Modeled after an Old World wine cellar, WineStyles's shelves are lined with rare bottles accrued by its staff of in-house experts hailing from quality vineyards across the globe. The shop's bounty includes handcrafted gift boxes and baskets and merchandise, such as guidebooks for translating secret codes etched in cork. Along with retailing wine and imbibing gear, WineStyles's crew grants guests the opportunity to sample new pours at frequent events and two-hour tastings three nights a week. For dedicated aficionados, the chief wine taster chooses two bottles to send to wine-club members along with tasting notes that detail their origins, a winery description, and suggested food pairings.
Make lunch or dinner into a fun foodmersible with submarine-shaped appetizer rolls such as the seared ahi tuna variation with mango, mint, avocado, and wasabi-ginger soy sauce ($7), or yam-tempura-coated fish sticks ($7). Meat goes best with meat, which explains why bold dishes like the rau ram salad with chicken, cabbage, green mango, and apple ($11) and the braised anise shortrib ($22) stand out so well. Quietly confident plates such as the tofu with eggplant, mushrooms, and Thai basil ($12) or the lemongrass jalapeno wok (tofu, $13) are equally delicious, but are more susceptible to noogies.
At Irvine Improv, comics lure laughs from deep within bellies while following in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv club stages. The club's calendar schedules comedians as often as six nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-coming funsters who tickle funny bones with fresh material, abundant energy, and feathered reflex hammers. Upcoming acts include Sebastian Maniscalco, whose sarcastic skewing of modern manners was recently showcased in his Showtime special What’s Wrong With People (April 6–7), and mischievous Sirius Satellite Radio staple Mitch Fatel, whose boyish delivery disguises his devilish subject matter (April 12–14). Audience members munch on their choice of a savory appetizer, such as spinach-and-artichoke dip or fried calamari, while sipping a cocktail to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table (drinks not included with this Groupon).
Each Auld Dubliner location must meet the stringent level of authenticity required by co-owner and Gaelic strongdrinker David Copley. A native of Limerick, Ireland, Copley might share a dirty poem if you ask nicely, but he's more likely to tell you that every part of his pub's polished wood, brass décor, and menu of toothsome Erin edibles was designed and crafted in Ireland and transported piece by piece to its new American home. Tuck right into pub classics such as shepherd's pie with ground beef and lamb ($12.95) or the for-more-than-St.-Patty's-Day corned beef and cabbage ($12.95). Other fare that comes with a shamrock stamp of approval includes the traditional boxty (a potato pancake), stuffed with delights such as Irish bacon and melted cheddar ($13.95) or Atlantic salmon with shallots and tarragon ($15.95). For a finish as sweet as a "yes" from Molly Bloom, the Irish-whiskey crème brûlée adds a twist to the traditional dessert.
Located inside The Hotel Hanford, Savoy Restaurant & Lounge cultivates a posh, inviting atmosphere with bronze-leather club chairs flanked by plum-colored satin pillows and ambient-lit dining quarters. In the mornings, eggs, fruit-speckled pancakes, and upscale breakfast staples fuel hotel patrons and passers-through for the day ahead. In the evening, plates brim with upscale American cuisine complemented by scores of wines from Tuscany, Sonoma, and Spain, whose disparate life stories make for interesting conversation pieces when there are no humans interested in talking. While enjoying diverse wines cozied up in chic deep-purple chairs at the full bar, patrons dig into dishes of butternut squash ravioli with bacon, almonds, and pecorino cheese as they bask in their environs' rich, metallic tones.