she founded the Painter Larson Academy of Irish Dance. Here, she trains children in Irish dance fundamentals, such as foot placement and timing, before teaching basic dances such as the light jig. Michelle's adult students learn these skills, too, as well as group dances that culminate in a traditional Irish dogpile.
For more than a quarter century, Robyn Melanson has developed a thorough knowledge of the dance community as a performer, instructor, choreographer, and coach. As the founder and director of Stage One Dance Studio, she and her staff of dance instructors teach clients the art of kinetic expression in styles as varied as jazz, ballet, and tap. The premises feature three studios, each equipped with raised hard-rock maple floors, where students ages 3-17 hone their skills.
A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.
In 2011, OC Weekly dubbed rock 'n' roll bar The Juke Joint one of the best bars of the year. Here, 20 craft, domestic, and international draft beers are served alongside cocktails and whiskey shots. With walls painted black, the bar invites patrons to spin a few songs on the jukebox, which blasts tunes ranging from punk and rockabilly to American roots music. The bar also hosts live music on a stage dedicated to the late Nekromantix drummer Andrew Martinez. Five pool tables facilitate friendly games and official billiards tournaments, and free WiFi makes it easy to upload the photos that will be deleted tomorrow.