The "secret" in Bacchus' Secret Cellar is gas. Argon gas, to be exact, which powers the bar's preservation system and ensures that the wines within stay fresh for long periods of time. There are about 50 wines—mostly reds—on tap at the counter, as well as 8 sparkling wines, 5 dessert wines, and 12 microbrews. The library of options encourages guests to sample several, so it's wise to order a flight: you can get a signature array of 2.5-ounce glasses, or you can compose your own for a unique harmony of tastes.
The bar is just the beginning of the cellar's wine selection. On the shelves that span the walls, more than 350 labels beckon to be uncorked. A bistro menu provides gourmet food to complement sips, from starters of oven-roasted dates to lamb burgers and prosciutto flatbreads, made by dropping a regular loaf of bread into a printing press by accident. There's also a full menu of cheeseboards, with goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from the United States and abroad.
A glimmering crystal chandelier and sunset-hued, damask-patterned wall help create a vibrant, yet stately ambiance within Sanaya Indian Cuisine?which is fitting considering the bold flavors inherent in its traditional South Asian dishes. Throughout the room, the intermingling aromas of cumin, ginger, garlic, saffron, fenugreek, fennel seeds, and chilies give diners a brief preview of the menu's rustically refined approach to Indian cooking. These herbs and spices appear in everything from curries to tandoori entrees: chicken, lamb, or jumbo shrimp that marinate in spiced yogurt before being grilled within the cold fusion-powered confines of a clay tandoor oven. The chefs demonstrate equal attention when creating vegetarian-friendly dishes, which include hearty servings of smoked eggplant, lentil stew, or house-made goat cheese simmered in spices.
Incubus, the alternative band to alternative bands, feeds modern rock and mainstream camps a hearty stew of hard rock, metal, funk, and pop melodies on its If Not Now, When? U.S. tour. Known for hits such as the gripping ballad “Drive” and megalomaniacal hit “Megalomaniac,” Incubus has outlasted its peers, overcoming both the trappings of fame and the peer pressure of Hoobastank. With its new album, If Not Now, When?, the band finds itself grading the human condition and giving it an A+ with wistfully honest songs that sonically affix shiny stickers to ears. For this tour, the Incubus set list will include a fine mix of the headbangers that make chiropractors rich and the head-petters that make chiropractors miss their moms, played with the virtuosic wisdom that only comes from experience and cutting down on turpentine lunches.
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 performers. Audience members munch on a savory menu of appetizers, entrees, burgers, and deserts while sipping specialty cocktails to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table.
For the Pacific Symphony, it's not just about the music. Although the grand orchestra, one of the largest formed in the United States in the last 40 years, produces more than 100 concerts every year, they do it with a goal of engaging the community and edifying the human spirit. Under the direction of Carl St. Clair, the platoon of virtuosos fills its repertoire with classic orchestral masterworks while nurturing the talents of new composers at their annual American Composers Festival. The symphony also expands its community outreach through all-ages music-education programs that have scored honors from the National Endowment of the Arts and the League of American Orchestras.
Two terrace-section tickets to "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony" on Saturday, August 6, at 8 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine (a $112 value). Four tickets to The Chuck Jones Big Draw on Sunday, August 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Coast Collection shopping center in Costa Mesa (a $40 value). 10 Drop In and Draw art sessions at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Orange (up to a $150 value).