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Scarantino's Opens in El Toro

August 27, 1992|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH | Beverly Bush Smith is a free-lance writer who regularly covers restaurant news for The Times Orange County Edition. and

Scarantino's Italian Inn is now open in El Toro. The menu isn't identical to that of Scarantino's in San Juan Capistrano, but it's close--and the recipes are the same. This shouldn't surprise anyone, because both restaurants are rooted in the original Scarantino's, which Jesse and Joan Scarantino opened 33 years ago on South La Cienega in L.A. A cousin, John, owns the San Juan Capistrano restaurant, while Jesse and Joan's son, Salvatore, and his wife, Sherri, are at the helm in El Toro (assisted in the launch by Joan). Dinners, with soup or salad and Italian bread, are $5.95-$12.50. Entrees include baked eggplant, homemade manicotti and other pastas and scampi. They're open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner, from 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, from 3 to 10 p.m. 23862 Bridger Road, just off Interstate 5 at El Toro Road. (714) 768-8757.

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Moo shu with a view? The new Lakeview Chinese Restaurant overlooks Lake Mission Viejo, with patio and indoor seating. The emphasis is on Mandarin-style cooking, and the house trademark is beef, chicken or shrimp with hot and pungent spices. There's a 120-item menu, and lunch entrees average $5; dinner, $9. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 10 p.m. A full-service bar serves exotic tropical drinks, and there's a 95-cent happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Seniors receive a 15% discount on food Sunday through Thursday when they use a credit card. Wednesday is ladies' night from 5 to 10 p.m., with a choice of appetizers for 99 cents with the purchase of a bar drink. 27782 Vista del Lago 22, Mission Viejo. (714) 586-2878.

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The Newlan and Chateau de Leu wineries will take the spotlight at a special dinner at Gandhi Indian Cuisine in Santa Ana on Monday at 7 p.m. Each of five courses will be accompanied by selections from both wineries. Lamb Pasanda will be served with Newlan Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 and de Leu Cabernet Sauvignon 1989. De Leu Merlot 1990 and Newlan Century Selection 1988 will accompany tandoori duck. The cost: $29.95 plus tax and gratuity. 1621-D Sunflower Ave. in South Coast Plaza Village. (714) 556-7273.

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"Autumn On the Way" is the theme of the next session of the Ritz-Carlton Cooking With the Masters class, which is Monday. Participants will learn how to prepare the perfect quiche Lorraine, pot au feu from seafood, pheasant in cream sauce with vegetable plate and spatzle, and yogurt pear timbale with strawberry coulis. The cost is $125 (or $300 for a series of three classes), which includes continental breakfast, a tour of the resort's six kitchens and herb garden, the cooking class and a formal luncheon with wines. The session is from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 33533 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point. (714) 240-2000.

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Caffe Italia, which began a year ago as a take-out source for Italian fare, has expanded its menu for lunch or dinner in . Owner Pardine Kazemi offers homemade crepes, gnocchi, Italian soups, a variety of pastas and pizzas such as ricotta with grilled eggplant or chicken and jalapenos. Dinners include chicken, veal and seafood entrees and specialties such as calamari with lemon. A pasta favorite: fettuccine a la chef with chicken, Italian ham, artichoke hearts and a Parmesan cream sauce. Homemade garlic bread accompanies all meals. Maximum lunch price is $7.95, and dinners range from $6.95 to $13.95, including soup or salad. 22972 Moulton Parkway (at Lake Forest), Laguna Hills. (714) 454-2444.

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Two stalwarts of Long Beach's landmark cruise ship, the Queen Mary, have come to Orange County, joining the staff of the Pan Pacific Hotel in Anaheim. Cush Elavia, formerly assistant food and beverage director of the Queen Mary, is the newly appointed food and beverage director of the Pan Pacific. And Tim Tatgenhorst, former manager and maitre d' of Sir Winston's restaurant aboard the ship, is Elavia's assistant. He will supervise operations of the hotel's Summertree and Keyaki restaurants. 1717 S. West St., Anaheim.

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Il Fornaio has revived the baker's dozen, which traditionally gives customers a 13th item free with orders of 12. At Il Fornaio, it works three ways: packets of $1 gift certificates cost $12, and you get 13; a coffee drink card gives you a free cup of coffee after you've purchased a dozen; and the coffee bean card delivers a free pound of coffee beans when the card's stamped 12 times. Il Fornaio gift certificates, coffee drink and bean club cards are available at Il Fornaio Cucina Expressa, 650 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 668-0880; and Il Fornaio Panetteria, 18051 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, (714) 261-2202.

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