Befitting its name to the letter, California Wine & Cheese exclusively celebrates the work of artisan wineries and creameries all over California. The California-centric collection includes more than 100 different wines, many of which appear in a floor-to-ceiling wine rack that fills almost an entire wall with horizontally arranged bottles. Behind the shop's bar, the staff pours more than 50 of these labels by the glass and the flight, allowing visitors to taste everything from chardonnay to zinfandel. Selections range from a diverse collection of white and reds, which are both available for guests to try.
At first glance, South Coast Pizza Parlors might look like an ordinary family pizza joint. The requisite video and redemption games chirp and ring near the entrance. Six big-screen televisions flicker with sporting events. But the difference is in the pizza--the kitchen crew crafts dough and sauce fresh every single day, drizzling pies with classic toppings such as green peppers and pepperoni, as well as more non-traditional options including vegan cheese and soy chorizo.
The Deluca family has always had seawater in its veins. In 1898, Naples native John Deluca settled in the port city of San Pedro and began to support his family as a fisherman. His oldest son, Jack, soon acquired a similar passion for the ocean—as a young boy he pulled lines at the docks and learned to fillet fish. By the age of 21, Jack co-owned State Fish Company with his friend and future brother-in-law, Gerald Cigliano. Jack went on to work for a decade at L.A. Fish & Oyster. He decided to branch out on his own in 1939 and set up a shop at the end of the Santa Monica Pier with his younger brother, Frank. Santa Monica Seafood Company was born.
Jack and Frank would grow the company for more than four decades, selling fish to famished tourists before selling fish to some of the top area restaurants, moving to a larger location to match their success. Their cousins and nephews would eventually purchase the company and expand it to new facilities in Orange County, Costa Mesa, and Las Vegas, with a corporate headquarters in Rancho Dominguez. The headquarters boasts a marine tank system that holds 12,000 pounds of live crustaceans, or one bodybuilding mermaid and all her weights.
Today, the four-generation family tradition continues at retail stores with cafés and oyster bars in Santa Monica and Costa Mesa. As part of their commitment to quality and respect for the sea, they work closely with organizations such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium and FishWise to help develop their research and educational programs.
Though it has no legal bearing in the U.S., the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 is gospel at Newport Beach Brewing Company. It stipulates that only three ingredients should be found in beer: barley, hops, and water. Brewer Derek Bougie sticks to this 16th century decree when creating all of Newport Beach's beers, which include hefeweizens, pale ales, and the comically named Evil Monkey and Village Idiot. And the Bavarian approach pays off: since 1995 Newport Beach Brewing Co beers have earned the brewery two bronze medals, two silver medals, and one gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
While Derek sticks to tradition, Newport Beach's head chef, Gabriel Beltran, prefers putting an contemporary spin on classic bar food. Made entirely in-house, his cuisine ranges from bourbon stout salmon, 1/2 lb. Harris ranch raised burgers, and fish and chips to brick-fired, garlic-crusted pizza topped with macaroni and cheese. His innovation even extends to desserts such as calzone filled with white and dark chocolate. Beer-fueled feasts unfold in front of Newport's HD televisions and 101-inch flat-screens, which stay tuned to the latest sports and weather reports from neighboring planets. Patrons may also visit the beer garden and patio located near the beach and the bay on Balboa Peninsula.
Tap Shack blends the convivial atmosphere of a lively sports bar with the hearty, flavorful burgers, pizzas, and small plates of a gastropub. Servers haul out plates laden with prime-rib sliders, coconut shrimp, and fish tacos, while tableside taps let patrons sip a nice, frosty glass of draft beer without having to line up behind a crowded bar or fire off a flare to alert a bartender. Twenty flat-screen TVs broadcast games, and a separate video game room lets friends blow off steam with Xbox and PS3 contests. Guests sip craft brews from the bar's lineup of 28 taps, forming a perfect complement to the menu of thick, gouda-covered burger patties, pizzas smothered in Italian sausage and pastrami, and filet mignon surf-n-turf plates with shrimp scampi.
The CDM Yogurt crew shares the largely guilt-free gift of fro-yo with more than 150 custom-blended yogurt flavors, many of which were born from requests and suggestions from customers. The flavors rotate weekly and 10 are available every day, though the number of options climbs to 15 for those who opt for a twist of two varieties. After filling up cups with flavors such as Dutch chocolate, oatmeal cookie, and peach, guests can head to the toppings bar to peruse more than 40 add-ons such as almonds, shredded coconut, and mint cookies.